Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Setting a price is an art, not a science. But it’s not all guesswork. As a trip round any shop will confirm, pricing at one penny under a round number is a common ploy to lure the consumer. So my price was going to end in 99 pence.
Set a level too low, and readers will perceive it as having no value, set it too high and nobody will buy. Amazon (the premium book retail site) offers 70% return to the author on prices between £2.99 and £9.99, providing a range within which the sweet spot should lie.
The average cost of a fiction title in 2018 was £3.23, but the important thing is to pick a level in relate to comparable titles, which takes a little research. Looking at some comparable authors, I located a price point at around £7.99 to £8.99.
You also need to set a price that will cover your production costs. The print on demand cost for a single copy of my book is around £5, but costs come down as the number increases. A print run of 500 copies brought my unit cost down to under £2.
Finally, you need to factor-in discounts for wholesalers and retailers. Assuming 45% discount on a paperback and 30% on e-books, I calculated that a price of £7.99 for the paperback and £3.99 for the e-book would give me a return of £1.20 and £2.79 per copy respectively.