In parts one, two, and three of this blog series, we looked at the first eight steps to self-publishing a book. This included discussing the differences between being a traditionally published author and a self-published author, as well as offering tips for writing, editing, designing, printing, and marketing a book. In this final blog, we’ll look at the last two steps to self-publishing a book—setting your book price and figuring out ways to keep up the momentum after the book launch.
9. Setting the Book Price
When setting your book price, you should consider three things:
- What do similar books sell for?
- What are your costs per book?
- How much profit do you want to make per book?
Let’s say you’ve written a 300-page nonfiction business book with black and white interior, and now you want to set the price for it. So you research similar books, and you’re pretty confident that your book would sell for $19.99. To test if this price will earn a profit for you, let’s start with a few simple calculations.
Distributor and Retailer Fees
You can expect a typical distributor fee to be from 55 to 65 percent, with 40 percent going to the bookseller.
- Distributor fee (15 percent of $19.99) = $3.00
- Retailer (bookseller) fee (40 percent of $19.99) = $8.00
- Total = $11.00
Costs of Goods Sold
The cost of goods sold are the costs you incur to produce your print book, including materials and labour. For example, you would factor in the costs of printing and shipping the book, as well as factor in a small amount to go toward recouping expenses incurred for writing, editing, and designing the book. Here’s a sample breakdown of costs:
- Writing, editing, and design expenses per book = $1.00
- Printing cost per book = $4.00
- Shipping cost per book = $1.25
- Total = $6.25
Now, when all the above expenses and fees are added up, you get $17.25. So setting a book price of $19.99 would give you the following profits in the following scenarios:
- Book sold in a bookstore via a distributor: $2.74 profit
- Book sold online as print on demand (e.g., on Amazon.com): $6.10 profit
- Book sold directly by the author (e.g., at a speaking event): $13.74 profit
Some say $2.99 to $5.99 is a great range to price an e-book. Others sell at $9.99 and higher. It really depends on the type of book you’ve written. For example, according to the 2015 Smashwords Survey, $3.99 remains the sweet spot for a full-length self-published fiction e-book, and $1.99 should be avoided because the survey findings revealed that books priced at $1.99 earned 73 percent less than the average of all other price points.
10. After the Book Launch–What’s Next?
Once you’ve launched your book and told the world about it, it’s time to keep up the momentum. Look for clever ways to continue to put your book front and centre in the minds of readers. But remember, people don’t want to be sold to—so minimize the number of Facebook posts and tweets that say, “Buy my book.” Instead, focus your energy on making it really easy for people to buy your book when they’re ready.
Here are two activities you can do to keep people talking about your book.
Enter Book Competitions
Entering and winning a book competition is great promotion for your book. There are some wonderful book competitions for indie authors, which can really boost your credibility as an author if you win one or even if you come in second or third place. Plus the news of winning the award can give you content for all kinds of social media posts, especially if there is an awards ceremony and lots of photo opportunities.
Here are some credible competitions to consider:
- Amazon First Novel Awardis for first-time Canadian authors.
- Benjamin Franklin Book Awards, run by the Independent Book Publishers Association, is for independently published books, and all entrants receive direct feedback on their entries.
- IndieReader Discover Awards honor the year’s best independently published titles from around the world.
- Kindle Scout Awardsis for unpublished manuscripts voted on by the crowd.
- Readers’ Favorite book award is for contestants ranging from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers and celebrities.
- Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards is for self-published books by professional writers, part-time freelancers, and students.
- Also, be sure to check for city/state/provincial awards on the arts and culture pages of government websites, to see what kinds of local awards you are eligible for.
Write Your Next Book
One way to keep people interested in your book is to start writing your next book. You’ve learned so much from writing and publishing your first book that you can’t help but improve for your second time around, building on the momentum you’ve already created. Also, you’ll give your fans something to talk about and anticipate so that you’re not leaving them with years in between books.
At the very least, you can use your website, blog, and social media sites to stay connected to your fans by sending out updates. You can even get creative and release a new chapter for your new books or write short stories too.
That concludes this blog series on how to self-publish a book. I hope you’ve found some helpful advice in the ten steps to self-publishing, and I wish you luck in your self-publishing journey!
Stacey Atkinson is a freelance writer and editor based in Ottawa. The advice offered in this blog series is taken from excerpts from the 10-lesson online course on How to Publish a Book.