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Polling Libriomancer Fans

In 2014, I wrote a short story called “Chupacabra’s Song” for the Kaleidoscope anthology. (An excellent anthology of diverse YA science fiction and fantasy, by the way.)

The story is about Nicola Pallas when she was a teenager and just discovering her power.

If I were to self-publish this and put it out there as a 99-cent ebook, would you:

  • Buy it and be happy
  • Buy it but feel like you were getting ripped off
  • Not buy it, because 99 cents is too much for a short story
  • Not buy it, because of other reasons

ETA – Cover art would possibly look something like this (only, you know, without the iStock watermark):

Chupacabra's Song - Cover Art Rough Mockup

I’m also thinking about doing some original stories, probably between 15K and 25K words, that would connect to my existing universes. I’d probably start with libriomancer stuff, but could branch out into goblins and princesses, depending on time and inspiration and such. What do you think is a reasonable price for stories in that range?

  • 99 cents
  • $1.99
  • $2.99
  • Other

I’m not making any promises here. A lot will also depend on contracted deadlines and how much else I’m able to get done without breaking my brain. But it’s something I’d like to try…


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 21st, 2015 06:16 pm (UTC)
I would happily pay $0.99 to have a chance to read that!
Dec. 21st, 2015 06:29 pm (UTC)
I'd definitely pay .99 to read a Nicola Pallas story.

I'd also pay for other short stories. I'd think $1.99 would be good for 15K stories and $2.99 for 25K stories.
Dec. 21st, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC)
1) Probably not buy it, but maybe.

Reason 1: I'm not as invested in the Libriomancer series as your non-related fiction (Kitemaster and other stories) or your Goblin series. Reason 2: A short story by itself usually isn't enough to make me move on buying an electronic book. I can't share it and can't lend it and can't read it safely in the bathtub. I admit that I bought Penric's Demon by Bujold ($4 novella), so I won't say that I'd never buy an e-short. It's just rare.

2) 99 cents is an entirely reasonable price point for a short story. For my logic, I looked to your Kitemaster, which is still listed as $3 for six stories. $1 for just one story may seem high if you did the math straight up (Kitemaster was 50 cents a story), but every publication comes with formatting, cover blurb, cover art, author's afterward, etc. So there has to be a floor on your prices to cover all of the added work that goes into putting your work out for consumption.
Dec. 21st, 2015 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks - and that makes sense. I suspect this would be primarily something for fans of whatever series I'm building on, and wouldn't necessarily reach a lot of people beyond that. Unless I did the occasional markdown to give them away as freebies or something...
(no subject) - reedrover - Dec. 21st, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attilathepbnun - Dec. 22nd, 2015 03:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tibicina - Dec. 22nd, 2015 08:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - reedrover - Dec. 22nd, 2015 10:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 21st, 2015 06:32 pm (UTC)
I would buy it and be happy that you were able to give us another story in that Universe.
Dec. 21st, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
When you mentioned it a few months ago, I went and bought the Kaleidoscope anthology solely for that story, I'd say it is easily worth the 2.99$, but from experience with short story ebooks, I'd say the 1.99 price point would get more buyers. It is more of an impulse buy when it is under 2$.
Dec. 21st, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC)
I'd have a hard time asking for anything more than .99 for stories of 5000 words or less. It's possible some people would be willing to pay more, which is great and flattering ... but it wouldn't feel right to me.
(no subject) - sylphon - Dec. 21st, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 21st, 2015 06:48 pm (UTC)
I'd happily buy that story as a 99-cent ebook. For the range you're talking about, I consider anywhere up to $2.99 reasonable, though I may be an outlier. I care more about how enjoyable the story is than about the length when deciding if an amount was reasonable.
Dec. 21st, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC)
I would buy it for 99 cents and be delighted. That description is more than enough to reel me in.

For further stories, I'd happily pay 99 cents or $1.99. At $2.99, I'd probably get a little more choosy about whether it's about characters I like or has a particularly interesting description.
Dec. 21st, 2015 07:34 pm (UTC)
All right, I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure that is *not* a platypus in your userpic. My brain did not need this kind of dissonance today! :-P
Dec. 21st, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
I'm up for new Jim Hines content electronically. How much depends on length. $3 does not strike me as an exorbitant fee.
Dec. 21st, 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
I'd buy it, and I think .99 cents is good for anything shorter than about 20,000 words.
Dec. 21st, 2015 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'd probably see it and wish I did the e-book thing, then think that if I did the e-book thing, either $0.99 or $1.99 would be quite a bargain, and I'd still find $2.99 reasonable for more of characters I really love.

The idea that this might exist makes me a little sad that I don't do the e-book thing, but it just messes with my immersion too much. Unless I could print it out, in which case, I might consider it, seeing as I do have the skills and tool-access to bind it.

I do not fit tidily into your poll, I'm afraid.
Dec. 21st, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC)
The price seems very reasonable and I loved Libriomancer. If I didn't buy it, it would be because I tend to lose ebooks on the computer, forget that I have them, buy them twice and forget that, and stop reading them halfway through because I forget where they are.

Dec. 21st, 2015 08:25 pm (UTC)
I (heart) Goats!

nothing more than 2.99 if you please... 99 cents is great but the author has to frivel away the monies on food clothing and shelter.
Dec. 21st, 2015 09:48 pm (UTC)

Short story by itself - $.99.

Small collection of short stories - depending on amount, $1.99-2.99.

Dec. 21st, 2015 10:23 pm (UTC)
I'd feel vaguely cheated, I think, if I paid more than $0.99 for less than 5K words. Or even, I think, for less than 10K.

As a calibration factor, I really, really resent paying the same price for an ebook as for a print book, because I'm very aware that all I'm getting for the ebook is a license to read it, and it's subject to technology failures and Progress and yadda yadda yadda. With a book, I've got a BOOK in my hands, and it's MINE. That's just where I'm coming from.

That being said, I'd probably pay $3.99 for a collection of several short stories. Particularly if they're self-published and I know the bulk of the money is going where it belongs, i.e. to the author.
Dec. 21st, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
This is where I fall on things as well. I really don't buy short fiction on a by the story basis unless I have a burning need for more with that character/in that world. I do buy anthologies though, and sometimes for just one story of interest (written by an author that has proven they write stories I like for instance) if there is some likelihood the others might be good too.
Dec. 21st, 2015 11:30 pm (UTC)
99 cents seems to be a going rate for short stories on Amazon. Between $1.99 and $2.99 for "novellas" (meaning 15K or above usually) that are new and exciting from a favorite author also seems quite reasonable.

But let's be honest, personally, I'll pay whatever you think is fair if it means getting more stories from you. ;)
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( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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