Pricing Your Book for Market
Once your book has been completed there comes the task of pricing. Especially apparent in the print-on-demand world, the cost to print has begun to skyrocket leaving many authors in an uncomfortable situation when it comes to settling on that perfect price. There are a few tricks of the trade and many printing options to consider when pricing to keep your overall costs and retail pricing as low as possible while remaining competitive in the marketplace.
Pro Tip: When setting the price of your book, remember that rounded pricing is not your friend. Offer your book at a price such as $9.97 or $13.78. It will appear to be on sale when in the market and will increase the potential for sales.
Finding the perfect publishing partner doesn’t stop with what services they offer. In fact, the biggest win for authors in the market is a publisher that can compete on print pricing. You should always go into talks with potential publishers knowing your book’s final specs. This means a firm estimated page count, trim size, and bookbinding type. Knowing this information will start the conversation off right with the publisher, and they’ll be able to estimate your final book cost before you even begin working with them.
Publishing on your own through one of the many self-service channels out there? See where they distribute and compare to others. In certain cases, you can distribute your books through individual channels for a better price than others. For example, did you know that you can publish with Amazon Direct and Ingram at the same time? It can be the perfect pair for many self-service authors. By setting up your book with both of these distributors, any books sold by Amazon will be distributed by Amazon Direct and all other channels will be distributed from Ingram. So, price your book with an awareness of all your options. Remember, the less you spend on print, the more potential there will be for earning significantly higher royalties.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Remember: You created this book. You sourced the editing and you sourced the production. Do not let a self-publishing company tell you that they deserve some of your royalties. Unless they are distributing your book without taking a distribution fee, you are solely entitled to the compensation for your work. That being said, if a publisher is distributing your book without charging you a distribution fee, and does insist on taking a percentage of your royalty you’re looking at a scenario that is completely above board. As long as the price is right, it’s in your best interest to jump on that more traditional type of opportunity as that publisher will have a more vested interest in the success of your book, and who doesn’t want that?
For many authors, print-on-demand is a necessary evil when it comes to distributing their work. It’s absolutely the easiest and quickest way to get everything you need in the right amount of time, but the pricing for some is at times too much to manage. Unless you’re printing a small book with black & white interior, the P.O.D. market is still unable to compete on pricing. The technology to print specialty book types just isn’t at a point yet where P.O.D. can support a competitive price tag. Remember, Ingram and Amazon, while major players in the market, are not the only ways to get your story out there. Consider a consolidated overseas print/shipping organization with domestic representation for a successful and economical print job. Then, discuss your options regarding warehousing and fulfillment. There’s some extra footwork there, but in the long run you’ll be able to compete with even the biggest players on price, giving you an advantage over those that have chosen the P.O.D. route.
Remember in this case, you’ll need to either work with a group that streamlines warehousing and fulfillment for you or do it yourself. Be sure to weigh all the options when considering fulfillment in this fashion as, in the long run, it may cost you more time than you’re willing to put into distribution.
It’s All About the Net Earnings
So far, I’ve discussed pricing your book, the footwork necessary when providing options other than P.O.D. and of course, the increased royalties earned when selling books at the right price. Remember, at the end of the day it’s all about the cost-benefit analysis. How valuable is your individual time? How much footwork will you be doing or will you be hiring others to help you get your book sold? These factors all come into play when thinking about book distribution. In any case, sit down and make a plan for distribution before you plan for marketing. These two pieces of the publishing puzzle go hand-in-hand and must be thought about in full before pulling the trigger.