Indie Book Collective discussion

Pricing an e-book

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message 1: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments I have been getting such conflicting information in regard to pricing my e-book. My paperback is pretty much set at what I can just to make even $1 off it. I started at 4.99, even as an indie author it was something given to me as a price because my first novel of a series is over 100k words. The physical is somewhere around 364 pages I believe.
Then others say all indie authors should be 2.99 and be lucky at that. So I have been testing between those prices, and really haven't seen much of a change in general. So question is, what pricing module do you use as an Indie? Or your first novel? I'm still writing so no worries on that its not a one shot deal, but at this moment I look wishy washy during my "tests"

J.S. Riddle

message 2: by Rinelle (new)

Rinelle Grey (rinellegrey) My first novel is priced at $2.99. Not having a huge number of sales yet, because it's only been out a few weeks, but I'm starting to see some movement after a free run last week. I think it takes time (and a LOT of promotion) to get the ball rolling.

message 3: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hopkins | 5 comments I fiddled around with pricing for my first book, starting at $4.99 and working down. Eventually I was persuaded to try it at 99c, when it climbed in the top 100 of its genre and flitted in and out of the top ten for a while, selling 200-300 copies a month for the last six months of 2012 after doing only a handful of copies per month in 2010 and 2011. At the beginning of this year I upped the price to $2.99 since when numbers have dropped to 100 a month, though so far (touch wood) sales seem consistent.

I've never given free copies away as I'm not a fan of that approach.

Not sure if that's any help to you or not. I'm still confused over pricing :?

message 4: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments At least I am not the only one fiddling. I have heard there was a fine line on the 99 cent ones. Some say there is a stigma attached to it. I really do wish there happened to be an option to make it a different price on, say smashwords, as apposed to the distribution sites. I have my book on Amazon in kindle and paperback form (that price, really gives me peanuts, it was only asked for so I did it).
As a brand new artist it is rough out there. My genre is tough not being in young adult. I tried 2.99 and nothing, I think that is as low as I should go.
Isn't there a formula some pro indie's use for gauging price of book per word count?
I don't mind people getting it cheap, but also, I have not money so being able to pay back into the book would help tremendously.
How many books do you have out? and what genre?

message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hopkins | 5 comments J S - only one at the mo. I'm lucky enough to have a contract for my next but I've no idea how the publisher intends to price it.

Genre-wise it's historical military fiction, which is probably something of a niche market unless your name's Bernard Cornwell ;)

message 6: by Eric (new)

Eric Quinn (eqknowles) Jonathan, do you attribute your sales volume entirely to the price change (to $0.99), or did you do some promotion as well?

message 7: by Eric (new)

Eric Quinn (eqknowles) Actually, I just bought your book, Jonathan! I love the Sharpe series (and Flashman, as well). I'm going to guess that you got a lot of visibility by being in such a small genre. Congrats on your success!

message 8: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 102 comments Ditto, Eric.

Jonathan - Wow! Congratulations all over the place.

I started mine at .99 but others were so encouraging about its value that I raised it to $2.99. Sales slowed but didn't go away. My POD is $13.99 - movement there is slow slow but I'm below the price of others like it.

message 9: by Rinelle (new)

Rinelle Grey (rinellegrey) Hmm, interesting that the $0.99 worked. I'd heard that it wasn't so popular either. Something to consider at some point in the future.

message 10: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments my POD is @ 11.99 thats barely over $1 for me unless buy and sell (which I do), doesn't help with reviews that is need until the merge my kindle and createspace. I opted out of extended because I would have had to raise that price.
I just can't see .99c in something that is considered of epic size (not in content I am by far NOT conceited). I feel bad enough with the 2.99 like I'm....I understand I'm an indie, its just a tough situation.

I think if I could find a crowd that wasn't big into YA, what used to be "goth" in my day (I'm 35 so I'm old by far, nor young) it would be the perfect spot, or one that dealt with the occult. Very hard to find here to start offline.
Business cards to leave places w book,cover, synopsis, all info on other side - check. FB Author page, Goodreads, Twitter, My own domain plus blog all check. I need some reviews and I need momentum. I knew it would tough going in, just this is really making it quite hard to even work on the second because I am too busy promoting the first.
*sigh* enough of the panic attack. ahhhhhhhh relax

message 11: by Rinelle (new)

Rinelle Grey (rinellegrey) Tell me about it! I've only just today said to myself that I need to take a break from promoting, and get to work on writing the next book. Hoping that once I get a few more books up, momentum will be easier to build.

message 12: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments you and I think the same. The stress of promoting is way too much. I want to so desperately get this next one out. I made the typical mistake of deciding to write in the thirst of the series (what came to my mind, it happens from time to time) so it didn't help me anything about what I'm doing now.
I kind of like the feel of how its going. Starts of all dark and vampire like, but then turns into something completely different as it progresses and is more in the fantasy section for sure. Jut got get there

message 13: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer J.S.

