Skip to content

Book Pricing Strategies: Finding the Sweet Spot for Sales and Profit

As an indie author, you should be committed to never succumbing to the misconception that the publishing of your books is not purely transactional. Dedicating the time, effort, and resources needed to nurture your book from its conception to distribution with little or no support takes an immense amount of passion. This attachment and feeling compelled to place the art first can result in a neglect of the equally important financial side of publishing.

Striking a balance between getting your work to as many readers as possible while recouping the capital it took to create it while simultaneously generating a profit is possible and should be approached as an essential part of the process. Even if you possess all the skills necessary and were able to bypass hiring specialists for the many diverse undertakings publishing a book entails, you would still need to take stock of the time that had been invested.

Pricing is a dilemma that every entity trading in products and services will face, and independent or “indie” authors are no exception—you must take into account not only the factors involved with creating a manuscript that affect you as the author but also gear your decision on how to price your book toward consumer perception and fickleness.

Indie Book Pricing

As an indie author, you will not be privy to the benefits that being affiliated with an established publisher provides. Every aspect of creating and distributing your book will have to be decided by you, and the cost incurred will also be solely handled by you, the indie author, who will ultimately be acting in the role of a publisher, which essentially qualifies you to assume the title of a self-publisher.

In addition to the myriad of decisions you’ve had to make up to the point of having an actual product to sell, as the indie author of your self-published book, you will now need to decide the most strategic book pricing. As with all other aspects of being an indie author, you should be resigned to proceed with little or no assistance.

There are, of course, pros and cons associated with going at it without a traditional publisher. The most significant benefit offered by an established publisher that you will miss out on is access to their in-house strategists and marketing experts, who use the immense sales data they have access to that has been garnered over the years and countless units sold to tailor book pricing for authors.

Employing the strategies a publisher utilizes is, of course, possible for an indie author with a bit of effort. The lack of this and other conveniences is easily offset by the pros, such as the freedom to set prices based on what you deem fit. Being the recipient of the bulk of the profit allows indie authors more leeway to price books competitively.

A good rule of thumb that businesses dealing in an unlimited amount of supply should bear in mind when pricing is that the key is a little from a lot is far more optimal than a lot from a few. Keep that in mind and implement competitive book pricing that encourages prospective buyers to follow through with their purchase.

Why Indie Authors Matter

The majority of books in circulation are distributed by the five major publishing houses; this disparity has resulted in a lack of diversity in the authors who are mainstream, as the guidelines set by these major publishing houses will likely result in a saturation of the niches and styles of writing they approve.

These major publishers will stipulate that the authors signed conform to the topics and writing styles they approve. Without indie authors to go against the grain, literature will start to become generic and bland. But going down that path is not without obstacles for indie authors.

Having labored extensively over weeks and months, possibly even years, and made innumerable sacrifices that include:

  • Time: Unwavering commitment to the writing process may cause you to acquire tunnel vision and subconsciously neglect other aspects of both your personal and professional life.
  • Finances: Developing and diligently adhering to a comprehensive budget is a great tactic for reducing the impact of the accumulated cost, in tandem with partnering with The Urban Writers’ extensive catalog of industry-leading freelancers will ensure the most value from every dollar.
  • Health: The rigors of spending hours engaged in fervent writing in a sedentary state will eventually take a toll on both your physical and mental well-being.

Book Pricing for Authors

Bearing the burden alone may persuade an indie writer to place an irrational value based on personal convictions influenced by the amount of work that was put in and a purported assessment of the book’s quality.

Strategic book pricing should exclude personal convictions of your book’s value and base its value solely on market influences. The influencing factors should include:

  • Market rate: The different categories and book formats will result in a variation in prices; however, there will be a minimum and maximum price, typically between $2.99 and $9.99. Finding the sweet spot that helps with maximizing book profits while maintaining competitive book pricing is pivotal.
  • Competitor pricing: Look at the prices of books of a similar genre/niche with titles similar to yours and establish the average they are being sold for. Ideally, the books that meet those criteria that you base your price on should be bestsellers, as that should be the aim you have for your book.
  • Book format: The different formats in which books are distributed, in ascending order based on prices, are ebook, paperback, and hardcover. The difference in prices for the same book is owed to the cost of printing. Ebooks will cost considerably less as there are no labor or material costs. The absence of production costs allows the utilization of ebook pricing strategies.
  • Projected sales: An estimate of the units you are likely to sell can be attained by researching the average sales for books similar to yours. Once that average is ascertained, you then take into account the costs you’ve incurred from inception to distribution and the profit margin you wish to achieve.

Promotions and Discounts

For indie authors, particularly those who have not yet established their reputation and built a base of loyal readers, the most likely way to reach potential readers will be by having a competitive price. Striking the balance between setting an enticing price and not undervaluing the book and causing a loss in potential profit is key.

Offering your book at a discounted price not only makes it more appealing for personal consumption but will also provide an incentive for retailers and other distributors to make purchases, likely in bulk volumes. Offering discounts for wholesale purchases is a common practice and an ideal way to start getting your book on the shelves of bookstores.

Another strategy to gain recognition for your book and launch a trend of sales that creates traction for your book is a temporary price drop through a promotional discount. Offering your book at a lower cost for a limited time will boost sales, as consumers will see it as an opportunity they want to take advantage of while it’s still available.

Having discounts also gives authors an angle to market from; promotional email, social media posts, blogs, and other forms of communication can be sent out to target demographics before and during the discount period, which will spark interest in the book that will last long after the promotion elapses.


Being responsible for and ensuring that every step toward the completion of your book is adequately managed does not mean you will be required to develop skills that you have never even ventured into the basics of; attempting to do so may result in insurmountable obstacles and a subpar product. Instead, the objective should be to assemble the best teampossible, which is where The Urban Writers come in as the ideal partner throughout every stage.

Join Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive the latest news
and exclusive offers. No spam!


Send us a message