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Setting Your Book's Price

So, you’ve written a bestseller, contracted for an eye-catching book cover, and completed the interior design and layout of your book. As you go to set up your book at the distributor of your choice, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Ingram-Spark, you get to the field where you need to input the price. Uh-oh. How do you do that? 

Well, it could be as simple as typing in the price you hope to get for your book. However, that’s probably not the best strategy. Traditionally published authors get help in this department. Their publisher will consider market factors and establish a set price for you. Hybrid self-publishing companies may also make a recommendation. For an independent author, the responsibility for book pricing will fall on you. 

I recommend three steps:

Research other books in your genre and consider their prices.

Research format and trim sizes to similar books.

Consider your distribution plan and royalty expectations. 

First, do some research in your genre. Go to a physical bookstore and pull some books of your genre off the shelves or do a search on Amazon or another online bookseller for books like yours. Is it a romance book, literary fiction, a graphic novel? Just as comp books are good to be aware of as you are writing your book, they are also great sources of information when it comes to pricing. My favorite comp author is Alan Gratz, a bestselling middle-grade historical fiction author. I always search his books to get an idea of his books’ prices. It’s good practice not to be priced too high or too low for the genre. In the same fashion, it’s good to check out books targeted at the same audience as your work. For example, if you write middle-grade books, it’s good to know that those books are typically priced lower than a young adult or adult book. 

The next consideration should be the format. Don’t just look for books in your genre but consider their format. Hardcover books are obviously more expensive to produce than a paperback. Do your best to compare apples to apples. Comparing an eBook’s price to that of a hardcover print book is absurd but it also doesn’t make sense to compare a hardcover format to a paperback. Consider, too, the trim sizes of your print books. Comparing an 8.5 x 11 book size to a 5 x 8 book size would not be meaningful but books of similar size can provide valuable information to help you make an informed decision.

Finally, consider your goals as a writer. You can certainly set your price higher to get a higher royalty payout but it may not always be wise to do so. Independent publishers are funding the cost of everything to produce their books. After paying for developmental editing, proofreading, book cover design, interior layout, and distribution, you may feel it necessary to charge a higher price per book to try and recoup some of your outlay. Or, if you are a true do-it-yourself writer/publisher and your cost-to-publish is considerably lower, you might think about underpricing your book to get a jump on the competition. Generally, though, it’s a good rule of thumb to stay near to your genre so you have the best chance to reach your target reader. It will lend an air of professionalism to your product by not sending up any red flags regarding price. 

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Stacie Haas