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Discussion Starter #1
I'll soon be publishing book 1 and 2 of an epic fantasy series.

Book 1 is 175k words and book 2 is shaping up to be 350k.

Assuming that is how the word count will end up, what pricing would you all suggest? This is my launch into epic fantasy, so I'm a little unsure. This will be going into KU.

My first reaction is that a lot of somewhat longer fantasy is in the $3.99-$4.99 range for indies. But I've recently also gotten some advice to consider pricing them at $5.99-$7.99, especially considering the length.

Of course, I could always do book 1 around $3.99 as a series starter (and because it's shorter than book 2) and have book 2 around $5.99 or $6.99.

Being an unknown, indie author does factor into it. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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I think starting a 3.99 and book two at 5.99 sounds pretty decent.  It's a little hard for me to say because I'm not in the epic fantasy world too much, but from the perspective of a reader I'd say that's something I'd pay if I was interested.  I know some of the big name fantasy authors have some pretty hefty price tags on their stuff, but it's probably hard to get to that point.

Heh, that might not be super helpful, sorry about that.  Good luck with the books, and serious congrats.  175k and 350k is no joke.  That's the kinda epic book where you just know a lot goes down.
 

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I'd rework Book 2 into two separate books, giving you a full trilogy with each book being roughly the same length. I'd price Book 1 at $3.99, Books 2 and 3 at $4.99, and when the trilogy is complete and you can get a Bookbub for it, run brief free discounts of Book 1. But that's me. Others may have other opinions.

Good luck, whatever you decide. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
NikOK said:
I think starting a 3.99 and book two at 5.99 sounds pretty decent. It's a little hard for me to say because I'm not in the epic fantasy world too much, but from the perspective of a reader I'd say that's something I'd pay if I was interested. I know some of the big name fantasy authors have some pretty hefty price tags on their stuff, but it's probably hard to get to that point.

Heh, that might not be super helpful, sorry about that. Good luck with the books, and serious congrats. 175k and 350k is no joke. That's the kinda epic book where you just know a lot goes down.
Thanks! It's been a journey, certainly, but I don't mind them being long. It almost feels like it couldn't be any other way.

And at least some of those big names are traditional, where they price their books higher, so it's tough to factor that in to come up with an "indie" price, or even if I should come up with an indie price. Decisions...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Carol (was Dara) said:
I'd rework Book 2 into two separate books, giving you a full trilogy with each book being roughly the same length. I'd price Book 1 at $3.99, Books 2 and 3 at $4.99, and when the trilogy is complete and you can get a Bookbub for it, run brief free discounts of Book 1. But that's me. Others may have other opinions.

Good luck, whatever you decide. :)
Thank you for your feedback.

I wish I could split it up, honestly, and I've been thinking about how I could, but there really is no satisfying conclusion in the middle, enough to be an end-of-the-book thing. It could be that books 2, 3, 4, and 5 all turn out to be in the 300k-ish range, and book 1 stays 175k, which wouldn't be all that bad, I think, because then I can price book 1 less without it even being a discount, in a way.
 

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Go look a the amazon imprints for Epic Fantasy. They generally price book one at $4.99. So, I'd price at least at $4.99 for book one, then $5.99 for book two. I've priced a longer book at a dollar above the amazon imprints in the book's genre and had no problem selling. As a test, I lowered the price to $2.99 and sold 15% more books with the same ad spend. However, the profit was much lower. Don't be afraid to price a little higher. $5.99 is about the price of a lunch special (and half the price of a normal lunch) now days in the US. If you price book one at $5.99 people who like it will have no problem paying $6.99 for book two.

On the topic of being an unknown author, readers who are browsing the amazon store or seeing your book in an ad just don't care who the author is. All they care about is a good story idea and decent writing. Every author starts as unknown.
 

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I'd go with $3.99 for the first and $5.99 for the next. Possibly even set initial price higher for future books, say $6.99 or $7.99, then drop them to $5.99 when the next book comes out. That's how I see a lot of authors/publishers doing it, both trad and indie.
 

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Louise Bates said:
Possibly even set initial price higher for future books, say $6.99 or $7.99, then drop them to $5.99 when the next book comes out. That's how I see a lot of authors/publishers doing it, both trad and indie.
That seems like a really quick way to get readers to start waiting until the next book comes out in order to buy the previous book.
 

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Carol (was Dara) said:
I'd rework Book 2 into two separate books, giving you a full trilogy with each book being roughly the same length. I'd price Book 1 at $3.99, Books 2 and 3 at $4.99, and when the trilogy is complete and you can get a Bookbub for it, run brief free discounts of Book 1. But that's me. Others may have other opinions.

Good luck, whatever you decide. :)
I agree. Readers will be happier with three books of equal length and a trilogy is so much more useful for sales. Are you sure you can't split at the midpoint? It may take some tweaking, but most midpoints are good cliffhanger endings. Just look at all two-act plays in existence.

Regardless of how you present the series, length is not relevant to pricing once you're into novel-length content. Novels should be priced as novels, whether they're 50k or 350k. Price competitively with other novels in your genre if you want the best chance of selling well. That appears to be around 4.99 in epic fantasy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Crystal_ said:
I agree. Readers will be happier with three books of equal length and a trilogy is so much more useful for sales. Are you sure you can't split at the midpoint? It may take some tweaking, but most midpoints are good cliffhanger endings. Just look at all two-act plays in existence.

Regardless of how you present the series, length is not relevant to pricing once you're into novel-length content. Novels should be priced as novels, whether they're 50k or 350k. Price competitively with other novels in your genre if you want the best chance of selling well. That appears to be around 4.99 in epic fantasy.
True. You (and everyone else) have certainly brought up good points. It seems to me that length is a bit of a factor, but perhaps not as much as some think. It might be somewhere in the middle of ideology. But your point is quite valid.

