The dilemma of indie eBook pricing

There are many things to consider when selling your eBook online. It should have a good cover that draws attention, and the description listed at the online store should be intriguing enough to make potential readers want more.

But just as important to all these things is the price.

I came across a forum discussion on Amazon that swears pricing your eBook for free, or even 99 cents, is author suicide. For example, one commenter wrote: “The biggest problem with indie writers is the practice of pricing your hard work at only .99 cents. The art of writing has always been a revered art and respected.flogging your work off at .99 does nothing but cheapen the art of writing.”

Problem is, it’s author suicide if you price your eBook too high, as well – especially if you’re an unknown author.

So what is the right price? It’s hard to say. The truth is, there is no perfect number. You have to experiment with pricing before you hit that magic price, if it even exists.

I’m constantly playing with the price of my eBook, A Symphony of Cicadas.  I’ve offered it for $2.99 – a price that gives me a full 70% return on the price.  This price has done me alright, and given me a decent number of downloads.  But when downloads start to slow, I’ll drop it to 99 cents to see how it does. Granted, that only gives my a 35% return. But it increases the amount of downloads and drives my book further up the ranks so that it will get noticed even more.  Once it starts picking up, I’ll increase the price again.  And so on.

I get what the above commenter is saying about devaluing your work when you price it low. But if you’re still an unknown author, it’s not going to do you any good if NO ONE is buying your book. While it might be enticing to price your book at a higher value (because let’s face it, it’s WORTH IT), it’s SMARTER to keep it low until you have a few more books under your belt and a wider fanbase.  Right now it’s about drawing in numbers, not $.

With patience and a lot of strategy, the $ will come, too.


Crissi Langwell is the debut author of A Symphony of Cicadas.  Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

What has been your experience with eBook pricing? Share in the comments!


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4 thoughts on “The dilemma of indie eBook pricing”

  1. I agree with you 100%! I too am playing that same game of trying to find the right price. I started at 2.99 and had some sales, but not many. So I lowered it. It’s definitely more about visibility right now than making money. So…on to the next book! 🙂

  2. Ah, the eternal debate 🙂 I personally have my book priced at $2.99, and … well, sales are slow, let’s just put it that way 🙂 I have nothing morally against $0.99, I just haven’t tried it yet. Perhaps I’ll give it a shot!

    1. I go to 99 cents and get some play. Then move to 2.99 and get a little less, but make the same amount. I think it’s going to take a few more books to fully pan out.

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