How To Price Your First ebook

Ever wondered what’s the right price for selling an ebook? This is one of the dilemmas when selling your first ebook or an information product. You want to price it so that tempts customers into hitting the Buy button. But if your price it too low, you reduce the profit margin, whereas if it’s too high customers may look elsewhere. The trick is to know what price your target customers are willing to pay and then develop eBooks that fill their immediate needs.

Instructor and students studying a map, Meacham Field, Fort Worth, Tex. (LOC)
Ever wondered what’s the right price for selling an ebook?
This is one of the dilemmas when selling your first ebook or an information product. You want to price it so that tempts customers into hitting the Buy button. But if your price it too low, you reduce the profit margin, whereas if it’s too high customers may look elsewhere. The trick is to know what price your target customers are willing to pay and then develop eBooks that fill their immediate needs.

What’s the Best Price To Sell ebooks?

You need to work backwards. What I mean is that right price is the price that suits your customer. For some, $9.99 is the most they will pay. For others, especially those who have a company credit card and have a larger budget, you can charge several hundred dollars and they will buy – if the product solves an immediate problem.
I’ve learned how to do this mostly from reading Jeremy Shoemaker (aka Shoemoney) and how he leverages Facebook to drive traffic to sales pages.
Here are some more ways to position your ebook.
Try to persuade your customer that their immediate needs are more important that their short-term wants. See how Yaro does it here.
I bet you see this in supermarkets all the time when you add things to your shopping basket that you didn’t really need. But at the time it made sense.
Work on your customers’ emotions, for example, by creating limited editions or a sense of urgency that spurs them into action.
There is a strong urge in humans to have something that others can’t afford, is unique, or hard to find.
Once you understand how these emotional triggers work, you can experiment with different pricing strategies.

How to Price ebooks?

I you forced me… I’d say the best price is between $9.99 and $33.99.
I’ve seen exceptions to this but the best selling ebooks are in this range.
Why?

  • If it’s less that $9.99, it’s seen as low-value and not worth the effort. The subtext in the customer’s mind is that if I do a Google Search, I’ll find a similar product for free.
  • If it’s less $19.99, customers think about buying the product. It has to be something of high value that solves an immediate problem.
  • If it’s around $33.99, then it has to be more valuable that the hardback (if it’s an ebook) and something they can justify to their boss, for example, when they claim it as an expense. Look at how SEOMoz develop a tiered pricing structure.

With this in mind, you need to understand your customers and what triggers them into hitting the Buy button:

  • Sense of urgency – does your product solve their immediate need? If so, you’re in a very strong position.
  • Immediate problem – can they use your product immediately or do they need to take some training, have a qualification, install other software. You need to stress (and stress it repeatedly in different parts of your sales page) that they can use the product the moment they get it. A series of courses sent with advanced email software is another way to do this.
  • Justification to others – assume they have to justify their decision to buy the ebook or digital download. How will they be able to do this with confidence? Put yourself in their shoes and you’ll see why they might be reluctant to buy.

Is there really money in selling ebooks?

This bring us back to the question of whether there is really any money to be made selling ebooks or information products. My philosophy is very simple.
If you build a quality product, understand your target audience, get a trusted ecommerce partner, and have the right tools to sell ebooks online, then it will work.
The mistake is to try to compete against other low-priced products in a crowded market. Look at markets that are under-served and where there is an immediate need for books, tutorials, guides and others information that will resolve problems.
Once you’ve identified this, price is less of an issue. Customers only want to know if you can solve their problem. If you can do this, then you will start to sell products online quite successfully.
Have a question? Drop me a line.

How to Sell Expensive eBooks

One of the perceptions about ebooks is that they’re just PDFs. They can’t compare with the real thing, such as printed books you can hold in your hand. For most customers, this means that ebooks SHOULD cost less than real books as there is no printing, bookstore, and real world interactions.

They say perception is everything, right?

One of the perceptions about ebooks is that they’re just PDFs. They can’t compare with the real thing, such as printed books you can hold in your hand.

For most customers, this means that ebooks SHOULD cost less than real books as there is no printing, bookstore, and real world interactions.

That’s true… up to a point.

How to Change Customer’s Perception About Ebooks

One way to get over this hurdle is to refer to the ebook in other terms. For example, refer to it as:

  • Special Report
  • Market Research
  • Productivity Tools

The point is that if you deflect the customer away from the work PDF (and it’s low cost associations, then it’s easier to increase the price.)

