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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking about embarking on writing my first full length novel, but before I do that, I decided to pull together some data to get a feel for where the best sellers are. So, I took the page count of the top 20 best sellers, then divided them by 20 to get the average number of pages. I then took the price for all 20 and divided that as well. Then I divided the price by the average page number to find out what each page of the average best seller was worth. Please don't ask me why I did this. I was bored, procrastinating, all of the good stuff. Out of continued boredom, I figured why not do it for more genres. And thus, this useless knowledge list was born. Please keep in mind that I only did this for single books, no trilogies or box sets. I wanted to try to keep the data as accurate as possible. This data is for entertainment purposes only.

Erotica

Average best seller length: 351 pages
Average best seller price: $4.67
0.0133 cents per page


Romance

Average best seller length: 355 pages
Average best seller price: $4.93
0.0138 cents per page


Horror

Average best seller length: 325 pages
Average best seller price: $3.93
0.0121 cents per page


Fantasy

Average best seller length: 470 pages
Average best seller price: $6.04
0.0128 cents per page


Science Fiction

Average best seller length: 451 pages
Average best seller price: $5.20
0.0115 cents per page
(A lot of the same books in the top 20 Fantasy section were in the top 20 Science Fiction section as well)


Short Stories

Average best seller length: 220 pages
Average best seller price: $5.21
0.0237 cents per page
(Well over half of the books in the Short Stories section were not short stories at all. Many of them weren't even collections of short stories, but simply novels that had either been purposely or accidentally categorized incorrectly.)
 

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I'm sure this information is out there somewhere - but what is the rough estimate for word count per page that Amazon uses when estimating a title's digital pages?

My personal estimates for what shows up is roughly 330/page. Is there any other number that people use that is more accurate?

Edit:

Thank you for putting this together! This type of information is particularly interesting, and timely, for me as I've just completed the first draft of my first full novel (~65-66k words) and am expecting to publish it in roughly a week's time.
 
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KellyHarper said:
I'm sure this information is out there somewhere - but what is the rough estimate for word count per page that Amazon uses when estimating a title's digital pages?
In general, if the book has a print version, Amazon uses the print page count. I don't know how they calculate the page count for books with no print version.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
In general, if the book has a print version, Amazon uses the print page count. I don't know how they calculate the page count for books with no print version.
None of mine are in actual print, which is where I've developed a *rough* estimate of 330/page. That's by way of running the numbers on a couple of my raw files as compared to what Amazon lists - though I haven't gone through all 11 of my titles.

It's sad that one of the first things I do on anything I read is get an accurate calculation of its word count.
 

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MarlaB, and everyone else, I thought this would be a fun calculation to run through. I know that Marla has traditionally written serialized shorts, as I have, too. But I just finished the first draft of what will be my first full length novel (~65K words as mentioned before). Now as actual publication draws near, I've been wondering if it would be more prudent (from a $$ standpoint) to break it down into serials (a la 6 ~10K shorts, 3 ~20K novelettes, etc). So I whipped out my trusty Excel and set to work on simulating some very simplistic numbers.

Here's what I came up with (keeping in mind this is very simplistic, and makes a few assumptions).

**Assuming the use of pricing based on Selena Kitt's recommendations. Assuming the novel is selling 1,000 copies a month and all other sales are derived from this.



The assumptions on sales numbers could be way off. Also, the pricing can be very off depending on your genre - erotica commands an overall higher price point. I put this together to be able to manipulate pricing and see what the actual outcome could be - and based on my limited, and possibly incorrect assumptions, it seems to me that going with a full length novel is the way to go (if your goal is sales $$).

Nonetheless, I thought it was interesting enough to share and possibly have a discussion on.

PS - I'm willing to manipulate the figures in any way that anyone recommends and re-post the graph. It's saved on my desktop and very easy to update :)
 

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KellyHarper said:
MarlaB, and everyone else, I thought this would be a fun calculation to run through. I know that Marla has traditionally written serialized shorts, as I have, too. But I just finished the first draft of what will be my first full length novel (~65K words as mentioned before). Now as actual publication draws near, I've been wondering if it would be more prudent (from a $$ standpoint) to break it down into serials (a la 6 ~10K shorts, 3 ~20K novelettes, etc). So I whipped out my trusty Excel and set to work on simulating some very simplistic numbers.

Here's what I came up with (keeping in mind this is very simplistic, and makes a few assumptions).

**Assuming the use of pricing based on Selena Kitt's recommendations. Assuming the novel is selling 1,000 copies a month and all other sales are derived from this.



The assumptions on sales numbers could be way off. Also, the pricing can be very off depending on your genre - erotica commands an overall higher price point. I put this together to be able to manipulate pricing and see what the actual outcome could be - and based on my limited, and possibly incorrect assumptions, it seems to me that going with a full length novel is the way to go (if your goal is sales $$).

