This is a very common question in the indie publishing world, but it's a very important one.
Pricing is one of the most important factors about selling a product, and if you get this right then you can be quite successful.
There aren't really any rules about pricing. You can price your book anything you want. But if you price your book at $9.99 (I'm talking ebooks here), and everyone else is pricing their's at $3.99, it really doesn't take a genius to figure out which book people are going to lean towards.
This is different in the traditional publishing world, (most ebooks are around the $7-$12 mark in the traditional world) so for arguements sake, i am going to base this post around Indie/ self publishing.
So what is the best price for a new self published author?
Rule 1: Watch the market. Watch authors in your genre and see what they are pricing their books, and then figure out which price range each genre sells best at.
This is the general guideline i stick to:
*99 cents for SALES and the first book in a new series.
*$2.99 for novellas. (anything over 100 pages. **Not the general rule. Its MY general rule and what i have found works best**)
*$3.99 for novels.
*$4.99 - I have noticed some people have been pricing their book at $4.99 now. I think this works best for a boxed set or the 3rd book/ last book in a full length series.
Out of all these prices i think $3.99 sells the best.
I think this is because the store and the author get a bigger share of the royalty, it helps your book show up in best seller lists, and it shows that you the author believe in your work.
The number 1 thing you should get in your head and say it over and over when you doubt yourself is: 1: Believe in yourself and your work. If you don't, who else will? 2: Don't be afraid to price your book high.
At the end of the day, you have a business to run and you won't make any money if you only price your book at 1 or 2 bucks.
Why are some books free?
Free promotions are another handy marketing tactic to get right. Again, it is all about researching and playing with the market.
I have been given exclusive marketing advice from the CEO of Smashwords, Mark Coker himself. I asked him how i could boost my sales. He told me this:
Make the first book in one or two of your series free.
At the time i was umming and ahhing about the prospect of this, but my sales sucked so i gave it a go.
Did it work?
Literally within the space of 3 or 4 days i had sold over 10, 000 copies, reached the top 100 on iBooks AU and Amazon US. This has resulted in the rest of my books selling again.
The result has been mindblowing, and this is because i took the risk of making a few of my books free.
At 99 cents each, they were hardly selling anything. (forget the John Locke rule. This rule probably doesn't work for him anymore. The market is so saturated.) This is such a small sacrifice in the big scheme of things. It was so worth it!
**I am not an expert in any of the areas of marketing i write about. These results are from observations and research of the market. If you want to know anything else, please do not hesitate to let me know.
If you want to see me cover anything, also let me know. I'd love to hear from you!
Have a great day