Now one thing I have to say for AA is that they are extremely clear on their word counts. They explain that they don’t list page count but word count, which works perfectly for me.
- Amber Brief: 2,500 – 4,999 Words $1.50 / Discounted $1.00
- Amber Kiss: 5,000 – 10,000 Words $3.00 / Discounted $2.25
- Extended Amber Kiss: 11,000 – 17,000 Words $4.00 / Discounted $3.00
- Novella: 18,000 – 29,000 Words $5.00 / Discounted $3.75
- Extended Novella: 30,000 – 40,000 Words $6.00 / Discounted $4.50
- Novel: 41,000 – 70,000 Words $7.00 / Discounted $5.25
- Extended Novel: 71,000+ Words $8.00 / Discounted $6.00
Thank you AA! There are 364 titles under the Amber Allure imprint which includes at least a dozen or more paperback collections and ménage books. AA doesn’t exist at FW or ARe, but instead is uploaded under the parent umbrella of Amber Quill.
Doing an exhaustive check of their listed word counts and prices with both FW and ARe, I feel confident that AA is listing accurate counts. AA tends to round down, which is fine, as FW and ARe both come very close to the stated word counts. So for once, there is no a big discrepancy between the publisher and other outlets! This actually makes life SO much easier when everything is not only consistent but clear. This made me so happy, my grudge almost lifted.
So what does this mean?
No links for you!
I use the links to show the discrepancies which always exist but somehow AA has shown such close consistency there’s no need. The word counts are extremely consistent and the price listed for FW/ARe matches the AA site exactly for every single book. Shocking!
Pricing for AA is more difficult though. For starters, everything offered on the AA publisher site is discounted by 25%. However the price at e-tailers such as ARe or FW is the full price. For example:
11k Extended Amber Kiss for $4.00, discounted to $3.00 on AA is $4 on ARe and FW.
So clearly you’re not getting the best price to shop at e-tailers as this trend follows with ALL the categories listed. So let’s break down what that means for the price per word.
The lowest book I found was 3400 words and the highest was 80,000 words.
Of the 364 titles listed, the overwhelming majority are Extended Amber Kiss or Novella. There are only a handful of Novels and Extended Novels.
If you’re buying from the AA site which includes a base 25% discount, this is the price per word. There is a huge spike in cost in their Amber Kiss category ($2.25 for 5k words).
What if you buy from ARe/FW? As you’d expect, the trend is the same, just more expensive.
Now how does it stack up with other publishers? Well this is a little messy.
Well this is a little messy.
So looking at short stories with other publishers, Amber Allure is some of the most expensive. However, if you buy from their site (thick red line), it’s considerably more affordable.
As for longer length, novella and up, Amber still tends to be one of the most expensive publishers. Without the discount from Amber, the publisher is now the leading MOST expensive. Only Noble eclipses AA – even DSP and Loose Id are cheaper!
However with the discount, AA comes middle of the road to cheapest at the high end.
So what does all of this mean?
Well it means that AA is incredibly consistent, which is very good to know. They keep a consistent pricing and word count strategy that transfers over to retailers as well. Unfortunately it also means that depending where you shop, AA can be the most expensive or one of the cheapest publishers.
To get your money’s worth from AA you HAVE to shop at their website. If you don’t, you’re likely to pay up to $2 MORE for the same book which means you’re definitely not getting your money’s worth.
If you shop at the AA website, Amber Allure is pretty competitive price wise among publishers, though they tend to specialize in 10k to 30k word stories. They have considerably fewer 40k+ stories than other publishers.
Don’t shop at retailers. Shop at the publisher. I can’t stress this enough.
The rest of the series can be found HERE!
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
Welcome back to the pricing series where I look at various electronic publisher (specifically those offering M/M romance) and try to analyze their pricing structure. For those new to this, I’m trying to compare publishers within themselves for consistency and against other publishers for sheer cost. What is the best “bang for the buck” for consumers. Please keep in mind I do not take cover art, editing or lack thereof, customer service, and quality into consideration. This is strictly a numbers game.