You can also consider using words such as:

  • Digital Downloads
  • Information Products
  • Courseware

How to Position Your Ebook

What this means is that you need to get the reader thinking about the

  1. Benefits
  2. Advantages
  3. Strategic uses
  4. Cost Savings

that the book offers.

Actually, if YOU stop thinking of it as a book and look at it as a solution to a problem, then you automatically begin to re-frame it in your own mind.

Do you see the difference?

Do You Pay Your Doctor By the Hour?

Probably not. You pay your doctor, lawyer, architect, accountant or anyone who provides professional advice on their knowledge.

You’re not after their time. You’re after the expert knowledge they have accumulated through training and practice.

Selling ebooks is the same.

You need to position the product so that it solves a problem – instantly!

Once you frame the product offering in these terms, then price is no longer an issue.

Additional Tip: Use E-Junkie for ebook delivery and your affiliate program. It all ties into PayPal (and other payment processors) and it’s only $5 a month.

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Pricing Ebooks

One of the dilemmas you face when selling your first ebook or information product is deciding how to price it. You want to make it affordable it so it tempts customers into hitting Buy Now but you also need to make a profit, right? If you price it too low, you reduce the profit margin. If you price it too high, you lose customers.

How much should you charge for your ebooks? One of the dilemmas you face when selling your first ebook is trying to price it. Should it be $9.99 or $29.99?
You want to make it affordable it so it tempts customers into hitting Buy Now but you also need to make a profit, right? If you price it too low, you reduce the profit margin. If you price it too high, you may lose customers.
Or would you? Maybe you’d make more…
mistake
 
 

What’s the Best Price To Sell ebooks?

You need to work backwards. What I mean is that best price is the price that suits your customer.
But, here’s the catch.
You can persuade your customer that they need more that they want (I bet you see this in supermarkets all the time) and you can play with their emotions, for example, by creating limited editions.
There is a strong urge in humans to have something that others can’t afford, is unique, or hard to find.
Once you understand how these emotional triggers work, you can experiment with different pricing strategies.

What’s the Best Price To Sell?

Ok, the best price is between $9.99 and $33.99.
I’ve seen exceptions to this but the best selling ebooks are in this range.
Why?
If it’s less that $9.99, it’s seen as low-value and not worth the effort. The subtext in the customer’s mind is that if I do a Google Search, I’ll find a similar product for free.
If it’s less $19.99, customers think about buying the product. It has to be something of high value that solves an immediate problem.
If it’s around $33.99, then it has to be more valuable that the hardback (if it’s an ebook) and something they can justify to their boss, for example, when they claim it as an expense.
With this in mind, you need to consider the buyers:

  • Sense of urgency
  • Immediate problem
  • Justification to superiors or peers

Emotional Triggers & How Buyers Buy Online

Most online sales are instant purchases.
Customers don’t:

  • Look on Monday
  • Get an invoice on Tuesday, and
  • Buy on Thursday

It’s very direct. They have a problem. They do a Google Search. They find your site. Then it’s buy or no buy.
Conclusion
The only way to determine the price your ebook is to starting selling as soon as possible. Once you’ve launched three or four books, you will have a much better insight into what your target customers are willing to pay and also use the feedback to refine your products. In some ways, this makes things simpler.
You can see these ebooks to research your target market and use the data to build better products – that sell more copies.
Additional Tip: Use E-Junkie for ebook delivery and your affiliate program. It all ties into PayPal (and other payment processors) and it’s only $5 a month.

 
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How Much Do 'A List' Bloggers (Really) Earn Per Hour?

How much do you think A List Bloggers make per hour?
Kristi, one of the most successful bloggers, looked at the hidden costs of running a blog, especially for those who want to make the leap into full-time professional blogging.

I think what surprised many people if you read the comments was the expenses that need to be incurred before profits are made. Real profits. Not $50 a month from Adsense but enough to pay the mortgage. Y’know, like it was a real job….
Let’s break this down and see if making a living as as a ‘problogger’ is do-able.

Should You Blog for Money?

Search Google for make money online, problogger, Shoemoney, and you’ll get million of hits.

  • No Barrier to Entry – One of the attractions of blogging is the low barrier to entry. Blogging is the ultimate expression of meritocracy. Anyone can join in and try.
  • No Entry Criteria – Unlike other professions, such as journalism, you don’t need a degree or any type of paperwork.
  • Investment – unlike other types of business, you don’t need to buy a stall, shop, car or even a mobile phone. All you need is web access. The tools are mostly free to get started and you can upgrade as you go along.

So, why not give it a try?

