Wednesday, March 7, 2012

E-book Pricing

Pricing your E-book
updated from the 2011 post:

·        What is a fair price to charge as an indie author?

To begin, not all author’s are trying to reach the same goal. Some, like myself, may be hobbyists.

Other authors, similar to the hobbyist , may not be interested in what earnings they can accrue as fast as possible, but would initially prefer to reach as wide of an audience (hosting giveaways, offering free copies, placing your E-book available in Stores for little to nothing).  

Regardless if you’re trying to earn a living as an indie or not, understanding what is the fair price for your book, and listing it as such, will only help the amount of copies you sell.


Things to consider:

·        The size (length) of your book (pages)

·        Is it professionally edited?

·        Is it well formatted (para alignment, spacing, para pts consistency, and contains page breaks)?

·        Does it have professional cover artwork?

·        Was it hastily written, or written to your best professional ability?

·        What goal (s) are you attempting to reach?

·        What are the comparables?

·        Does it contain clickable hyperlinks?

·        Does it contain a “Go to” Table of contents option when viewing through the kindle application?


When determining a price, one way to help measure the value of you book, is by its size. If it’s a short story, over charging will produce negative reviews. 60,000 words is near standard to be recognized as a full length novel, however…

(Sourced from wiki)

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America specifies word lengths for each category of its Nebula award categories:

Word count
over 40,000 words
17,500 to 40,000 words
7,500 to 17,500 words
under 7,500 words

…while National Novel Writing Month requires its novels to be at least 50,000 words. In part because of this wide variation, the boundary between a novella and a novel may be arbitrary and difficult to determine

 Useful Link:



Was your work of fiction professionally edited? If not, do not make the mistake of overcharging. Authors in competing genres may take this as an opportunity to point out your works flaws if your work is selling better than theirs (though I’d like to imagine most won’t). Lets face it, we’ve heard a number of stories where someone found out so and so planted fake reviews. It happens, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hint of truth to what they’re complaining about.

Overcharging for an unedited story-

Your audience will feel robbed of their money, especially if they paid 4+ bucks for your typo filled work of fiction. To most, it can be distracting enough to take away their personal enjoyment while reading what would have otherwise been a good novel.

Having your work professionally edited is not a requirement, but it is encouraged.

Just make sure your draft is final before paying for editing services. I speak from experience. Had a book edited twice, but went back to make re-writes…  then did more re-writes.

If you don’t pay for an editor, you can do it yourself (but you will have to take a pay cut).

Readers may feel that a book shouldn’t be published if it is not professionally edited. For that reason, getting your book edited is entirely up to you, but make sure you charge “fairly”-


I’ve written several articles on how to format your E-book. There are many more on various web sites.

Here’s your formatting checklist (make sure the following is properly formatted):

_Para alignment

_Para indents (none or if you do have, they are consistent)

_Para Spacing (consistent)

_ Proper margins (I use the following, but yours may vary)


LEFT                             RIGHT

TOP: 0.75”                   TOP: 0.75”

BOTTOM: 0.5”             BOTTOM: 0.5”

_Proper page size consistent with margins


I use;    width: 4.25   length: 6.86


_ Proper page breaks (after chapters, your toc, etc)

_ Working Hyperlinks

_ The word “Start” bookmarked at your desired start location

_ The word “toc” bookmarked at the beginning of your table of contents.

_ Standard font and standard font size (times new roman, font 11 will work well.)




Make sure your cover artwork looks good thumb sized. If it doesn’t, try again. If anything this will help your sales. A good cover draws attention to itself, making the reader want to read it. Also, if you use a generic cover placement, again I can’t stress “don’t over charge” enough. There’s automatically a minor lack of quality/ presentation there.


Run them. Go to Amazon (or whichever E-book store you’re publishing) type in your genres key word;

   Example: I’d type zombies in mine, or apocalyptic.

Browse various titles. View the length vrs the price that comparable indies are offering to know your market. To succeed in it, place your work of fiction at an amount your comfortable with within your genre’s market.

Note: most indies price their works of fiction between .99 and 3.99 (on average)


Assess your goals. Do you first want to build a platform of fans? Then pricing low will work for you.

Do you want to price your book at 2.99 for the 70% royalty? Then that’s fine too.

I read the average author sells less than 500 copies a year.

I was surprised, mostly because the one title I have available is averaging 360 per month, but it looks like it may be more for September.

In early January I set my goal of 50 copies a month and have exceeded my expectations. It took a lot of work, re-writes, the occasional blogging, responding to emails, and for a while, I even hired someone to help me out.

I didn’t see immediate results, but after giving thousands (near 5,000 that I tallied up) of free copies away, sales are good. (Not sure how many were downloaded through torrents though) either way, I encourage file sharing.

I’d advise anyone and everyone interested in earning a living as a self-published author to work more on forking out a well-written story to the best of your ability. Don’t rush your work. Your reader will be able to tell if the ending was cut short, if it was hastily written, and if you did the necessary research for your work.

In the end, your listing price is your decision. You can monitor your sales to see what works for your titles and what doesn’t by adjusting your prices and viewing your sales reports.