A list of past posts HERE!
Today’s look is at Noble Romance Publishing Think Kink! I’ll shorten them to NRP. I like the catchy title but most consumers aren’t really aware of this publisher. They seem to be quiet, under the radar a bit and don’t have the same buzz as other more well known publishers. This could partially be the low number of available books from Noble. There are a total of 59 books available on the Noble website, although it doesn’t say when the company started.
Looking at their website, going through all 59 books is pretty easy and it’s clear there is some inconsistency. Just for reference there are 18 books listed as M/M, although one is M/M/F. So really for pure M/M enthusiasts this is 17, which is 28%. Roughly 1/3 of Noble books are M/M so that’s still worth checking out.
This particular analysis is different from others since Noble Romance is not listed on FW. Complaining of this, the Cocktease tells me now ARe/OmniLit (my preferred vendor) is now offering word counts. Thanks! So let’s use ARe listed word counts with the same caveats as before. Unfortunately of the 59 available books at Noble, only 34 are available at ARe as of today and none are available at FW. Perhaps this is why few readers are very aware of the publisher.
NRP categories are pretty easy and clearly listed:
Collections $4.50 15-20k words
Naughty Nibbles $1.99 5-10k words
Novellas $4.50 15-20k words
Novels $5.95 21k+ words
So let’s break down what this means more closely.
Anthologies – No word count listed. 3 books that contain 4 stories each for a total cost of $6 per anthology on the website.
$6 NRP / 20,000 words for $4.50 at ARe
$6 NRP / 26,851 for $5.00 at ARe
Third anthology is not listed at ARe.
Collections – 5 novellas listed for $4.50 each. 4 are up at ARe so here is the breakdown:
$4.50 NRP / 17,000 words for $3.50 at ARe
$4.50 NRP / 26,800 words for $3.50 at ARe
$4.50 NRP / 18,000 words for $3.50 at ARe
$4.50 NRP / 30,500 words for $3.50 at ARe
Naughty Nibbles – 5-10k words.
There is some discrepancy here with an earlier wording of “Tryst” used on some books. Of the 13 books listed:
1 Naughty Nibble for $1.50 NRP/ Not at ARe
2 Trysts for $1.99 (1 listed at ARe)
$1.99 NRP / 5,000 words for $1.99 at ARe
9 Naughty Nibbles for $1.99 (5 not listed at ARe)
$1.99 NRP / 4,700 words for $0.99 at ARe
$1.99 NRP / 5,000 words for $1.99 at ARe
$1.99 NRP / 7,000 words for $0.99 at ARe
$1.99 NRP / 13,000 words for $1.50 at ARe
1 Naughty Nibble for $2.50 NRP/ Not at ARe
So what does this mean? Well if you can generally trust the word counts in comparison to one another (leave off the comparison to actual word count just for now) then the cost per word is all over the place. Especially taking into consideration the price discounts at the third party e-tailer – here ARe. I know this is common with publishers and Noble is by far not the only one doing this, others are as well as I’ve stated previously. So again, readers shop smartly for the best price. It likely isn’t at the publisher’s. Not to mention there is some confusion between the two names – Tryst and Naughty Nibble – for the same length of book and a wide range of cost from $1.50 to $2.50 on the publisher site and $0.99 to $1.99 on ARe. This is pretty pricey.
Novellas – 18 books listed from $4.00 to $4.75.
2 for $4.00
2 for $4.75
14 for $4.50
$4.50 NRP/ 9,000 for $2.00 ARe
$4.00 NRP/ 14,000 for $3.00 ARe
$4.50 NRP/ 19,500 for $3.00 ARe
$4.50 NRP/ 20,000 for $3.50 ARe
$4.50 NRP/ 20,900 for $3.50 ARe
$4.50 NRP/ 30,000 for $3.00 ARe
$4.50 NRP/ 23,000 for $3.50 ARe / My count 24,080
$4.50 NRP/ 32,000 for $5.00 ARe
$4.50 NRP/ My Count is 32,500
$4.50 NRP/ My Count is 20,200
$4.50 NRP/ My Count is 18,100
$4.75 NRP/ My Count (I couldn’t find the book but I know I have it!)
