World, Writing, Wealth discussion

89 views
All Things Writing & Publishing > Does the size matter?

Comments Showing 1-50 of 106 (106 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Nik (last edited Jul 20, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments It's a pretty popular question on the internet, but it's not what you think..-:)
Since I've promised to relocate the discussion about the length of literary works, here it is.
I'm deleting the relevant posts in the introduction thread and relocate them below.


message 2: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Tim:
Hi Guys. Thanks for the invite, Nik and the prompter message. I have two novels on Amazon and a memoir published by The History Press. I need to get my ass into gear marketing wise, so all tips are very welcome... I'm slowly finding my way around Goodreads...

I have an agent and even though he said he loved my novel Delphian, apparently it was too long (170,000 words - 500 pages) to submit to trad publishers - even though I'm a traditionally published author, I'm still considered a debut novelist and it has everything to do with price point and print runs... Anyway, once on Amazon I discovered Kindle Unlimited and love the idea of a novelist being paid according to the number of pages read, so I self-pubbed my next novel (under a 100,000 words) as well. My agent isn't so happy about that... :)


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Nik:
Hi Tim and welcome!
When I saw you holding a glass of wine on your profile photo, even before reading anything else on your no doubt interesting profile, I thought you might fit in naturally -:)
Not that we are a bunch of drunkards, but still...
Marketing is tricky and I personally don't know much about it either, but we are blessed and honored to have more advanced/knowledgeable colleagues here that share the strategies that work whether of their own or of others.
Maybe it's harder to market and/or trad publish a lengthier book, but it is by no means an axiom that one has to follow. We ended up at 140k words on the 1-st book, out of which our editor cut out 60k, but we smuggled 15 back in. And sometimes I regret that we haven't smuggled in more -:)
Anyhow, I hope you'll enjoy, contribute and become enlightened about marketing a little more.
Enjoyed performance of Welsh team at Euro.
Cheers!


message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Steven:
Tim,
To complement Nik's remarks, 170k IS too long. Assuming Delphian is sci-fi or fantasy, longish is OK to allow for the world-building, but I'd set a limit at 100k. My first two entries in the "Chaos Chronicles Trilogy" started as one LONG novel too (funny that queried agents complained about many things but never that). I went ahead and published Full Medical while I decided what to do with all that material (it became two novels and a novella, "From the Mother World," found in Pasodobles in a Quantum Stringscape). Decisions, decisions.
Length is less important than content (all the potato farming narrative in The Martian became tiresome, for example), but the trend is to shorter, not longer, unless you're going to write that great American masterpiece of literary fiction (AKA the genre trashcan for forlorn manuscripts). There's a Goldilocks principle involved: too short and you have a novella or short story; too long and you should start thinking of two or more novels. I'd put mystery, suspense, and thriller novels at 60-75k and sci-fi and fantasy at 75-95k, but you'll see recommendations all over the board. If you're a minimalist writer, padding is automatically eliminated, and your readers will be happy. (BTW, I don't worry about word counts when I start writing. I tell the story, and it becomes a short, novella, or novel after I'm finished. I tend to offer the first two as freebies.)
The Welsh team was almost as surprising as Iceland.
r/Steve
PS. Please don't take this as self-promotion. I'm most familiar with my own work, so it's natural to use it for examples.


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Eldon:
Not to get off topic here but I disagree about the length. A story to me is a living thing and should be given as much space to breathe as it needs. While longer stories admittedly may not sell as well as shorter ones, to arbitrarily truncate them just to remain within a word count is to do them a disservice. Not every book can fit in the round hole; some are square pegs and should be left that way.

Being different than the herd has its advantages as well!


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Steven:
Eldon,
I believe I said I don't pay much attention to word count, focusing on the story, but I'll think twice about picking up a work of fiction that's 170k. I read a bio of Churchill recently--that's a different story. At 1000+ pages (small font, so probably at least 170k), it was a real doorstop, albeit interesting. Being verbose, though, won't give you any advantages if I'm reviewing your book. As a minimalist writer (called hard-boiled in mystery and crime writing), I don't like the metaphor "as much space to breathe as it needs" either. Stories aren't living things; readers make them so. If an author pads his story with unnecessary narrative, I just skip over it. But that's just me. ;-)
r/Steve


message 7: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Eldon:
While I certainly respect your position Steven, I don't believe I said anything about padding a story with unnecessary narrative. If that is how the book achieves length than it is also doing the work a disservice.

