We come to that price by first adding a revenue amount specified by the author. What makes this problematic for a self-published author is that the retail price for a print-on-demand book will be about twice that wholesale cost. A couple of dollars may not seem like much, but for an author, every penny counts. The difference between sales on Lulu and retail sales through our distribution channels bears a little more consideration. This is where I hear so many people either confused or operating from bad information. The price a book has to be set to for retail pricing is not something Lulu mandates.
Rather, the requirement comes from our distribution partners. The rule is such that the price your book ends up using for retail pricing is also the price you must use on Lulu for that same book. Rules like this hinder authors because they prevent sales on Lulu at a lower cost, with higher revenue. The bottom line is knowledge. Sales by hand are going to be crucial too, and because Lulu offers at cost printing with the highest quality materials, you can really see strong returns on those sales.
The Price Is Right: 6 Secrets to Pricing Your Ebook
The business of publishing is complex and is made more so by the wide variety of platforms and their diverse pricing and revenue models. Not bad for a single signing. This kind of subtle thing rewards your reader without drastically impacting your bottom line. For the most part, the difference between online sale pricing and on hand pricing will be your best tool for driving sales and still earning money with each book.
First, we have a graphic from Author Earnings , a well-known source for data regarding publishing sales and trends. This graphic is pretty dense and part of a much longer series of graphics Author Earnings uses to convey a range of data about the state of publishing. For this conversation, there are a few important points to note from this specific graphic:.
What does this mean for you? Well, it means that as a self-published author, you are still a smaller piece of the publishing pie than traditionally published authors. And, as you can see, ebooks are the preferred format for most self-published authors. Consider this information alongside the fact that authors ordering their own books on Lulu account for almost half of all orders placed.
Because Lulu authors know that they can sell better by hand than online. But for the print market, nothing can replace the appeal of a stack of books pillaring in front of the author. Here specifically is where competitive and careful pricing becomes crucial. Remember, a self-published author is not bound by format or design restrictions. Imagine you have a novel ready to go and you want to get it out there and start selling. You can publish a paperback with an ISBN for distribution, a non-ISBN paperback version to sell specifically on Lulu and your author site, an ebook for sale on all platforms, a dust jacket hardcover you can sell either through distribution with an ISBN or solely on Lulu depending on demand for hardcover, and on top of all of this, you can always create a unique version to sell by hand at an event, perhaps featuring a special foreword, bonus chapter, or teaser for another book still in the works.
All of these different books come from the original manuscript and can be produced through Lulu without any upfront cost to you. Diversity provides options. Use this to your advantage when pricing your work. Think in particular about how you can price books sold by hand to be particularly competitive with online pricing.
We know that print books from self-published authors make up only a small portion of the market, but the margin a self-published author can make on those books is significant. The short version is simply this: investigate and understand pricing thoroughly. It dismays me to see so much content on the web that inaccurately characterizes how pricing for print-on-demand works. Not to mention the exceedingly simplistic view that some experts offer.
As if the only option for publishing were to create a single paperback book and sell it on Amazon. Our goal has been and remains to enable everyone and anyone to tell their stories. But above all, educate yourself to the options you have available. Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, responsible for all the words you see on our site misspellings included. I know that several copies of Talking Stalking have been purchased But! I have not re. John k Dryden. I now deal mostly with a print-on-demand company based in the UK in which delivery charges are included in the price of the books, the price per copy being based on the price per copy of the initial run.
If I initially order 25 or more copies, each subsequent order, of even one copy, is priced pro rata and still includes delivery. Apart from the ISBN on cover and inside the two books will be same. Is this allowed or do I have to change title or alter content slightly? Hi John, You should reach out to support to check on revenue payments. Hi Janice, While it is true that shipping can add a significant cost, it varies such that allowing for it while considering pricing as broadly as we are in this piece is very difficult. You will notice during the section where I estimated a small batch order for an event I was able to include a shipping price because I was considering a set amount of books.
Hi Trevor, You would have two books — each with the same content. Essentially two editions of the book. A distributed edition and a non-distributed edition. Luckily, there is no need to learn Photoshop and do everything yourself. With so many talented freelance graphic designers, it's very easy to find someone that will create a fantastic ebook cover for you for relatively cheap.