Now this is disturbing. While not all the novellas are listed on ARe the ones that are vary widely in price and word count available on ARe versus available on the publisher’s website. Even if the word counts are off, they are all off by the same amount so the inconsistency shown above is disconcerting. Paying more for 10,000 less words is shocking. While all publishers DO discount on third party retailers, I’d hope it’d be consistent in some way otherwise how can you tell you’re getting a good price?
Novels – 20 listed for $5.95. 11 were listed on ARe as follows:
$5.95 NRP/ 32,650 for $4.50 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 47,000 for $6.00 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 50,000 for $5.95 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 50,000 for $5.95 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 50,000 for $5.95 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 58,000 for $5.95 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 60,000 for $4.00 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 61,666 for $5.95 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 62,000 for $4.50 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 65,700 for $5.95 ARe
$5.95 NRP/ 75,000 for $6.00 ARe
Here you pay anywhere from $4 to $6 on ARe for counts from 32,000 to 75,000. The range and variety between the two (publisher and retailer) is enough to cast some doubt. NRP is very consistent on their website but the price at a retailer varies wildly.
So let’s look at what this means in comparison.
When comparing NRP’s website by categories and pricing, here is the breakdown.
As always when offering the same price for higher counts, the cost per word goes down. Also the cost per word decreases as the length of the book increases even when it’s a more expensive, longer book.
But let’s look at an internal comparison of word counts…
Here I went by the word counts listed at ARe and compared the price buying from ARe or buying from the NRP website. It’s rather inconsistent but clearly your best bet money wise is to buy from ARe.
But how does this compare to other publishers?
Here since there are no word counts from FW I had to use ARe for all the publishers. I had to go back and re-enter all the publishers word counts from ARe (which does differ from FW) so they all had the same internal comparison. Yes this sucked.
But what this shows is that Noble is actually one of the more pricey publishers. Their shorter works are erratic with pricing but this gradually levels out similar to other publishers and the longer novels are all basically equivalent. Noble (the dark blue) tends to be higher in cost than most publishers but only by a small margin that may or may not be important.
Looking a little closer at the novella and novel price comparison shows this clearly.
So what does all of this mean!?!?
Well NRP is mostly consistent within their website. 15% of the books in their rather small catalog are outliers that fall – price wise – outside of their general price. The biggest aspect is that the price listed on NRP’s website is not always the best price. In fact, although it’s consistent within CATEGORY, it may not be a good deal for your money. The wide variety in price and word count on ARe show that the best price is often looking there. You can sometimes save more than $2 which is quite a difference in cost.
As for comparison with other publishers, Noble tends to be higher in cost than other publishers, often costing more than our most expensive publisher so far, Dreamspinner. Part of this I attribute to the relatively small catalog of books and what seems to be a publisher still in flux. The changing of names and prices on some books tends to reflect published dates as well (older published work seems to be less expensive while the newest novellas are more expensive). I believe the cost differences in the categories are due to shorter/longer word counts than the averages but it’s almost impossible to tell with the craziness on ARe.
Also keep in mind the relative difference in cost is still rather small. Noble is the most expensive, but what is the real difference? Depending on the book, this could be pennies or dollars.
Noble Romance is comparatively costly. They are somewhat consistent if buying off the website but you tend to pay considerably more. Buying off All Romance Ebooks/OmniLit will get you a better price but also highly inconsistent prices for word count. Hopefully there will be some kind of consistency soon as the publisher has a nice website and better than average cover art. Not to mention the customer service is superb.
As always – your opinions.