My point was merely that cutting valid narrative to meet a word count is unnecessary. In truth, I would never read a 1000 page book myself, but I'm there are readers who would. The story is the story, no matter the length. If the words are necessary than they should be included.

We will have to agree to disagree I'm afraid on the life of a story.

Cheers!


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Steven:
Eldon,
I don't perceive any disagreement about not padding with unnecessary narrative. I prefer pruning to padding, though, or packing an overnight case for a next-day meeting instead of a trunk.
What do you do when a zine says your short story has to be less than 4000 words and it has 4050? I for one would see if I can be a wee bit more of a minimalist writer (e.g. eliminate the "wee," one of my quirks) and bid 50 words adieu.
Sometimes those word-count constraints actually help the flow of the story too (I've learned to slice and dice in my content editing). I'll admit that 70k words is a lot to prune, though, so maybe two or three books (a trilogy?) is required? Worrying about word count is end game, not something to be done at the beginning of one's writing journey.
Clancy offered good advice: "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." Of course, he wrote Red Storm Rising, a 20th century parallel-history version of Tolstoy's War and Peace--talk about needing a trilogy! ;-)
Sláinte mhaith!
r/Steve


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Nik:
The good thing is that if you don't need to meet criteria of zines, publishers or twitter for that matter, anyone can decide what works for him/her and how to market the 'unusual' (if there is such thing as usual) volume.
I don't read ebooks that much, so I'm still looking how thin or thick the physical book is and the width of a spine never was a decisive factor for me -:)
J.J. here goes with 330K words book, while some others practice flash fic and each can suceed or fail, but hardly because of the length per se.
Anyhow, I'm pouring the drinks. Na zdorovye!

P.S. I've noticed that GR still gives me roughly 11K characters more for this post, if I want to continue -:)


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Steven:
Nik,
Didn't know GR had a limit! That's one reason I stopped commenting in discussion threads on the book business on LinkedIn. (The main reason is that GR is where the readers and authors are--LI is full of PR and marketing wonks.)
Inre your first sentence: I'd be a bit peeved if you tried to sell me a 20k-word novella for $10! (Although there seems to be no correlation between price and length these days.)
r/Steve
PS. You've given me an idea: I can post my free short stories right here on GR instead of WattPad! ;-)


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Nik:
I think Kevin Kinnen publishes some of his writing on his blog here on GR (probably in addition to other venue), and maybe others do too. I see no reason why not and it probably doesn't have to be instead even...


message 12: by Nik (last edited Jul 20, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Tim:
Hi Guys,

Steven, I have to disagree with you and agree with Eldon. A novel is as long or as short as it needs to be. It is one of the reasons I write the novel rather than just script the story straight away - my background is in TV drama.

Delphian is a thriller. Before he even read the story, my agent asked me to cut 60K and I said no. It would mean cutting out too many sub-plots and then the story would be too linear. I consider my writing already quite tight. He then asked me to cut 50K and I said no. We haven't parted company yet as he'll always be the agent for In Sights (a memoir), but my next novel, WTF, a drama, came in at 85K and I self-dubbed that as well.

I have scripted both novels and my marketing plan at the moment is to sell the film rights - currently trying to secure an agent for that task. If I can even get the script optioned, I'll then go to the trad publishers offering paperback rights. Electronic rights I'll retain... It's a plan...

Yeah! Wales did great at the Euros. I am now officially a football fan after sticking solely to rugby my whole life... :)

Now I'm going to pour a glass of wine and sit in the sun. We have a heatwave here in the UK!


message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Steven:
Tim,
I disagree with your perception "a novel is as long or as short as it needs to be." Would you compromise and remove "as short"? Sure, you can write a 500k-word novel for all I care--I read Clancy's Red Storm Rising but never got through War and Peace, so it's iffy whether I would ever read that monstrosity. In sci-fi, Stephen Baxter's stuff turns me off--far too verbose and detailed about what after all are extrapolations of current science. I'm an ex-scientist, but as a reader and writer I don't care about that verbosity (sorry Stephen--I don't care about treatises about potato farming on Mars either).
But "as short"? C'mon! If you're calling a 5k-word story a novel, you're scamming your readers. While I'll admit that the upper and lower bounds to shorts, novellas, and novels are often unclear and genre-dependent, let's be a wee bit more precise: a 5k-story is a short story, period.
BTW, this is a storm in a tea cup and a major distraction in this thread. Intros are getting lost. I'll appeal to the monitor to eliminate all discussion about word count, including mine. Or, rename the thread to "How long should a novel be?" :-)
r/Steve


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Tim:
Steve, I'm happy to compromise on the "as short" as a novel is defined as at least 60k, I believe. Anything shorter is a novella or short story... Incidentally, I've just posted a short story about a successful thriller writer on my GR blog after Nik commented that someone else had. Good idea, I thought... Thanks, Nik.

