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Pricing and Marketing Your Book

Submitted by  on July 15th, 2010

I have successfully published a number of works and am sometimes asked for advice on pricing a product for the market. More often than not, the author is asking about a book or an e-book. Although my comments below are in relation to pricing and marketing an e-book, many of the principles apply more generally to any kind of information-type product. Here are my main considerations for pricing an e-book.

Assess the relative levels of supply and demand for the information or resource you are offering. If there are not many publishers distributing similar works to your own and not many people are wanting it, then adjust your price down. If supply is short and demand is high, lift your price.

Consider the amount of value-add you provide with your e-book. Do you include a CDROM or DVD, or customizable templates or workbooks? The more you can include, the more you can command in price.

What is your degree of specialization? If your e-book appeals to the mass market, price it lower compared with a product suitable for a tight niche. Highly technical or specialized works generally command a higher price.

Review your competition. What price are similarly placed resources demanding? This will give you an indication of what people are prepared to pay for your e-book.

What is your reputation in your industry? If you are well-known and respected in your profession, you will be able to demand a higher price compared with the situation where you are relatively unknown.

All other things being equal, the more pages and illustrations contained in your book, the higher the price you can ask. Given a consistent and high quality throughout, the more you provide to your customer, the higher the value.

If the information you provide is cutting-edge, then ask a higher price. On the other hand, if your e-book is simply offering what is generally known already, don’t expect to command a top price.

Some e-book creators allow you restrict the customer copying and printing your work after purchase. If you restrict what a customer can do with your product, they may consider it to be of lesser value to them and will want to pay less accordingly.

In addition to your selling price, the other key determinant of your sales volume is your marketing plan and how you execute it. In your marketing plan, consider these success factors.

Determine your value proposition. Ask yourself what it is that makes your e-book different to other offerings in the market and what value your product provides to your customer.

Obtain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for your work. Getting and displaying the ISBN in your e-book will give it respectability and credibility. Find out which organization distributes ISBNs in your country.

Offer a free sample download from your or your distributor’s web site. This could be a complimentary chapter, chart, game or checklist. To give your prospective customers added confidence, let them taste before they buy.

Ask people you know and respected people in your industry to review your book prior to publication. Include these reviews and testimonials on the inside or back cover and on your web site. If your e-book is already published, no matter. It’s never too late to collect and publish reviews and testimonials.

Create an attractive front cover. Choose colors and themes that will stand out on a web site. Consider how your e-book will look as a thumbnail.

Make your e-book easy to purchase on-line with multiple purchasing options. Publish a reasonable returns policy that gives people confidence in parting with their money.

If you are preparing your work for the market or have experience in marketing your product, please share your experiences here. We would love to hear what worked well for you and what learning you gained along the way.

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