As an editing, marketing and ghostwriting company based in Phoenix, Arizona, Midnight Publishing has been helping aspiring authors and experts in their field to revise, edit, organize and publish their books for many years (we’ve been trusted with over two million words since our inception!). A lot of Midnight Publishing’s clients are just becoming familiar with the publishing industry, and especially the self-publishing industry as it continues to morph and change with technological advances, printing abilities and more. Something that is important to keep in mind as a self-published author—and therefore, a one-person publishing “company—is the matter of how to price your book.
There are several factors when addressing how best to price your self-published paperback book, and Midnight Publishing has had a lot of experience discussing with our clients the best course of action when it comes to the task. Though we highly recommend consulting with us personally (contact us today!), below are some general guidelines and our best tips to help you along the path to self-publication!
Pricing Your Self-Published Paperback Book
1. Who is your printer going to be?
When it comes to self-publishing paperbacks, innovative companies like Amazon’s CreateSpace and Lightning Source’s Ingram Spark have paved the way for print-on-demand paperback books. That means no more mass-market orders of your book that will just sit in your garage collecting dust for years on end—your books can be sold through Amazon, Apple and more and printed when they’re ordered, saving you time and money. However, there’s something else to consider when it comes to which printing press to use: CreateSpace or Ingram Spark? It’s pretty well-known that CreateSpace is the cheaper option, but with affordability comes a dock in quality—Ingram Spark-printed books are notoriously better-looking, with clearer graphics, truer colors, and higher prices. So if you’ve got a picture book with lots of important graphics/photos and you’re okay with selling your book for a higher price, then Ingram Spark is the way to go. For a fiction book that’s in a competitive market like romance? CreateSpace will keep prices down and demand higher. Read more about the difference here, in this post by bestselling author Karen Myers.
2. How much of a profit do you want to make?
Another factor that will come into play when it comes to pricing your book is profit. As a general rule, paperback books are not going to bring in as much profit as e-books, because, well, product—paper, ink, covers, etc. E-books use less product, so you make more profit. But for many self-published authors, the ability to sell a paperback book not only for the awesome feeling of holding it in your hands, but because a lot of people only read paperbacks, make it a really appealing option. CreateSpace lets you play around with prices to see what the profit will be, and once you publish you can always change the price as well (allow several days for it to update online) if you find that you’re not making enough, or not selling enough books since the price may be too high for the market. Which leads us to our next point:
3. How competitive is your book-selling market?
What genre are you writing and publishing in? Is this a children’s picture book (pricier due to color pictures/graphics)? Are you writing erotica/romance where the readers are avid, and the prices in traditionally published books are insanely low? Essentially, the genre and competitiveness of the market you’re writing in are both going to play a role in how to price your paperback book. Genre fiction books (fantasy, science fiction, erotica/romance, steampunk, paranormal) will need to be sold for less—less than 13 dollars—for the most part, as well as young adult books (younger audience, smaller wallets). If you’ve written a manual from your expert perspective, a “specialized” book with really innovative information, a cookbook, or some sort of non-fiction health/spiritual/fitness book, then you can typically charge more for a paperback, sometimes ranging from the $14.99-24.99 price point.
4. What size do you want it to be?
Something else to consider when it comes to pricing your paperback book is the size of it—as in, the dimensions. Is it going to be a 5×8? A 6×9? A 5.25×8.25? Basically, the word count and dimensions of the book determine the price—thicker books use more paper and ink, and they cost more. So keep that in mind when considering your book’s production and price point; you want the book to look nice and fit in someone’s purse/bag/backpack (and 6×9 is a little hefty for fiction books), but you also don’t want your epic fantasy at 200-thousand words to cost $20 to print at cost (the flat fee you pay simply for the materials, without the distributor’s or your profits factored in yet).
Come back next time as Midnight Publishing discusses our advice on things to keep in mind when pricing your e-books, and don’t forget to contact us today for a free sample edit of your first 1,000 words! Midnight Publishing is an award-winning, affordable book editing and ghostwriting business in Phoenix, Arizona. Talk with us to find out what we can do for your book today!