In a quandry (ebook pricing)

11 years ago | Erin Klitzke (Member)

Since this is a community I've come to trust (even though I've been sadly absent lately), I thought I'd come here and float this question. It's a business question, and we've got some very smart folks floating around, so picking your brains seems like a good idea to me.

I've released several ebooks over the past few months--a novelette (c. 17k words, currently free), a novella (20k words, $0.99), and a novel (80k, $1.99). My quandry surrounds the pricing of my novel, Epsilon: Broken Stars. Recent bloggings from other indie writers seem to be indicating that the $1.99/$2.99 price point leaves some consumers assuming that a book at that price point is indie crap and that it's not worth their time. I'm not thinking about going to $4.99 or something, but I'm thinking of maybe bumping my work up a couple dollars.

Any thoughts? I suppose this is as much about pricing my first novel-length ebook as it is about my future pricing strategies. Broken Stars is the first book in a larger series, later books will be priced about $1 or so higher than the intial book.

Read responses...


  1. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 11 years ago

    I set Pay Me, Bug! at $3.50. That's the lowest you can price it and still get the %70 cut from Amazon.

    I figure some people will pass on it because the price is too high, and others will pass on it because the price is too low. So it's a happy medium. :-)

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  2. Erin Klitzke (Member)

    Posted 11 years ago

    Have you gotten any sales at that price point, though, ubersoft? My sales have been pretty low, and I'm trying to sort out why in the midst of sorting out this pricing issue.

    I've gotten a lot of downloads of the free book, but no reviews. I did a blog tour with Broken Stars and gave away a lot of copies. Prior to that, I'd sold a few copies of both it and What Angels Fear.

  3. Jim Zoetewey (Moderator)

    Posted 11 years ago

    Well, he's gotten at least one. At any rate, I think I bought Pay Me, Bug! at 3.50 (but on Barnes and Noble).

    Personally though, I was thinking that I'd go with $0.99 for the first book in my series and then 3.99+ for all the books that follow. That's not quite your situation though, but I may do that intermittently. I might have it at $2.99 normally, and compare results at different price points.

  4. ubersoft (Member)

    Posted 11 years ago

    I've sold around 50 so far. It's not a great amount of sales, but I haven't started marketing it either...

    Curveball (Updating)
    A Rake by Starlight (Updating)
  5. M.C.A. Hogarth (Member)

    Posted 11 years ago

    I'd stick to the 3.99 to 5.99 price for novels. Less because of perception of value (though that does happen), and more because it gives readers an idea of how long the thing they're buying is. When you pick up a paperback, you can tell immediately (most of the time) if it's a big thick book or a quick read. Electronic-purchasers don't have this cue. So I'd price your work on a sliding scale to give your readers a better sense for how long they're getting.

    My personal pricing schedule is fairly granular but I'd suggest a very basic 99 cents for short stories, $2.99 for collections or long novellas, and above that for novels.

  6. Erin Klitzke (Member)

    Posted 11 years ago

    Thanks guys! I think I'm going to edge my price up to $2.99 and we'll see how that goes.

    Of course, Amazon's going to be discounting the book until Kobo's pricing catches up to the change on Smashwords...

  7. Matthew (Member)

    Posted 10 years ago

    Seems I missed the boat on this conversation, but I'd like to share some ideas re: marketing and hopefully, Erin, you aren't upset that I missed out on contributing 5 months ago.

    However, I think it's a very good idea to have a concentrated marketing approach before you begin anything like this. For example, I have plans to release Animus: Book One at some point in the future, and I have no problem sharing my marketing plan here.

    Phase 1: Blast my city and neighboring region with 5" x 5" cards promoting the free web serial. Let that linger for a while and watch to see how it affects readership, site hits, facebook/twitter influence and so forth.

    Phase 2: Edit all 30 episodes of Book One into a full length novel. Hire an artist to create cover art, and if possible, some periodic artwork throughout the novel. Market that on amazon/iTunes/etc. at $2.99 for the first two months, and pair that with some hardcore marketing efforts to see how many sales I can nail in the first two months. Buy facebook ad space or whatever is within the budget. Marketing efforts will mention "introductory low price of $2.99".

    Phase 3: Raise the price to $5.99 after the first two months marketing blitz.

    Phase 4: If all goes well, self publish a paperback version.

    I may use kickstarter to get this going, and I may combine Phase 2 and 4 (do an e-book and a locally produced paperback) at the same time, both with a lower price for the first month or so.

    The thing is, this all has to be paired with a well planned marketing strategy, and one that you are certain you're able to run yourself. Thoughts?

    My serial: Animus. Future-Earth sci-fi.


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