BTW, one reviewer on Amazon (UK site) wrote: "Amazing! A book that keeps you wanting more from the first page, your unable to put it down but are constantly dreading the thought of reaching the end. Fantastic storyline and believable characters all add up to this being a must read book and I'm eagerly anticipating a sequel."

I loved the "dreading the thought of reaching the end bit... :) BTW, it is a genuine review and I don't know the reviewer.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Nik:
Ok, guys, I guess I'll transfer all the posts about the optimal length into a separate thread as soon as I'd be able to do it. Can't from the cell phone.
Congrats on good reviews.
I'm more into a snappy style, but won't slam Tolstoy for writing too long for my liking at school-:)


message 16: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Steven:
All,
We've had discussions about reviews and the reviewing process elsewhere. I don't want to get into that either (if you want my opinions, visit my blog archives titled "Writing").
Thanks Nik. I should receive the flogging because I first reacted to the mention of word count. My bad...and I apologize to everyone.
r/Steve


message 17: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1022 comments I will weigh in on this a little because I am on the other extreme. I was sooooo worried about the length of my novels that are in a series. The most official consensus I could find about novel length was that it was 40K+ words. Under 40K words is considered a novella.

So here are my word counts:

Book 1: 46K
Book 2: 48K
Book 3: 43K
Book 4: 48K

It was implied several times that anything over 99 cents for my books was overcharging, because they are hardly considered full novels. The only consolation I had at the time is seeing that the shorter lengths are readily accepted by the YA audience. Now that I have been published for a few months, I see that I was worried about nothing, and my books are selling well at 2.99 each.

I think we can get caught up on things like word counts, and in the end, it really might not matter. Some publishers will have their rules on word counts, but of course there is always self-publishing :). I think we should not compromise on word counts unless it truly improves our story to add and subtract :).

Funnily enough, my books aren't even eligible for many contests because they have a 50K word minimum.

But today I published my 4th book, and while it was still in the "publishing" status (not LIVE yet) on my KDP bookshelf, I was already getting sales for it! So I am not going to worry about my word counts anymore and go more by intuition how long my stories should be. I hope this helps someone else not worry so much for their word counts.


message 18: by Annie (last edited Jul 20, 2016 02:48PM) (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) [insert inappropriate joke and phallic symbol here]

Speaking of size, pacing is HUGE for me (see what I did there? *giggles*) and waaay higher on the list of things I actually care about. I've read short stories that dragged on and long novels that felt rushed.

The added bonus of being an indie is being able to laugh in the face of restrictions because, really, we have none.

Personally, I choose not to censor my characters. If they demand more time I give it to them. If they decide that they wanna end in a cliffhanger, well, hey! Who am I to deny my creations, eh?

Hugs,
Ann

P.S. - @Mr Nik: re "Not that we are a bunch of drunkards, but still..."

I don't drink. Guess that makes me DD, eh? ^_~ And to actually be helpful...

I'm quite sure you can move posts directly without copying and pasting. Would be easier for ya and that way the original posters can still edit their own comments. Just FYI. I don't care either way *shrugs*

EDIT: Yesssss!! Congrats, Miss Marie!!!


message 19: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Have you tried drinking, Annie?
You might actually enjoy and add cheers to hugs every once in a while -:) If consumed responsibly, shouldn't be less innocent than indie writing. And I'm only for responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages, of course.

I guess I need to take a moderating course to get a better idea of how to use the superpowers


message 20: by Annie (last edited Jul 20, 2016 03:24PM) (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Nik: Just so you know, up until about 20, I could drink most guys under the table. And, yeah, most of you dudes are at least twice my size. Buuuut....

It's been a decade now and I never succumb to peer pressure. So you kids go ahead and enjoy your booze. This girl shall just sit back with a bottle of water and some caffeine ^_~

Seriously, though, I'm not sure how other mods are able to move comments, but I see them do it all the time. Not that it's much help to you LMAO!!

EDIT: Oops, I totes forgot!!