BTW – I apologize for the rather EPIC nature of this post.
Welcome back to the pricing series where I look at various publishers (e-pubs) and do an in-depth analysis on the cost we readers/consumers are paying for our prized fiction. Being a lover of fiction I’m pretty much going to pay whatever a group charges but hearing grumbling, I’m attempting to show for good or bad if the pricing is reliable, consistent, and ultimately worth your money. The last is obviously something only you can decide.
Now I’ve looked at 3 publishers so far and found:
Dreamspinner Press (DSP) to be consistent but somewhat pricey
Torquere Press (TQ) to be inconsistent but somewhat inexpensive — depending on the line
loveyoudivine Press (LYD) to be inconsistent and expensive
So what about Samhain?
Well I found them to be both consistent and inexpensive! Hey, I’m as shocked as you so let’s break it down.
Usually associated with reader comments of excellent editing and a strong stable of authors, many have often lamented the m/m selection is too small. Now sticking with pricing, the website states the following:
Our pricing philosophy
Samhain believes the price of an ebook should be less than a print book; after all, it doesn’t need to be printed, stored or shipped! Why should it equal the cost of a print book? Samhain is dedicated to delivering excellent books at reasonable prices.
12,000 to 18,000 words
18,001 to 35,000 words
35,001 to 60,000 words
60,001 to 100,000 words
over 100,000 words
Thanks Samhain! Like other publishers, this makes it pretty easy for readers. Now, as with other publishers I can’t just take their word for it. After all, sneakiness is rampant so let’s see what Samhain has to say for their books themselves.
Unfortunately Samhain doesn’t list word counts so I can only go by what I’ve found either on my own conversion or on FW, however I will clarify which is which. There is still some discrepancy with FW counts and I’m working on a solution.
But to continue on in the discussion of Samhain, they use a site called “MyBookstore and More” for their e-book sales when buying directly from the publisher. This works like Fictionwise or ARe as an e-tailer with several publishers. Unfortunately I found this site somewhat clunky and difficult to maneuver around with the print books mixed in with e-books and there is no way to separate genre within the subset of publisher. This site also doesn’t list word counts but there are quite a few discounts I found right off the bat that may be interesting. So like other publishers, you need to be aware and price shop to find the best price.
[Not sure when this turned into basement e-book shopping but it is annoying to pay more for the same product so let’s go with that.]
Checking word counts over at Fictionwise for range, it appears as though Samhain is generally right in their listings. I couldn’t find any listing for a book shorter than 14,000 words and all my personally bought books come over 20k words at least on conversion. The 20,000 to 22,000 range and 35,000 to 40,000 range seems to be a bit in flux as there are several back and forth at $2.50/$3.50 and $4.50/$5.50.
20,235 for $3.50 FW / My count is 20,250 /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella
20,637 for $2.50 FW / My count is 20,603 /MbM lists as $2.50 Short Story
20,716 for $2.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $2.50 Short Story
21,641 for $3.50 FW / My count is 21,701 /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella
37,231 for $3.50 FW / My count is 36,942 /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella
37,131 for $4.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $4.50 Category
39,547 for $3.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $3.50 Novella
39,310 for $4.50 FW / No count from me /MbM lists as $4.50 Category
Now is this because Samhain is inconsistent – which really is the key, consistency in publisher pricing – or is it as previously pointed out to me, a conversion mistake?
So far Samhain seems pretty good on pricing unless you get into the ambiguous ranges of 20k to 22k or 35k to 40k. You could be paying $1 more for your story for less words if we can believe the counts. But, can we? My own counts (taking a PDF and doing the word count in MS Word brings the counts very similar to what FW lists) say that these areas are gray and consumers may be overcharged or undercharged leading to quite a bit of inconsistency. You may not be getting your money’s worth in these areas.
How does Samhain break down in pricing?
Well their shorter stories are pretty expensive (20k for $2.50 or $3.50) but they gradually cost less as the word count increases. The following is based on their internal pricing structure listed on the website.
