Countdown to Book Launch – 10 Days!

My revised print copy has been accepted by CreateSpace and I reviewed it online; it looks fine. But I’m paranoid, so I’ve ordered myself another proof copy, just to make sure. Somewhere in Charleston, SC, someone is inputting it into the magical book-making machine.

I’ve set my prices. I’m starting the e-book out at $4.99. The British print edition is £8.99, the European print edition is €9.99, and the U.S. print edition is $10.99. I’m only making about $1 on each print edition (versus about $3.50 per e-book), but I cringe at high book prices (in 2008, the average price for a soft-cover book was $15.64!). Considering that it’s only available online, which means S&H costs, I think I better keep the price low to make it more attractive. With shipping, it will cost the same as most books in a brick-and-mortar store.

From what I’ve been reading, it’s better to have the price of the e-book a little high ($2.99 is about average for self-published e-books; traditionally-published e-books start at about $9.99). A lot of people are actually turned off by a price that’s too low because they automatically think it’s crap.

But there’s some wiggle room there. Some people find they sell much more (and make more money, overall) at the $2.99 price point. What works best depends on a combination of factors: genre/book topic, author pull, amount and quality of the reviews, etc. Playing with the price point to find optimal sales figures seems to be a requirement.

Some people say you should never offer a book for free on Amazon because it generates more negative reviews. Oddly enough, if a book is very cheap or free, people grab it up without thinking, then are disappointed that it’s not what they thought and they write a bad review (Catherine Ryan Howard said on her blog that she has a problem with some people not reading the description of her books and then being angry that they don’t contain what they thought they ought to contain.) Pricing a book higher gives people pause and makes them do more research; the people that buy it are more likely to like it.

On the other hand, some people have found that they had a breakthrough (meaning their sales exploded) after offering their book for free–especially when they offer the first book in a series for free. Again, there are a lot of factors at work, so you never know what you’re going to get.

Because I’m also publishing on Smashwords, I won’t have the ability to make my book free on Kindle, but Smashwords does allow me to offer coupons, so stay tuned here for future offers; I have a few planned for this year.