Realistically, How Much is my Memoir Worth?

What Do I Charge for my Memoir?

I am at a crossroads. The self-publishing game is full of a plethora of information and no definitive answer–what does one charge for a work such as my memoir?

I have read that charging too much will turn readers away. At the same time, to really begin to fund some of the projects that I want to do with my fellow mental illness suffers I need to make some profit on this work.

I want to ask the community, what is a realistic price to charge for my memoir?

As with most writers, I want to make a decent living at this writing thing, and that means knowing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to pricing. I am ready for self-publishing and the excitement to finally share with the world what I have been working towards since 2017 is at an all-time high.

I always appreciate the thoughts of my fellow writers, bloggers, and mental health sufferers for the entire process of writing my memoir. What are your thoughts, please let me know in the comments.

Always Keep Fighting

James

22 Replies to “Realistically, How Much is my Memoir Worth?”

  1. Maybe think of it in the sense- what would YOU pay for someones memoir? I would pay up to £12.99 for something that really interested me. Just make sure that you cover your costs and time cos you deserve it.
    Wishing you all the best in your journey!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My first, and only, published work to date cost just under £6 per copy to produce, including 21 professional photographs and the delivery costs from publisher. From there I added £6 on to the price, plus any further postage cost from myself to the customer. It is always easier to drop the price to increase sales, than to raise the price if it proves to be popular, and with the personal touch, they will love it if you give them a ‘special’ price should they find the price too high. Maybe start at a 70% profit margin, giving you room to offer free copies to various media outlets for a critique. Never forget, as I did, that marketing costs money as well, which you would have to pay up front for, this too may have to be factored in to your profits. Readers may appreciate a bargain book, but they will not be popping over to your house with a loaf of bread should be broke due to being overly nice in the sale price. If you are confidant in its quality, and it is a hit, people will not look twice at the price tag. One week in 2006 I made it in to the top 100,000 or so, best selling books on amazon, hahahaha.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This is not an attack – but just my honest response to your question. I hope it doesn’t come across as unkind or aggressive.

    It’s worth what people are willing to pay for it. Your memoir will resonate with some people, and not with others. If it is well written (and by that I mean that you have shaped and edited and checked and been ruthless in cutting and changing) then it is worth more. I’ve seen too many books in the online age that were literally a typeset copy of a blog printed and overpriced – and by that I mean standard paperback prices for something that was initally free online.

    But if your writing is strong, and your message is one that is clear and engaging and useful to others then you can charge a decent amount – a bookshop price.

    The question is how long is a piece of string – because without seeing the memoir complete, it’s impossible for anyone here to tell you in an accurate manner. Don’t forget your biases – this is your story so it seems important and meaningful to you – but it may not do so for me or others. That’s not to say it is bad – your writing has already done it’s first job – which was to help you. Writing is a ‘selfish’ act, like therapy, or a hobby. You may feel gratitude to your work, because it helped you through tough times. That’s actually a good thing, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it will help anyone else.

    So I’d recommend you seek some professional advice here – I know you are self publishing – why is that? I myself wrote my memoir and shopped it around to about 35 agents. I got almost all boilerplate rejection letters. One agent gave recommendations and on spending months rewriting and slogging they liked it a bit. But by then I had realised that it was for me alone that the memoir was important. It wasn’t going to change anything (it simply wasn’t that good/new/important). Deciding not to publish was the best decision, because I didn’t need to seek validation. The 30 plus rejection letters helped me realise that I was not terribly special or unique – which was what I needed to be told in a sense. I have no idea if the manuscript even exists, but it was getting those responses that got me to be more critical.

    So have someone impartial tell you what it’s worth after they’ve seen it. A beautiful, well written and engaging story that is well designed and produced is easily worth $30-40. But make sure you have that before you commit to something.

    I hope that is not too negative – but keep your head level, and keep working hard!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Then I’d say go to it, and find books that are similar in production and audience and use them as a guide to pricing. Make sure that you charge what you are worth!

        In my career as an artist the best advice I got from my teacher and mentor was ‘know what you are worth and charge that.” I never backed down on the value of my paintings – and while there were people who balked at the prices, there were others who happily paid them. Universal popularity or sales weren’t realistic, so I looked for my audience. Do the same and you’ll be best off in the long run.

        Good Luck!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. This is what I would love to be told if I were ever to find myself in this situation. And oh my God is it so true. Writing has helped me to see where I consider myself more important than I should (being that I am an alcoholic contributes as well). I ask for advice quite a bit on my personal site and am lucky to have a follower that is my friend, who is honest with her answers and it helps tremendously to have someone who evaluates things for what they are. I’ve found that many people ask for advice but are not ready for the truth. It is unfortunate because a lot can be saved from waste.

      James, I know this is your baby (your memoir) and I believe you will know what feels right. If you are having to second guess things perhaps you need a bit more to ruminate on it. You dovwqnt to be careful with how you put yourself out there speaking in terms of how any of it will effect your mental health.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s a good question. I’m working on a series targeted toward children and I thought $6.99 might be a good entry for the first book… at the same time I do want to fund everything else I’m working on. Plus, I want to have pictures in these books too and to do that I’m going to have to shell out some money. Hmm, decisions. 🤔

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was just looking at pricing for the center cannot hold, a similar memoir $9.99 kindle, $5.40 paperback. I usually get my books from the library these days but in the past I’d say $10-$12 range if it’s at least 200 pages.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Knowing the calibre of your writing from the blog, I’d be recommending the equivalent of what I’d pay for a similar autobiographical work in a bookshop. In Australia, I’d probably be paying around $20 – $24 AUD for a paperback copy, so I’d suggest $12 – $14 USD for something similar. I would only charge about $10USD for a digital copy though (but I am one of those strange people who doesn’t like reading books on a tablet/kindle/phone).

    Hope that’s vaguely helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Have you had it professionally edited? If you spring for a professional editor you’ll want to recoup costs and can sell it for more in my opinion. If you haven’t had it professionally edited readers may focus on issues you aren’t seeing (trust me no matter how many times you have read it they are there). As a reader my pet peeve is laying down a large amount of money for a book that does not look professional. Of course I rarely pay more than 5 or 6 dollars for an ebook by someone I haven’t read before. If I have read a book by them before and enjoyed it I am more apt to pay more- upwards to 10-12. This of course is just me.

    Liked by 1 person

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