@Miss Marie: I think your books are priced just fine!! And they are selling, so why not, right??

I was told by some authors that $3.99 was too high for a debut novel but *shrugs* I'm not gonna change it. Plus, the subsequent books in that series will be novellas (~30K words) and I'll be pricing them all at $2.99 *more shrugging*

Whatevs. If people think it's too pricey for the length then they're welcome not to buy it *grins*


message 21: by Alex (last edited Jul 20, 2016 09:32PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Annie wrote: "I was told by some authors that $3.99 was too high for a debut novel but *shrugs* I'm not gonna change it. Plus, the subsequent books in that series will be novellas (~30K words) and I'll be pricing them all at $2.99 *more shrugging*
."


Marie wrote: "It was implied several times that anything over 99 cents for my books was overcharging, because they are hardly considered full novels. The only consolation I had at the time is seeing that the shorter lengths are readily accepted by the YA audience. Now that I have been published for a few months, I see that I was worried about nothing, and my books are selling well at 2.99 each. "

that is pretty shitty advice and as you've seen quite incorrect. they probably were just going on anecdotal evidence. it ticks me off when people don't look at real data and end up giving out erroneous advice. especially about important stuff like pricing your work that you poured your blood, sweat and tears into.

good thing you didn't listen; you guys have sound business minds.

if anyone who was giving that advice had bothered to look at the May 2016 authorearnings presentation (even the smashwords annual presentation points out more or less the same data--and it's been true for many years), then they would've known that the best ROI on average is $2 - $3.99. in fact, in the authorearnings chart, you'll see that the $2 - $3.99 has gross sales of more than double the $0 - $0.99 range. and even the $4-$5.99 range outperforms the $0 - $0.99 range by a big fat margin.

why is that? in simple terms, it's just where the market has settled. in a deeper sense, it mirrors consumer values. $0.99 and less is a purchase at the dollar store; it's a used book at a garage sale or a library sale. in other words, a dollar is cheap.

"well, no one's going to pay $3.99 for a debut novel," some writers might say, but the reality is that, if they had bothered to look at real data--people do--a lot of people.

and, if you look at the top 100 in Books > Teens > Historical Fiction--which i'm sure you did--you'll see only 7 @$0.99.

"well, they're hardly full novels," some writers might say, but you did your homework. plus, you can do a helluva a lot in 40k words. it's when you get down into the low 30s and 20s that you might consider a lower price b/c the reader "might"--and i say this with much uncertainty--not be able to get into the story as much.

there are also a few other things going on w/pricing. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (which I bought) describes 6 principles for how direct sales people get us to buy things. i won't go into all of them, but 3 of them apply to pricing:

* commitment and consistency
* social proof
* scarcity

social proof means "herd mentality". if everyone else is buying a book at this price, then it must be the "right" price.

commitment and consistency mean that you want to stay consistent with whatever you've said or done before--even if it doesn't make sense. so you'll convince yourself that you're happier with an item that you bought for $2.99, than the identical item that you bought for $0.99.

scarcity applies to sales. you're more motivated to buy item 1 that's on sale for a limited time rather than item 2 which has its regular price set to item 1's sale price. so, you can periodically discount your regular price if it's at $2.99 down to $0.99, but you can only discount $0.99 to $0.

so while it's true that $0.99 will initially move more units than a higher price, it's only temporary--and as Marie pointed out in another thread, she increased her marketing this time around and that led to a longer sales run (did i summarize your point correctly?)

(furthermore, if it's really not selling well, you can always permanently lower the price as a loss-leader for your other works.)

those are the reasons why it is not a sound business decision to price a novel-length or even a novella (i'm uncertain about the exact length cut-off) for $0.99.


message 22: by Annie (last edited Jul 20, 2016 09:31PM) (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Alex: Eeeeek! I just effin' adore your posts!! So informative!!!! Wooooo!!!!!!

Okay *deep breath* I'm good now :)

re "it's when you get down into the low 30s and 20s that you might consider a lower price b/c the reader "might"--and i say this with much uncertainty--not be able to get into the story as much."

