Book pricing is an often talked about subject amount self-published authors. Usually it involves a discussion about where the book should be priced on a scale from free to $10. Today I talk to Robert and Gabrielle Scanlon, a husband and wife writing team, who take a very different action. They have priced their non-fiction from 99cents to nearly $200, and have been highly profitable at both price points. In this interview I dive into their pricing strategy and see just how they did it. Shows notes @ rspcast.com/yoga.
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Gabrielle started out teaching hot yoga (yoga performed at body temperature) and from that started a website and forum about hot yoga. From there she created a forum where people were asking her a lot of questions that she thought would work much better in a book form, and save her time from having to jump into the forums and answer the same questions over and over.
At the same time she (and Robert, who runs the business side) were building a mailing list.
This is important, they started building their mailing list in 2005. They are writing non-fiction and made sure there was a demand for their book before they even began. The building of the mailing list also would be a very important marketing tool, so start building this early.
Robert who has previously been involved in internet marketing thought that now was the time for a $97 ebook. Something popular, but perhaps less so today with the rise of ebook readers.
It is important to write emails that you list will enjoy and find interesting. They don’t just want to hear from you when you are ready to sell to them. Building a list is not enough, you also have to “keep them warm” and you do that by sending out regular interesting content.
Even when you sell something you should still give them some value in the email. Never just sell.
Don’t just think this should be for non-fiction authors, get anyone you can on your list as early as possible.
At nearly $200 for their book, there is no doubt it was expensive and Robert mentions that if you are going to charge that much for a book it better be worth it. They intended to delivery far more than the cost of the book, not exactly a small feat, especially when you can pick up great non-fiction at a fraction of the price.
With the book they also included DVDs and a quick start guide. The quick start guide was to get people using the guide immediately, so they feel good about what they bought.
The Effect of Amazon
The ebook reader revolution didn’t really affect their sales, but they did find sales stated to dwindle due to Google changing the search rankings. They remained with their head in the sand for some time but eventually decided that it was time to investigate and the realised that there was a large market waiting to be tapped.
The did place the expensive book on Amazon but not as a Kindle book (it just wouldn’t work in that format). They did make major changes to the price with a black and white version being £30 and color being $80. They still sell the book direct on their website for $100 with lots of extras.
The book sells well on Amazon so whie
Gabrielle started writing a recipe book of green smoothies which she put up as an ebook. This book is just a few dollars and so a significant shift away from the very expensive book they were marketing previously. What they found that was they could rank this ebook very easily at a low price, but people still wanted the paper back copy, which was more expensive (something common in the recipe book genre, where people want something they are comfortable using in the kitchen).
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