How to Price Your Book for Better Book Discovery

by | Jul 18, 2018 | Bestseller Essentials

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An updated post has been written for this topic, you can find it here!

If you’re unsure how to price your book you’re not alone, but it makes a big difference for your book discovery so it’s not an aspect of your book marketing strategy to take lightly.

What 2017 book sales can tell us

Check out this graph created by Author Earnings, based on the last 3 quarters of 2017 book sales:

There are a lot of interesting things going on here that affect what you should be considering when determining how to price your book.

The $.99 price point does very well, but we can assume a lot of these are either limited time discount promotions, or loss leader titles by prolific series authors. But it still shows that the era of the $.99 book isn’t over when it comes to book discovery — it’s just being utilized in a more strategic way.

The purchase numbers in the $1.00-$1.99 price point are surprisingly low.

With this I’m inclined to argue it’s partly a sales psychology issue. That range isn’t cheap enough to garner impulse buys, but it is cheap enough to degrade the perceived value of the book itself.

So while book discovery may still be high, the sales conversion isn’t – and there’s really no point in having one without the other.

Testing and tracking are key to book discovery

See, figuring out how to price your book is really a psychological test, and some trial and error is really quite necessary.

Just be sure you’re staying on top of your testing and making adjustments as soon as you see sales waning.

The $2.00-$2.99 price point seems to do quite well, and this really makes sense, the price point implies value, without requiring a serious investment. I often recommend this price point to newer authors, it’s a great way to increase your book discovery and expand your potential buyer market.

Then there’s the $3.00-$3.99 price point!

These numbers are fantastic, and I love to think it shows how much more value the eBook format is bringing to the table in today’s market.

There are a lot of bigger-name authors willing to put some their backlist titles in this price range as well, and it’s really making mass-market books much more affordable, without degrading the value of the author’s brand and reputation.

The key to pre-order pricing

The top pre-order price point according to this graph is between $4.00 and $4.99, and this is misleading.

As I said, I’ve always coached authors to keep their pre-order price lower than their intended retail price, not only does this create a purchase incentive, it’s also a fantastic strategy for pushing your book through other pre-publication book discovery efforts.

My inclination is to assume the pre-order price point has been skewed partly by traditionally published, big name authors who end up selling their eBooks in the $8.99-$10.99 price range (and sometimes higher) once officially released.

How to price your book in the sweet spot

Please know that I’m speaking to self-published authors, or authors who have a say in their book pricing, and aren’t completely restricted by their publisher.

This is one of the main reasons I’m so supportive of authors going indie, because of the pricing restrictions included in most traditionally published contracts. Drives me insane, but that’s a topic for another post.

With that in mind, when you’re in charge of your pricing, genre expectations should play a big role in how you price your book.

Check out the bestseller list for your genre, ignoring the really big name, long-standing authors who can demand a higher price point, and see where the sweet spot seems to be for your genre.

And don’t just check the first page, check out the first few pages, there’s no such thing as knowing too much about your competition.

At the end of the day if you’re still overwhelmed with how to price your book, my suggestion is $2.99 for the eBook and $5.99-$9.99 for the print book, depending on your genre, and potentially your expertise or industry standing if you’re writing non-fiction.

At some point you just need to rip off the bandage, and instead of worrying about getting it exactly right the first time (because you likely won’t, few of us do), commit to tracking and testing a few different price points to see what works.

Why you don’t want to go too low

When figuring out how to price your book you also want to consider discount promotions.

If your book is priced too low, you miss out on the immediacy that fuels surges in sales during limited time price reductions.

And discount promotions are really cornerstone book discovery strategies, mainly because you’ll often get your title in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of readers and potential buyers who let good reviews and a good value help them make their purchasing decisions.

Other important factors to consider

If finding the perfect price was the only hurdle to sales, book discovery would be much simpler!

But we all know that’s not the case.

In order to sell books you have to be doing a lot of things right. In addition to having a consistent and smart book marketing plan in place, you also need to make sure your Amazon presence is super solid.

I wrote another piece in this book discovery series on this, with lots of detail, but really what it comes down to is this:

  • Having an outstanding, market-appropriate book cover
  • A title and subtitle written with the intention of pulling in shoppers
  • A description that entices and excites like a movie preview
  • Keywords that align with how shoppers are finding books like yours
  • Niche categories that increase your chances of hitting bestseller lists

In the coming days I’ll be writing about Amazon Author Central specifically, and you don’t want to miss it.

Most authors don’t use Author Central as a key piece of their book discovery, which means if you do everything right – you’ll be ahead of the pack. And I’m here to help.

I’ve also released my FREE quarterly Amazon planner, designed to keep you on track for making the most crucial updates to Amazon regularly.



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