The Wrong Business Model?

I spend a lot of time on Goodreads.  It’s a great place to talk about books, keep lists of what you’ve read and liked, review things you’ve read and read other people’s reviews.  It also has some nice forums (e.g. the Great Middle Grade Reads forum) and lots of useful things to help authors put their books in front of their Goodreads friends.
One of those is the Event Invitation.  I use it to send round to all my ‘friends’ when my books are free or when other promotions are on, like giveaways.  You send your invitations, the recipients get them by email, and are invited to respond whether they are attending (buying) with Yes, No, or Maybe.
This author sends round an invitation to her book’s birthday.  I follow it up as the synopsis looks interesting but am slightly peeved that for the long description on Smashwords she’s simply repeated the short description (which was the synopsis in the invitation).   Of course I could sample it. I check the price to see if it’s on offer, and I see it’s not.  It’s a 5,000 word short story for sale at $2.99.
Now, she may be a very much better author than me, but I sell my 50,000 word, illustrated ebooks for $2.99 and my 5,000 word stories are free to my fans on the blog.
So 5,000 words for $2.99 (and it’s a reworking of another tale, as stated) does not sound like good value to me.
One of us has the wrong business  model.
I’d be REALLY interested in your reactions.
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6 thoughts on “The Wrong Business Model?

  1. This is an interesting thought. I think it is a great idea and part of a solid business model to make at least some of your work available for free. It’ s a great way to get exposure and your name out there. On the other hand, if those 5000 words are worthy, I don’t see any problem selling them. My question is how many readers/fans actually read all 5000 words? Sometimes blog readers have short attention spans, perhaps it may be beneficial to post a portion of the 5000 words for free and then make the entire work available for a charge. I’m not sure about 2.99 though. I think a shorter work may be more appealing in the 1.99 or .99 reads. Just my thoughts. Thanks for the thought provoking post. I will be interested to read the responses.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    • Thanks Paul. I must admit I’m thinking about an anthology of short stories in the future. 🙂

  2. I missed this when it first posted, but I have to agree that $2.99 is too much for a 5000-word short. Like you, I sell my 40,000-word children’s book for $2.99 (for the ebook). I don’t usually write short fiction in the 5000 word range, but I’ve been doing a lot of 1000-word stuff and, like you, I post it free on the blog. Also like you, I’m thinking of a collection at some point, though I wonder about the quality of the stories, as they are sometimes rather quick things meant for fun or exercise.

    • I can see that someone writing novels that retail on kindle for 5.99 up might think 2.99 was the right price. Maybe they value their work ‘properly’. There is a tendency for people who work independently to sell themselves short… although some overprice themselves – but not so many.
      The buyer is the decision maker, after all.
      I wouldnt buy it, though!

  3. Well, if I do the math, extrapolating from one story to a collection (say 10 stories for 50,000 words which is short for an adult book and only a little above average for MG), at $3 each it would be $30. I won’t pay $30 for an ebook. I will seldom pay that for a hardback, and basically never for fiction (okay, I will seldom buy a hardback. I have an essentially unlimited supply of fiction at my library; I can wait for the paperback).

    • Very true. Of course if it was a paperback with printing costs to factor in it might be justifiable. I wonder how many she’s sold?

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