I'm sticking to my guns and doing precisely this. I'll letcha know if I crash I burn... *rebellious smirk*

Hugs,
Ann

EDIT: By "this" I mean NOT lowering my price for 30K words. $2.99. That's my final answer. Muhahahahaaa!!!


message 23: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Annie wrote: EDIT: By "this" I mean NOT lowering my price for 30K words. $2.99. That's my final answer. Muhahahahaaa!!!"

cool.

another thing that i just though of is that if you have a professional-looking cover, a killer title, and spot-on blurb and only charge $0.99, then you're inviting cognitive dissonance. the potential buyer will ask her/himself, "why is it only .99? there must be something wrong with it."


message 24: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1022 comments Yes to all, Annie and Alex G!! You have said it all perfectly! Thank you!


message 25: by Annie (last edited Jul 20, 2016 10:18PM) (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Alex: Yessss, exactly!!!

I'll be honest, I considered $1.99 for a split second but I will NEVER let Amazon take 65%. Just the thought makes me so [bleep][bleep][bleep]!!! Plus, I also did a quick Google search and that price point is like the black void of death for sales. Oh, nooooo, not gonna happen!! *glares at $1.99 disdainfully*

I was talking to my sci fi/erotica author buddy (yes, we're friends even though I have to tune out everything he says when it comes to money *smirks*) a few nights ago. He strongly "advised" to lower my book to $2.85 because then I'd make exactly one dollar per copy (ummm, why is this even relevant?) and I'd "stand out" because I'm slightly cheaper than the many, many authors who price at $2.99.

I was like, "Why the [bleep] would I EVER do that???" Okay, I actually don't cuss at all, but seriously, why would I?

$2.85 = $1 margin *cringe*
$3.99 = $2.79 margin

Heck! Even $2.99 yields $2.09!! Yeeeeah. We agreed to disagree really fast LOL

Hugs,
Ann

EDIT: *extra-squeezy-hugs Miss Marie* because I totally typed all over you there...


message 26: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Annie wrote: "@Mr Nik: Just so you know, up until about 20, I could drink most guys under the table. And, yeah, most of you dudes are at least twice my size. Buuuut....

It's been a decade now and I never succum..."


Now I understand where the surge of those under-the-table guys came from 10 years ago. Did you just left them there? -:)
I didn't think drinking was about succumbing to pressure. Just enjoyment.
I drink therefore I am -:)


message 27: by Alex (last edited Jul 20, 2016 11:44PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Annie wrote: "@Mr Alex: Yessss, exactly!!!

I'll be honest, I considered $1.99 for a split second but I will NEVER let Amazon take 65%. Just the thought makes me so [bleep][bleep][bleep]!!! Plus, I also did a q..."


if you want to play with the pros, then price like the pros.

unlike a printed book, the price and hence the perceived value of an ebook is almost completely divorced from physical material; consequently (although there is the cost of equipment), the value of an ebooks is almost completely generated by the labor of the writer; and the price is completely dependent upon the negotiation between the author, publisher, and customer.

(i hope that you, Marie, don't mind me using your book as an example.)

this is what i mean by the price of ebooks is very volatile:

Davenport House, 190pp, $2.99 (88,895 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Yearbook,224pp, $9.22 (#77,102)
The Giver, 204pp, $7.99 (#316)
Forge309pp, $6.99 (#35,030)

these are all from top 100 bestsellers in Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult >Historical Fiction > United States

this weekend, i'll calculate the mean.

(btw, hugh howey and another person started authorearngings.com in 2014: https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...)


message 28: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer | 593 comments As a reader, I'm not crazy about long books, and usually, I find much of the writing could have been cut.

As a writer, my books are not long, around 75,000. I'm not a full-on detailed writer who creates a setting that lasts several pages, nor do I want to read that kind of detail. Maybe the way I write affects what I like to read.


message 29: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2277 comments Nik wrote: "Nik:
J.J. here goes with 330K words book..."


In all fairness almost 15k of those words are from my author notes, also by notes, TOC and subsection headings and the hundreds of "* * *" splitting each subsection.

:D


message 30: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2277 comments Annie wrote: "I was talking to my sci fi/erotica author buddy (yes, we're friends even though I have to tune out everything he says when it comes to money *smirks*) a few nights ago. He strongly "advised" to lower my book to $2.85 because then I'd make exactly one dollar per copy (ummm, why is this even relevant?) and I'd "stand out" because I'm slightly cheaper than the many, many authors who price at $2.99...."

I thought of doing something similar, but ending the price with *.98. The idea is that if someone is sorting their search by price, your *.98 will show up before everyone else's *.99.

