Some time ago, I got an “S.O.S.” from a client in distress. Her email to me stated that she was having a great degree of difficulty selling her book even though it had received positive reviews. She had tried just about everything to sell her book – to just about everybody.
Before I could advise her and guide her direction, I needed more information. So, I requested to see a copy. Upon examination, I would agree that this self-published work was indeed professionally designed, attractive, and intriguing.
The problem? In order to recoup her original investment, and make a profit, her novel was priced at almost 30 bucks. Ouch.
It’s a mistake that many new authors make. Although anything is possible, most readers won’t shell out 30 bucks for a new author who they’ve never heard of, or one without a successful track record. Don’t let that happen to you.
Here are 3 key things you need to know to price your books in order to be profitable, and stay in the black.
1. KNOW WHAT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR A BOOK
Does your book help women to cook better? Solve relationship problems? Is it a children’s picture book to teach the alphabet? Or a steamy romance novel that could be purchased at a local grocery store? These factors can make a difference in what people will pay. It’s all about perceived value.
Additionally Smith Publicity.com recommends: “Think carefully about your book’s target audience. Don’t try to sell mass-market fiction to literature snobs, and don’t try to sell haughty prose to readers who eat pulp novels for lunch.”
2. COMPARE THE COSTS OF SIMILAR BOOKS IN THE SAME GENRE
Do your homework. Either visit a local brick and mortar bookstore, or conduct some online research at Amazon.com. Assess and apply.
Don’t price your book higher, on average, than the competition, but don’t price it too low, either.
If you price your book too low, not only will the “perceived value” be lower for potential readers, but you’ll also cheat yourself by not receiving a good R.O.I. (return on investment) for your time, creativity, sweat equity, and energy. If you price your book too high, you could lose potential readers, who may not feel the book is actually worth the asking price.
A good point of reference here is to think like real estate. “Comps” (also known as comparables) refers to the price that property would be valued at, based upon similar homes in the same area. You want your book to be priced in the appropriate “neighborhood” or range.
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF BOOK BLURBS TO FURTHER INCREASE THE “PERCEIVED” VALUE
Sometimes providing book blurbs by noted authors and industry professionals can elevate its status.
Writerswin.com offers the following: “Whether on the back of a printed book, at the top of an e-book’s front cover, or showcased on a book’s retail sales page, readers expect the books they buy to be endorsed by someone who has the right credentials (including celebrity status) to say, ‘This book will rock your world!’ Readers want to know that knowledgeable, influential, or important people think they will benefit from reading your book. Don’t disappoint them.”
Why not reach out to noted authors whose work you admire for potential blurbs? Hey, it doesn’t hurt to try. What have you got to lose?
If you can’t find a well-known industry professional to endorse your book, read:
FREEBIES AND DISCOUNTS
In addition to proper pricing, it sometimes helps to offer incentives for readers to buy your book, like volume discounts, holiday sales, or freebies. These days, consumers appreciate more bang for their buck. Get lots of ideas for that in 55 Dos and Don’ts of Book Selling, which IS FREE.
There are many moving parts to successfully publishing, marketing, and selling a book. Put yourself in the best position possible by pricing your book affordably, yet profitably.
Jennifer Brown Banks is a professional blogger and ghostwriter. Her work has appeared at Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, and Daily Blog Tips. Banks also teaches online writing classes at Coffeehouseforwriters.com. Her blog was chosen as a Top 10 Writing Blogs Finalist at Write to Done’s annual competition for 2011/12. Visit her at: http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com.
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