Author Talk: Setting the Price for your Book – 7 Questions to Ask

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Today, I need to make final decisions. Yes, on my author publicity plan, it marks me as deciding the final cost for my YA novels and devotionals in ebook and paperback. Business decisions have to be made, and that means I need to toughen up my resolve, gather all of my research I’ve been collecting on similar books in market, and then stick with my plan.

But … it’s hard to put a price tag on my work …

I get it. It is hard. Well, it is for me. If I’m the only one struggling with this, I would love to have your tips and resolve. After attending a webinar on marketing strategies and promotion, it really reflected on the price set on my devotionals. Not only was I struggling with my devotionals, but I knew that I had to make some executive decisions about the pricing of my YA series. My preorder signed copy Paypal active button is already up on my website, but I wasn’t feeling confident about the price.

That’s when I had to break down the cost specifically to each book and market. Create an Excel sheet and begin calculating your business expenses prior to publishing your novel. I wish that I would have done this earlier in my career, but it’s never to late to accept the challenge to grow!

Ask yourself these 7 questions:

  1. How much will it cost to print? I had to make a chart for each individual book because I have varying lengths on my Bible devotionals and my YA. Yes, I’m going to rebrand all of my challenge books. As soon as I put up The Hartwell Chronicles: Teenage Exorcist (July 13th) for distribution pre-order sales, I’m going to focus my attention on all four devotionals and add them to the IngramSpark family of books.
  2. If I do pre-order/signed copies of all of my books through my website and Etsy – then I have to get them weighed at the post office (add shipping extra – people will understand. If they don’t, they won’t get the signed copy unless they can attend an event). Shipping is expensive. It costs $4.00 flat rate to ship my necklaces, so I’m sure it will be $4.00 or more for the book! I went with $4.00 right now but will adjust as soon as I get the exact weight.
  3. How much will it cost to edit, typeset, and format?
  4. How much will it cost to run ads/market the book?
  5. How much with the cover cost?
  6. How much will the ISBNs cost?
  7. How much will it cost to upload the manuscripts for print-on-demand (POD) through IngramSpark?

I know you are thinking those are a lot of questions, but they must be taken into consideration. Not to even mention that you want a career out of this work that will sustain you for full-time author living.

Let’s consider price ranges next in the current market. If you know your book is strictly going to sale on Amazon, live there for a couple of hours typing in all of the books that are in your genre that you can find (a good 30 books will do). Then, if you want to get all mathematical, hit the function button on Excel and calculate the average. Work within that range.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you know you are going the traditional publishing route or you already have one book in print from a traditional publisher, the best start is to see the range of prices that the publishing company sets for other authors within your group. I priced every single author on Amazon that had printed books as my starting point because one day Sweet Potato Jones (2020) will be in bookstores right beside The Hartwell Chronicles: Teenage Exorcist. If I am off in my pricing by a tad, then I’ll live and fix it for another day, but right now I can say with confidence that my range fits well within the publishing range for my future publication, and that matters a lot! Not only does it matter to the reader, but it matters for consistency of branding. Why would Sweet Potato Jones possibly cost more than ten dollars but The Hartwell Chronciles: Teenage Exorcist only cost seven? Do you see my point here. I am finally getting it! I’m patting myself on the back for my business-minded growth and want to thank the Holy Spirit for guiding me in wisdom, as well as putting other best-selling authors in my path to give me great advice!

Books in my YA genre ranged from $10.99 to $15.99. I took that range and compared it with how much it will cost me to produce the book (rough estimates because I’m still working), and I decided upon my final price. My decision for The Hartwell Chronicles: Teenage Exorcist was $13.99. Done. It’s up for preorder already on my website – with an active Paypal button. I know it works because yes, as corny as this sounds, I purchased an advanced copy of my own book. I wanted to be the first to buy it, and I also wanted to make sure that I did the PayPal button right!

I did have my Bible devotional series marked at $7.99, but after reviewing the market for devotionals and journals, I realized that I was way under price comparison and that is just plain wrong. I did the same range finding technique, and saw that prices were varied for non-fiction titles more than YA. I looked at page count and word count using an Amazon Chrome Extension tool because that mattered for the non-fiction world. After I ran the numbers, I moved my price to $12.99 for all printed copies of my Everyday Mom Challenge Devotional Series.

I stare at the screens. I see the dollar amounts and have peace about it. The research is complete. The prayer for the price is done.

So, now it’s time to make your decision. Will you underprice your work like I’ve done in the past and live to regret it? Or will you research, plan, and evaluate the costs? I challenge you to review your pricing and navigate accordingly. Good luck!



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Published by jenlowrywrites

Jen Lowry is a YA author with Swoon Romance! She is also a #1 Best-Selling author of challenge devotionals on Amazon under her name - Dr. Jennifer Ikner Lowry! This summer she has published children's books, Middle Grades Fantasy books, and new YA titles!

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