Costs and Prices for self publishing

Why I have to use the prices that I do.

Since I saw a comment on this on an ad I’m running, and I’ve gotten a few other comments on this recently, I thought it was time to once again to cover prices and costs.

Please understand, I’m not blaming anyone, or attempting to shame anyone into spending more money than they feel comfortable with. BUT… since a lot of people don’t really understand how the pricing and money works when it comes to self published authors, here’s a run down.

eBook – Currently ‘The Forgemaster Cycle‘ is priced at 3.99 per eBook and 5.99 ( a steal!) for the box set. Breaking it down, Amazon takes 35% of that off the top, and I pay a few cents out of my cut for the ‘transmission’ fee of the electronic copy. The Ascendant Path series is 2.99 per eBook (they are shorter per book but more books) Amazon again takes 35% off the top and I pay a few cents per sale to send the book to you. eBooks have one of the higher profit margins for me as a self published writer.

Paperback – Again, for ‘The Forgemaster Cycle’ paperbacks, they are priced at 19$ us. Which, is, I fully agree, a lot. But first off Amazon takes thier cut, and it’s not 35%. It’s nearly 10$. This is based off book length, and publication ‘size’ of the book, meaning the actual physical dimensions. The Forgemaster Cycle books are all 6×9 and all over 400 pages. However, I don’t get 9$ per sale. I get a lot less. The print on demand costs, which are 5-7 $ per book, come out of *my* cut, not Amazons. So.. on a 19$ book, I make 2-4$ depending. The Ascendant Path books, being smaller (5×8) and shorter, cost less, but I still have to pay Amazon their cut and the print of demand costs out of *MY* cut. So I make 2-3$ per paperback.

Hardback – kind of the same, but the print on demand costs are higher, so for me to make any profit, they are priced higher.

Audio – Audiobooks are a bit strange.. but the basics are this. Let’s say you buy an audiobook for 24$ (if you use an audible credit, it’s translated into this for payment purchases) Half goes to Audible (Amazon owns them, so it’s all the same really) then of the remaining money, half goes to me, and half goes to the producer (narrator) at least in my case. While there are ways to change that, it requires paying the narrator a lot up front and I simply don’t have that kind of money lying around to do so.

So that’s the explanation, but I can almost hear you asking, why?

Well.. for a few reasons.

One, I don’t get the sweet deals ‘traditional’ publishers get. They have their own pricing from Amazon, and it’s a lot better than mine. (I could write a whole massive post on the pros and cons of self publishing vs traditional publishing, but that’s for another day.)

Two, I’m not a ‘famous’ self published authors. If you are really well known, Amazon has been known to offer better deals to some self-published authors. I’m not one of them, so I don’t get those deals either.

Amazon controls roughly 80% of the eBook market, and so I pay the price to use their marketplace. It’s a crowded space, something like 1.42 MILLION books are self published each year on Amazon. Which is why I advertise (another long post for a different time.)

Again, none of this is to guilt or shame anyone, but I know from a reader standpoint sometimes the pricing seems really crazy and horrible. This is why.. I just sort of have to play the game, even if I don’t fully agree with the rules.

One Response

  1. Despite that clear and concise explanation, I would expect many are still not going to get it. I do and love to read, and as such, love to support self published authors. Keep up up the shamelessly good work…

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