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250 Page Book vs 400-page Effects on Cost and Sales

Tolkien

Minstrel
I have my first self-published book going through the last round of edits with the publisher. It is currently somewhere around 400 pages, and I am considering reducing it to around 250. In the final cost of the book, how much of a difference would it be for a 250-page book to a 400-page book.

If I keep it at 400, would it reduce the chances of someone purchasing it due to its length?
 

Avery Moore

Troubadour
Not quite sure exactly how the length of the book effects sales potential. I think the main question though is can you reduce it down to 250 pages and still keep all the information that you need? 150 pages is a whole lot to cut out of the story. I'm guessing if you cut it down that much, you'd be dropping several chapters, storylines and characters in order to cut it down to the ideal length. Alternatively, if the book is a series, you could always chop half of the stuff from the first book and fit it in the sequel somewhere.

I know that a lot of publishers prefer novels to be a certain length, but if it's self published, then it's ultimately it's up to you. :)
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
Not quite sure exactly how the length of the book effects sales potential. I think the main question though is can you reduce it down to 250 pages and still keep all the information that you need? 150 pages is a whole lot to cut out of the story. I'm guessing if you cut it down that much, you'd be dropping several chapters, storylines and characters in order to cut it down to the ideal length. Alternatively, if the book is a series, you could always chop half of the stuff from the first book and fit it in the sequel somewhere.

I know that a lot of publishers prefer novels to be a certain length, but if it's self published, then it's ultimately it's up to you. :)

True, but the concern is a mix of cost to produce each book as well as the length scaring some would-be readers away.
 
I have my first self-published book going through the last round of edits with the publisher.
I'm slightly confused here. A self-published book doesn't have a publisher. Or rather, you are the publisher...

There are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, there is a difference between fixed costs and per unit costs. In pricing your book, fixed costs don't matter all that much. Of course you need to earn them back to turn an actual profit. But you can spread those out over the whole lifetime of a book and they never vary once you've paid them. The fixed cost are editing, cover, ISBN if you purchase one, narrator if you go for an audiobook.

Per unit on the other hand are costs that occur each time a customer buys something. These don't go away. They are something you need to factor in when pricing something. For ebook and audiobook, the per unit costs are negligible. Yes, there's a download fee amazon deducts, but it will always be less than your royalties, and the difference between 250 and 400 pages will be minimal. And, if you go below 2.99, even that cost disappears (though you only get 35% of the list price...). Same for audiobooks pretty much.

On the other hand, for print books, the per unit cost is real and significant. To give an idea, my 178page paperback novel has a print cost of $3.00, while my 340 page novel has a print cost of $5. This does affect the lowest possible price for your print books (on Amazon, without expanded distribution, minimum cost is about twice the print cost...).

Now on to price and the actual question.

For print books, the page count will affect sales, since it affects the cost to create the book, and people react differently to price. A $6 paperback has a different market and a different number of sales from a $10 one.

For ebooks and audiobooks it's irrelevant. You can sell both for $2.99 or $4.99 or $9.99 or $20.99 or any other number you pick. You could even make them free. There is no direct relation between the price of the product and the length of you book. In fact, many writers don't factor in the length of their book when pricing it. They simply price all of them the same or make earlier parts in a series cheaper.

Because everyone will buy your book online (assumption here, but it's a valid one I think), no one will know the length of your book or care too much about it at time of purchase. Yes, Amazon lists it somewhere, but I doubt many readers bother checking that figure. If you price your book somewhere between $2.99 and $5.99 few people will care. If you go over that you might find people complain that the book is too short if you go with 250 pages.

If you want my advice: If you can edit the book to be 250 pages instead of 400 without losing something in terms of the flow or the meaning of the text then your story should be edited. However, if you drastically change the narrative and you lose a lot in the process then it's not worth it. Keep the book at 400 pages. The most likely scenario is that most people will buy the ebook. In that case, the length doesn't have any impact on the price, other than that you could price your book higher if you so want.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
I'm slightly confused here. A self-published book doesn't have a publisher. Or rather, you are the publisher...

There are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, there is a difference between fixed costs and per unit costs. In pricing your book, fixed costs don't matter all that much. Of course you need to earn them back to turn an actual profit. But you can spread those out over the whole lifetime of a book and they never vary once you've paid them. The fixed cost are editing, cover, ISBN if you purchase one, narrator if you go for an audiobook.

Per unit on the other hand are costs that occur each time a customer buys something. These don't go away. They are something you need to factor in when pricing something. For ebook and audiobook, the per unit costs are negligible. Yes, there's a download fee amazon deducts, but it will always be less than your royalties, and the difference between 250 and 400 pages will be minimal. And, if you go below 2.99, even that cost disappears (though you only get 35% of the list price...). Same for audiobooks pretty much.

On the other hand, for print books, the per unit cost is real and significant. To give an idea, my 178page paperback novel has a print cost of $3.00, while my 340 page novel has a print cost of $5. This does affect the lowest possible price for your print books (on Amazon, without expanded distribution, minimum cost is about twice the print cost...).

Now on to price and the actual question.

For print books, the page count will affect sales, since it affects the cost to create the book, and people react differently to price. A $6 paperback has a different market and a different number of sales from a $10 one.

For ebooks and audiobooks it's irrelevant. You can sell both for $2.99 or $4.99 or $9.99 or $20.99 or any other number you pick. You could even make them free. There is no direct relation between the price of the product and the length of you book. In fact, many writers don't factor in the length of their book when pricing it. They simply price all of them the same or make earlier parts in a series cheaper.

Because everyone will buy your book online (assumption here, but it's a valid one I think), no one will know the length of your book or care too much about it at time of purchase. Yes, Amazon lists it somewhere, but I doubt many readers bother checking that figure. If you price your book somewhere between $2.99 and $5.99 few people will care. If you go over that you might find people complain that the book is too short if you go with 250 pages.

If you want my advice: If you can edit the book to be 250 pages instead of 400 without losing something in terms of the flow or the meaning of the text then your story should be edited. However, if you drastically change the narrative and you lose a lot in the process then it's not worth it. Keep the book at 400 pages. The most likely scenario is that most people will buy the ebook. In that case, the length doesn't have any impact on the price, other than that you could price your book higher if you so want.

I am using CFP. It is "self published" in that i own all the rights but i pay for there services.

Great advice and some great points. Thanks for the help.
 
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