Saturday, April 12, 2014

Story Pricing

My friend, Lana Voynich, and I were having a discussion the other night about the price of ebooks, specifically short stories. I've put all my short stories on Kindle (for now, and had them enrolled in the KDP select program) at 99 cents each. The story length varies from just under 1800 to just under 5000 words. So, the question is, "Is 99 cents too much to pay for a story that is under 5000 words?"

If I tried to price them lower than 99 cents, I can't make any royalties, so anything below 99 cents is not eligible for any type of royalty payment. She suggested that I compile the similar stories and put them up at $1.99 for the one combination of stories (3 or 4). Looking at my short stories and some started stories I probably could flesh out, I could combine four of the ones I already have published coming in at just about 12,000 words (the four romance stories), but by the same token, by doing this, I would only make 70 cents for the combined stories as opposed to 35 cents for each one that sells at 99 cents (not that any of them are selling well anyway). If I price the compilation at $2.99, I would make 70% royalties, roughly $2.10 for each copy sold, but with only 12,000 words, I wouldn't feel right about doing so.  What are your suggestions on this pricing dilemma?

She has priced her novels or novellas (roughly the same length as FINALLY HOME, mine being 56,000 words; hers being 51,000 and about 58,000 (I think that is what she told me)) at $3.99 and $4.99 and I've priced FINALLY HOME at $2.99. What do you all think of pricing of ebooks? Do you mind paying 99 cents for short stories and a bit more for longer stories or do you think 99 cents is too much to pay for a short story?

 Remember, no matter how the writer sells her stories, she still has to make royalties in order to make it worthwhile. The big name writers don't count here since we are all struggling to make a little piece of the pie in order to survive in the writing world, what with the market being saturated with everything since it is so easy to self-publish these days and most of the time, self-pubbed can be done at much lower costs than even five or ten years ago. I'd love to hear some of your comments on how to price stories and still be able to make a small amount of money from my writing.

 Leave a comment and be entered in the drawing for an "earth day"(* - see note below) bookworm bookmark. Conserving trees all around the world, one bookworm bookmark at a time.

Elysabeth Eldering
FINALLY HOME (A Kelly Watson, YA, paranormal mystery)
coming soon THE TIES OF TIME (A Kelly Watson, YA, paranormal mystery)

*Earth day bookworms are essentially available in over 20 colors, not just the "earthy colors" any more, and can be mailed anywhere, not just in the United States. For choices and pictures of colors, please stop over and visit my blog,


Heidiwriter said...

Interesting dilemma. I agree that you can't price a short story lower than 99 cents. Compiling at $1.99 or $2.99 makes the most sense. I don't have any experience with short story marketing, and when my books (full-length novels) sell on Amazon through my publisher, I make about 76 cents per book, so... I'm not a lot of help, I know!

elysabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elysabeth said...

Heidi, it's terrible that we do all this work and only make a few pennies per book sold. Which means in order to really see some decent royalties we need to have sales in the thousands or ten thousands. Such a catch 22. So what are your ebooks priced at by the publisher? Although I do believe most publishers (at least the big ones still around) have ebooks priced way too high. I refuse to buy an ebook if it cost the same as a paperback or is close to the same price as a print book. That is one reason I like having control and not allowing a publisher to get money for my hard work. Although I'm currently in the market for a publisher for my state series (would love to get that completed and published but right now it's not happening). Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
FINALLY HOME (A Kelly Watson, YA, paranormal mystery)

Karen Cioffi said...

Elysabeth, pricing an ebook is a tough call. This is something you need to test. I would think creating a compilation of stories would work better. But, again you need to test it.

Magdalena Ball said...

The idea of compiling your stories into a full length book is a good one. I'd go for 8-9 and make it a proper 150+ page book. Then you can have the shorts at .99c (or even less as non-royalty earner tasters of the full length book) and have promo at the back of the stories to sell the book. If the stories could be linked in some way, that would be even better as the sum would add up to more than the parts. $3.99 is pretty standard for a full-length book.

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Magdalena. Problem is I only have four short stories that would fit into one book (all of them are romance but not necessarily the same type of romance - paranormal romance for two of them, humorous romance for one of them and a past lives/ghost type romance (not as romantic in the sense of romance as the other three)

I'm going to try a new spot for publishing the compiled book; it's called draft2digital and is supposed to let you put your book on any of the ebook outlets - you get a 60% royalty from the book as they will take a 10% cut for being the distributor - still not a bad deal. I have to wait until the end of June to do so since my stories were in the KDP select program and have to stay available in that program until the end of my 90 day period (I opted to not renew the select program so that it will let me publish the compiled book elsewhere - just to see how I do with it in other places).

Karen, it's always a trial and error kind of thing in the publishing world or the writing world - find something that works for you and go from there. I will keep you all posted on how it goes when it happens the end of June - E :)

elysabeth said...

Heidi, email me with your mailing address and I'll send you a bookworm; I have to do inventory tomorrow so I know what colors I have - E :)

elysabeth said...

Karen, I think I still have your address and I'll send you a list of colors to send you a bookworm - :)

elysabeth said...

Magdalena - I can't remember if you've received a bookworm or not; if you have, I should already have your mailing address. If not, please email me with your address for the bookworm of your choice (doing inventory of the colors I have tomorrow) - E :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the mention, Elysabeth. I think the main thing is to keep trying new things. If you don't like what you're earning, or how many books you're selling, try changing the price.

You can always change things back if you find that status quo is the best way.

elysabeth said...

You are right - I can always change back. Right now I'm stuck until the end of my KDP Select - I can't pull any stories or change prices right now and I don't think I can really change the prices to below 99 cents on kindle. We will see when I do a 4-story compilation of my romance stories on draft2digital in a couple of months. - :)

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