I don't have any specific advice other than to say, look at what other best selling books are doing and decide what covers you like. If you can provide some examples of styles you like to your designer, I'm sure you will get something you are satisfied with. Unfortunately, you can't just upload a word document or a PDF to Amazon.
Your book needs to be in the special Kindle format. You could go out and learn how to format the book yourself; however, there are a lot of quirks and it's very simple to just hire someone off Upwork to do it for you. It's that easy. However, if you really want to learn the steps for formatting your book to the Kindle format, you can go to the official Amazon Kindle Simplified Formatting Guide Here. Now it's time to actually head over to Amazon and start getting your book ready for sale! You will list your book at kdp. I think its important to put some time and thought into your title and book description before you actually start uploading anything.
In fact, you have up to characters to give both a more in-depth description of your book and entice the potential reader with the benefits they will receive after reading your book. Unfortunately, when I look at some books on Amazon, many of them only have a sentence or two under their book description. And they are often not very good! You need to focus this message on the reader, how will this book benefit them? You will also want to format your book description so that it looks good.
Amazon has a good resource on what HTML is supported right here. And here's another great blog post that shows what the different formatting options look like and how to apply them. This is the author or authors of the book. This could be your real name or a pen name. I used a pen name on my first book. Next, you will need to select the categories that your book most accurately fits into.
This can take a little bit of hunting around to find the perfect fit, but you should find a category that works well for your book. The only strategy here is to pick the the category that targets your books subject matter as much as possible. Amazon allows you to input up to 7 keywords or keyword phrases that your book will show up for. Your book will also naturally show up for other keyword searches just depending on how well your book is performing and other factors. Keywords in your book title and book description will already show up in Amazon, so you don't necessarily need to repeat these keywords.
Although for keywords that your really want to show up for, you probably should have them in your description and as a selected keyword. But what keywords do you target? It can take some time to learn all the ins and outs, but a great way to start is to use the auto complete function on Amazon as suggested by this great article on GoodReads. So, let's say you are writing a book on saving money. You can think of a few phrases people might type in to find a book about saving money. Long Tail Pro is easy to use and helps you to organize the data.
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Here's a few of the suggested terms:. Obviously the search volume is different on Amazon, but it can give you an idea of what terms are searched for more than others. As you get more advanced, you can go a step further and actually figure out how competitive these keywords are on Amazon. After all, just because you show up for a keyphrase doesn't mean people will find you. If all the keywords you select are extremely competitive you might end up on page 50 or 60 because the first page results are dominated by best selling books with hundreds of reviews.
If books with a lower Amazon Best Sellers Rank are showing up, that's probably a good sign that your chosen keywords are less competitive. But just take a deep breath and remember: you can change your keywords at any time. So if your book isn't performing as well as hoped at first, you can always change your keywords and try again.
Click here to try Publisher Rocket. If you don't have an audience, I highly recommend that you list your book for free the first 5 days. If you enroll your book in the Amazon Kindle select program which you probably should , you are allowed up to 5 free days every 90 days. This is the strategy the Steve Scott and Nick Loper recommend. Here's the pricing strategy that we followed when launching our book, and it has worked extremely well:. Listing your book for free should help you climb to the top of a few categories within Amazon.
People love free stuff, so your book will get downloaded. After the first 5 days, your book should be performing well if all goes according to plan again, see below.
cyratoxamy.tk: Kindle Store
As you can see, our free period did very well. And even though we got between 60 and 70 units ordered for a few days, we didn't make tons of money those days. The blue line is Kindle Unlimited and Kindle borrows. So, I'll let you do the math if you want to know how much we were making each day! This was my first kindle book, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it would drop, but didn't know if it would be that much. However, I'm told that this is very normal. The next few steps of the process are all about how to launch your book during that free period to make sure you pick up the momentum you need to perform well when your price goes up.
I want to again re-iterate that much of what I'm about to share in the next few steps is taken directly from Nick Loper's suggestion from this blog post and his course. The first step is very simple.
If you have an audience on an email list, tell them about your book! This is going to be the best way to get initial downloads and reviews. Reviews are so important for your book to do well. A big part of Amazon's algorithm is determined by the number and rating of your book reviews. Get more book reviews and your book should perform better.