Well into my Freedom Reigns series, I listed the parts at $1.49 each figuring where they were clocking in about 160-170 pages, I was charging just under a penny a page. Problem I saw was that when I started distributing through smashwords, Apple was not recognizing the price and listing them at 1.99 instead. Even the boxset, which I priced at an even $5, showed up on Apple at $5.99. Then when I started seeing everything selling everything on Apple at those prices more than every other market combined, including Amazon, I gave up and raised the price to match what was showing up on Apple.


message 31: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Nik: re "I didn't think drinking was about succumbing to pressure. Just enjoyment."

Hahahahaha!! OMG, it's not!!!

It's just that I personally choose not to, so if I suddenly caved because you told me to try, then THAT would be succumbing to peer pressure, ya know? ^_~

@Mr JJ: re "I gave up and raised the price to match what was showing up on Apple."

I'm curious as to whether you saw a change in sales after you did this, good sir?

Personally, I never search by price. Popularity and rating, sure. And I just like how *.99 looks LOL

Hugs,
Ann


message 32: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Page count does matter because I don't have that much reading time. I'm more likely to read something 300-400 pages. If it is a GR club read though I'll longer. That said, I'm reading something over 500 and just finished over 600, so it depends.


message 33: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore All,
I was looking for this thread (I suggested to Nik the idea of separating it) and finally found it. I think I'm echoing someone else's knee-jerk reaction about things physiological (LOL), so the title threw me off a bit (OK, I rarely see such blatant stuff here as on FB or Twitter, secondhand smoke for me now).
Anyhoo, I'll jump back to Marie's comment, which I think proves that word count and price are genre dependent. My YA novel IS a wee bit shorter than my other novels, and I originally priced it so YA's could buy it instead of a McDonald's dollar-meal. At around 50k, it's not that different from my other novels, though, so I moved it up to $2.99, still less expensive than a regular meal at McDonald's (and incomparable in quality, of course).
Pricing ebooks and their nomenclature (shorts, novellas, or novel?) is an iffy business. I don't think you should give the full-length novels away, though, no matter their length, with the exception of prospective reviewers. No matter how much DIY the author does for production, her or his time was spent in the writing--$0 means that's how s/he values that time spent.
Nik, another thread might take off with that last paragraph. :-)
r/Steve


message 34: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15679 comments Sure, sounds like a theme that shall resonate. BTW, I totally encourage opening threads, if you want do it by yourself (because I myself might spoil them with inappropriate titles -:)).

I was and am against giving away novels for free, but I'm experimenting now with one day free giveaways on amazon, because fellow authors here claim such g/a spill over these days and spur sales. So, I guess I'm more for experimenting than against free give -aways-:)


message 35: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Nik: Don't you dare change that title! I dig it, boss!! ^_~


message 36: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore Nik,
Your title has added some comic relief, I suppose, so I apologize to Annie and others--no change was suggested. I only said it made my discovery of where the thread ended up more time consuming than I expected.
A long time ago, but at the tail end (no relationship to the title implied) of the era of large numbers of downloads, I tried to use the KDP give-away option to do exactly what you said. My conclusion? I probably just exhausted the number of readers that would have bought the book anyway (my prices are never high)--there was essentially no spillover. Now I believe many readers think free and/or bargain sales just imply poor quality, which isn't the case by any means (The Martian got its start by Weir giving away a prelim PDF version--sometimes there is spillover!)
Unfortunately, many book promo websites only except freebie offers. BookBub, one of the worst, expects free, screens for quality in a mysterious way, and charges you a lot of money to give your book away.
I also wonder if free or low-cost indie ebooks are spoiling readers; many seem not to recognize or reward authors for the hard work they put into their books. But that's the market now...sigh.
r/Steve


message 37: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Steve: Gosh! Don't apologize to me, good sir!! I was just being cheeky hahaha!!! No? Not funny? Dang.

But to actually contribute to the thread for once...

re "I also wonder if free or low-cost indie ebooks are spoiling readers; many seem not to recognize or reward authors for the hard work they put into their books. But that's the market now...sigh."

Personally, I think it's difficult to offer an ebook for free and have it retain any perceived value. Yes, that strategy has worked in the past but now sooo many authors are doing it that it's gotten too... *gasps for air* ...congested ^_~

As for the current state of the market, hmm, that a tough one to gauge. I mean, sure, there are a TON of freebies, but whether or not this is an accurate indicator? I'm just not convinced. Feels a bit like gas price war, eh? *headdesk* Yeah, I don't wanna play that game...

