This is the million-dollar question! The best Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for your book depends on your goals, what other books in your genre are selling for, and your book’s specific print-on-demand cost.
Step 1: Give some thought to the question: "what are my goals for my book?" Do you want to reach as many readers as possible (keep the price as low as possible) or maximize profit (set a higher price to maximize royalties)? Do you want to find a “sweet spot” in the middle? Generally, we recommend aiming for a royalty of around $5 USD per book sold, but you can go as low as $2, or as high as you’d like.
Step 2: Pay attention to the prices of other books within your genre so as not to price yourself out of the market; search online and visit your local bookshops to get a feel for the current market. If you are a first-time author, try to price your book at or slightly below the average, to reduce the price barrier that may prevent a buyer from taking a chance on an indie author.
- Note: Print-On-Demand is wonderful for independent authors because you don't need to purchase and maintain a stock of hundreds of books to sell out of your trunk or basement. However, the reality is it can be challenging to come up with a competitive price against some mass-market books. This is because traditional publishers will be printing runs of thousands of copies at a time, dramatically reducing the per-book cost and allowing for prices that may be lower than is possible with Print-on-Demand.
Step 3: Connect your goals and research to the reality of your book and use the Octavo Pricing Task. Once your initial interior draft has been completed and we know your book’s page count, your project manager will send you an email prompting you to select your pricing through a task in Octavo. This task will provide the royalties that you will earn at each retail price you set, so you can experiment with different prices to see how they affect your royalties.
Selecting a Retailer Discount:
- When setting the pricing for your print book in Octavo, you will notice that there are three retailer discount strategies available: Maximize My Royalties, Maximize My Distribution, and Book Returns Program.
- The retail discount is a percentage discount that you offer to booksellers off of the retail price. This is the cut that the retailer takes in exchange for listing your book. Retailer discounts can be set up between a minimum (Maximize Royalties), to a slighly higher level which can increase the number of online book retailers that will list your book (Maximize Distribution), to the maximum wholesale discount (Book Returns Program).
- If you are a Canadian author and you would like Chapters/Indigo to list your book, we recommend that you choose the Maximize My Distribution option, which generally reduces your per-book royalties by about $1-2, but should ensure your book is available through this retailer by the end of the "distribution window".
- For the vast majority of Tellwell authors, selecting the Maximize Royalties or Maximize Distribution discount level will be the best decision. Discounts above the minimum are only necessary for some online retailers, and the wholesale discount is relevant only for brick-and-mortar bookstores. For more information check out our related article: Will brick-and-mortar bookstores stock my book?
- For more in-depth information, please see this blog post, or watch this video.
For printed books, Net Royalties are defined as the Suggest Retail Price minus the Retail Discount (30-40%) minus your book’s print-on-demand cost. Books will have differing print costs based on the trim size, interior paper type, binding and page count – this means that if your book is 400 pages long, it will cost more to print and should, therefore, be priced higher than if it were 100 pages long. You can click here to explore how royalties differ in correlation to book specifications.
For eBooks, there is no print cost, and we recommend selecting a SRP of $2.99 - $9.99 to earn the maximum royalty amount, as books priced outside of the range earn significantly lower royalties.