Self Publishing Question and Answer Series

Price Points

  1. How do I know if my book is priced to sell?

One of the joys of self publishing is doing your own market research. Go to a local book store, wonder over to the section that fits your books and take notes. Here is my list:

  • What is your trim size? Exactly what sizes are your books printed in? Really look around, take a tape measure if you need it.
  • Besides, what other differences are there? page count, hard cover, soft cover, color vs black and white images, etc.
  • Make a graph and list price points that go with each difference you found.
  • Make a list of at least 10 books featuring those differences to compare online pricing.
  • If your book is only an ebook, then research your genre, look for page length, word count, and popularity of genre.

After you have done this research you should be able to pinpoint the market standard for your book.

Examples:

  • I write children’s books. 8×8 fully illustrated hard cover books sell for $8.99-$12.99 in the US. If it costs me $8 to print it, then I won’t make any money.
  • The same book, printed in 8.5×11 fully illustrated with a hard cover. They sell for $17.99-$22.99 and cost the same $8 to print, then I have room for profit.

Traditional Publishers have their books printed in China and get their pricing down to $2 or less per book. That is how they can sell an 8×8 book for so little and still make a profit.

2. I though self published authors made more per book sale, than traditional authors?

I can’t guarantee that your book will sell, nothing is guaranteed in life or in business. If you do the research and size your books accordingly, then the profit per book should be greater than what a traditional author earns. I can tell you that a traditional author typically makes an advance then a small % of each book AFTER the advance has been earned through sales. I can also tell you that the % (called royalties) is split with your literary agent.

Self publishing is a business, so you have to get to know the competition. If you treat it like a business and not a hobby, then you will have done this research before you finalize the details for your book so that you can maximize your potential profit.

3 .I did the research and my price and size is competitive , what else could it be?

If your using Amazon’s KDP then, raising your price is the only option for making more. If your using someone else, like Ingram Spark, then you can change a few things. One you can change your wholesale discount. Yes the industry standard is 50-55% but if most of your sales are Print on Demand, then changing it to 30-40% can give you the extra profit room per book that you need.

Ingram Spark has a handy calculator that shows the differences that wholesale discount makes. Play with it and see what difference it may mean for you. https://myaccount.ingramspark.com/Portal/Tools/PubCompCalculator?hsCtaTracking=d9033cc7-9d81-4894-a3a6-99b8cc08bf02%7C42e1dc3e-a6a6-4177-b468-589181ab94f4

More about Writing

Please, always do your own research. All the information is presented in good faith. I gathered this information from information I gleaned while walking through the process of self publishing myself. Every genre is a little different, I personally publish children’s picture books, and middle grade fantasy novels. At the time I wrote this article I had two pictures books, one middle grade novel, a coloring book, and a teacher’s guide self-published.

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