Pricing Books

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I received some exciting news from my publisher for The Color of Grace the other day (Been a while since you heard me mention that book, huh?!).

And has anyone heard of  Well, I hadn't until I received this email.  Apparently, you can pay this place to feature one of your ebooks if you put it on sale or have a freebie promotion going on.  So...I guess my publisher is going to do this.  Come July 16th through July 19th, The Color of Grace will be super cheap (I think $0.99 but I'm not quite certain yet) at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And it will be advertised on BookBub. I'm so excited!

I had heard of Pixel of Ink, which advertises free and cheap kindle stories that are available, and I'd signed up with them to get a daily updates of what was free and on sale. But now, I'm totally signing up at BookBub too...since I'm always looking for a good cheap book!

About the same time all this was going down, I started to prepare my reprinted stories for publication, doing a trial run at some of the places I am going to upload Kiss it Better and How to Resist Prince Charming. And guess what? I had to come up with prices for my books.

Let me tell you, if you want to sell your paperbacks from CreateSpace, you should probably get ready to do so a couple weeks before the day you want to release the book. They will take a day or so to review you cover art and interior before telling you whether it is acceptable for publication. Then you have the opportunity to order up to five (really, really cheap) proof copies (which take a week to get mailed to you) to examine it before you approve for final release. Anyway, I went that proof-ordering route, so I can hold my book in my hands (happy squeal!!) before it's actually released.

But that has really nothing to do with book pricing (sorry for the tangent). CreateSpace was kind enough to give me a base price that I had to make the minimum amount. Then I could calculate and see how much profits could be made from the prices I chose.  It's really kind of fun to price your own book! 

With my trial run at Amazon, I probably could've set everything up on the day I release (July 2nd, by the way!) and have it ready for publication within the day (because it takes about a day for new sales to show up on Amazon). They also had a minimum price I had to keep. If I wanted to make 35% profit, I couldn't go cheaper than $0.99. If I wanted to make 70% profits, I couldn't go cheaper than $2.99. I've yet to figure out how people put free books on Amazon. Maybe you have to sign up for the prime program. I don't know.

At Smashwords, the price ranges were unlimited. I could make it free straight out of the gate without joining a certain group or taking less profit (not that I'd make any profit from a free book, but anyway...). Or I could choose to have the buyer pay whatever they wanted, or I could set the amount myself, at whichever price I wanted.  And if your book is already formatted and ready, I think you could sign up for an account right then and there and upload your book within an hour.

Unlike Amazon, Smashwords didn't give me the option to proofread a draft of my book before publication though (and I wasn't able to save the info I put in either), which is a bit intimidating. You set it up and publish all in one shot. THEN you can go through all the formats they provide to proof them. I think you also have the option to get a free ISBN for their epub version AFTER you push publish. Since I want Smashwords to distribute my stories to Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, and a bunch of other places, I will have to get an ISBN from them.

The last place I'm going to sell stories is ARe (AllRomance Ebooks). Like CreateSpace, this isn't a one-day thing. You have to apply to become a "publisher." Then before you can publish, you need to provide an ISBN for each book you provide. ISBNs are expensive things if the place distributing your story doesn't let you use a free one from them. And since Smashwords doesn't want you using the ISBN they give you for your books sold at other places, you have to have a new one for those other places.

Since I was back to being ISBN-less, I had to apply to ARe again to set me up with codes to use in place of their ISBN spot. Confused yet? Yeah, it's getting kind of involved there, but it's still a fun adventure for me! It's taken me a couple days to get all that set up. Now that I have my codes to use though, I think ARe would be ready to publish my stories as soon as I upload all the information. I'm not sure if you get to look at the final outcome before publication though. They don't seem to have any restrictions on pricing either, except that you can't sell book through them higher than you sell them anywhere else.

So, that's more than you ever wanted to know about uploading and pricing books at distributing places!  I really do share too much information, don't I? Oh, well.

What's your opinion on book pricing? There are some books I've been wanting to read REALLY bad but just haven't had the gumption to pay $7.36 or more for an ebook! Is there a limit you won't pay, and wouldn't charge if you were setting the amount? What about minimum amounts? Do you refuse to price one of your stories too cheap or buy one so cheap because you don't think it can possibly be any good? I'd like to gather different opinions on the subject.

It's week ten of my PRICE OF A KISS countdown, and here is what my wonky heroine, Reese, has to say today:


  1. Kudos on BookBub! I love the quote :)

  2. I've heard great things about BookBub and will use them in the future. Thanks for the tip about ARe. I'll check that out. As for free books, you can't set them to free on Amazon unless you're in their Select program. But...if you upload to Kobo, I believe you can set it to free. Then Amazon will price match. That's what I've heard.

    1. Oh wow! Thank you for the tip! That will definitely be useful! You're the best.