Hidden Cost of Running a Blog

Here’s where things get interesting. Many websites show monthly reports of their earnings. Nothing wrong with that.
Are the figures real?
I don’t know.
I’m pretty sure some are making good money online, others are a little more creative with the truth.
What’s important to note are the hidden costs of running these blogs. If you think about it, there has to be costs, right?
Every business spends money on training, advertising, promotions, hiring, salary, insurance and pays taxes.
Running a web business is no different.
You have sales on one side of the page and expenses on the others. What’s left is the profit.

Business Blog Expenses

Some of the expenses of running a blog full-time include:

  • Web hosting
  • Google Adwords
  • Email software for newsletters
  • Box shot software for digital products and info products
  • Training, such as Yaro’s Mastermind Group
  • Forums, such as Third Tribe
  • WordPress themes Thesis
  • Web storage fees
  • Web access fees
  • Hardware
  • Advanced Email Software
  • Equipment
  • Outsourcing fees
  • Salary

How to Make Money Blogging

This leads into the question of how you can actually make money. In general, sales are generated from:

  • Product Reviews
  • Ebooks
  • Courseware
  • Digital Downloads
  • Template Design
  • Consultancy
  • Software
  • Affiliate Products
  • Amazon
  • Google AdSense
  • Text Ads

Blogger’s Catch 22

The catch is that you have to generate enough sales to justify the expenses. Otherwise, you’re running at a loss.
There’s a few ways to do this:

  • Get a loan – while your family is the first port of call, I’d advise against this unless they have deep pockets. There’s no guarantee they will get their loan back, especially if this is your first business.
  • Sell something – rather than ask for a loan, look at selling things you no longer need and/or work extra hours to create a little nest egg that you can invest in the business.
  • Trade services – work out an arrangement, for example, with a web designer, that you’ll provide some service for him/her if they create your blog for you.

Once you have the seed money you need to invest in the business, you can do promotions, run ad campaigns, get the best equipment, and also travel to network at shows, conferences and events.
The top bloggers are always on the road at trade shows, conferences and events.
Ever wonder why?
To network and make connections.
On the web, you’re only as successful as your network.
Want an example?
Ever notice when a new product comes out…. suddenly all the A Listers Bloggers write about it the same day. In other words, the product launch is synchronized across all the top blogger sites to have maximum impact.
Which partly explains why your blogging efforts – and sales – don’t have the same reach. Your network is smaller, that’s all.
So how do you fix this?
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to get into the inner circle from day 1, but getting out and meeting other bloggers will speed up the process.
So, having access to capital (i.e. greater cash-flow) allows you to invest in the best products and build your business faster.
How?

  • Outsource – instead of doing everything yourself (coding, design, marketing, emails, support), you can delegate the task to a VA and focus on areas that generate more money.
  • Advertising – instead of waiting for others to find your site organically, you can invest in ad campaigns and get your site noticed faster.
  • Connections – having funds also allows you to meet others at shows and form alliances. It’s hard to do this over the web. Otherwise, why would there be trade shows? It’s all about networking.

How to Build a Business v Blog

This leads into the next point. How are you going to make real money?
The Achilles heel of blogging is that the moment you stop blogging, it starts to fade. You need to service it all the time.
whereas…
The advantage of a business is that it’s less about you and more about the products you deliver.
For me, 80% of my income is from sites not blogs.
So, before you go too far down this road, look at your business model and see which has the greatest long-term rewards.
Here are some business models to consider:

  • Advertising
  • Joint Ventures
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Digital Product Development
  • Software Development
  • Royalties
  • eBook Publishing
  • Consultancy
  • Membership forums
  • Subscriptions
  • Services, e.g. SEO
  • Trading e.g. ebay
  • Flipping aka buying and selling sites/domain names

These are some ways you can create money from a site/blog.
Note that this has little to do with SEO, Plugins, Themes, Hacks or the mechanics of running a blog.
It’s about running a business.
And what’s so great about running a business?
It’s easier to sell!
Investors can estimate how much revenue it stands to make and can give you an offer based on the income minus expenses and also factoring in other variables such as the industry sector and market demand.
Selling a blog, especially a personal blog, is a much harder sell.

How Much Do Bloggers Earn Per Hour?

This brings us back to the original point. How much do bloggers earn per hour?
Here’s how to work it out.

  • Estimate your sales over a 12 month period – $25,000
  • Calculate your expenses over a 12 month period – $5,000
  • Profit – $20,000
  • Divide the profit by 330 working days – $60
  • Divide this by 4 hours per day – $15

This looks great… if you can earn 25k per year.
If your business is earning about 2k per year and over 1k is going on hosting, training, travel, software, then you may be making very little or even running at a loss.

