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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading a great Wikipedia article the other day. It was all about dime novels. Dime novels were cheap, paperback adventures popular from around 1860 to 1915. From what I could glean, they averaged about 30K words in length. That's about 1/3 the length of your average novel.


And that's exactly what should be priced at a buck: 30K word works. And they should be called dollar novels-not novellas-because the "dollar" in "dollar novels" sets the bar for what a reader should expect to get for a dollar: 30,000 well-crafted words. Do you see where I'm going with this?

B.

P.S. Before someone ties me to a pike and roasts me, recall that a lot of us new-wave authors embrace the term "indie" for a reason. And I'm not suggesting this idea should be enforced in any sort of way. Only that you might want to consider the term to differentiate between your 30-40K works and 80-120K works.

Link to related blog post: http://www.bjustinshier.com/2011/05/we-should-call-them-dime-novels.html
 

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You're free to do such a thing, but I don't see it picking up.

My 100k word novel that I'm working on at the moment is going to be listed at $0.99 in September (that's when the sequel is due out), so I clearly don't have a problem with selling full length novels cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ryne Billings said:
You're free to do such a thing, but I don't see it picking up.

My 100k word novel that I'm working on at the moment is going to be listed at $0.99 in September (that's when the sequel is due out), so I clearly don't have a problem with selling full length novels cheap.
Loss-leading is tried and true. I'm considering the same tactic when I do my second Zero Sight Series launch. This recommendation is more for those who have a mix of long and short form pieces, as a means to differentiate their offerings. And I only think it will work because it has worked before.
 

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B. Justin Shier said:
Loss-leading is tried and true. I'm considering the same tactic when I do my second Zero Sight Series launch. This recommendation is more for those who have a mix of long and short form pieces, as a means to differentiate their offerings. And I only think it will work because it has worked before.
I must be tired. I can see what you mean a bit more clearly now.

But yeah, I can understand how it would appeal, but I don't see it taking off. I'm good at being wrong though, so who knows?
 

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B. Justin Shier said:
I was reading a great Wikipedia article the other day. It was all about dime novels. Dime novels were cheap, paperback adventures popular from around 1860 to 1915. From what I could glean, they averaged about 30K words in length. That's about 1/3 the length of your average novel.


And that's exactly what should be priced at a buck: 30K word works. And they should be called dollar novels-not novellas-because the "dollar" in "dollar novels" sets the bar for what a reader should expect to get for a dollar: 30,000 well-crafted words. Do you see where I'm going with this?

B.

P.S. Before someone ties me to a pike and roasts me, recall that a lot of us new-wave authors embrace the term "indie" for a reason. And I'm not suggesting this idea should be enforced in any sort of way. Only that you might want to consider the term to differentiate between your 30-40K works and 80-120K works.

Link to related blog post: http://www.bjustinshier.com/2011/05/we-should-call-them-dime-novels.html
I love the idea of dime novels. I'd like to come across some and read one.

I always have this kind of idea when I write, especially when I wrote Bad Case. It's an action and suspense novel that doesn't let up. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing police novels in this old western style!
 

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That's quite accurate, as today the value of the dollar has dropped so far.  Actually, I think "Mercury" dimes are worth more than a dollar for their silver content. 

I think this is defintely the trend, and it will be a good entry point for Indies, much like the pulp market was in the thirties, fourties and fifties.
 

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B. Justin Shier said:
Stanford has a collection of dime novels. A few are available online. Someone with more knowledge on the subject might be able to point you to some ebook collections. By now, most should be in the public domain.
THIS is awesome. Definitely checking some out now!
 

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No need to rename them.  They are known as 99 cent novels or 99's.  Some readers may dis them but people are buying tons of them.  Some authors may think 99 is too cheap but--if it helps people read then it's a good thing to me.  Newberry has alot of the old Dollar Novels.
 
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Well lets see, the dime novel was popular from the late 19th century until the very early part of the 20th, starting to die out around 1915. So if we use 1915 price values as our guide, .10 in 1915 was worth approximately the same as $2.14 today.

The problem with calling them "dollar novels" is a matter of branding. Sort of calls to mind Dollar stores--places you go to get cheap and disposable crap you don't mind if it breaks or wears out after a couple of uses. Or the "dollar discount" aisle of a store where you find all the cheap plastic toys made in China. :p
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
The problem with calling them "dollar novels" is a matter of branding. Sort of calls to mind Dollar stores--places you go to get cheap and disposable crap you don't mind if it breaks or wears out after a couple of uses. Or the "dollar discount" aisle of a store where you find all the cheap plastic toys made in China. :p
Not to mention the "Penny Dreadful" referencing.
 

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:D

I like the 'dollar novels' angle. You could set yourself up a fun brand there - 'Dollar Novel' on the cover, and a brief explanation of the concept in the description of the book. Can't help you with actually setting up a multi-author meme, though - I write and sell mostly 'dollar novelettes', I guess. ;)
 

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nomesque said:
:D

I like the 'dollar novels' angle. You could set yourself up a fun brand there - 'Dollar Novel' on the cover, and a brief explanation of the concept in the description of the book. Can't help you with actually setting up a multi-author meme, though - I write and sell mostly 'dollar novelettes', I guess. ;)
I like it too..I've thinking about doing something similar for awhile. I do consider this the new age of the "pulp". Those writers pumped out book after book for a cheap price. I don't really see anything wrong with emulating that model....
 
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Justin, this could really build a nice niche for many Indies who write short pieces.  Furthermore, if we had more of a unified pricing strategy of this sort, then people wouldn't expect all Indie's to price their works at .99.  Perhaps consumers would say hey, .99 for novellas and 2.99 for longer 100k works.  Many consumers have to have such things "branded" in their minds as "that's the way it is," before they are receptive to it.  So, you would have to have a collective of Indies on board for this to work.  If so, it will become expected.  If not, consumers will follow the path of least resistance (a nice way of saying they will take a chance on a .99 novel over a .99 novella).  At least that's how it has work for pricing strategies and brand awareness in other markets.  But this could be totally different. Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Carmellitas_pen_has_power said:
Justin, this could really build a nice niche for many Indies who write short pieces. Furthermore, if we had more of a unified pricing strategy of this sort, then people wouldn't expect all Indie's to price their works at .99. Perhaps consumers would say hey, .99 for novellas and 2.99 for longer 100k works. Many consumers have to have such things "branded" in their minds as "that's the way it is," before they are receptive to it. So, you would have to have a collective of Indies on board for this to work. If so, it will become expected. If not, consumers will follow the path of least resistance (a nice way of saying they will take a chance on a .99 novel over a .99 novella). At least that's how it has work for pricing strategies and brand awareness in other markets. But this could be totally different. Just my thoughts.
You've struck on the concept I was fumbling towards.

I'm not sure if you really need a collective, per se. We don't have a collective building momentum behind the term "indie", yet the concept has gained traction. If a few market leading authors found value in the term "dollar novel" (yes, I get the irony), then I think the term would catch on by itself.

Again, just a thought I had. I appreciate the constructive feedback.

B.
 

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We could also bring back "A penny for your thoughts."

This would be a one-liner, just like a .sig. Nothing much. Only take a second to write (or cut'n'paste). And when a User is looking for the solution to some topic, or general guidance, your penny thoughts are available. With a single click, they are added to the Cart. A penny a line. Soon it adds up: ten lines is already a dime. A hundred lines is a dollar. A thousand lines? Ten dollars!
 
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Hey, perhaps we can start a "dollar" novels facebook page and everyone with dollar novellas join and share the page with friends.  That's a quick way for anything to catch on these days.  I still think you are on to something B. Justin
 
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