Now when averaging the word count and cost, I had to go by FW numbers and it’s been shown FW sometimes counts differently than what the publisher would. So keep this in mind. But doing an internal comparison of FW numbers (my only source) you can at least see the averages of those books for the FW listed cost/count.
Novels – AVG 78,040 words for $5.50
Category – AVG 52,600 words for $4.50
Novella – AVG 32,700 words for $3.50
Short Stories – AVG 18,800 words for $2.50
Now, how does that compare to other publishers?
As I have with other pricing comparisons, I use an internal standard of Fictionwise counts. So if they are all off, they should all be off by the same amount and thus the comparison still stands.
Since Samhain doesn’t produce shorter stories like the other publishers, they come late into the game count wise, let’s focus tighter on that. According to the data, it seems Samhain is actually your best cost wise.
It seems Samhain is the best cost wise for books when comparing among the publishers (so far). They also have pretty good consistency which I personally find key to the whole process. No matter what the individual reader may feel is worth their money, it’s important to feel confident in your choices.
There does seem to be some variation in Samhain pricing to word count but for the most part this actually seems to play in the consumer’s favor in offering higher (by FW) word counts for a lower cost. On the flip side there are several up and down examples of paying the same cost or more for a lower word count book.* I’m going to say this is provisional since it lands in that mystery area that may be a conversion issue.
Either way the trend with the publisher is pretty much clear. Somewhat surprising since I really thought Samhain would come out as one of the more expensive and readers may pass this off due to the usually good covers and reputed great editing. In my own experience Samhain works vary from very clean to somewhat clean and a total wreck. They do tend to be more clean than not, from an average readers’ perspective.
So from this perspective, you’re getting the most for your dollar at Samhain so far.
Is it worth it though?
Well only you can decide that.
As always.. your thoughts?
So next up on the block is Torquere Press. Well known for shoddy editing and sketching practices, their owners publishing likely more than half the backlist under various pseudonyms but really – does any of that matter to you, the reader? Do you really care that Sean Michaels is actually BA Tortuga? Do you really care if it’s all about the sex? Well the editing should matter since it’s non-existent at TQ but let’s look at pricing since that’s the point of this pricing series.
Over at TQ they have NUMEROUS book lines and dozens of different titles so how can you find what you need to know?
Breaking it down for you the “general” guidelines for TQ are as follows:
- Novel – 50,000 – 100,000 words — $5.95
- Novel – 100,000 words and up — $6.95
- Novella – 20-45,000 words — $3.95
- Novelette – 10-20,000 words — $2.49
- Short Stories – Under 10,000 words — $1.29
However, keep in mind that TQ is a sneaky ass publisher. They include the author bio and press credits in the word count. I know, I’ve checked. So that page at the front or back with the Publisher info and author bio is included in the final word count and calculated into the cost YOU PAY. Check any of their listed word counts against some place like FW or do your own word doc check. You’ll see the difference.
Just an example I picked at random:
FW claims this book is 9754 words:
TQ claims it’s 10000 words:
Who do you believe?
According to TQ they can charge you another $1.20 for that book above. But technically they shouldn’t according to their own guidelines. There are more examples too. If you look there are dozens of examples of books that are actually less than 10,000 words but put into the more expensive category ($2.49) and listed at 10,000 words. Nice lying publisher!
Not to mention most of the word counts I found are towards the lower end of each category for the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY and I’d watch out how they’re skimming extra money from you. Perhaps this is standard in publishing, but something to watch as it’s a known fact with TQ.
Now what about the dozens of various lines they have?
These prices are all the listed prices from the TQ publisher website. We’ll get into the FW cost and “real” cost later.*
Keep in mind ALL of these word counts are based off TQ publisher listed word count and since a MAJORITY tended to be at the lower end, think about what you’re really paying for and what they are counting.
