Next up on the publisher scrutiny is the ever popular Loose Id. Claiming to be a leading publisher in erotic romance while publishing 16 to 24 new titles a month. In my experience they have a bevy of good authors but their editing is crap (common lament in e-publishing) and more and more their stories focus on sex and less story. In fact recent stories have been almost all sex and no story because Loose Id clearly feels this is what readers want. Lots of splooging dick = deep emotional connection. I’d like to say, um, since when? But how about price for this publisher.
You’ll find Loose’s guidelines for length under Submissions and not the first place a reader would go to for information. They specify the following:
20,000-120,000 words. Flings of less than 20,000 words and shorter stories are by invitation only to authors currently publishing with us. Stories of 55,000 – 70,000 words will receive an advance and be automatically considered for print.
Well ok that’s pretty broad if you ask me so let’s attempt to break it down into the categories they use but don’t list anywhere. There are a number of different categories and it’s hard to find any kind of consistency on their website. Not to mention Loose Id’s “search function” is a complete waste. Don’t bother since when I search for the exact title of a book, I get 245 responses. Yea. Useless.
They offer 772 books currently on their website with no word counts listed. FW lists 634 tiles while ARe lists 616. Within that 772, there are 261 listed under Gay, Lesbian, & Transgendered. I went through and counted for m/m specifically and there are 251 titles that are m/m or m/m/m. So that accounts for ~30% of the titles. I’m pretty surprised there is talk about Loose Id being primarily m/m.
Now for the categories:
Novella $3.99, $4.99
Novel $5.99, $6.99, $7.99
Anthology (Novel) $6.99
Novel Plus $7.99
Fling $3.49, $3.99
Rites of Spring $1.99
8 RoS – 6 for $1.99, 1 for $0.99, 1 for $1.25
Stocking Stuffer $1.99, $2.25, $3.99
6 SS – 4 for $1.99, 1 for $2.25, 1 for $3.99
Holiday Kisses $1.99, $2.49
6 HK — 5 for $2.49, 1 for $1.99
So doing a cursory look there is a wide range of prices – even within the same category. This doesn’t bode well but how can you tell a $5.99 novel from a $7.99 novel and that from a $7.99 novel plus?! And why is a Holiday kiss for $1.99 but also $2.49?
Lets look further:
Now when looking at available titles for word counts from FW and ARe, I found very similar word counts on both sites for Loose Id. I’ve included both whenever possible so you can feel the same confidence. I’ve also attempted to stay to the m/m titles ONLY, but I did find some interesting trends within the m/f titles.
So while Loose Id doesn’t explain what it defines as a $5.99 novel versus a $7.99 extended novel, logic dictates this is based on word count. So upon very close examination I found the following breakdown:
70k words + books are either $6.99 or $7.99 novels/novel plus. I can find NO CONSISTENT DIFFERENCE between a $6.99 novel and a $7.99 novel and a $7.99 novel plus.
Loose lists 38 Novels/Novels plus for $7.99 and 57 Novels for $6.99.
No matter where you buy from the price is consistent, you’ll pay the same price on the Loose Id website as you will at ARe or FW. But why are you paying more for the book is apparently arbitrary.
Take a look:
$7.99 Loose Novel / 220,209 for $7.99 ARe / 217,595 for $7.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel / 109,871 for $6.99 ARE/ 108,801 for $6.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel PLUS / 108,546 for $7.99 ARe / 108,150 for $7.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel PLUS / 100,465 for $7.99 ARe /100,291 for $7.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel PLUS / 82,688 for $7.99 ARe / 82,801 for $7.99 FW
Now there might be a different classification but the books are all $7.99 so the wording may not matter so much. To me it’s confusing and why would you have such a designation when it’s arbitrary? But at least the price is consistent.. right?
Well anything under 85k starts to bounce between $6.99 and $7.99 with no consistency.
$6.99 Loose Novel /82,417 for $6.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel / 82,354 for $6.99 ARe / 81,780 for $6.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel / 82,015 for $7.99 ARe / 80,929 for $7.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel/ 74,339 for $6.99 ARe / 74,324 for $6.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel/ 74,206 for $6.99 ARe / 74,114 for $6.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel Plus / 73,983 for $7.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel / 70,594 for $6.99 FW
$7.99 Loose Novel / 70,100 for $7.99 FW
So really you’re paying up to $1 for the same length of a book. There is no consistency or apparent reason for the difference in price as it jumps up and down between $6.99 and $7.99.
Now between 50k and 70k, the novels go to $6.99. The MAJORITY of books are $6.99 but there are several books for $5.99 with, again, no discernable reason for the reduction. It’s not a discount. It’s not based on word count, author, or cover artist. It seems completely random.