You will continuously find conflicts regarding new author indie pricing. I say go with your gut feeling and your expectations. Are you expecting to live off the profits of the book?

There are arguments about the .99 cent price and free. Many authors say they price it low because they're trying to build an audience. Building an audience is having people read the book. Just because a book is downloaded doesn't mean it's being read.

My book, Net Switch, which is a Goodreads Giveaway now -, has a paperback price of $14.95 and eBook at $6.50. Everyone tells me it's too high, but that's what I feel my book should be priced at.

Good Luck!

Denise Baer

message 14: by Steven (new)

Steven Malone | 102 comments @Denise - Amen! And, it's good to price your book the way you value it's quality. 'Made me consider raising the price of my ebook.

Best advice for a new author: Keep your day job.

message 15: by Kate (new)

Kate Bloomfield (katebloomfield) | 1 comments I wrote a trilogy. Originally I sold the first book for 0.99c. When the 2nd book came out I upped the price of book 1 to $1.99, and priced book 2 at $2.99.
The third book I priced at $3.99.

Stand-alone books I price at $2.99

Though now that my name is a (little bit) known, and I have a readership, I'll price my next trilogy at 2.99 and up. So 2.99, $3.99, $4.99.

message 16: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer @Steven Thanks. I appreciate it. These kind of questions make me cringe because there isn't a precise answer. Each author has their own agenda and expectations.

Take care.

message 17: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments lol yes this is the ultimate freak out kind of question. One people are so in the mud with everywhere I look online. Some really really hate indie's too.
I definitely have no expectations whatsoever but I would like to make up for what my husband lost with not getting his raise and losing the 2% on his paycheck and so forth. I write because I love it, I've been doing it too long and honestly don't really have a world I can completely throw myself into. Without writing, it just makes no sense to me. We live on the one income for many purposes and make due. It would be nice for just a little bit of something. So the free route isn't my choice.

I guess until I get traffic to go where I need it to go its going to stay the same. I think its worth 4.99 with its size and content, I may stick with that. There hasn't been much of a change. Amazon sticks me in some weird category that I'm not quite happy with as does the others. They have broadened genre's so much it makes it much harder to classify.

message 18: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hopkins | 5 comments Eric wrote: "Actually, I just bought your book, Jonathan! I love the Sharpe series (and Flashman, as well). I'm going to guess that you got a lot of visibility by being in such a small genre. Congrats on your s..."

Hi Eric - Thanks very much and I hope you enjoy it!

On the promotion thing, I've never been good at blowing my own trumpet, which seems a big disadvantage when you're trying to sell a book. I have a website and blog and tend to post on subject-related forums. Only problem with the latter is that most, understandably, frown on overt advertising. I've tried attending Napoleonic re-enactments, which seem to produce a lot of interest in my props, but few sales. The nearest I've come to actively promoting to a group was a talk to the UK Napoleonic Association conference on researching and writing an historical novel. I don't have a FB author page, nor an individual book page.

So, frustratingly, I don't know where the sales come from. My gut feeling is the 99c price point attracted 'Sharpe' readers to try it as there are few writing this period. Maybe because few publishers are interested: I get the impression many feel Mr Cornwell's success has done it to death.

message 19: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Hopkins | 5 comments Steven wrote: "Ditto, Eric.

Jonathan - Wow! Congratulations all over the place.

I started mine at .99 but others were so encouraging about its value that I raised it to $2.99. Sales slowed but didn't go away. M..."

Thanks, Steven.

I think your pricing's right. My POD's at $14.99, which doesn't seem unreasonable for the quality, and it trickles out in ones and twos. Which is okay because I've kind-of concluded that to get any volume sales I probably need to have five or six books out there in a series (luckily that's what I'm writing, lol).

