Recently, a reader wrote a comment about our pricing which I need to address:
“I am very disapointed that future individual episodes will be $2.99 each as opposed to $0.99.
I can see paying $6.00 for the book via kindle, but $18.00 is WAY TOO MUCH for the six episode packages. Even Stephen King doesn’t go for that much
I won’t be buying them, and hope I don’t lose too much interest or forget by the time the third installment comes out as a package.
The authors should really re-think that concept”
It seems that the reader interpreted this part of our product description to read that we’d be charging $2.99 for each episode for future series. That is NOT the case.
(On Feb. 21, you can buy the full season book at one low price, and single episodes will be going to $2.99)
So I want to take this opportunity on the blog, where I can more fully explain our pricing, and that single episodes will NOT be seeing a price increase during the seasons. I’ll also explain our pricing strategy for serialized fiction, and why it is what it is, to give you a better understanding of the challenge of pricing and how much thought we put into it.
Our Yesterday’s Gone series is released like TV shows — in seasons. Those seasons consist of six books (which we call “episodes”), with each episode being about 24,000 words.
Ideally, we want you to experience the books in weekly serialized installments. And .99 per episode is a great price for a new book each week!
However, there’s a tiny problem with this model…
Simply put, we’d go broke releasing at .99.
Amazon offers two royalties to authors. If your book is less than $2.99, you get a royalty payment of 35%. On a book that is .99, that equals to about .35 cents per book … split two ways between Sean and myself.
If your book is between $2.99 and $9.99, you get a 70% royalty. So, for most people, the choice is pretty easy … sell at $2.99 or more, right?
However, if we did that, we’d be charging $18 for a full season of a 600 page eBook, not something we’d feel comfortable with, even if readers were willing to fork over that much.
The SMART thing for us to do would be to abandon serialized episodes and just release the books as 400-500 page standalone titles in a series and make 70%. That is what most series do, after all.
WE LOVE AND BELIEVE IN SERIALIZATION
- We love that you are taking this ride with us each week.
- We love leaving you hanging with killer cliffhangers.
- We love to provide you with content every week.
We started serialization because we LOVE the format and very few people are doing it. In fact, most people we saw talking about serialization said there’s no way to make it work.
Well, thanks to you, we proved those people wrong. As of this season, we are making a living from our fiction!
SERIALIZATION CAN WORK
But there’s no way we could do that at .99 a title, unless we sold a lot more books.
You see, while we’re willing to take a hit for six weeks, selling the episodes at a loss (compared to just selling them as full-length books), we can’t LEAVE the books at .99 and make a living at this.
And quite frankly, we LOVE this job and being able to release a new book for you every week!
So, we found a compromise, something we call season pricing.
SEASON PRICING EXPLAINED
Each time we start a new season for a series, the CURRENT SEASON’S books will be priced at .99 during that season’s run of six weeks.
One week AFTER the final episode of the season, we release a FULL SEASON compilation, (currently priced at $4.99). So you can get ALL SIX episodes in one convenient download.
We take in less money for six weeks so you can experience the seasons as you want to — by the episode or all at once. But, AFTER EACH SEASON, we raise the prices on the single episodes, essentially pushing people to buy the full season instead.
This is a win-win. You get an option of how you buy, and as long as our books are good, we continue to sell full seasons and make a living at this.
It’s not an ideal fix.
We’d love to simply charge .99 and get a 70% royalty. Then we wouldn’t have to raise prices, or worry about people who bought four books when we flipped the switch to $2.99, and who were then forced to buy the full season if they want to finish the story, or spend $5.98.
Which is why I’m writing this post, and will probably write about this in the future books, so there’s no confusion and everyone realizes that they have options.
In the end, this is all about you, the reader. We love that you choose to read our stuff, and that you’ve made serialization work! We aim to give you as many choices as possible, and hope that this pricing structure makes sense now that I’ve explained it. If we come up with something better, or if Amazon changes its royalty structure, we’ll certainly consider new pricing options.
Thank you for reading,
P.S. For those who have been asking … Season Three of Yesterday’s Gone will be coming out on June 19th.
P.P.S. Our next series, Fornevermore, launches on Feb. 28.