Get more high ratings and your book should perform better. Conversely, if your book starts getting lots of negative reviews, your book will not perform as well. In addition, a Verified Purchase review is more valuable than a review from a non-verified purchaser. This is why getting reviews during the free period can be so advantageous. Someone that goes through and downloads your book during the free period is still considered a verified purchaser! Here's the deal, you should really try to get at least 10 to 15 reviews during the free period.
This is going to be the easiest time to ask people for reviews because well it's free. Getting as many as 20 reviews during the free period would be excellent! The more the better. You should have at least 10 to 15 friends or family members that you can ask to download and review your book. When Perrin and I launched our book here's what we did and you can do the same :. So after, the first few days we already had 15 reviews! Perrin's aunt only gave us 4 stars, but we've gotten over it. Reaching out to both Facebook groups and relevant blogs can be a good way to jump start downloads of your book.
During your free days, here's a list of the 5 Facebook Groups that we submitted too and the one's that Nick recommends :. Did you know that there are websites out there that do nothing but list and promote free Kindle eBooks? The websites accept submissions from people, so you should let them know your book is free! Sarah at SarkEmedia. Below I've just included the 35 free eBook sites suggested by Sarah.
You can do the submissions yourself, or you can hire someone from FancyHands. We used FancyHands, it it worked out very well. Finally, there are also tools out there that can help you submit even faster and to more sites. This free period is your chance to really get on the map! You need to utilize all the marketing avenues that you can to help give your book the best chance of ranking well in Amazon naturally. Once you start ranking naturally in Amazon and if you book truly is valuable to readers, you should continue to sell well once you switch from free to paid.
If you don't have an email list, why not ask others that do have an email list to spread the word about your book? This can be a little more difficult to do if you don't already have relationships with people in your niche, but it is possible. For example, Perrin and I were able to contact someone in our niche that we knew had a large email list and we simply asked them if they would tell their audience about our free Kindle book. They agreed. That was done to drive up the free downloads on the last day, but to also get some sales for those people on the email list that missed the free download deadline.
We were clearly getting lots of free downloads before this email went out, but the last day was definitely our biggest free day. See this chart:. I think our book would have done just fine without that email blast we had over free downloads the day before ; however, it certainly didn't hurt.
I know I already mentioned it, but getting reviews are SO important if you hope to gain traction in Amazon's huge marketplace. As a result, you shouldn't just stop trying to get reviews when your book is no longer free. Although we haven't tried it yet, you can also reach out to top reviewers on Amazon to see if they are willing to read and review your book. Here is a list of the top reviewers on Amazon. Some people want their books in digital format and others want the physical printed book. This is a print on demand service owned by Amazon…so don't worry about stocking and shipping any physical books on your own.
The printed version can also create a nice price anchor to help your kindle version look like a better deal. This is an age old marketing tactic. So, the only purpose of creating a print version of your book is not to only sell printed copies. A big reason is to make your Kindle price look like a better deal and sell more copies of the Kindle version.
As you go forward, you should test and tweak pricing on both the printed and kindle version. I have not had a chance to test different pricing strategies with my book just yet, but it's certainly on the to-do list. I have been told by multiple successful self-publishers that the real scale of this business comes when you start releasing additional books. Readers of your first book will start to browse your author page and your additional book titles.
The more quality books you have, the more likely that your current buyers will be interested in something else you have written as well. So, now that you've had some success with your first Kindle eBook, it's time to leverage that success by creating more and more books in your niche.
This can take a year or two to build up a significant library; however, the business potential is very real. Perrin and I have already sat down and brainstormed our next book. We've chosen a topic, title, and have started the outline. We expect to launch our second book in the next 30 days.
I now have a book that has been selling on Amazon for over 2 years. I followed the 23 steps outlined above to publish and promote this book. However, since that time, I have not done anything to promote it. In fact, I've moved on to other projects and had basically forgotten about it. I was surprised to login to the KDP Select platform and see that my self-publshed book is still making sales! Here's a quick screenshot to show that it still is making a few sales a day:.
