Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Way I Price My Books

There has been a lot of discussion in writer's groups and among readers lately about book pricing, sales, free books, and the devaluation of an author's work.

Many authors worry about devaluing our work by cutting prices and under-pricing, and feel 99 cent and free books have no place in the marketplace.

I've heard readers say that when they see these low prices and free books, they wonder if the book is priced as such, because we, the author's, think it is an inferior book. One reader shared that she never buys 99 cent or downloads free books, because of that reason.

Others have shared that they get to know an author's habits about deep discounting and simply wait to buy a book until it goes on sale.

So, I'm posting my pricing guidelines, or how I price my books, and why below. Feel free to share your thoughts about pricing in the comments below, if you like.

My Regular Price Points

Short Story/Short Novella - Under 20K words - $0.99
Novellas/Short Novels - 20-50K words - $2.99
Novels - 50-100K words - $3.99 to $4.99
Boxed Sets or Collections - $3.99 - $9.99

Some caveats:
I never price at $1.99. So, a book either has to go $0.99 or $2.99, and if it's in the 15-20K range, I could go either way, depending upon the genre of the story and whether it is part of a series, or not. 

I write a lot of short stories/short novellas, so you'll see a number of $0.99 books on my list. Just remember, these are short stories or short novellas, not full-length books, so the $0.99 price point is a good price for those. It's not a devaluation, it's where I think the price should be according to the length of the story, and the amount of time it took for me to write it. 


Boxed set prices can range, depending on content, length of the single title books, and how long the book has been on the market. For example, I have a set of four books in a set that have been in the marketplace for 20 years -- I price those lower. For a new content boxed set, the price is higher. 

What's listed above are my regular prices for 2016. Remember, things can always change, and the price points very well could go up in the future; however, I'm pretty confident that my short stories and very short novellas will always remain in the $0.99 pricing category, because it's impossible to go lower.

Sales and Perma-free Ebooks

I have three Perma-free Ebooks. These books are all first in series, for a well-established series. Two of the series are still growing, with new books being added. The first book will always remain free.

When a new series is getting started and not yet established, I'll not make the first book free. Yet. It could, and likely will, happen down the road, but not initially. 

I generally do not put random books on sale any longer. I never say never, because there could be a strategic reason why I would want to do so - but my general rule of practice these days is not to randomly discount. What works for me best, is to discount the book during pre-order and the initial release month. So, if you are looking to score discounted books from me, the time to do that with my books is during its release phase. I consider the release phase to be pre-order + one month. After that, the book goes up to regular price and stays there indefinitely. 

Boxed sets and collections may be driven by the group of authors who are putting the set together, and there are often parameters about pricing and release dates, and the length of time the set is on sale vs pricing. It varies.  If it is a boxed set published by me, with my own titles only, I will likely use the same method as described above - sale price pre-order + one month. But again, it could vary according to the marketing strategy planned.

The good news is, I release often, several titles a year, so there are always chances to score discounted books. :) 

The bottom line is, I am not about devaluing my books, or anyone else's. My price points are strategic and any free or deep discounted books are for a purpose. It's part of a strategic marketing plan. And one last caveat - these are my thoughts, for my books, and may not work for anyone else, but this is what works for me! 



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