Nonetheless, I thought it was interesting enough to share and possibly have a discussion on.

PS - I'm willing to manipulate the figures in any way that anyone recommends and re-post the graph. It's saved on my desktop and very easy to update :)
Hi Maria and Kelly! Nice info and charts. Very interesting. As someone who writes shorts (erotic romance) and longer novels (erotic romance and romance) I do have to say that the longer books command a higher over-all profit. I think you are right in keeping your book as one novel!

Kelly, your chart should account for 2 things. 1. The first book in a series or even first 2 (even in erotica) should usually be at $0.99 to draw in the masses to the series. So straight away that is a loss in income, then turnover percentage for each book will gradually go down, so if 500 read book 1, 400 may read book 2 and 350 may read book 3 etc.,

I def think that full-length books as a series are the way to go right now for many genres. The reader is happy that they have a book that took more than an hour to read, the author is happy that they are getting a nice profit and have a good percentage of guaranteed buys for the next book and everyone is happy.

The only problem here is that it takes a lot longer to get a full-length book together than the shorts. Ultimately, I think a good combination of the two can work wonders though, have the longer books and a short series as well (at least in ER).
 

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MarlaB said:
(Well over half of the books in the Short Stories section were not short stories at all. Many of them weren't even collections of short stories, but simply novels that had either been purposely or accidentally categorized incorrectly.)
This has always bothered me - It shifts the "short story" word count expectation ridiculously. I just pubbed a 25k that amazon moved to short story and people are like "it's a full, satisfying story, but so short" -- um, no.

Thanks for the info
 

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Oneday said:
Hi Maria and Kelly! Nice info and charts. Very interesting. As someone who writes shorts (erotic romance) and longer novels (erotic romance and romance) I do have to say that the longer books command a higher over-all profit. I think you are right in keeping your book as one novel!

Kelly, your chart should account for 2 things. 1. The first book in a series or even first 2 (even in erotica) should usually be at $0.99 to draw in the masses to the series. So straight away that is a loss in income, then turnover percentage for each book will gradually go down, so if 500 read book 1, 400 may read book 2 and 350 may read book 3 etc.,

I def think that full-length books as a series are the way to go right now for many genres. The reader is happy that they have a book that took more than an hour to read, the author is happy that they are getting a nice profit and have a good percentage of guaranteed buys for the next book and everyone is happy.

The only problem here is that it takes a lot longer to get a full-length book together than the shorts. Ultimately, I think a good combination of the two can work wonders though, have the longer books and a short series as well (at least in ER).
I left out sales decay along with lower/free pricing of the first part of the series because the sales were ultimately derived from the novel's sales. It's a difficult comparison to make because people's sales can vary so wildly. Marla has another thread where people have reported their novels selling 4-5x their shorts, and that is the rough assumption I used when putting this together.

The fact of the matter is, if a novel is selling 4-5x more than a short, and if you can price that novel higher (even 3.99 instead of 2.99) you'll make more profit writing the novel instead of the short every single time. The line gets fuzzy when you're only selling 2-3x more with a novel, and pricing strategies have a much larger impact on the expected sales amounts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
KellyHarper said:
MarlaB, and everyone else, I thought this would be a fun calculation to run through. I know that Marla has traditionally written serialized shorts, as I have, too. But I just finished the first draft of what will be my first full length novel (~65K words as mentioned before). Now as actual publication draws near, I've been wondering if it would be more prudent (from a $$ standpoint) to break it down into serials (a la 6 ~10K shorts, 3 ~20K novelettes, etc). So I whipped out my trusty Excel and set to work on simulating some very simplistic numbers.

Here's what I came up with (keeping in mind this is very simplistic, and makes a few assumptions).

**Assuming the use of pricing based on Selena Kitt's recommendations. Assuming the novel is selling 1,000 copies a month and all other sales are derived from this.



The assumptions on sales numbers could be way off. Also, the pricing can be very off depending on your genre - erotica commands an overall higher price point. I put this together to be able to manipulate pricing and see what the actual outcome could be - and based on my limited, and possibly incorrect assumptions, it seems to me that going with a full length novel is the way to go (if your goal is sales $$).

Nonetheless, I thought it was interesting enough to share and possibly have a discussion on.

PS - I'm willing to manipulate the figures in any way that anyone recommends and re-post the graph. It's saved on my desktop and very easy to update :)
Thanks for doing up this chart. It's definitely interesting data. Having not produced any full length works, I always assumed that it would average out the same. Then again, as has been mentioned in previous threads, novels tend to get more sales then shorts or serialized work. Good luck to both of us on our novels.
 
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