Overall, Perrin and I are extremely happy with the success of our best selling Kindle eBook. My only disappointment is that I didn't start sooner! In fact as I see the huge success and now the huge business potential as we add more titles, I honestly can say that I haven't been this excited about a new business venture in a long time. Is the success of our first book out of the ordinary? But did we follow some very specific steps as outlined above to try and achieve exactly what we did?
The business potential of becoming a self published author on Amazon is very real, and hopefully some of you are able to achieve the same kind of success that we are currently seeing as well. I would love to hear any comments or questions that you might have below.
Let's discuss some of the finer points of the process in the comment section and hopefully we can all learn from each other. If you want to write and sell your own book on Amazon, I have one piece of advice for you above all others. It's not an easy process. Our total investment for the book was a few hundred dollars plus the time we spent in writing it. If you have a dream to write a book or start a business that can provide you with passive income, the publishing niche is a good one.
There are even guys and gals out there who publish full time on Amazon KDP. The opportunity is there, you just have to seize it. When I did the research for my book, I used Publisher Rocket. This tool helped me to find popular keywords with low competition. Once the book was published, Rocket helped me nail down keywords for the description so I showed up even more in search results.
Without it, I would never have hit my goal. You can try Publisher Rocket right here to get the same success than I had or even better! By Spencer Haws June 12, Comments. Thanks Steve! The book is about 13, words long. All of the content was written by Perrin or I we both have a lot of experience in the field. You both have a lot of experience? Thanks Justin…I really wanted to try and do this under the radar to show that it really can be done without an audience.
I already have a topic in mind I could leverage for this. Thanks Philip. I think you should indeed start writing :. If its selling well, expand the business to udemy. This is a fantastic post — in fact it is almost an ebook in itself! Great case study, Spencer! I just launched my first book 10k words yesterday and will see the result. Thank you for your ebook promoting tips! Great case study…shared so much detail it is really helpful!
Not in the cards for me right now but possibly in the future and if so thanks for creating such a great resource! Will refer people here when they ask about Amazon and Publishing EBooks. Writing a book and publishing on Amazon may be easy but getting more sales to your Amazon ebooks is not at all an easy task and it requires a lot of patience and time for you to understand how things actually work.
Creating content for your ebook becomes much easier than you think and also you can target the right people to promote your ebooks to make more sales in the long run through Amazon. That is just awesome.
But now i see the potential. With my business plans already set for the upcoming year and now THIS i can already see that is gonna be exciting. Thanks Juanita! Thanks for this great post! A lot of useful information, very detailed and action oriented. I was skeptical about it but now I am actually quite interested! After Apennyshaved, there were like 20 sites with the same Splash theme about same razors. But with shitty content. My original plan was to use the eBook to help build my list as a free incentive for a brand new website. Knowing what you know now…. I know this would depend on the determining factors such as demand as you have pointed out above.
But you have the unique insight into both methods. Awesome resource Spencer — thanks so much. How are your reviews running now in terms of stars? Steve Scott talks about not worrying so much about reviews, but they are important. Thanks again! Thanks for the rich information! I have experience creating audio books — read along juvenile and audio only. Do you know if the eBook format, Kindle or other, can be employed successfully for this type of product?
Happy to be on your mailing list. I do know that you can sell audio versions of your book side by side with the kindle versions. Perhaps its worth taking your audios and creating a text kindle version. Impressive post Spencer! That actually got me thinking about publishing my own book. Thanks Sebastian! Actually the next podcast will be with Brian Dean from Backlinko.
Ah great, Brian always has some great insights into linkbuilding and general SEO stuff. Looking forward to the podcast! Just incredible guys! A tight, succinct and detailed look at getting your first book published on Amazon.
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I love it…. Thanks Brett! This post is awesome! Do you use separate amazon accounts for your books and affiliate? I was just wondering if I should keep it all in one or make them separate. Actually, they are already on separate platforms. Thanks so much for all the great info Spencer. One question I have for you is how long did it take you to from the point you decided to write your book till was published and successful? Thanks Chris. The entire process from idea to launch was really not that long.
