Fennec Fox Press
Fennec Fox Press is NOT a discount publisher. Many self-publishers pursue a discount e-publisher model, underpricing their work in order to increase sales but with lower profits -- a model which works best with fast-produced, typically shorter fiction. Some trade publishers have instead opted to overcharge for e-books, depressing their e-book sales in order to push paper sales instead -- a model which only works if you can produce vast numbers of paperback books cheaply, and can market those books to a large, pre-existing audience.
Fennec Fox Press opts for the third way -- the one suggested by the likes of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith (I used to have links here, but they're all broken). I give my books a price higher than the discount model, but (far) less than the overpriced "depress the market" model. Based on word count, we charge the following for e-books:
Under 10k: $0.99
Now, print publishing is another matter. My options for producing print books are limited. I could get a heavily overprice hardback made, or I could get a trade paperback made, a type of high-grade paperback. I cannot make "mass market" paperbacks -- the type of paperback most people think of when they go to buy a paperback. Mass market paperbacks, produced in bulk using low-cost paper and other materials, cost FAR less to print, can be warehoused cheaper than trade paperbacks or hardbacks, and can therefore be sold for far less than any trade paperback can -- often half the price, or even less, than a trade paperback. But most customers don't know the difference between trade paperbacks and mass market paperbacks, so they see an $8 mass market paperback and a $20 trade paperback side-by-side and figure that the trade paperback is WAY overpriced, whereas its actually just at the high end of what a trade paperback typically costs.
Here's the thing, though: A 350 page, 6"x9" trade paperback priced at $18.99, published through Createspace with expanded distribution, only earns the author about $2 in profit per sale through a non-Amazon bookstore. I haven't run the math (because I don't have an industry source on the matter), but I've read elsewhere (another Kristine Kathryn Rusch blog post that my old bookmark has gone defunct for) that unless you, the author, are earning $2 in profit, the bookstore doesn't earn enough in profit to even consider putting your book on its shelves.
Not that, as a self-publisher, I've ever worried about having my book on a bookstore's bookshelves. The bulk of my earnings come from eBook sales. But if I convinced a local bookstore grant me a special bookstore event (such as a reading, a signing, etc.), they usually will want to sell the books themselves. Some independent bookstores will accept consignment sales, but most would prefer to buy the books from Ingram (or a similar reputable wholesaler) using their own discount service, to control the stock. If you've priced the book high enough that the bookstore can (as I put it before) consider putting it on its shelves, those bookstores may be more willing to give you those special event opportunities.
I don't want to close any doors, so I TRY to price my books with that "bookstore signing eligible" incentive in mind. At current costs, I've standardizing my print books as 6"x9" trade paperbacks (an industry standard size) which cost $18.99 retail (discounts generally come from the bookseller's share). This is actually proving to be a little LOW to reach that $2 profit per sale margin, but I haven't been able to find anyone in the industry pricing comparable trade paperbacks any higher, so I can't justify (even to myself) pricing my books any higher.
I'm still considering options at hardback. One of these days...
Of course, if enough people join our mailing list, there may be the occasional sale or discount that will make book, ebook, or both cheaper.
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