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Advice on price - Dorte Hummelshoj - 03 Mar 2014 01:13 PM

I plan to publish a novella this summer (c 27,000 words).
I want to escape the low royalty by setting the price to $ 2.99 (sorry, KUFers, but as I can't see the UK prices, I can never remember exactly what they are), but what are your experiences with selling novellas?
It's not only that I think 35 % or $ 0.35 is a rotten royalty for what is basically a 'short novel', but I would like to hire an editor for this one, and I would have to sell more than 500 copies before I was even.


RE: Advice on price - davidwailing - 03 Mar 2014 01:43 PM

This is very much a 'piece of string' question with no real right or wrong. Novellas can be tricky to price. I think both quality of writing and an author's reputation are factors, but probably the most important factor for a reader (especially a new reader) will be word count and value for money.

In the UK an ebook has to cost £1.49 or higher to be eligible for 70%, so readers need to feel that is a fair price for 27,000 words of fiction.

Personally, I would not risk this for my own writing just yet. I have two stories out that count as novellas (both around 20,000 words) and have priced them at 99p, with my short stories (between 7,000 and 15,000 words) priced at 77p, the lowest possible. Based on that, I would probably price a 27,000 word novella around £1.20. I wouldn't get into the 70% bracket for anything less than 40,000 words - technically a novel.

But that is just my own work. If you feel readers would see $2.99 as a fair price for your novella, then maybe it's worth a try.


RE: Advice on price - lyndawrites - 03 Mar 2014 01:48 PM

Good luck with it, Dorte.

A Novel Way to Die is a 40,000 word novella that I sell for $2.99 on dot com, but I set the UK price at £1.49 (which still got me the 70% royalty). Unfortunately, I forgot the 3% VAT, so its actual list price is £1.53.

As you'd expect, it sells pretty well in the  UK but not so well in the US. It was published on 8th April 2013 and broke even on 20th November. According to my records, editing cost me £102.22 and the cover £53.16.

I don't think stand alone novellas do too well, to be honest, and the reason that A Novel Way to Die has made it's money back, is that it's all part of the Verity Long series. You'll just have to write longer books. Smile


RE: Advice on price - Dorte Hummelshoj - 03 Mar 2014 02:38 PM

Oh dear, all these snags. But thank you for your help.

Obviously you are right, Lynda, that I should write longer books. But with my concentration problems, it's not likely I can do that very often. Besides, Danish readers really like novella-length e-books so it has sold fairly well in Denmark for six months.

Well, we'll see. I could always try to move the price up and down at intervals Smile


RE: Advice on price - Ray Kingfisher - 03 Mar 2014 02:42 PM

Dorte, I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I would take a good look at what you’ve written and find some way to turn it into a novel - 50kwords bare minimum.

Yes, I know classic writing advice is that a story should be as long as it should be and not padded out etc. etc., but there are ways to extend and make it work - and it often deepens a story to add another dimension or narrative strand or write a part2 / what happens next.

Novellas may be more popular in ebook format than they were in paperback form (that ain’t difficult) but I suspect most readers still see them as somehow ‘literary’ and much prefer something that can legitimately be called a novel. The £1.53 price tag won’t help the situation.

Sorry - I know it’s a daunting task to rip apart your finished work and rebuild - but I’m just being honest.

And, of course, I could be wrong.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide.


RE: Advice on price - Rosen Trevithick - 03 Mar 2014 04:52 PM

My Granny Writes Erotica is 27,000 words. Aside from a couple free promos, it has always been in the 70% royalty bracket ($2.99 or £1.53) and although readers frequently complain that it's not as long as they would like, that criticism never seems to be related to the price.

I don't think your primary motivation should be to make back your editing costs. Instead, you could see the editing as a long term investment, which will increase your reputation for the rest of your career.


RE: Advice on price - Dorte Hummelshoj - 03 Mar 2014 06:20 PM

(03 Mar 2014 02:42 PM)Ray Kingfisher Wrote: Wrote:  Dorte, I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I would take a good look at what you’ve written and find some way to turn it into a novel - 50kwords bare minimum.

Yes, I know classic writing advice is that a story should be as long as it should be and not padded out etc. etc., but there are ways to extend and make it work - and it often deepens a story to add another dimension or narrative strand or write a part2 / what happens next.

Novellas may be more popular in ebook format than they were in paperback form (that ain’t difficult) but I suspect most readers still see them as somehow ‘literary’ and much prefer something that can legitimately be called a novel. The £1.53 price tag won’t help the situation.

Sorry - I know it’s a daunting task to rip apart your finished work and rebuild - but I’m just being honest.

And, of course, I could be wrong.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide.
Thank you, Ray.

Writing part 2 and 3 are actually part of my long-term plan Smile Mainly because I can make it into a paperback trilogy.
But changing this one into a novel would destroy the story in my opinion.


RE: Advice on price - Dorte Hummelshoj - 03 Mar 2014 06:23 PM

(03 Mar 2014 04:52 PM)Rosen Trevithick Wrote: Wrote:  My Granny Writes Erotica is 27,000 words. Aside from a couple free promos, it has always been in the 70% royalty bracket ($2.99 or £1.53) and although readers frequently complain that it's not as long as they would like, that criticism never seems to be related to the price.

I don't think your primary motivation should be to make back your editing costs. Instead, you could see the editing as a long term investment, which will increase your reputation for the rest of your career.

I'm glad to hear some writers can sell novellas Smile

And don't worry, I wasn't going to publish anything without getting help. I may choose to publish my novella later than planned, or I may ask the kind friend who edited "Anna Märklin's Family Chronicles" for free. She is very thorough, and that book has received great reviews.


RE: Advice on price - Scribbler - 03 Mar 2014 06:39 PM

(03 Mar 2014 06:20 PM)Dorte Hummelshoj Wrote:  But changing this one into a novel would destroy the story in my opinion.
Best leave it as it is then, Dorte. Smile


RE: Advice on price - Rosen Trevithick - 03 Mar 2014 06:57 PM

There's so much peer to peer support on KUF that I'm wondering whether there's any mileage in an author putting her work on Google docs and us performing a collaborative proof read,