I believe it took us around 3 months from idea to launch; however, a lot of that time was just us putting the book on the back burner as we worked on other projects. We have already started our second book, and we expect the entire process from idea to launch to take about 30 days now that we know what we are doing. Potential authors will definitely be able to succeed following the steps outlined above.
The most important? Topic selection and a great cover! I agree…topic selection and a great cover are vitally important. Glad you enjoyed the post! Man this is really great. But by putting just a little more effort into it and trying to actually write something good, look what you can do! Build leads, get traffic, make money, and give great info as well. Thanks a lot guys once again for your amazing case studies!
Yep, we are a bit blown away as well. The idea with the book initially was really to just be a lead generation tool, with the hopes that we might sell a few copies. Well, now we are selling so many copies that we are re-directing a lot of resources to expand our Kindle business. I have 10 Kindle books published under pen names over 2 years.
All 10 bring in money every month but 5 turned out to be winners. All I do now is set up a promo each week for one of the books. Free Kindle promos are o. I use some of the free services you mentioned. Whenever possible, I use paid promos that let you use your current book price or a discounted price. But free promos are helpful when you have a new book. Thanks for the great tips Sandy!
Very cool that you are now essentially always able to be in promotion mode with your books…great idea. I can see huge potential there…fantastic strategy. Hi Spencer. Out of curiosity, are your books Fiction or Non Fiction? I have been hesitant to try these paid promos, but I think I should experiment! Its been said a few times already, but awesome post. This is pretty in-depth case study that will help tons of folks go craddle to grave and launch their first Ebook! Knowing the success your seeing with this Ebook related to your new Authority site, are you thinking about going back and creating Ebooks for any of your other existing niche sites A Penny Shaved, the sites you purchased in , etc… or is this more of a tool you see moving forward as you create new online assets?
We could write several dozen books in this niche and still not have tapped out all the potential. So, we plan on sticking with our one website, one niche, and just dominating and growing it for the long term. Great post! Congrats on your ebook success! One question, do you need to deal with sales tax on the ebooks? That is probably different in all 50 states. Does Amazon help with this? Seems like it would be a big pain…. HUGE post and congrats on the success of the launch!
Great Post Spencer! I was actually surprised when I read the post title about Kindle because you usually share stuff before trying. However, keep it coming. Congrats on the success guys! Ever since I first heard a Steve Scott interview I have been mulling over launching a series of e-books. I think you guys finally threw some gas on the fire for me to get going! Hoping to launch my first titles in Definitely flagging your email to this post for future reference! Sounds good Russ! I think you just need to pull the trigger and go through the process. Great job! Most groups allow you to set up an event and message the members to invite them to your book party.
When I do mine I do extra prize draws for people who leave reviews, random winners from people who comment — anything to drive activity and visibility to my book. When I did that I got an extra downloads, but it was a good afternoon of work. Thanks for stopping by Sarah! I was more than happy to link to your site…has a lot of great resources that people should check out. And thanks for sharing the additional tips on book parties and ads on Facebook. Lots of great ideas for people to get more exposure to their books. Sometimes a complimentary review that mentions a mild negative, can be more powerful than a gushing complimentary one.
Is seems more honest because it is. Hi Sarah! Any resources on how to get the most downloads for your buck? I just hit publish and will have my free days start in about 8 days, and would love to get those results. Probably next to spamming Google to death, Amazon is just 2nd in line with fake reviews all over the place.
Would you buy a book that does not have reviews? There is a ton of info about well known authors that payed thousands of dollars for getting sales in the thousands. This post may help you in identifying how many books one can sell based on their rank. Thanks for that resource. We simply reached out to people we knew who might like the book my Aunt works in our field, for instance and asked for an honest review. I agree…I would never recommend people buying reviews or otherwise trying to game the Amazon system.
Spencer, and Perrin, I hate to be repetitious, but just have to echo the sentiments of the earlier comments.
I still enjoy muddling around with affiliate marketing and am earning monthly pocket money as an Amazon Associate. Your informative article shows it can be done. You guys have obviously considered each of these avenues during your research. Without disclosing your niche, could you suggest which is best for the rank beginner to tackle first, fiction or non-fiction?
