Indie Pubbing: So... Let's Talk Pricing... Again

I can't tell you how many discussions I've been involved in that have to do with pricing your own work for sale. Think about it... you've labored for hours over this baby. You've sweat blood and tears over this work. Now,  you've got to put it at a price that will not only be fair to you, but won't turn readers away. How hard is that?

There are tons of writers out there all trying to gauge pricing and how to maneuver for the best sales. But none of us truly can say what will work and what won't. I've done the KDP select route and I've done the free days and frankly, all it did for me was kill of potential sales. I may have gained a reader, but they've already bought my book. Now what?

Okay, so a lot of this has to do with the fact that without additional inventory to give to readers you really have very little play room with setting prices. But that doesn't mean that you should in any way undercut the value of your work. You spent the hours writing and editing. You've either purchased, or spent the time to create a catchy cover to attract the readers. You've done promotion. You've done it all. Are you undervaluing your work.

I get it. Without readers it really doesn't mean anything. You could put it at hundreds of dollars or nothing and it would have the same effect. (I'd like to try the $100 option, just for the kick of it). But now that some of the bright, shiny newness of indie pubbing is wearing off we have to take a serious look at what is going to work long term.

Let's use Three Truths as an example. This work is a roughly 50,000 words. It's the size of a contemporary category fiction from one of the large pubbing houses. If it went out from them they'd charge about $4.99 ($3.99 if you buy off their site) for an ebook version. I had my book, which was originally intended for the same market, at a price point of $1.99. Sounds like a good deal, huh? But is a potential reader going to look at the price and think that the book can't be good because it isn't priced higher? I've got a friend who consumes ebooks voraciously. She tells me that paying $3.99 for a book or higher doesn't bother her because she knows that she's getting something good for her money. She looks at the price as a value indication. So why don't we as writers and indie pubbers look at it the same way?

My dear, dear friend Nina Pierce, who has graciously guided me and talked me off more than one ledge at a time or two, goes by the Taco Pricing when looking at pricing her work. (By the way, her work is amazing!)

 $0.99 (1 Taco) ? Books less 10,000 words
$1.99 (2 Tacos) ? Books 10,001 to 20,000 words
$2.99 (3 Tacos) ? Books 20,001 to 50,000 words
$3.99 (4 Tacos) ? Books 50,001 to 75,000 words
$4.99 (5 Tacos) ? Books 75,001 to 100,000 words
$5.99 (6 Tacos) ? Books 100,001 words to ???
I'm 99% sure she got this from someone else, but the idea is the same. It's a comparison of tacos to books. How many tacos are you getting for your dollars?

Guess what? I adjusted my prices. I may not be selling much, but I don't want to undervalue my work. That doesn't mean that I won't occasionally be doing deals (hint... hint), but it does mean that I pride myself on my work and I know that it can stand on it's own.

What's your take on pricing?

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