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How Much Should I Sell My Book For?

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Pricing Your Book Depends on What You're Offering Inside Your Book

by Vince Pannullo /

Most authors take years to write a book, then when it’s ready for print they ask, “How much should I sell my book for?” When asked about how to price a book, my good buddy, Ron Pramschufer, the original owner of Self Publishing used to say, “You don't weigh it to see how heavy the book is. You're not selling meat by the pound!” His allusion is that it's not about how thick the book is; it's about the information that you are sharing.

First Impressions and Pricing

First impressions matter. In a store the print quality is part of the initial impact. However, when selling on the internet, they can only look at the front and back covers and the price. A first impression is often based on a small thumbnail-size cover image, the description of the book, and the price. Often they can’t even tell the genre of your book. Hence, you should make sure that your book cover design is professionally crafted, and the title is easy to see in a thumbnail-size image of the cover. The author bio and photo should clearly represent your author career, and the book description should be intriguing yet provide some basic information such as the genre/category. NOTE: they might expect both paperback and hardcover to have good quality interior paper—but they won’t know until they receive the book.

Book Goals

Self-published authors should reflect on their book goals before pricing. They should also have a realistic marketing plan with clear strategies on how they are going to sell and market their book. Most publishing agencies expect authors to bring their “list.” Do you have one?

What are you going to do with the printed books once they arrive? Without hesitation one of my authors said, “I'll post them on my website for sale.” If you have never written a book before but you have an active following on your website and/or social media, excellent! it is highly likely that your followers will buy your book and read it!

When you think about how you are going to sell your book consider today’s many options to accept money. Will you have a website store or shop button that allows credit card processing? How will you sell on social media? Are you thinking people will send a check in the mail (you might have to think again about this one)? At this point it should be obvious that whether your book is $2.99 or $35.00, you have to make it easy for people to click and purchase it. It’s got to be easy for people to give you money.

Pricing: Free, Cheap, Standard, or Expensive

I have seen many authors that just want to create their book, have it in print, and plan to give it away. Sound crazy? There are plenty of entrepreneurs who write a book to show they are a subject-matter expert. They want to share with prospects, help with networking, or hand out at conventions. These people do not have to worry about pricing their book. Some authors have a series in mind and don’t object to offering the first book for free; they are confident that they will gain followers for the other books in the series.

Some authors want as many people as possible to read their book. They might have a cheap price to cover the costs and make a minimal amount of money. Standard genre pricing might be the strategy for first-time authors debut in their genre. Then again, a low price might be taken as cheap or low-quality content.

Expensive books are usually rare and/or in demand, such as business books. A book is considered rare if there are less than 500 copies in print because of limited stock with no plans of reprints. Outside of a trend, the book’s demand could be a textbook for a class or a relevant, viral event.

Feature vs. Benefit (Pricing and Value)

Book pricing is not all black and white. Remember, your self-published book took you years (or blood, sweat, and tears) to write. Whenever you are selling something, you tend to think of the features and benefits. The price is a feature, whereas the value of the content is definitely a benefit.

Think about the quality of paper used in your book, the cover design, the trim size, and page count. How much does it cost to print your book? Does your book contain extensive stats, charts, and interior pictures?

When considering the value of your book, also look at your genre competition. Does the content provide something valuable? How will the reader know what the value is prior to purchasing?

Self-Published Book Pricing Guideline

The standard pricing ideas are based on genre or the category.

1. Fiction

  • Novels – a good starting price, if your book is 5 x 8 and 256 pages. Most paperback book prices are from $12.95 to $16.95.

  • Young Adult (YA) novels – 5x8 paperbacks range from $12.95 to $15.95

  • Children's Picture Books usually use high quality paper that can stand up to repeated use by young fingers.

i. Hardcover – the cost to print a hardcover book is always higher than a paperback. If you have a 28- or 32-page hardcover children's book, the price range should be from $19.95 to $24.95 (based on a 8 x 8 trim size).

ii. Paperback – a paperback children's book ranges from $12.95 to $19.95 (based on a 8 x 8 trim size)

2. Non-Fiction – it takes a tremendous amount of research to write a nonfiction book. People are going to be looking to satisfy some niche curiosity or needs. Most nonfiction readers buy books based on the subject matter instead of price. Prices range from $24.95 to $29.95, based on 6 x 9 or 5.5 x 8.5 trim size.

  • Business books – Authors tend to use footnotes, illustrations, bullets, lists, charts, subheadings, and more. Come up with a price when you have the editing, design, printing, and shipping expenses calculated. Be sure to look at your industry competition.

  • Personal development books – $15-20.


When You Publish a Book It's Like Starting a New Business.

Remember, you are selling a product that you wrote and created. It's your knowledge that you're willing to share. What you wrote has lots of volume; volume is power, and power is money! offers quality printing, cover designs, and interior layout services. Contact us when you’re ready to print your book.

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