250 Novels $5.95 or $6.95 — 45,000 words to 130,000
66 Arcana $2.49 — 10,000 words to 27,000 AVG:15,000 words
11 Birthstones $2.49 — 10,000 words to 21,000 AVG:13,500 words
11 Everyday Spectres $3.95 — 20,000 words to 28,500 AVG: 27,000 words
10 Games People Play $3.95 — 20,000 words to 28,500 AVG: 22,500 words
40 High Balls $3.95 —
79 Chasers $2.49 — *see below
0 Cherry Bombs
52 Single Shots $2.49 — 10,000 words to 23,500 AVG:13,500 words
58 Single Shot Classics $2.25 — These are old Single Shots Discounted so see above.
11 Spurs and Saddles $3.95 — 20,000 words to 28,500 AVG: 21,000 words
10 Spice it Up $2.49 — 10,000 words to 15,000 AVG: 13,000 words
260 Sips $1.29 — 3,000 words to 10,000 AVG: 4,500 words
Now, is any of this worth your money?
The above was a ton of work looking at every book available on TQ in the various lines and their word count and price as listed on the TQ site. So therefore I didn’t do every single book line, especially the higher count ones. I think you can forgive such. There are a few outliers in every group that are higher than the others and priced oddly. Such as there is one Arcana at 29,600 words and priced at $3.95.
The chasers though – this is a total money sink.
Now Chasers are series stories that range from 9,700 words to 24,000 words per story and the stories range from 2 parts to 6 parts. Each chaser is $2.49. Now think about that a minute because the majority of stories are under 13,000 word count. I know. I checked every single one.
There are 23 chaser series currently available – a total of 77 books. The average word count for any one chaser is 13,600 words. Chasers tend to be 3 parts but can be as large as 6 parts. The average COMBINED word count for all parts is 47,000 words, which according to TQ that would be $3.95. TOTAL! Instead you’ve paid $2.49 x 3 ($7.47) or sometimes $2.49 x 6 ($14.94).
The word count for the three 6 part stories, which cost you $14.94 total:
60,500 words total with an average of 10,080 words per installment
75,300 words total with an average of 12,500 words per installment
94,200 words total with an average of 15,700 words per installment
If you bought it together as one novel, the entire cost would be $5.95.
Not quite a good investment hmm? Of course TQ knows this and is discontinuing their Chaser series because readers are unhappy with pricing. Rightfully so. When will the line stop? Not sure but beware if you buy older series, it’s simply not worth your hard earned cash.
So now you’re all numb with numbers – what does this all mean for a consumer?
It means that you need to be pretty savvy to get your money’s worth out of TQ. Check cost of FW and ARe versus cost at TQ and check word counts! Some 10,000 word count stories are pretty sneaky and stuck into the higher charge bracket when they should be sips. Nothing you can do about it if you want the book but you should be aware that TQ is playing fast and loose with their word counts. Their listed costs from the top are *generally* correct IF you keep in mind that you’re paying the cost for the low end of the range, not the high end (ie. the 3,000 word Sip and the 10,000 word Novella). There’s a whole ‘nother post in this if I tried to break down the shitty job TQ does with pricing on e-tailers. It’s ridiculous! And really this post is epic as it is… perhaps to come.
They are kind of all over the place since their word counts are iffy. You could pay $2.49 for a 27,000 word book (currently discounted for $1.99 thats a steal!) and also pay $3.95 for a 20,000 word book in a different line. There are several books like this. Almost the entire "Studs and Spurs" line is a rip off – partly because it’s almost entirely owner authored.
