The Right Way to Price Your Book

Price Your BookFiguring out the right way to price your book can often be both challenging and overwhelming. It’s also an area where authors and publisher can make huge mistakes and adversely affect future book sales.
The phrase we hear a lot (and hate the most):
“I had to price my book at $XX.xx so that I could earn back all of the money that I’ve invested.”
I really, really, really hate to hear that. When we do, it tends to mean that a book is outrageously overpriced for it’s category. Unfortunately, I can understand the process that leads up to this.
It frequently goes as follows:

  1. Author/Publisher invests $XY in their book project
  2. They calculate how many copies they need to sell to recoup that cost – often upwards of thousands of copies of books
  3. They want to recoup their money quickly
  4. They figure pricing the book at $25 or $35 may reduce that thousands of copies to several hundred copies to earn out
  5. They continue to rework the price of the book to come up with a magic number
  6. The price for their book is set


This is the worst way to price your book. In the process above, the author is making a pricing decision in a vacuum and based solely on making money.
What’s missing? The marketplace.
The marketplace should drive the price of your book. Period.
I understand that you may be in publishing to make money. But I can assure you that pricing your book outside of market demand will almost guarantee you won’t make any at all. It’s far better to make $2.50 per copy sold and sell some books than it is to make $9 per copy sold and sell zero books.

The Right Way to Price Your Book

Here’s what the process for pricing your book should actually look like:

  1. You pull a list of the top selling 7-10 books in your category
  2. You look at their “package” – trim size, page count and price point
  3. You take in to consideration authorship – frequently series annuals and bestselling authors can demand higher prices
  4. You take an honest look at where your book fits in to that mix (paying close attention to page count)
  5. You price your book accordingly

The reality is that consumers have a number in their head when they are shopping for any item. If their number is $14.95 – $16.95 and you’ve priced your book at $29.95, you’ve lost any chance at a sale right out of the gate.


If you make $2.50 per copy sold and you sell 1,000 books, you’ve made $2,500

If you make $9.00 per copy sold and you sell ZERO books, you’ve made $0.00


Smart pricing frequently means less profit for authors and publishers. That’s just a fact of the business. But smart pricing also leads to your best opportunity to sell books.


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