ROBUST discussion

Book Talk & Exchange of Views > Dean Wesly Smith says 'Raise Prices'

Comments Showing 1-33 of 33 (33 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Yep, he's said it again. This time because the book blogs are complaining that $9.99 is too cheap for an e-book.

I'll just say "I don't know" and leave it at that. What has worked for me in the past is $2.99 and $3.99. $.99 never did a thing for my books and last year $3.25 was a sweet spot for 'Let's Do Lunch.'

So here are DEAN'S suggestions for fiction pricing adjustments going into 2013

— Novels
Front list, meaning brand new. Over 50,000 words. $7.99
Shorter front list novels, meaning 30,000 to 50,000 words. $6.99
Backlist novels, meaning already published by a traditional publisher. $6.99

— Short Books
Short books, meaning stories from 8,000 words to 30,000 words. $3.99

— Short Stories
Short stories … 4,000 to 8,000 words. $2.99
Short stories under 4,000 double with another bonus story… $2.99

— Collections
5 stories $4.99
10 stories $7.99

If you want to read the rest it's here:

message 2: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments Sounds to me like a good way to sell no books.

message 3: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments A few people on KB agree with you.

Frankly - I don't think that dinking around with prices is a good thing. I'm slowly raising everything from the 'summer low' prices to my regular prices.

What several people have noticed is that DWS might say 'raise prices' but he doesn't always do that. He still has a ton of stuff priced at $.99.

message 4: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) I wish, wish, wish people would buy short stories at $2.99. If they did, I could become a full-time writer in months.

I just don't think they will. :/

message 5: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
If you have a big backlist like some of these genre writers you can afford to experiment with prices. But churning prices because you have idle hands can seem like desperation to readers, and that's an image you really don't want to create.

message 6: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I agree with you. I lowered prices for the summer, in steps, and I'll raise them in steps.

message 7: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 160 comments I just don't get the short story thing at 2.99. For one thing, there are so many regular length novels, good ones, too, at 2.99. Why am I going to spend 2.99 on 4,000 words? I might if it was written by Rad Bradbury or PG Wodehouse, but not anyone else.

I see it as a widget volume thing. Walmart. If I can sell 100 widgets at 99 cents, that's a lot better than 10 widgets at 2.99. My real job is at a farming company. If you can cut 1500 cartons of romaine to the acre during a 15 dollar market, that's a lot better than cutting 700 cartons at a 20 dollar market.

message 8: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments I just ask myself "What would Sierra do?" I wouldn't pay $2.99 for a short story by anyone except J.D. Salinger, and then only if it were one discovered after his death, previously unpublished. Heck, I'd pay ten bucks for that.

I used to play around with my prices, but no more. I price single short stories at 99 cents; a limited short story collection at $1.99; a larger collection at $2.99. Novellas and novels at $2.99. I'd sell single short stories for less than 99 cents if Amazon would let me.

O/T: anyone else having trouble staying signed in to Good Reads? I've had to log in yesterday and today without the site "remembering" me.

message 9: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I think it depends on the genre.

Erotica sells at higher prices. The rest - maybe not.

I've sold "Impressive Bravado" at $1.99 and at $.99. So far, $.99 works better.

Still, the point is that prices are going to go up - for Trade Published books. I just got this in email via The Passive Voice:

Dear Library Partner,
Hachette will be raising its eBook prices on October 1, 2012 on their currently available eBook catalog (~3,500 eBook titles with release dates of April 2010 and earlier).

On average prices will increase 220%.

Orders for Hachette eBook titles at current pricing must be submitted in Content Reserve by 11:59 pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, September 30, 2012.

So there is SOMETHING to what Dean says.

However, in this crappy economy, I'm not too keen on seeing what the top end of the market might be. Maybe when things are better.

message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments Kat, I saw that on Passive Voice and commented -- wondering if that price increase is instead of the download limits they've placed on ebooks, triggering the need to repurchase. There was an uproar over that. If that's not it, it's a crazy increase.

message 11: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments It really sounds like they don't want libraries to carry their books, or e-books.

Smashwords has a deal where we can sell our e-books to libraries. I've priced all my stuff at $.99. If there is any place that needs a break, it's a library.

message 12: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments I didn't know Smashwords could do that. The library where I live buys all their ebooks through a single distributor.

I'm keeping my work in KDP Select, so it'll remain exclusive to Amazon. Not that anyone cares.

message 13: by Matt (new)

Matt Posner (mattposner) | 276 comments I sell novels at 2.99 and short story collections at 0.99. Originally I debuted one novel at 3.99. Then I lowered it to 1.99, and sales diminished. So I settled at 2.99. I don't think a 99 cent price tag helps sales any more, since everyone uses it. I think the only thing that helps sales is word of mouth or promotion by amazon itself. It is true that amazon customers have gotten used to free and cheap, and it has hurt us some, but if someone you trust tells you a book is good, you will buy it without too much reference to what number is to the left of the decimal point.

message 14: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments Patricia wrote: "I didn't know Smashwords could do that. The library where I live buys all their ebooks through a single distributor.

I'm keeping my work in KDP Select, so it'll remain exclusive to Amazon. Not tha..."

I care, Patricia. Amazon is so unfriendly to their competition, it's not funny. You, as a writer, are considered a 'product resource' for their 'exclusive' list of customers.

