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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious as to how you guys price your full-length novels. I priced my one and only novel (so far) at $2.99, simply because I'm an unknown and self-pubber. However, today I came across another self-publisher who has all 3 of her books (they're a series) priced at $7.99. I know traditionally published ebooks sell for that much, sometimes even higher, but I thought $7.99 was kinda high for an indie. She sells 'em though, 'cause she had fifty some-odd reviews for the first book. Now I have no idea how much she priced her books starting out, so is it possible that she jacked up the prices once she got popular? What experiences do you guys have selling at a higher price?
 

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I sell pretty well at $4.99 thus far, but the first book in each of my series is free. However, with book 4 of my epic fantasy series, it's going to be close to if not over 300k words and I'll likely price it at $7.99. I guess that doesn't help you for right now, though, huh? I will say that I priced at $4.99 when I was an unknown and I did sell, so...
 

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What Kings Ate (in my sig) is priced at $7.99. It's with a micro, new Canadian press, so it's not like I'm with Penguin or anything. The book sells at least 1 copy a day in e-format.

Spirits Rising (in my sig) is priced between $0.00 to $2.99, depending upon ads, sales, etc. It has sold double digits for all of 2012.

Morale of the story? We're just making it up as we go along.
 

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There are no rules, only what works, and you won't know unless you fiddle. $2.99 is a good starting point, though. If the other author can demand $7.99, then good for her.

I charge $1.99 for each of my eight 40-50K-word series episodes. I charge $9.99 for the 375K-word omnibus (well, currently on special at $8.99), but I was selling well at the $9.99 price, which is the highest I can go at the 75% royalty rate. (ETA: make that 70%)
 

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The only ebooks I ever sell are $4.99 or higher. The trilogy omnibus (in my sig) is 300K. I sell it for $9.99. It doesn't sell huge numbers, but it sells, which is more than can be said for my cheaper stuff. I have some short stories that have never sold a copy on Amazon (B&N is a whole 'nother story, though). My intention was to make them free, but Amazon wouldn't come to the party, so I've given up on that.
 

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I sell my Angel Series 1, 2, & 3 for $5.50 and my history mystery for $5.99. I wouldn't list my history one cheaper because for the genre 5.99 is a bargain. When I release the second in the series, I may price it at 7.99.

It depends on the genre.
 

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I think $4.99 is the right price for most novels.  Honestly, I think going lower than $3.99 because you are new is just broadcasting what you perceive as a weakness.

Lower pricing (or free) for the first book in a series is a different thing, but since you just have a first release that is not an issue.

Generally, I have not found sales to be any better at lower price points than higher ones (up to $4.99).
 

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$7.99 seems kinda high with no information behind it.  I sell my novels at $4.99 and I haven't had any complaints.  My first novel is lower as a loss leader.  Completing the trilogy has increased the buy through rate from book one to three by a huge huge amount compared to buy through of book one to book two, when only the first two were available.

The print version of my novels are $14.15.  If I buy from the printer, it costs me $8.30 a book, leaving me with $5.85 profit.  If a print book sells through a retailer like Amazon, they receive a 20% discount of the retail price.  About $2.83 discount.  This comes out of my profit so if Amazon or B&N sells a print book, I make about $3 a book.  

This gets me pretty close to the same 70% royalty from a $4.99 ebook.  I make about $3.25 after delivery fees.  Now, this $4.99 price is a 65% discount for the customer compared to the print version.  If I simply eliminated the print/shipping costs involved with a physical book and passed that to the customer and left everything else, my e-book should be $5.85.  $4.99 seems pretty spot on for the price of an e-book.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, guys! My sales are steadily growing in the almost 3 weeks I've been published, and my reviews are great. It definitely makes me wonder if I can sell the same amount of books at a higher price.
 

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I got the ball rolling with my first self-published book at $5.99, and it sold well enough.  My sales definitely increased when I dropped the price to $2.99, though.  Something to think on.

