This is Part Five in my continuing series of posts on the very basics of self-publishing books. This part discusses how to set a price for a print book. And here’s a link to Part Four.
If you’re self-publishing under your own trade name, you’re entirely responsible for setting your book’s suggested retail price. This involves more than just looking at what other authors are charging for their books and setting your price somewhere in the same neighborhood.
First, you need to know how much it costs to produce a copy of the book. (LSI provides a formula for determining this.) Once you’ve determined your production cost per book, then considered the market price for books similar to yours, you need to factor in a wholesale discount of 55 – 60%. The difference between the discounted price and the cost of the book is your profit per sale. Therefore, be sure the discounted price ends up being higher than the production cost of one copy of your book.
Or to put in terms of an equation:
Wholesale price (50 – 60% of suggested retail price) – Cost of producing book = author’s profit
Having set your price with the wholesale discount in mind, any profits from sales made through wholesalers such as Ingram (which owns LSI) and Baker & Taylor will be paid entirely to you. I like to set my discount at 55%, right in the middle. There are ways to sell print books other than bookstores. But I’ll save that talk for another time.
If you use an author services company (as defined here), they’ll provide a formula for determining the suggested retail price. Each author services company has a slightly different approach for doing this.
However, you exercise the most control over the process by publishing under a trade name through a POD publisher like LSI.
When it comes to creating a print cover, an author services company can create it for you for a fee or you can hire a freelancer who’ll create it. The latter is (usually) the cheaper option. The freelancer will have to know and follow the author service company’s specs.
When you self-publish under a trade name through LSI, you create a cover template for the graphic artist. You need to know the page count of the PDF text file to be uploaded, the ISBN and suggested retail price before you do this, so these details can be incorporated into the cover.
So there’s a lot of planning and no small cost involved whether you’re completely indie or not. 🙂
I’ve been self-publishing my work since 2009 and offer writing advice and other tips, as well as book reviews. Just check out my YouTube channel!