Climbing the steep learning curve of independent publishing is exhilarating and fun, at least most of the time.
Learning to use the CREATESPACE tools to create paperbacks (aka “dead tree format books”) has been interesting and productive. I’ve just put up one of my short stories than has been popular in ebook format. You can see (and buy) it at my Createspace store at https://www.createspace.com/4000177.
Working out pricing is a difficult and contentious part of publishing. As an author I want to get my books to readers and make some money for my efforts but not gouge customers. There are suggestions that pricing stories too low these days puts them in the “trashy stuff sold cheap” category. Of course I want to avoid that as well. When I publish with other publishers, they worry about it. For instance, my story NEGOTIATING PLEASURE will be out in an anthology called CORPORATE AFFAIRS, edited by Elizabeth Coldwell (published by Xcite books) next month. They will set prices based on their experience and expectations. It will be out as an ebook — if it takes off, who knows. I hope it makes us all a bit of money, but otherwise I just move on — write the next story.
As my own publisher, however, I have to find some kind of pricing balance for myself. I’ve used information from other people with more experience, notably Dean Wesley Smith on the subject. He doesn’t refer to erotica specifically, and even admits not knowing the market, but his information is a place to start. And so my short stories, which run 7,500 to 10,000 words will continue to be available for $2.99 and the paperbacks at $4.99. Collections are slightly more. I am not distributing through bookstores at the moment, because the bite that distribution takes makes the prices far too high even at zero profit!! The margins are small this way, but the paperbacks are available through CreateSpace and Amazon and I suspect that is most of the market I need to reach at the moment.
If you have thoughts on the subject, I’d love to hear them. Some people have suggested that erotica should be priced higher, as readers seem willing to pay more for erotic stories than other fiction. I have no idea if that is true.
How does that sit with you? Are you a publisher with a different strategy? Are you are reader with other ideas? In a sense the playing field is wide open and readers need to let publishers (traditional, small presses and independents) how they see things. So let me hear your thoughts.