  • Estimate your sales over a 12 month period – $2,000
  • Calculate your expenses over a 12 month period – $1,000
  • Profit – $1,000
  • Divide the profit by 330 working days – $3
  • Divide this by 4 hours per day – $0.75

That’s how much you’ll earn per hour.

Is Blogging Worth it?

It depends on how much you enjoy it, how much you want/need to make money, and the opportunities for future growth.
I made very little for the first few years but then, over a three year period, transitioned from a full-time office job to a full-time ‘web’ job.
For you, maybe the transition will be quicker. Maybe you have the time, energy and smarts to make it happen.
Whatever you do, use your time wisely. And don’t be ‘pennywise and pound foolish’.
Get the best equipment you can afford, take the best courses, and then put your best foot forward.
What else would you add?

The Blackadder Guide to Interfrastically Profitable Ebooks

If only Blackadder had eJunkie to publish his books!
It’s my magnum opus, says Blackadder. It took me eight years to write and now Dr Johnson may publish it. If you’ve seen Blackadder, you know what happens next.

Publishing eBooks in 1574

Most of us have a good book in us, declared Blackadder. And he’s right. The only problem for Blackadder was getting published. And paying for the distribution. And getting publicity…
In his day – 1800s – getting a book published was a major undertaking.

  • You needed a patron. He wanted the self-important but influential Dr Johnson.
  • Paper cost money. Unlike today, tools of the writer’s trade didn’t come cheap.
  • Distribution was limited. Outside of London, it was difficult to find publishers.
  • Connections mattered. Most publishing houses wouldn’t look at your manuscript unless you had some social status.

The list goes on.

Your Guide to Publishing ebooks

Today, that’s all changed. You now have:

  • Your own printing press. See WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger.com
  • Your own publisher. See eJunkie, Lulu
  • Your own delivery mechanism. See Payloadz
  • Your own way to accept payments over the web. See Clickbank, 1ShoppingCart

You can write, publish, deliver, and get paid while sitting in front of your PC.
Maybe the problem is that it’s too easy.
You can setup an account with EJunkie (for me these guys are the best) and get your own printing press in action in about five, maybe ten minutes…
What’s stopping you?

What's the right number of pages for an eBook to sell well?

Want to write an ebook (that you can sell) but are not sure how long it should be? 30 pages or 300? There’s different schools of thought on this but here are some tactics you can use.

Ebook: length, format, audience & price

Start backwards. Don’t worry about the size of the ebook yet. Instead do an insane amount of market research.

  • Audience – define exactly who you want to sell to. For example, if you’re writing an ebook about setting up a business blog, ask yourself is this for beginners or experts? Is it for people at home (price is an issue) or someone in an office (with access to the credit card).
  • Price – look at ebooks your competitors sell, for example, this from Kristi Hines on Guest Post Blogging and this from Remarkamedia are both examples of high quality information products with lots of actionable tips. Create a spreadsheet in Excel and add the price, page count and other factors, e.g. other free books or discounts.
  • Format – most ebooks are PDFs. Others are available as Kindle downloads or for the iPad. Again, gather as much data as possible and see what trends emerge.
  • Length – armed with this information, you should see patterns in the pricing, length, and formats. Focus on the length and look at other factors, such as in-depth tutorials as in the Twitter Dummy Guide.

For example?

How to make your Ebook longer

Let’s say you write 5000 words on how to make money writing guest posts.
You can increase the length of this book without undermining its quality in the following ways:

  • Font Size – Choose a font that’s easy to read and works well on different platforms. Instead of using Times Roman 11, try Arial 12 or 14. Which is easier to read?
  • Margin – Create a wide left margin. This squeezes the body of the text, increasing the page count. If you do this correctly, you can add 20% to the ebook length.
  • Line Spacing – Add line space (e.g. 6 pts) above and below the text. This creates more white space, again adding to the book size. Don’t overdo it or it looks scammy.
  • Add Images – Decorate the ebook with images that add a little sparkle and compliment the text. Again, make them relevant and give credit in the appendix.
  • Multiple Chapters – Don’t create one long ebook. Split it into different chapters, each with an introductory page.

Takeaway

Perception is everything. If you can increase a 45 page book to 75 pages, your customer feels they are getting more value. And if you offer some nice tables and screenshots to jazz up the document, then you’re onto a winner.
Research your competitors relentlessly. Note how they’re writing, presenting, and ‘Positioning’ their ebooks. Then apply this to your information products.
What else would you add? What’s the right length for an ebook?