$7.99 might be squeaking a little high, but I bet it could still sell okay.  You should experiment and see what works for you!
 

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You'll need to experiment. I tried $5.99 for my paranormal books and found they started selling much better at $4.99. I price my twin-packs at $7.99 and they sell better than the singles at $4.99 while the omni at $9.99 sells less. I didn't put the combos out until 5-6 months after the trilogy launch. You should do some testing.
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In many products, pricing sets quality expectation levels for many consumers.
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Something of a puzzle for the other readers here: Consider the 'also-bought' system, if a book is priced at "$X" when released it will be bought by customers used to that price and so show up on the also-bought ribbon of books with a similar price. Then changing the price to "$Y" might wipe out it's position as it must build new pricing relationships for a new also-bought ribbon. So not to put any pressure on it, but that launch price might be very important with longer term repercussions.  
 

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Saul Tanpepper said:
There are no rules, only what works, and you won't know unless you fiddle. $2.99 is a good starting point, though. If the other author can demand $7.99, then good for her.
This. I have works priced at $0.99 that sell one copy per month. I have others priced at $2.99-$3.99 that sell a hundred times that. Maybe it's about genre, cover, or name recognition. Who knows? But I'm glad I didn't price my $3.99-ers at $0.99 (which I very nearly did) or I would have missed out.
 

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I think you have to fiddle around with the price to see where your books sell best at.  One thing to consider though is that there are a lot of books in the $2.99 - $4.99 range so $7.99 might be a deterrent to people buying.  I know it is for me unless it is one of my favorite authors and then I have no problem spending the money.

I bet there's a crap ton of readers that have no idea about self publishing nor know (or care) whether you are an self publisher or have a big publishing company behind you.
 

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leedobbins said:
I bet there's a crap ton of readers that have no idea about self publishing nor know (or care) whether you are an self publisher or have a big publishing company behind you.
This. And different folks shop in different price point areas, so the question is: Where does your target audience hang out?

For A Fistful of Fire (the main one I've had out long enough to have any meaningful input on what price points do for it), $2.99 was a dead zone. $3.99 was meh, $4.99 seemed better (but was an advertised limited-time price, which might've affected that), and the current price ($6.99) is to new to make any meaningful determination. However, I'm currently leaning towards putting the loss leader at $4.99 when the series is done.

I came to those prices by looking at other books in the genre-the books I could find that were closest to that series are in the $4.99-$7.99 range, self-published and not.
 

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I usually keep mine at $4.99. Right now it's on sale for $3.99 because I'm coming off a giveaway and am hoping to get a bit of traction. When I lower the price like that, I actually mention it in the book's description ("**eBook currently discounted to $3.99.**").
 

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Patty Jansen said:
...I have some short stories that have never sold a copy on Amazon (B&N is a whole 'nother story, though). My intention was to make them free, but Amazon wouldn't come to the party, so I've given up on that.
Did you try putting them up for free on KoboBooks.com?
 

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Don't try to price your books like someone else's book. You need to find the right price for YOU. I've made the mistake of trying to be like everyone else because they were successful with that price, but it didn't work for me. So you need to just go with your gut instinct and find out what works. If you think you will sell more at 7.99, then you should try that price. If it doesn't work, you can adjust it as you go. I've been experimenting with pricing for my romance short story.

Be reasonable, though. Think about your wordcount and genre. For example, I wouldn't price a 10k short story at $7.99. That would just make readers very angry. Even though romance is a hot-seller, I would never try to price-gauge romance readers like that.
 

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I charge around half of what my print versions go for. My novelettes are $3.99 each, my short is $2.99, my collections are $6.99 and $8.99, depending on length.
 

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RM Prioleau said:
Don't try to price your books like someone else's book. You need to find the right price for YOU. I've made the mistake of trying to be like everyone else because they were successful with that price, but it didn't work for me.
It depends on the genre. Historical fiction folks find having your book priced well below the going market range gets you overlooked.
 
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