Book Pricing Strategies to Boost Indie Authors’ Sales

Sometimes the simplest thing you can do to give your sales a boost is to play around with book pricing. While completing a book in and of itself is quite an accomplishment, it’s a whole different thing to have a book that actually sells. You may have heard this from other indie authors, or even… [Read More]

book pricing strategies to boost sales by Penny Sansevieri for BookWorks.com

Sometimes the simplest thing you can do to give your sales a boost is to play around with book pricing.

While completing a book in and of itself is quite an accomplishment, it’s a whole different thing to have a book that actually sells. You may have heard this from other indie authors, or even experienced it yourself. You add your book to Amazon, full of plans for a wild success, and then, nothing. It’s disheartening to see your hard work just sit there. But there is some good news! There might be an easy fix.

Boost your Book Marketing & Profits with Book Pricing That Sells!

How you price your book is something we don’t often think of as a trigger for book promotion or how to sell more books, but it is. First, let’s look at your book’s perceived value, vs. the going market rate.

Look at Other Book Pricing: First and foremost, what are others are charging in your market? You may be surprised at the price. It's never a good idea to price your book outside of what the market can bear, even if you toiled over the book, poured blood, sweat and tears into it.

My Book is Worth More! Yes, I know. Your book is worth a heck of a lot more. In fact, if you add up all the hours you spent working on it, you probably couldn’t charge enough for it. Here’s the thing though: you can’t focus on your worth or your book’s worth – you have to focus on what the market will bear. That is ultimately what will—or won’t—drive sales.book pricing strategies to boost sales by Penny Sansevieri for BookWorks.com

Consider the eBook: In general, it seems like many traditional publishers don’t know how to price an eBook. You’ll probably notice eBooks priced at $9.99 and higher.  This is actually quite a deterrent for most readers. As you build your book marketing plan, keep in mind that eBooks should not be priced the same as their print counterparts. Even pricing them within a dollar or two of a $14.95 book is too high. The folks at KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) have told me that their “sweet spot” for pricing (in terms of what they see gets the most bites) is a price point between $2.99 and $5.99. While these numbers might seem horrifyingly low, keep in mind that pricing your book to suit your market will actually help encourage a buy, rather than sending your potential reader off to find a book more within their price range.

Price Rotation: Now this is where the pricing strategy really gets interesting. When was the last time you changed the price of your book on Amazon? And I’m not talking about a price drop for an eBook promo, I’m talking about playing with your pricing. So, for example, while you might disagree with the “sweet spot” price range of $2.99 to $5.99, why not give it a shot for a week or so? Changing your book price might play a role in boosting your exposure on Amazon, because it triggers an internal algorithm. Sometimes I work with authors who shift their book pricing regularly, from $5.99 down to $2.99 down to $1.99 and then back up again with great results. One word of caution: you may want to be careful about doing this too much. Basically, shuffling your book price two or three times in a week may not gain you the results you’re seeking. Take note of how stores run their sales. Department stores are always having sales, but never the same item priced differently three different times in a week. Ideally, consider playing with book pricing once a month – more if you’re running an eBook promo that you’re advertising, which I’ll cover in a minute.

book pricing strategies to boost sales by Penny Sansevieri for BookWorks.comFree eBooks: I love free eBooks—and while some people feel like giving away books doesn’t help book sales, I disagree. I’ve seen how using free books strategically can help give book sales a significant boost. You may want to consider having something consistently free, like permafree which I’ll address below – or if you have several titles, keep them in a promotion rotation. This works really well when you have four or five books. If you decide to do a free promotion, know that despite the Amazon muscle behind a free eBook, you do still have to promote it on your own. Try using hashtags, and also promoting it to sites like BookGorilla and Ignite Your Book. Even relatively small paid advertisements can help out enormously.

Price Promos: Whenever you do a downward price rotation, be sure to let your potential readers know you’re running a sale. If you have a Super Fan group, be sure to give them a heads up too, whether through Facebook or email notification. Whenever I reduce a price on a print or eBook, I always, always do a promo, even if it’s just a small one, to let folks know I’m running a sale.book pricing strategies to boost sales by Penny Sansevieri for BookWorks.com

Permafree eBooks: I adore permafree for the simple reason that if you have three or more books – having one free one can really boost the sales of your other titles – in some cases by three or four times what they were selling before. So what’s “permafree?” Well it’s an eBook that’s always free on Amazon. And while you can’t put a free eBook onto the site itself, you can ask Amazon to price match it. Generally, I recommend an author select either their oldest book (as long as it’s still relevant and current) or the first book in a fiction or nonfiction series and make that book free. In order to do this, you have to publish it everywhere; you can easily upload your book to sites like Draft2Digital and Smashwords, and then make it free. From there, your book will be available on Nook, iTunes, Kobo and anywhere else you indicate. And then, you can simply let Amazon know by clicking the “tell us about a better price” link just under the book details on your Amazon page. It’s worth noting that sometimes it takes a few tries to get Amazon to recognize that it’s free elsewhere. Once the book is free, it will start charging up Amazon’s ranks (under free eBooks). The key to success here is including a simple page in the back of that book that invites readers to check out your other titles, and include links to these titles for easy reference.

As I’m sure you've discovered over the course of marketing your book, so many factors come into play in your book’s ultimate success. As you take a wide-pronged approach to your book marketing, remember that simply adjusting your book's price can make a huge difference in your book's overall sales. If you need a sales boost, or as you start refining your marketing plan, consider periodically circling back to book pricing as a strong tool in your book marketing arsenal.


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