$2.49 for 24,800 (FW lists as 24,683)
$2.49 for 22,500 (FW lists as 23,010)
$2.49 for 22,200 (FW lists as 22,137)
$3.95 for 25,800 (FW lists as 25,714)
$3.95 for 20,000 (FW lists as 20,087)
$3.95 for 20,500 (FW lists as 20,481)
$3.95 for 19,500 (FW lists as 19,444)
$2.49 for 19,350 (FW lists as 18,579)
So clearly, their numbers are not only sneaky but they’re all over for what they charge. Based on TQ numbers this is the breakdown in cost:
So we know TQ is milking your money and the savvy consumer picks and chooses which lines are worth it, but on average how do they compare with other publishers? They compare with Dreamspinner for short stories but are surprisingly the best cost per word for some until you add in the inflation for the chasers. So if we KNOW that TQ is poor pricing, what does this say for DSP and LYD? Not good things in general.
*since this is based on TQ numbers and we don’t trust those, I’ll be doing a "real" comparison with FW listed word counts. This is a lot of work and didn’t have time for this post.
Unfortunately I don’t have one right now. Due to the word discrepancy I can only say this is part 1 of two parts. It’s clear TQ is skewing the word counts and ultimately YOUR COST. But it appears – so far – to be better than Dreamspinner and LYD by TQ numbers. Will that hold out?
As always – your thoughts!
Continuing in my publisher price breakdown, we’ve reviewed the absolute mess that loveyoudivine pricing is so there is definitely a buyer beware over there. But what about a more popular press and well known amongst many readers – here I’m choosing Dreamspinner Press as the next on the block about pricing.
Dreamspinner’s website doesn’t list actual word count and I’ve found this to be standard among publishers. However, I do have a source when I come to a stumbling block about, well most things gay and annoying. So they’ve been dubbed “cupid’s cocktease” for my amusement and ease of always referring to the same helpful individual. Anyway, the Cocktease mentioned the greatness of Fictionwise which lists books by list cost and word count. So fabulous!
Here’s the breakdown:
Daydreams are all $1.49.
Nap Sized Dreams are all $2.99.
Novellas are either $3.99 or $4.99.
Novella Plus are $5.99.
Novels are all $6.99.
DSP breaks down their books by this:
Day Dreams are 0 to 7500 words.
Nap Sized Dreams are 7500 to 15000 words.
Novellas are 15000 to 40000 words.
Novels are 40000 words and up.
15500 to 23500 words are all $3.99.
23600 to 38200 are $3.99 or $4.99.
Books over 48000 words are $5.99 or $6.99
*the one exception to this is a 50,000 word book for $4.99
Interestingly enough what I also found was that FW prices differed from DSP prices on their website. Sometimes higher and sometimes lower. Hence the difference in pricing listed above. Here are some examples:
24177 for $4.99 FW / $3.99 DSP
25122 for $4.99 FW / $3.99 DSP
59242 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP
62283 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP
73846 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP
82375 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP
86895 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP
246670 for $8.99 DSP and FW
So what I found was an actual consistency at least as far as the DSP website is concerned about pricing but you may be better off comparing the publisher’s cost with some of the other e-tailers for the cheaper book.
The breakdown in cost per word (as best as I could manage with the information offered):
You pay significantly LESS per word for longer books. You pay more than 3x that for shorter stories. This is also just an internal comparison.
Compared to loveyoudivine – DSP is cheaper for 0-5000 words but slightly more expensive for for over 5000 words (remember LYD pricing) and the novella size for both sites has comparable prices.
Are you getting your money’s worth out of Dreamspinner?
Well they are mostly consistent, which is a big point. Whether you think you’re getting your money’s worth or not, you most likely can be confident the next book is similar in price. However, does that still mean the book is worth your buck?
$6.99 for 50,000 – 90,000 doesn’t seem like a bargain to me. Well the 90k perhaps, but not the 50k end.
For $7.99 I can buy Tim LaHaye’s Babylon Rising: The Edge of Darkness in ebook or print for the same price, which is listed as 448 pages – and off topic was a good book. Although the word count isn’t listed, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s more than 100k words.
PS. I own the above in paperback and paid $7.99. Do we even want to get into the $12 trade paperbacks POD from e-publishers? That’s an easy choice – totally not worth your money.
As always, what do you think?