$6.99 Loose Novel / 61753 for $5.99 FW
$5.99 Loose Novel / 57,431 for $5.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel / 57280 for $6.99 FW
$5.99 Loose Novel / 56374 for $5.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel / 55573 for $6.99 ARe / 55621 for $6.99 FW
$5.99 Loose Novel / 53088 for $5.99 FW
$6.99 Loose Novel / 53029 for $6.99 FW
So again, you could be paying $1 more for the same word count or less! There seems to be no consistent pricing between this 50k-70k word count area. That’s frustrating and costly!
Now 38k to 50k books are all $5.99 priced novels. There are a few outliers but not enough to be statistically significant and form a pattern – unlike the above which are just a smattering of examples in a larger trend. At least here there is some consistency.
Now between 20k to 38k word counts though there is the bouncing from $4.99 novella to $5.99 novel – even a few $3.99. I haven’t included the links here because this post is getting epic but I have them and can provide links if anyone wants. I listed the book name instead. Remember the prices are the same no matter where you shop.
$4.99 Novella – Jet Mykles’ Heaven Sent 2 Purgatory
37366 ARe / 37413 FW
$5.99 Novel – Willa Okati’s Incubus Call
36285 ARe / 36229 FW
$4.99 Novella – Josh Lanyon’s The Dark Horse
36224 ARe / 35958 FW
$5.99 Novel – Blue Ruin 1: Some Kind of Stranger by Katrina Strauss
35656 ARe / 35676 for $5.99
$4.99 Novella – Don’t Look Back by Josh Lanyon
34,688 ARe / 34795 FW
$3.99 Novella – The Dragon’s Tongue by Willa Okati
28668 ARe / 28523 FW
$4.99 Novella – Bound by Deception by Ava March
24,231 ARe / 24330 FW
$3.99 Novella – Jet Mykles’ Tech Support
20525 ARe / 20655 FW
$4.99 Novella – Amanda Young’s Reckless Behavior
20008 ARe/ 20309 FW
Between 8k -20k word counts the books marked Novellas are all $3.99.
We haven’t even gotten into short stories yet either. Loose Id doesn’t upload their short stories in the form of Flings, Holiday Kisses, Rites of Spring, Stocking Stuffers and so on. Here there is absolutely NO consistency in pricing. Within each category there are offerings anywhere from $0.99 to $3.99. There are flings side by side that are $3.99 with a $0.99 Fling!
Now since there are no word counts listed I went through the various flings I owned. This was difficult because I have no folder called Loose Id Fling ebooks. So I had to go through a bunch. Ugh. Anyway, let me summarize that work to say that of the ones I checked, the average word count was 3400.
So you still here? Awake? Interested?
Here is the breakdown for the cost within the publisher:
So there clearly isn’t a lot of consistency within pricing but how does it compare to other publishers?
This graph is getting pretty busy! I’ll soon have to figure out something out but for now look at the blue. While Loose ID isn’t consistent – it’s very interesting. At lower word counts, it’s one of the most expensive, only to be elipsed by the absolute mess of pricing over at loveyoudivine (LYD). But once it gets into novella range, Loose Id is actually one of the cheapest! Considering it’s giving TQ a run for the money with Loose Id’s MUCH MUCH MUCH better cover art than the child’s crayon pictures of TQ – Loose Id is a better bang for you buck Novella length.
However, when you compare more closely at the novel range, the trend is different. Loose Id becomes one of the most expensive, if not THE most expensive in the novel range of publisher. Part of this is due to the high level of inconsistency among their pricing, and you can see the Loose Id Line (blue) jumps up and down quite a bit.
This is a fascinating pricing trend. At the fling level, Loose Id is all over the map pricing wise. However even with the inconsistent pricing of $3.99 to $4.99, your novella prices are some of the cheapest (ie. 28k for $3.99) and some of the most expensive ($3.99 for 8k words). The wide disparity makes it difficult for you as a consumer to know if you’re getting a good deal.
Furthermore you could easily be paying $1 (or more) for a shorter book. Since no one is really going to be that vigilant – not even me and I’ve done all this work – I find it very off putting that Loose Id is so loose with their pricing. I can find no consistent and apparent reason for the wide variety in pricing and categories. Not to mention you could be paying the most of any publisher for some of the upper range and rather sketchy “novel plus” category.
Is Loose Id worth your money?
Here is the real question and it’s so subjective. I doubt my analysis will hurt Loose Id any but anyone who’s bothered to read it should be aware that you may have better bang for your buck and you should look for the cheaper books. If it’s at the bottom of the price range, you’re probably safe to buy. The upper price range and you should KNOW you’re likely paying more. But what can you do? You can’t get it cheaper elsewhere if you want it and they must tread on that.
What this has done for me is that I didn’t go back and buy the 30 or so books I had wanted when doing this. They stood out and I immediately coveted, yet knowing this pricing problem I won’t do that. If it had ended up as Loose Id is consistent and on par with publishers me and the 30 books would have been a match. Very sad.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts