With most e-book distributors like Amazon, Nook, and iBookstore, you get 65% – 70% of the profits if you price your e-book within a certain range such as 99 cents up to $9.99. At a higher price than $9.99, you get much less royalties such as only 35%. That means you either need to price your e-book at $9.99 (to earn a 70% royalty rate through Amazon and earn roughly $7) or price it near $24 to make the same amount ($7 with a 30% royalty rate). Obviously if you price your e-book at $24, you’ll see fewer sales than if you price it at $9.99. That’s Amazon’s way of keeping e-book prices fairly low.
Most people immediately assume if they sell their e-book at 99 cents (instead of at a higher price), they’ll make more money. Wrong. You have to consider people’s mindset about prices and the type of e-books you’re selling.
With fiction, most people have no idea who you are or what type of novel you’re selling as an e-book. As a result, fiction e-books tend to succeed far more at a lower price point such s $1.99 or 99 cents. This makes a fiction e-book a disposable item. If someone buys it and doesn’t like it, they didn’t lose much. That increases the odds someone will actually buy your novel as an e-book.
The trick with e-books is that you probably won’t make money on a single e-book. Instead, you’ll make money selling a series of related e-books. For non-fiction, that means selling multiple e-books on the same subject such as improving your golf swing, finding the best golf courses to visit, and stories about unusual and humorous golf stories. Even though each e-book might be different, they all appeal to someone who likes golf.
What happens if you sell e-books that have no relation to each other? You might sell a golf swing improvement book, a gardening book, and a build your own computer book. How many people interested in golf will also be interested in gardening and building a computer? Close to none, which means you can’t sell those other e-books to people who already like your first e-book.
That secret of writing related e-books also works with fiction as well. John Locke, the author of “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months” outlines his strategy of writing a series of related books with recurring characters. Now if someone likes one of his novels, they’ll be likely to want and buy the other novels in the series. Each book in the series acts like a wider net to attract new customers. Some people will likely read one of his books and not like it, but many others will like one of his novels so they’ll be more inclined to buy his other ones.
That’s basically how he sold 1 million e-books in five months. That simple strategy of selling a series of related e-books is the whole secret. Of course you still need to write good books whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, but the content quality alone is far less important than being just average and having a series of related e-books that happy customers can buy.
Remember, the hardest part about selling e-books is making that first sale because customers have no idea who you are or what you can offer them.; The moment they like one of your e-books, that barrier disappears and they’ll be far more likely to buy your other e-books.
So with fiction, you want your prices low enough to make it easy for people to experiment and take a chance buying your e-book. With non-fiction, the quality of your writing is less important. What’s more important is the quality of your topic.
Write a weight loss e-book and anyone interested in losing weight will be a potential customer for your e-book. Since non-fiction already tells the potential customer what the e-book contains, there’s not the same level of risk when buying an unknown author’s novels.
Surprisingly with non-fiction, a price too low is a warning that the information inside may not be any good. That’s why non-fiction e-books can typically charge more than fiction e-books, such as $4.99 and up. Try starting at $9.99 and experiment with dropping your prices temporarily to see if sales increase. Remember, each time you drop the price, you must make up for the price drop with increased sales. If a lower price doesn’t translate into increased sales, you’re better off keeping the price up.
With non-fiction, higher prices indicate quality whether that’s true or not. You don’t want to price your non-fiction e-book too low, but you also don’t want to price yourself out of the market. That’s why for non-fiction e-books, $9.99 is a good starting point and then you can experiment with lower prices later to see if it attracts more sales. Surprisingly, lower prices often do not attract more sales, so you’ll be better off keeping the price at $9.99 or slightly less to get the maximum royalty rate and earn the most amount in royalties in return.
Pricing e-books is less about making a killing on one e-book and more about getting people to buy it in the first place. For fiction, low prices lower the risk to the customer. For non-fiction, higher prices are more attractive since it hints at higher quality. Since every author and topic is different, experiment, but keep these general guidelines in mind. for fiction, keep prices low. For non-fiction, keep prices high.