Consider the fact that the $600K lending pool of cash is a write off. A loss of revenue for the company, used to pull authors away from other retailers. That's not a permanent program. I spoke with an author who loves KDP select because her books are borrowed at a high rate. She earns quite a bit. But that is the majority of her earnings. She won't be seen anywhere else. Once that program vanishes, her novels will be four or five years old and relatively unknown.

Mark Coker over at Smashwords is trying hard to get Amazon to open up and accept the Agency pricing model. That's the only hangup they have. Mark loves being friends with everyone. He belives, and rightly so, that everyone's ebooks should be available just about everywhere.

Think Wal-mart for a moment. If Captain Crunch is only sold at one store, the company won't make that much money, because the people don't always go to Wal-Mart. Some go to Homeland Grocers. Others go to Crest. Win-Dixie. HEB. Even the little known Piggly-Wiggly down in south Florida. If Captain Crunsh is available in all those stores, even though low numbers are picked up only here and there, several years down the road, everybody knows Captain Crunch, and will be sought out more often.

That's simple saturation economics. Exclusivity actually sets up any company for long term failure. Any product in any retail environment. Like Furches Bread. That was an awesome bread. High quality, low price, but was only available in Pennsylvania, New York State and Ohio. Their competitor, Wonder Bread, took a 'chance' and dumped their exclusive tri-state contract and went national. You've heard of Wonder Bread, I'm sure. Furches has been out of business since 1992, and many people have never known about them, nor do they ever know that they were a superior product as compared to Wonder Bread.

That is what exclusivity offers in the long run. It's also why I won't touch KDP select with a ten mile pole.

message 15: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I never get borrows, I get sales while in Select. I wonder what the difference is?

message 16: by Andre Jute (last edited Oct 08, 2012 07:34AM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I agree with Daniel, though I doubt 90% or more of indies have the brains or the background to grasp the implications.

But it may still be possible to use the Select program to get exposure. So use it, then take your books out and put them on Smashwords or wherever as well.

Nobody forces you to help one entrant in the market destroy all competition.


message 17: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments I sold nothing on Smashwords or PubIt, so I don't think I'm giving up anything by going with KDP Select. I'm gaining. I'm completely untroubled about what Amazon writes off or how they regard my product. What I like is seeing a sale every so often. (This month is a good one, by the way -- quite welcome after August and September.)

Kat, authors in the Kindle Owners Lending Library get paid two dollars and change for each book borrowed. At least that's how it's been so far. The amount varies from month to month because the pool of dough set aside each month is divided among the participating titles. I get a good number of borrows.

message 18: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments That's cool - I'm glad you're doing better.

message 19: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Anyone checked Author Rank yet?

It's something new to be obsessed about.

JUST what I need. :-p

message 20: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments There's no chance I'll show up on that ranking system so I'll be ignoring it. (I looked at the first ten names and realized I hadn't read anything by any of them. I don't seem to be a mainstream reader.)

message 21: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
K.A. wrote: "Anyone checked Author Rank yet?"

Sure. I'm the 893rd bestselling author on Amazon. I think it means there are 249,013 writers on Amazon who sold more books than I did. I congratulate them on their success.

You should go check your numbers. You might be pleasntly surprised. Just don't put too much store in those numbers.

Or ask for the money supposed to accompany such success!

message 22: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments Of course, the more books you have out there, the higher you'll be because one book selling 20 copies a day is only going to get you the same ranking as twenty books selling 1 copy each a day.

message 23: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments I know for a fact their numbers are whacked. I am 1,104 in Fantasy and Science Fiction. In the last six weeks, I've made $27.19 and it will be 60 days before I'll see it because it's the first amount I ever made that was more than a few bucks in one quarter.

If it takes only a little less than thirty bucks for that ranking, they have serious issues.

message 24: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I'm amazed! My Romantic Suspense rating is: #1,409.

This is really fun!

message 25: by Katie (new)

Katie Stewart (katiewstewart) | 1099 comments And when Amazon comes unstuck (again) and won't change your book ranking even though you've sold books, the author ranking means nothing at all. Not fun.

I'm just going to keep writing.

message 26: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) I don't even remember the last time I logged into author central. I'm terrible about the whole business end of things though in general.

message 27: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
That isn't the business end of books, Jeremy. It's a fantasy-land the Zon has created for its feudal skivvies, called Indies.

message 28: by J.A. (last edited Oct 15, 2012 01:00PM) (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) I have no particular disdain for Amazon, but I do cling to one bit of what I hope is wisdom. Namely that attempting to organize my potential promotion strategies around Amazon's algorithms and practices is pointless. After all, if the rules can change at any moment, what's the use?

I'll just concentrate on, for the next several years, getting books out and improving my craft.

It's not like my electrons are going to get pulped if I don't sell a huge amount early on.

message 29: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments That sounds like a solid business plan to me, J.A.

message 30: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Much better than sitting in front of the computer, hitting refresh to see if you've sold a book yet. LOL

message 31: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments J.A. wrote: "...I'll just concentrate on, for the next several years, getting books out and improving my craft..."

After some soul-searching, that's about my plan, except for at least the immediate future, it is book singular.

Whenever, of course, I get past the thinking about preparing to get ready to write.

Actually I have made some progress, adding yet another cabinet to store writerly paraphenalia in and organizing some of my notes.

message 32: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) Well, as long as you keep walking forward, you'll get to where you need eventually and what not.

message 33: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I'm looking at getting back to work, writing. I have found a short story that's worth editing.

back to top