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Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Part 7 - Pricing and Tax Categories

I see a lot of questions on how to set pricing and select tax codes in the various chat rooms and boards that I follow and participate in. Just as in a classroom, if one person asks about it, at least 10 others wanted to but were afraid to "sound stupid". Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are experts at teaching our students. Unless we are teaching a class on marketing, we are not experts on product pricing! Therefore, if we don't ask, we won't know.

How much of my store should be FREE? And why?

Our first product
This is a great first question, and one often asked in posts. And there is a rule of thumb here. First, the "why". If you choose to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers, you are required to make your first product a "Freebie". The reason for this is to introduce you, and the quality of your work products or resources, to TpT's customers and other sellers. Now, don't panic. This can, and should, be a simple "one sheeter" that has been well designed. Perhaps capable of being used as a bulletin board poster or a student journal checklist. Our first product, which has received 730 + product previews, and been downloaded over 350 times, was a simple one page, 4 step, editing checklist using CUPS. We also released a "sister" product, an ARMS revising checklist, which has garnered another 480 + previews and 250 + downloads. These numbers seem impressive! And they are not bad. However, there are people on TpT who have sold individual products as much as 10,000 times! For MONEY!  Now here's a secret about these freebies: they require at least as much attention to detail as any resource you have priced.

Our second "Freebie"
Why? They're free, so why spend the time and effort on making them "pretty" or creating covers? Simple. No other products will garner as many downloads, and with your copyright on it, it becomes an advertisement for you and your brand. Also, if a customer sees that you REALLY, REALLY care about your free product, then correctly or not, they will believe you will show that much care with EVERY product. Finally, these free products will hopefully garner you some feedback, and this is important for search parameters on sales platform sites.

We now offer this
to our customers
So now that you know the "why" (sound like a teacher, don't I?), what about the "how many"? Rule of thumb here is no more than 10% of your resources/products should be free. Giving away more than this devalues your time and effort, as well as the time and effort of every other teacher-author on your platform.

Suzanne and I currently have 133 products. on TpT, and are in the process of putting products on our other store sites on TheWheelEdu and AmpedUpLearning. On TpT, we have 13 products that are free, while on Amped Up and The Wheel, we put together a bundle of 8 free products. So, remember, NOT MORE THAN 10% of your total resources should be free!

The Resource Pricing Dilemma, or, "How do you know how much to charge?"

Our first crosswords
(with Doodles!)
The easy answer, and the general rule of thumb, is $.10 to $.25 (USD) per page. This is a GREAT starting point, but it is not set in stone. With our word puzzles, a single Crosswords with Doodles  brings us $1.50. Now, understand this is not a single page. Suzanne creates 2 versions of each of our crosswords puzzles, one with a word bank and one without. Why? Differentiation. She also includes a completed copy of the crosswords so that the teacher has an answer key. Based on our "rule of thumb", we should be charging between $.30 and $.75 (USD) for a crosswords puzzle. However, and this goes back to devaluing your time and effort, after watching her spend hours creating a single set, not counting cover, thumbs and previews, I will not devalue her by selling these at such a low cost.

One of our
 $10 novel studies
The other thing to do in your pricing strategy is to go into your site/platform and see what others are charging for similar products. For example, all of our novel studies are priced at $10.00 apiece. Many sellers offer "by the chapter"; we do not. Additionally, our novel studies vary in length, which makes do the novels! But, again, our prices are in line with other novel studies.

Students enjoy a game of "bones"
 in Mr. Forman's ELA classroom
as they review Noun Functions.
Finally, we have other types of resources to consider. For instance, we have assessments that are designed to accompany our novel studies, but are not a part of them. Teachers may not want a "standardized test" format assessment for their scholars. So they are offered separately, or as part of a bundle of assessments, or as part of a bundle for the novel study. Then we have our "Power Words! Vocabulary Building Flashcards and Word Wall" sets. 24 double-sided flashcards would be equal to 48 pages. Instead of $4.80 or more, we charge a flat $3.00 - again, within the bounds of the average. We also have games, like our take on Dominoes, using parts of speech and sample sentences. Each set has 49 tiles, and the customer receives 10 different color sets for $4.50. Close to the "rule of thumb". How is it close? Simple, for 9 sets I just changed background colors!

What about tax codes?

This is actually an easy question. Unless you are selling "hard" or physical products, such as are available on Amped Up Learning, you only have one option. If everything you sell is a digital product, compressed into a file, you would select "Other Digital Goods - No Physical Media", or your platform's equivalent. If you do have physical media - games with boards, flashcards that come in a box, or apparel, for example, you would need to select the platform's appropriate option for that product.

Hopefully this helps with the questions you have about pricing and tax codes! Let us know, and become a follower of the blog by clicking the "Subscribe" button at the top of the page, then "Follow"!
One of the t-shirts offered by
Blue Bolt on Amped Up Learning
Follow these links below to the other posts in this series!

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Steps 1 and 2

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 3 - Creating a Secure Product

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 4 - Creating with Encryption

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 5 - Editable vs. Non-Editable

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Part 7 - Pricing and Tax Categories

Guest Blog - SEO for Teacher Sellers

Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 8 - Using Graphic Elements in Products


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