My name is Donovan Starr. I'm a writer from Buffalo, New York and my job is to give you an escape and a chance to delve into your hottest M/M fantasies. I also adore my readers because I wouldn't have a career without you. I would love to hear from you. Please e-mail me at donovanstarr123 (at) gmail.com. Tell me what you thought of the story you read and be sure to tell me what you would like to see in a gay male erotica story so I can serve you better.
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Friday, 12 October 2012
Let's Talk E-Book Pricing
Because publishing has changed so much,
and because erotica (and romance to an extent) differ so much from other forms
of fiction, I’ve chosen to weigh in on the matter of e-book pricing. When
e-books and indie publishing made their first big splash, I heard much racous
about the low cost of e-books, particularly in the .99 cent to $2.99 categories.
Books often do move better at $2.99 as opposed to higher prices. That seems to
be the sweet spot, but I don’t blame those who charge a little more if they can
get away with it. Some well-established author friends have told me that if a reader
isn’t willing to pay $3.99 for a novel or $2.99 for a novella, they don’t want
that person to read their work. Fair enough.
Erotica and romance (or erotic romance)
differ a bit in this regard. An erotic/romance author can charge—and receive--$2.99
for a much shorter work. You really can’t get away with that in, say, the
horror genre. I know because I have a long line of friends in the horror field,
both new and established. $3.99 is the best you will get for a full-length
novel before readers begin to roll their eyes.
And yet serial erotic romances can demand
$2.99 per instalment. Some readers hate it, but if you look at the numbers of
authors like Delilah Fawkes of The
Billionaire’s Beck and Call series, and her counterparts, it’s clear that
a lot of people are willing to pay that price for something they want. Part of it may be the suspense of
finding out what happens next, assuming they enjoyed the previous instalments enough.
Still, I wouldn’t charge any more than
$2.99 for anything in erotica or romance no matter the length. I've done too much research on the topic not to know better. When stories in erotica reach a certain length and you only charge 99
cents, it’s sometimes taken as a comment on the product’s quality. Many of my
stories are priced at 99 cents but that’s because they’re rather short.
Quickies you might say. But my Game of
Inches series is significantly longer per instalment than any of those
short stories hence the $2.99 price point. If I priced it at 99 cents, readers would regard it as garbage and not buy it. In horror, you could never get
away with pricing a novel at 99 cents. Readers have reached the point in which
they associate 99 cent products with garbage. Not so with erotica, but then
other genres wouldn’t allow the abundance of short stories to be successful
either. Erotica is a genre of short story readers.
When can you price at $2.99? In my
opinion, the story should be no less than 4, 000 words before you charge that
much. Instalments of A Game of Inches
are still considerably longer than that, so my conscience is clear in terms of
how I’ve handled the market. Some charge that much at lower word counts but you
can tell by their sales rank that they don’t sell very well. In that case, 99
cents wouldbe better.
Quantity over quality? What matters more?
A relationship between story length and price point still exists in erotica as
it does in other genres. Erotica and romance happen to be more lucrative
perhaps because they account for much more of the market than horror and other
forms of fiction. In fact, romance books account for a rather large percentage
of books sold.
So, if you’re writing in the
erotic/romance field, wait until your stores are at least 4, 000 words long
before you charge $2.99. And, if you’re writing a serial, make sure your instalments
are a good 7, 500 words long. Sure, many successful ones are shorter, but by
making it longer you can avoid reader complaints—and avoidance.