How much should I charge for my eBook? is one of the most complicated questions every self-publishing author – especially beginners – will ask. The answer, according to Catherine Ryan Howard, is as much as possible while keeping consistent sales. Price too high and potential buyers are turned off; price too low and you may send a negative subconscious message about the value of your eBook.
Consider fairness, honesty, and expectation as important factors. Is it reasonable and fair to charge $9.99 for an eBook that – in-printed form – will be 20 pages? No revelatory topic is covered in 20 pages, no secrets to making a fortune or the meaning of life. As a writer, you have a responsibility to give readers and buyers honest value for what they pay. You also have an obligation not to shortchange yourself by charging $.99 for a year or two worth of work.
Perceived value is another consideration. Are customers getting a good deal for their money? For a short erotic story, 99 cents is probably reasonable, considering the amount of free erotica available on the Internet. Charge more than that and you better be established, really good, or have something very original (tough to do on this subject). Nuclear physics for Dummies at 99 cents either means it’s spoof, totally worthless, or you might as well give the book away as well as time invested.
Howard – an established eBook writer – believes that $2.99 is a good price for full-length eBooks. Part of this is because of the royalty structure as noted below. She has experimented with various pricing models over the last several years and offers books at various pricing levels. For more on Howard’s thoughts, please visit her blog post on eBook pricing.
Realistically, you have to consider how many copies of an eBook you can sell. 50? 100? 1000? Do some math here:
– At $.99, you make a 35% royalty or about 35 cents. You’d have to sell a heck of a lot of copies to make your time worthwhile. Just to make $100, you’d need to sell 290 copies of the eBook.
– At $2.99, you make a 70% royalty or about $2.09. To make the first hundred dollars, you only need to sell 50 copies.
Let’s revisit the fairness question. Yes, you want to write and make money. Yes, you have a good, but not great product. It is shorter, maybe 50 pages or so. Can you expect people to pay $2.99 for that eBook? Remember, you are a first-time, non-established eBook author. Would you pay $2.99?
Oftentimes, as a starting author, you will have to bite the bullet and provide your work for free or the dreaded $.99. If you intend to keep writing and make a career or partial career from your eBooks, you’ll need to establish yourself first before you can charge bigger dollars. For some writers this may take months to years. Be patient. Successful writing and selling is a marathon, not a sprint, though very occasional exceptions happen. Even a wildly successful writer like J.K. Rowling was rejected countless times before her Harry Potter series made it big. You won’t make billions like Rowling, but you certainly can make a fair amount, if the product is good and buyers see value.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
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