Hugs,
Ann

P.S. - Holy mother of goodness!! You've published 26 books!!! *blinks**nods slowly**humbly bows down*


message 38: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Steve: "I also wonder if free or low-cost indie ebooks are spoiling readers; many seem not to recognize or reward authors for the hard work they put into their books. But that's the market now...sigh."

Okay so how do you guys italicise quotes?

But to answer you, Steve. For Delphian I charge $4,99 3.19 GBP and for WTF $2.99. Both are earning more than In Sights, a traditionally published book. Also, the day In Sights was published by The History Press second hand copies appeared on eBay at hugely discounted prices. When queried, The History Press informed me they were damaged books and I don't get any royalty on damaged and discounted books. I bought a book on eBay and it was perfect. Personally, I'm really happy with the 70% Amazon pay me and the Kindle Unlimited payment of pages read.

The big advantage to trad publishing is marketing. They did get reviews in the press and a short tour book signing in Waterstones, but that was it really. Yes, the market has certainly changed, but in my opinion it is changing for the better. As authors, we can have more control, like indie musicians and indie film-makers. Marketing is our big problem and I believe together we can find an answer to that...


message 39: by Alex (last edited Jul 21, 2016 01:13PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Steven wrote: "I also wonder if free or low-cost indie ebooks are spoiling readers; many seem not to recognize or reward authors for the hard work they put into their books. But that's the market now...sigh."

(all right, guys, i'm taking some valuable time from my lunch hour to go into this issue in some detail. it's important to dispel the myth w/real data. note: i cut and pasted from my previous post in this thread. that post has more details.)

if you look at the May 2016 authorearnings presentation (even the smashwords annual presentation points out more or less the same data--and it's been true for many years), then you can see that the best ROI on average is $2 - $3.99. in fact, in the authorearnings chart, you'll see that the $2 - $3.99 has gross sales of more than double the $0 - $0.99 range. and even the $4-$5.99 range outperforms the $0 - $0.99 range by a big fat margin.

why is that? in simple terms, it's just where the market has settled. in a deeper sense, it mirrors consumer values. $0.99 and less is a purchase at the dollar store; it's a used book at a garage sale or a library sale. in other words, a dollar is cheap. (so, you, Steven, are more or less correct.)

Steven wrote: "Marie's comment, which I think proves that word count and price are genre dependent."

that is an arguable position.

even within the same genre, the price of ebooks is very volatile:

Davenport House, 190pp, $2.99 (88,895 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Yearbook,224pp, $9.22 (#77,102)
The Giver, 204pp, $7.99 (#316)
Forge309pp, $6.99 (#35,030)

these are all from top 100 bestsellers on 20 July 2016 in Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult >Historical Fiction > United States

the number of pages/words (the size) as a criteria of perceived value is a holdover from printed books. You cannot immediately see the size of an ebook online like you could on the shelf of a bookstore. therefore, the importance of the size of a book as a criterion of perceived value (that is, price) is vastly reduced.

i'm still working through my ideas of perceived value in light of the above extremely limited data, but even the influence of ranking on price might be very low; ranking is probably more important to discoverability. i mean, as a book goes up in ranking, you can charge more. so how could a book that has a lower sales ranking (#77,102) be more expensive ( $9.22) than another one ($7.99) that has a much higher sales ranking (#316)?

the $9.22 book could be an outlier or it could be that because you have a whole slew of authors and publishers independently pricing their books that the range of pricing is very wide--that is volatile pricing.


message 40: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore Annie,
Like I said, we sort of did it to ourselves and then places like BookBub jumped on the bandwagon. We created the expectations (with help from Amazon) and now have to live with that situation (what I meant by my market comment). The only consolation is that traditionally published ebooks, often nearly the cost of the printed versions, can't begin to compete in price. And, for readers, most of the new voices are indies or small imprints these days. Readers rule!
As an avid reader and at this moment, though, I won't spend more than $5 for an ebook...simply because I read so many books, I can't afford the high prices. If all ebooks were priced at $X where X > 5, I'd have to visit the Betty Ford Clinic to cure my book addiction!
r/Steve
PS. The number isn't 26, if it matters (some books already have a second edition)--I've been publishing for 10+ years and have collected story ideas my entire life. No bowing, please--I just love to tell stories (hence the Blarney Castle is featured on my website). In the 10th story I might have been strolling the Irish countryside playing my harp, singing my songs, and telling my stories for a free meal and quaff of mead (doesn't sound all that bad actually, except people didn't live very long).


