I just ran across an author who prices all her erotica short stories at $0 .99. I’ve always priced my stories at $2.99, which I’ve assumed is the norm (unless it’s an extremely short work, say, under 4,000 words). Am I correct? The author said she feels guilty charging three bucks, when for a dollar or two more, readers can purchase 80,000-word novels. I don’t feel guilty. But, now that I think about it, I can’t articulate a reason for the three dollar pricing. Can the experts at Boruma weigh in?

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3 thoughts on “Pricing erotic short stories

  1. Experts? Don’t quit your day job, but that’s really very funny! LOL

    Honestly, K.C., that’s a question that’s been bandied around every forum board since indie publishing began, and there are as many opinions as there are people posting them. But the overwhelming majority seem to sum it up in one word: Amazon.

    Yes, the Evil Empire rears its ugly head yet again. Why? Because of their draconian pricing structure. As we all know, they pay out 70% for all books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, but only 35% for books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99. Highway robbery? You betcha! But They are Amazon, so They can get away with whatever They want.

    Because of this, most authors price their books at $2.99, the bare minimum to get a decent royalty on Amazon. And because Amazon will penalize you if they catch your books listed for a lower price anywhere else (say, for example, Google, because Google automatically reduces the price of your book by 22% unless you’re smart enough to jigger the price for that one site)…if you post it for $2.99 on Amazon, you have to post it everywhere for $2.99.

    I just finished reading posts on a forum where Amazon authors proudly boasted that they were selling their 2,500-3,000 word stories for $2.99. Why? Because that’s the only way to make any money on Amazon. And it appears to be working; these authors claimed to be making over $1,000 per month just on Amazon.

    Is it fair to the authors who are writing 80k books and selling them for exactly the same price? Absolutely not. But neither is it fair for authors who write 80k books to sell them for $1.99 and undercut the market, hurting all those who are pricing their books more fairly.

    I’ve long believed that “free” books should be abolished, because readers who troll for free books won’t actually BUY books no matter how good the free book was. We’ve had authors give away the first book of a series, and several thousand people have downloaded and read the book…but never bought a single copy of the other books in that series. Talk about discouraging!

    I don’t believe price-fixing is right…an author should have the right to charge whatever they want for the work they’ve done. But it’s definitely not fair for authors to undercut other authors, either.

    A lot of it comes down to what the market will bear, and it appears that the market will definitely bear $2.99 for even extremely short books…in the right genres.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t see how 2500 – 3000 words even qualifies as a story. That’s only about 5-6 pages in Microsoft Word. I would be embarrassed to charge that much for something I could pump out in an afternoon. Heck, it usually takes me 8-10 pages to introduce my characters and set up the plot in one of my stories. But I have seen some people brag about making 4 figures per month with Amazon. God knows how. My guess would be flooding the market and getting lots of reviews online. Meanwhile, good work like ours goes begging for attention. (sniff)

    KC, I agree with Jo’s comments above. My norm has always been $2.99, except for my first (very long) book, which was nearly 100K and priced at $3.99. I can’t fathom trying to make a profit on a book priced at 99 cents. After Amazon takes their cut and you pay Boruma for distribution, you are left with a paltry 20 cents per sale. I don’t know if you do your own artwork, but that is an awfully small return on all your hard work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to agree with you, Alana. $2.99 for 3k – 4k stories is absurd. And this is a major part of what’s wrong with today’s indie publishing. But just as bad is $ .99 or $1.99 for 80k books. It undercuts authors who are providing just as much content (and often of a higher quality), and hurts everyone.

      One mitigating factor might be that most of the authors who are making mega-bucks on KU by submitting short-shorts for $2.99 are self-publishing, not going through a publisher like Boruma. That works well for them because they’re ONLY submitting to KU, not to a wide range of affiliates, so it doesn’t take an hour or more to process every book they submit. But imho, it’s deadly-dangerous to throw all your eggs into one basket, especially when Amazon is vigorously shaking the basket to see how many batches of scrambled eggs they can make.

      As I mentioned to K.C. earlier today, I can see one major benefit to submitting to KU first. The royalty rate (less than half a penny per page read) sucks rotten lemons. BUT the more books you sell, the higher your sales rank climbs. So when you move the book out of KU to get a proper royalty rate (and submit it everywhere else for additional royalties), that high sales rank will benefit you by making your book much easier to find…and typically the sales will continue for quite a while. Or so I’m being told by the experts who are making $1,000 or more per month just from their Amazon sales.

      What was Yoda’s line to Luke in the swamps of Degobah? “Not stronger is the dark side. Easier it is, more seductive.” Sound familiar, anyone? :-/

      Liked by 1 person

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