So who knows! Great post guys, excellent strategies. And very timely for me as well, I hope to have my book out in the next few days and have been following Steve Scott since I heard him on your podcast. Thank you again, Spencer and Perrin, for a wonderful case study and inspiration. You guys are awesome! Yes, the sales have held up. I posted a couple of screenshots in the blog post above showing the sales through Mid-December.
Good suggestion. Is there a way to create a pen name? Yes, you can create a new pen name for different niches. Spencer, thanks for this post! I like the step-by-step method. Is there an approval process for each kindle book you publish or all get accepted? And can you just start making a kindle ebook with any amazon account or do they vet you first before allowing you to upload your book? There is no real approval process. As long as the book is in the correct kindle format you will be able to upload it successfully.
Its basically instant approval. They do not vet you, just open your Kindle account and supply your basic information name, address, tin, etc and you are all set. I started out using some free promo for my eBooks, but now I use mostly Amazon sponsored ads and paid promo. I do post to a few FB groups and use Twitter, but the Amazon sponsored ads with relevant keywords seem to work best for my novels. I alternate monthly sales and freebies with my series books.
I sometimes have sales with other authors. The key is having a lot of books out there. Good, well-written books with great covers and excellent cover and backcover copy. Right now I have 12 indie-pubbed novels on Amazon, with one non-fiction book on writing. BookBub ads are great if you can get one. I do upload books into the Kindle format using a Word. Also, the Kindle Unlimited program pays according to the amount of money in their fund. My other projects are doing so well at the moment but will try to get into this business probably next year. Excellent blog post and very informative.
Thank you so much! I love all the information you provide. Great post and I also leaned on Nick and Steve a lot during my launch in October.
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They were extremely helpful as was a few others. I did miss moving it first to. BUT the earnings almost double at least they did for us , which is awesome! Thank you guys! Thanks for this great resource! I have been drafting ideas for a book for some time now, so this will be a great opportunity to make it official and submit it on Amazon. I see no way for your pen name to be tracked to you personally. Amazon would of course privately know your real name, but no one publicly would.
This is an outstanding post. Really through.
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I used a very similar launch strategy to this even getting similar free download levels…kind of let it be after that and my paid ranking has dived so now I need to give it some love again. Thanks Nick! Hittail is different than Long Tail Pro…I believe hit tail mostly gathers data from your webmaster tools. Long Tail Pro generates new keyword ideas on for any niche you want to research. Awesome job guys. A simply fantastic, and in depth, write up.
Thanks for all the mentions here. Now I have 2 places to send people when they email me asking what they need to do to make their first Amazon book successful. Which can take a ton of time. Congrats on the solid work. A bunch of questions: How much have you invested? Specifically — how much have you paid for FancyHands. I understand the monthly plan model; how many gigs it consumed? Did you check out freebie sites which actually have posted your promo?
The amount of money spent was covered in the blog post. Yep, I know there will be copy cats from people researching on Amazon no matter what…but when you have a large audience like mine, with almost all of them being entrepreneurs, I am indeed preventing lots of additional copy cats by not revealing. Small question how many hours do you think it took you to write your first book?
We probably spent about 15 hours writing the book; but Perrin writes very fast and is highly skilled…so for others it could take much longer. Thanks spencer, This is really inspirational and motivational. After you and perrin announced your resignation from the expired domains and all blackhat or any hat techniques i also decided to make a turn over. I listened to that podcast you and perrin did which was a little bit emotional. However along these road to a new beginning, i think this post shows your seriousness.
I was already writing a book to kindle and coincidentally you published this post. Thanks a lot. How long did you take to write the book and publish? I am not a citizen from U. S and was submitting my tax information. Will appreciate if anyone will give me the best option now.
All done. About 15 hours 2. Can I ask how big was the e-mail list that sent out the promo on the 5th day? How many clicks did you get from that e-mail promo? So, it definitely was the reason for the huge spike the last day of the free offer. Wow, what a great post. Good luck with this and your future kindle books. This post with about 7, words would sell quite good as kindle book by itself. Good Lead generator e. So thankful for you sharing this! I wanted to know if you have added any pictures to your Kindle content or plan to?
Was wondering what your position is on using pictures in your Kindle books. Excellent work! I admire both of your patience in sharing the information on your blog.