Book pricing – authors, what are you worth?

An interesting article published not long ago profiles one author’s success self-publishing over more traditional publishing models, most notably in terms of higher net royalties on book sales. In fact, the case study recorded significantly higher royalties on a relatively low quantity of book sales.

The book pricing advantages of self-publishing is no stranger to this blog, nor the increasingly successful population of authors who follow that path. While book pricing has a notable effect on your book sales and marketing efforts, your pricing decisions fall into the production (or even planning) stage.

Also interesting, this particular article also mentioned that writers should never have to pay for publishing upfront.

Compelling isn’t it? I’ve worked with many authors who have been pulled in by that concept, but in the end find themselves a book of average production quality sold back to them at highly marked-up costs which would find difficulty competing in any retail market.

Free publishing mirrors the traditional model, and its easy to find validation in your writing through an organization that would publish material for free.


Publishers are businesses and need to make money too, after all. Often this free publishing model really only puts self-designed books right back in the hands of its author, not readers.

One successful alternative does involve upfront publishing fees, which opens a direct contract between authors and publishers including quality, professional production on books that are competitively sold in the marketplace, where readers buy books. Make sure your self-publishing choice includes those things like cover design, interior formatting, and full distribution. Also, as previously mentioned– and the significance here is worth the redundancy – make sure your publisher offers pricing flexibility (control) and 100% royalties on book sales.

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