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.

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?

How To Write Catchy Ebook Titles Like @Copyblogger

Want to Write Catchy Ebook Titles Like Copyblogger? Here’s 3 creative ways to find a catchy title for your ebook (or blog post) and ensure that it gets the attention that it deserves.

Catchy ebook titles! What’s the trick to make them stand out? Here’s some creative ways to find a catchy title for your ebook (or blog post) and ensure that it gets the attention that it deserves.

google-reader-user-interface

Write The Ebook Title First Or Last?

There are different schools of thought on this. I write the title first – even if it’s a working title – and then develop the content from this. This helps me stay on track and ensure that I don’t deviate from the subject matter. Or forget my target readers.

There is no wrong or right. Some recommend you write the title first, others (eg James on Men with Pens) that you write the headline last.

One compromise is to define a working title and then refine it when the content is complete.

3 Ways To Get Ideas For Ebook Titles

Let’s say you’re writing about a ‘boring’ subject and can’t find an interesting angle. Of course there are no boring subjects; it depends where you stand. I love collecting old coins and spend hours examining patinas. Maybe that’s not your thing but for me…

amazon-bestseller

I take a three-pronged approach:

  1. Amazon – I type the main keyword, for example, Coins into Amazon. Then I filter the results by Bestseller (see above). Next, I try different categories, for example, I might avoid Books and look at Movies. Then I look at the titles and see if I can borrow a few ideas. Something will jump out, trust me!
  2. RSS Reader – I deliberately add great writers like Seth, Tim Ferris, John Jantsch, Yaro Starak, and Chris Brogan to my Google Reader so I can scan their titles and select titles that I can adapt. This is a nice way to examine 100s of great titles in 5 minutes or less.
  3. Copyblogger – I saved the best to last. Most everything I’ve learnt about web writing has been from Brian Clark. Credit also goes to Darren Rowse but I keep re-reading Brian’s old post and recommend that you PRINT them out, use a yellow marker and highlight the key points. It’s all there! You just have to make the effort.

10 Step Copyblogger Headline Writing Formula

One post by Brian provides a headline writing formula that you can use as a framework – not a template – for creating your own headlines. These work mostly for blog posts but can be adapted for ebook titles.

  1. Who Else Wants [blank]?
  2. The Secret of [blank]
  3. Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
  4. Little Known Ways to [blank]
  5. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
  6. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
  7. Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
  8. [Do something] like [world-class example]
  9. Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
  10. What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]

Another suggestion is to use these titles for the chapter heading and/or sub-heads. More on that in a later post.

Adding Fear, Uncertainly, and Doubt To Ebook Titles

Another approach is to identify the three main keywords, such as Coins, Collecting, and Rare. These play with these keywords until you find a combination that works.

When doing this, try to factor in FUD:

  • Fear – what happens if I lose my rare coins?
  • Uncertainty – do you know what happens if you don’t clean your coins?
  • Doubt – maybe the way you store you coins is risky – and crank it up – to your children’s health.

You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Title’s About You

[Ed – apologies to Carly Simon for getting creative with her title.]

You can then flip this around and stroke the reader’s vanity – and we’re all vain to some degree – using the AIDA formula.

  • Attention – what will get their attention? Did you know your coins are worth $77k?
  • Interest – how can you get them to click on the title?
  • Desire – tickle the part of them that’s hungry for knowledge or a bit greedy. Did you know that…
  • Action – what do you want them to do next? Click the Buy Now button?
  • Success – and how will this make them more successful. Or attractive. Or thinner. Or more popular. Or get the recognition they deserve. Or a combination of all these.

Experimenting with ebook Titles

If I was looking for an ebook title, saying for my new Business Planning book, then I could use these titles to get me started.

Appeal to the readers desire to have an edge over others

  • Competitive Advantage with Business Planning
  • Using Business Planning for Strategic Advantage
  • Using Business Planning in a Competitive World

Appeal to the reader’s vanity

  • Business Planning For Smart CEOs
  • Business Planning For Gods
  • The Creative Power of Business Planning

Then look at ways the book will make their life easier

  • The No Hassle Guide to Business Planning
  • The 1 Hour Guide to Business Planning
  • The Secrets of Creative Business Planning

And wrap up by combining good keywords (e.g. Business Planning) with either power verbs and/or specific benefits.

10 Business Planning Strategies

Adding Strategies make it sound more important, more elevated and worth their time. Remember the target reader is an Executive!

10 Business Planning Strategies to increase Productivity

We’ve added Productivity to include those who want to save time and/or looking for ways to reduce costs.

10 Essential Elements of Business Planning

This makes you curious. ‘I know three,’ you think to yourself, ‘what are the other seven?’

10 Business Planning Strategies That Work

This is the most direct and worth a shot if you’re unsure what is your true readership and/or you don’t want to dilute the impact of ‘Business Planning Strategies’, for example, if you’re concerned about SEO ranking.

Those are some ideas on how to write catch headlines for ebooks. Please share your idea below. I’m learning too!