This series comes from my own experience selling my own ebook, Tell Your Time.
Already written: How to Write an Ebook: The Guide, Why It’s a Good Idea, Choose a Sellable Topic, Preparing to Write, Writing Tips from a Non-Writer, Editing and Naming, Formatting and Setting Up Accounts.
How much should you charge for your ebook?
Maybe you shouldn't charge for it at all.
For the most part, we're talking about selling your ebook in this series. However, don't overlook the benefits of giving your ebook away for free. In fact, for some, it might actually be a better move in the long-run. You might consider it if you:
- Have limited traffic. Limited traffic isn't always an indication you should give your ebook away, but if few people know who you are, it'll be hard to convince them to buy. Established trust counts for a lot so if you're just getting started online, a high-quality, useful ebook for free could be just what you need to establish that trust and make your mark. This is likely to benefit you going forward.
- You have a limited pool of potential affiliates. In my experience, affiliates drive sales. Promotion by affiliates is exponential and not limited to just the readers you have direct contact with. If you haven't had the chance to develop solid relationships with other bloggers, you might consider either (a) waiting to launch your ebook until you have a chance to network more or (b) give it away for free now and write another to sell later on.
- You aren't comfortable with marketing. If the thought of promoting or "pushing" your own product makes you nervous, giving it away for free relieves a lot of pressure. You also won't have to deal with the associated fees and customer service that a paid-for product requires. That's not to say you should release a subpar ebook. To the contrary, make it outstanding — blow their socks off! It might be a great way to grab the attention of a lot of people and make a solid mark in your niche by creating an outstanding product and giving it away freely.
What's a good price?
Ah, the $64,000 question. This is something I pondered quite a bit before I launched my ebook, Tell Your Time and a question I've been asked a lot since. The fact is, I don't know what a good price for your ebook is since there are so many factors to consider. However, I'll tell you my thought process in the hopes that you can pull some pointers out and apply it to your own situation.
The first thing I did was hunt for other ebooks similar to mine and took note of pricing. I looked at things like quality, page count, content etc. and tried to determine how my ebook might compare.
I also visited blogs, not necessarily in my niche, but other blogs that my target readers might visit. I noted what types of ebooks (or products) were available and about how much they were selling for. This gave me a good idea of what my target audience is used to paying for online products, ebooks or otherwise.
Get the opinion of others.
Next I started asking around. One of the places I asked was in Third Tribe, a forum for online entrepreneurs. I provided a link so they could download the ebook for free and then asked them what they thought I should charge. Third Tribe is full of some high-powered bloggers with a ton more experience than me, so I knew they would offer some useful advice.
In the Third Tribe discussion, there were a fair number of people who told me the price point I was considering (somewhere around $10) was way too low. In fact, someone suggested I should sell it for $47. The reason? Perceived value. To many consumers, a higher price often indicates higher value and buyers are willing to pay for something of high value. I really appreciated the feedback, but in the end, though, I knew there was no way I could successfully sell my little 30-page ebook for $47, nor did I want to. Here's why…
Think about your readers.
If you have a blog, hopefully you have a good idea of what kinds of prices your readers are used to paying for things like your ebook. Are they high-end shoppers or bargain hunters? Considering the affiliate products you've promoted before and the response you've gotten, what can you reasonably expect they will respond to? (See "Do Research" above.)
Think about your affiliates.
First, ask yourself who your affiliates will be (or you hope will be). Next, ask yourself what they would be comfortable promoting.
In my case, if the people I was going to reach out to to become affiliates were used to promoting products in the $50 range, I might have considered pricing my ebook at $47. But they're not. I know a lot of mom bloggers who write about great deals and ways to save time and money. Something in the $10 range was far more appropriate.
Think about what your target market is used to paying for similar ebooks.
Affiliates aren't everything though. You must consider your product as well. If you are selling a highly-specialized or highly-sought-after product, maybe $50 is not only appropriate, but on the low side.
For me, let's face it, there is no shortage of time management books and blogs. Anyone can pop onto Amazon or visit their local library or google "time management" and find all kinds of tips readily available. So, a price point of $47 was becoming more and more out of the question.
Think about what you want to do in the future.
Another reason I did not want to price my ebook higher than $10 is because I wanted to give myself the option to publish it as a "real" book somewhere down the line. A quick "time management" search on Amazon reveals that $10 is probably about average for similar books.
Don't price too low.
I'm of the opinion that it's better to price a little high than a little low. There is something to say about the perceived value of a product. For example, when you buy something at the Dollar Store, you don't assume it's going to be high quality. In fact, if you're like me, you kind of assume it's going to be low quality. For that reason, the Dollar Store is not a store I generally go out of my way to visit; I just stop in when it's convenient. The same goes here. You don't want to give the impression that your ebook is so low-quality that it's not even worth going through the purchasing process. Price it in a way that represents the value accurately and fairly but gives the impression that it's worth the money your buyer will part with.
What's your rock bottom price?
Remember that you will have expenses associated with your ebook so make sure you price it high enough to cover those expenses and (hopefully) make a bit of a profit as well. This might be considered your "rock bottom" price – the lowest you can go and still cover (at least) your expenses. Your goal is to leave enough wiggle room around this price to be flexible with sales too. Speaking of which…
Set a price with sales (as in "On Sale!") in mind.
It's easy to come down in price and it's virtually impossible to go up in price. I set my regular price
at $12 (now it's $3.99) but have only sold a handful of ebooks at that price. I've had several sales (Launch, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, New Year's, etc.) during which I've slashed the price as low as 50%. When it's not on sale, I have mostly kept it at the promotional price of $9. I also recommend that if you're going to have sales, make the sale significant. "10% off" is okay, but "50% off!" will get a lot more attention and hopefully translate into more sales.
Another great benefit of having a sale is that it provides a great excuse for promotion. In other words, having a sale gives you the opportunity to alert your readers and affiliates, get a little buzz going about your ebook again and help people to remember that it exists. However, I recommend you keep your sales to a minimum. Too many sales can lower the perceived value of your ebook as well. After all, why should someone buy your ebook at a higher price since they know they don't have to wait long before the next sale will roll around.
Anyone else have more tips to add? Jump in! Or hey, buy the ebook in question, Tell Your Time now.
Read the next post in this series: How to Write an Ebook: Distribution.
Other posts in this series
- How to Write an Ebook
- How to Write an Ebook: Why It's a Good Idea
- How to Write an Ebook: Choose a Sellable Topic
- How to Write an Ebook: Preparing to Write
- How to Write an Ebook: Writing Tips from a Non-Writer
- How to Write an Ebook: Editing and Naming
- How to Write an Ebook: Formatting
- How to Write an Ebook: Setting Up Accounts
- How to Write an Ebook: Pricing
- How to Write an Ebook: Distribution
- How to Write an Ebook: Creating a Sales Page (or Site)
- How to Write an Ebook: Preparing for Affiliates
- How to Write an Ebook: Taking care of your affiliates
- How to Write an Ebook: Paying your affiliates
- How to Make Your Ebook Available on Kindle & Nook