message 41: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore Tim,
Your comment supports my comment about indies above. The ebook revolution coincided (or made possible) the indie revolution, and it's here to stay for now...as long as there are readers looking for new voices.
r/Steve


message 42: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Yes, Steve, it is here to stay. I'll use the example of singer songwriters. Once upon a time there were singers and there were songwriters. And then it changed because the songwriters began to sing their own songs. In short the creators of the songs took control over their own material. I see authors doing the same now and traditional publishers are being forced to rethink their business model. The film business is going through the same rethink, because of a plethora or indie film-makers now producing stuff and releasing it under their own brand. It is certainly an interesting time... But we all have the same problem and that is getting our project noticed. We do need to help each other here, because the readership is definitely there and we need to be visible to it...


message 43: by Ian (last edited Jul 21, 2016 04:39PM) (new)

Ian Miller | 11461 comments I think I can add that long books don't sell. My worst selling book (Miranda's Demons) is long (from memory, about 300 k) but there is no padding - I am often criticised for being too minimalist as far as descriptions go. Part of my problem here is I admire "War and Peace", so I felt here I had to write big. (It involves the end of an economic/political system, a war against aliens fought on two planets and several moons, corruption and the way some resist it, some at the start, some "coming to their senses", several love stories, etc. Definitely no padding.) However, it seems nobody wants a long book, and this one could not be broken down without the dreaded cliff-hanger, which I decided to resist.

I await being told, "silly me" re cliff-hangers.


message 44: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Sir Ian: Pfft! No one's gonna tell you that!! And if they do... *growls protectively* ...I'm gonna apparently sound like a dog LOL

Seriously, though, there are always gonna be people who "know" the ultimate perfect answer, eh? But I reckon nothing works across the board. Diff for each genre. Diff for each author. Even different for each book.

*shrugs**dons lab coat**goes back to mad experiments*

Hugs,
Ann


message 45: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Steven: Oops, missed your reply! Sorry!!

I hear ya! I'm just convinced there must be a way to use it to our advantage. Like, if the consumer market has certain expectations now of cheap books, for example, perhaps pricing higher gives an inflated perceived value? Yeah, I dunno, just pulling stuff outta my butt now hahahahahaha. Italicizing. I can help with that!! ^_~

<(i)>stuff you wanna italicize<(/i)>

Just remove the brackets and voila!

stuff you wanna italicize

Hugs,
Ann


message 46: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Thanks, Annie.. :D So simple


message 47: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) @Mr Tim: You are most welcome, good sir!! And by the way *whispers* if it wasn't simple, I wouldn't be doing it ^_~


message 48: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1907 comments I don't think the size of the book matters so much if you have a good story to tell. Some of the most popular award winning books were but slim novellas.


message 49: by Steven (new)

Steven Moore Ian,
Inre cliffhangers: in my reading, if an author sends me over a cliff without a net, I rarely continue to the "next book," so your twice is justified. (Different when one book is serialized, of course, like on a blog or Wattpad. Not on Amazon, though; I waited to all those different "episodes" of Wool were stitched together!) So resist those cliffhangers.
Inre minimalist writing (AKA "hard-boiled" for mystery and crime): That's a good thing because it obeys the Goldilocks Principle: not too much, not too little, but just right. An author shouldn't describe a character to the point that a reader cannot form her or his own image of that character, for example. Same for settings, world-building (sci-fi), and so forth. An author must involve the reader in the creative process. S/he is a story guide for the reader. Sounds a bit weird, but that's my modus operandi.
r/Steve


message 50: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2277 comments Annie wrote: "I'm curious as to whether you saw a change in sales after you did this, good sir?..."

Not really. Other sites seem to be where readers are looking for freebies or bargains. It's a little funny that my free stuff does very well everywhere but Apple. It hasn't hurt sales, but what it does is unify the prices across all platforms so I avoid the risk that the Apple customers find out the book is cheaper elsewhere and get upset.

On the other hand, with smashwords running a sitewide promotion this month, the higher prices allow me to offer a larger discount without going free...I love the ability to generate coupons on SW, but even with the coupons, you cannot sell something less than .99 - it's either .99 or it's free. I would love to run a .49 promotion on some of the shorter works, but alas, I can't. When I price a book at 1.49, biggest discount I can offer and still get paid is 33%. But if the book is priced at 1.99, I can offer a 50% discount, and though the final price is the same at .99, people feel like they're getting a better value if the discount is 50% instead of 33%.


« previous 1 3
back to top