Numbers may improve now a trad publisher's doing the second book, but it's a case of wait and see what their marketing efforts produce. I don't suppose I'll be able to draw any real comparisons until that's been out for a year :(

message 20: by Jan (new)

Jan Hurst-Nicholson (janhurst-nicholson) | 13 comments I have some books priced at 99c and some at $2.99. The 99c ones consistently have the best sales. However, they are all very different, so I'm not sure if that tells you anything :)

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Ebook prices are hard to calculate, because everyone has an opinion of what would be best. I personally do half (or a dollar more than half) the price of my paper copy, which usually ranges from 3.99 - 7.99. I sometimes do a lower price for a sale, or if it's a short story, but I don't do 99 cents anymore. I've had so many readers complain about getting 99 cents, and having them be terrible, so they don't want to buy them anymore, and I definitely don't want to run into that. Plus, I think pricing a bit higher shows that you value your work.

message 22: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments What Alexandra says is true on the account of what I have heard of the 99 cent one.
NOW BEFORE SOMEONE RIPS ME NEW ONE, let me clarify, people assume first attemtp, 3 months to write, teenage angst, and erotica. Nothing is wrong with any of those. But that tends to be what is trending so they so it much more hiding the rest of the books in between,

If course mine could be utter crap. I'm just waiting on that one. I'm ready. It could be to some people. I have some great aunts who have heard from their friends and *gulp* I worry more about their thoughts.

message 23: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Marchant (jamiemarchant) | 36 comments I have my novella priced at 99 cents because it's only a novella, not a full novel. Do you think I should price it higher?

message 24: by Rinelle (new)

Rinelle Grey (rinellegrey) I don't think anyone can tell someone else what they should price their book at. There are several different schools of thought on pricing. One suggests that pricing it lower will get you more downloads, and thus you will end up making more money anyway. Another says that if we price ebooks too low, people won't buy them because they think they're worth less. Both sides have their points, and I think it's up to each individual author to decide what they feel.

My book (as I think I said earlier in this discussion) is priced at $2.99, mostly because this is the lowest price I could choose to get the 70% royalty option. I'm open to experimenting with other pricing though, including free promotions. For me, it's not about what my book is worth, but about the most effective way to get it into the hands of readers. Being the first book in a series, I also see it as an investment in my author brand, and the rest of my series.

message 25: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) I've priced my latest at $1.99 but then again, I have 7 books published. The more "shelf space" you have, the more you have some wiggle room in pricing, so to speak, because more's out there. I'm not sure what the magic number is. Readers want us to give them our work for free, of course, but we have bills to pay too.

message 26: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Riddle (jsriddle) | 30 comments I think Amazon, Barnes & Noble, istore and the like (since I used smashwords to distribute to them) have somewhere about prices being the same across the board. I may be wrong on that. That is where the problem lies for me, because I want to be able to pick and choose the price for smashwords. Amazon is....interesting to say the least. Its understandable people had to start standing up to the big 6 but goodness the hoops that have to be jumped to do so.

message 27: by Nick (new)

Nick Wastnage (nickwastnage) | 26 comments I believe you can try and price them at different prices, but Amazon and Ibooks insist nobody can undercut them. If they find out that your book is cheaper elsewhere, they'll reduce their price of your book to the same or below the other price. Equally, if your book is on a freebie at an online publisher, but not amazon, amazon will take your book off sale. They used to reduce the book top free, but now with KDP Select, they just take your book off.

message 28: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 133 comments I use only Smashwords for giveaways and advance review copies, because they publish every eBook format including Kindle mobi, and I can limit who the offer goes to, since they have to use a coupon and check out on Smashwords. Amazon does actually set the lowest price, so all my eBooks are priced at $2.99 no matter where. However if I want to send out freebies, I can do it through SW with no ill effects anywhere else, and control freebie freaks, trolls, collectors and the like.

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I think all of the companies try and keep relatively the same prices (I know on Amazon, you can input a lower price, not sure about any of the other sites), but then again, I think it's good to keep the same price everywhere. You can always do "sales", and give away free ebooks on Smashwords, which has worked really well for me.

As far as what to price your book at...I think it depends upon the book. I don't like going lower than $2.99, personally, though depending on the story I might. I definitely don't like doing 99 cents, but then I wouldn't really want to go above $9.99. I don't think it should be too cheap, because it was work to put it together, and you get that stigma of "it must suck, because it costs nothing", but I don't think expensive is the way to go either. You have to find a middle-ground that you are happy with.

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