I have had great success selling my mystery thriller, As the Twig is Bent, a 6" x 9" perfect bound, 316 page book at $12.95 (I sold 153 copies in October). However, if I sign it up for Expanded distribution, my royalty would only be $0.54 per book; hardly worth it, it seems. I'm thinking of raising the price of the book to $14.95, but I fear that that price might put me in the "expensive" category. Anyone have an opinion about a) whether that price is too high, b) whether expanded distribution is worth bothering with?
I can use your help on this.
My fiction novel is about 250 pages and sales for $14.95, so I'd do it. If it something people want to read, people will buy it, especially if it's something new and different. Plus you will have to promote it, but at the page count, I think people will buy.
Great to see you on these boards! I think you should go for it on Expanded Distribution. Even with the reduced royalties, you are till making more on CreateSpace than any traditionally published author would (they usually make only 5-12% of the cover price). It has the potential to make your book a bestseller-- I wouldn't say that to many people, but in your case I think it's true.
You have serious talent as a writer, and your work is really good-- lots of horror and true crime, so I think you have the potential to build up a following, which is how author Joe Konrath did it-- just keep plugging away-- it's hard to do with fiction-- but I think you are the exception to the rule.
We have 15 books in print, one in the proof stage and 4 more darn close to being submitted. I put three into Expanded Distribution.
I have the same problem with some of my books. We priced them to sell at a 40% discount with a modest markup for us and we would LOSE money on some of the books
Hajj Journal is a good example. It's only 60 pages but has color photos of the Hajj taken by an Imam, which I understand is rare.The author has a lively and engaging prose style. We now have it priced at $12 and make $2.15 on an Amazon sale. When it was first published in Aug 2007 CS did not have pro plan and our cost was higher. We had it priced then at $16 and it did not sell at all. As soon as pro plan came into effect we lowered the price to $12 and it has thrived in a modest way.
Under exteded distribution I would lose 63 cents a copy. If i jacked the price back up to $16 we would only make about $1.25 a copy and, in my experience, it would not sell at that point.
I did raise the price of one of our anthologies to include it in EDC. Capital Ideas is a non-fiction anthology of classic writing about the Death Penalty. It's just under 500 pages and includes snippets from Aristotle to mark Twain -- all the great philosophers, political scientists, sociologists, etc. We priced it cheaply at $15. Professors have told me that an equivalent anthology used as a textbook would probably cost their students between $45 and $60. So, I felt justified raising the price to $20 to get it into libraries and academic institutions. We will make $1.23 on an ext. dist. book but my Amazon royalty goes up from $2.23 to $5.23.
We also have two fiction anthologies about the death penalty. Death Sentences is 34 classic short stories and End of the Line is five classic novellas. These are both about 370 pages. Priced at $12, we make about $1.90 on an Amazon sale. I would lose money on both on Extended Dist. at this price point. When both were in proof I showed them to a former bookstore owner friend and she said her customers would be interested in these books but at a max price of $14.95. Subsequent fiction anthologies we priced higher (they are a little bigger, at $15 and $16) and all five are enrolled in the Self Publisher Store, as I think they, unlike Capital Ideas, have potential for the general market rather than just academia and libraries. I'm hesitent to raise the price of the earlier books as we have promoted the prices extensively.
I think what I am saying is that each book has a market, a price point and a history. Each author/publisher has an expectation of what is a reasonable return. Add all that together and there is no way iI will raise the price of Hajj Journal to qualify. I did it with Capital Ideas. The jury is out on Death Sentences and End of the Line.
I was going to go with Expanded Distribution for the one book I've published so far and then the following numbers came up:
Amazon.com Retail Royalty Calculation, Pro List Price (set by you) $14.99 $14.99
Our Share $12.17
Your Royalty $2.82
eStore Royalty Calculation, Pro List Price (set by you) $14.99
Our Share $$9.17
Your Royalty $5.82
Distribution Royalty Calculation (set by you) $14.99
Our Share $15.43 see more info on how we calculate our share
Your Royalty -$0.44 list price minus our share
I don't blame Amazon for wanting and needing to make an honest profit and it's not like I've had but a handful of sales so far but guys, Amazon, c'mon, give us a break, the math simply doesn't make sense, sheessshhhhh!!!
Hey Joe-- have you thought about reformatting the book or trying another trim size in order to lower the page count? The book will print for a lot less that way. A higher price can affect sales, it's true. But you can try it-- or maybe make your royalty for the distributed copies really marginal, say .25 cents (that's probably what an author who was traditionall published makes off a cheap paperback).
It's a tough decision. I don't actually expect my sales from outside sources to be very high, honestly. I haven't changed my pricing, but my books are technical in nature, and I am going to make money no matter where they sell.
I think that your books are going to be a little different-- like the Joe Konrath model. I think that your horror/true crime is really gritty and there's a certain segment of the population that loves that. If you stick with it, you'll develop a fan base (I hope you are keeping all your e-mail addresses from your fans!). Eventually, you might even want to put up a fan site with forums, etc.
Have you started a blog yet?
On sales through Create Space you can always offer a discount code to bring the price down to where you think it should be. People can't find the book there unless you send them, and you can send them with the discount in hand. Amazon, of course, is a different matter . . .
You're absolutely correct! However, my concern is that by raising my cover price by $2 (so that I will make a marginal royalty when sold through the expanded distribution sites) I will hurting my ability to sell the book(s) on Amazon and CreateSpace. Does $14.95 seem too high? One of the books is 316 pages, and the other is 344 pages.
I wrote in another thread about a way around this, but it depends on whether you want to go to the extra effort initially.
Publish the same title twice - one with a CS ISBN and one with your own. Enrol the CS ISBN into EDC but turn off Amazon distro, and use the other ISBN just for Amazon sales. You can then lower the list price of the Amazon title.