Once I finish book 2, I'm going to look back over it to see if I can split it, but everything in the entirety of book 2 has been pointing to one climax, so it'll be tough. Although, I'm hesitant to split book 2 if books 3, 4, and 5 are all going to be longer too. So, it'll just depend on a few things. Although, I recognize that splitting it is conventional wisdom, and it's probably wise wisdom.
 

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Bookread said:
True. You (and everyone else) have certainly brought up good points. It seems to me that length is a bit of a factor, but perhaps not as much as some think. It might be somewhere in the middle of ideology. But your point is quite valid.

Once I finish book 2, I'm going to look back over it to see if I can split it, but everything in the entirety of book 2 has been pointing to one climax, so it'll be tough. Although, I'm hesitant to split book 2 if books 3, 4, and 5 are all going to be longer too. So, it'll just depend on a few things. Although, I recognize that splitting it is conventional wisdom, and it's probably wise wisdom.
I hate cliffhangers, and would usually be the last person to suggest using one, but I'm fairly sure that 350k words is going to be too long to make a print version. So if you want a print version, you'd be better to find a way to cut it in half.
 

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In re your second book: When I look at the length of some books, including Stephen King's novels like DOME (which is 1000 pages+ IIRC), I'd have had no problem with a cliff hanger (even a minor one) and another book coming next. There's a certain expectation (for me) of the end of a book - as an accomplishment - and I need that satisfaction. So, really, 175K is plenty. Split it anywhere around half and start with the trilogy. That's my vote. Also, I don't care about paying another $5.99 for the next 175k! If the story's great, I'm all-in.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
ShayneRutherford said:
I hate cliffhangers, and would usually be the last person to suggest using one, but I'm fairly sure that 350k words is going to be too long to make a print version. So if you want a print version, you'd be better to find a way to cut it in half.
Thank you for saying this. I didn't consider there being a limit to printing. Traditional publishers print that length, but is it that they have access to printers that I wouldn't through, say, Amazon?

* * *

I just did some research on this, at it seems 776-828 is the maximum page length for KDP. Who knows how many words that equals. I had no idea I'd be limited by what was physically possible, especially growing up reading 400k novels from traditional publishers no problem. It seems I definitely need to cut it in half.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Flying Pizza Pie said:
In re your second book: When I look at the length of some books, including Stephen King's novels like DOME (which is 1000 pages+ IIRC), I'd have had no problem with a cliff hanger (even a minor one) and another book coming next. There's a certain expectation (for me) of the end of a book - as an accomplishment - and I need that satisfaction. So, really, 175K is plenty. Split it anywhere around half and start with the trilogy. That's my vote. Also, I don't care about paying another $5.99 for the next 175k! If the story's great, I'm all-in.
Sage advice. If there's anywhere I can split it, I probably will. Finding a possibility for one is the challenge, as I've geared everything toward one climax. Perhaps a hard cliffhanger is the solution, although cringe at the thought of one. Perhaps I shouldn't let it bother me and plow through it.
 

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Bookread said:
Thank you for saying this. I didn't consider there being a limit to printing. Traditional publishers print that length, but is it that they have access to printers that I wouldn't through, say, Amazon?

Could you recommend how I'd find out more about this?
Yeah, traditional publishers get access to a lot of cool stuff that we who use POD printing do not. :( They can go with a higher page count, but they can also choose much thinner paper, which makes a big difference to the thickness of the spine.

Okay, so when you go to the KDP print template generator, it will ask you to put in your trim size, your (formatted) page count, and your paper color of choice, and when you hit Enter, it will spit out a template of the appropriate size for you. Cream paper is thicker than white paper, so if you go with cream you can go up to 740 pages on a 6x9 book. If you go with white paper, you can go up to 830 pages.

If you go with Ingram Spark, I believe there's an option that will enable you to do a higher page count, but I'm not sure how much higher.

I have to add an addendum to what I said last night. When I brought this up, I was thinking about a book that a friend of mine just published. It's in the neighborhood of 250,000 words, and it has a page count of 740. I had thought that he was printing it at 6x9, and so had assumed that 350,000 would be well over the 830 page maximum. But I went and checked it just now, and it would seem that he's only printing at 5x8. So, 350k words might be doable after all, but you won't be able to tell for sure until you get the manuscript formatted.

If you want more details, you could probably get in touch with Ingram Spark and ask them what the maximum page count is for their books.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ShayneRutherford said:
Yeah, traditional publishers get access to a lot of cool stuff that we who use POD printing do not. :( They can go with a higher page count, but they can also choose much thinner paper, which makes a big difference to the thickness of the spine.

Okay, so when you go to the KDP print template generator, it will ask you to put in your trim size, your (formatted) page count, and your paper color of choice, and when you hit Enter, it will spit out a template of the appropriate size for you. Cream paper is thicker than white paper, so if you go with cream you can go up to 740 pages on a 6x9 book. If you go with white paper, you can go up to 830 pages.

If you go with Ingram Spark, I believe there's an option that will enable you to do a higher page count, but I'm not sure how much higher.

I have to add an addendum to what I said last night. When I brought this up, I was thinking about a book that a friend of mine just published. It's in the neighborhood of 250,000 words, and it has a page count of 740. I had thought that he was printing it at 6x9, and so had assumed that 350,000 would be well over the 830 page maximum. But I went and checked it just now, and it would seem that he's only printing at 5x8. So, 350k words might be doable after all, but you won't be able to tell for sure until you get the manuscript formatted.

If you want more details, you could probably get in touch with Ingram Spark and ask them what the maximum page count is for their books.
Thank you for this information!

This is good to know. This will be my first print book (I've published around a dozen ebooks or so).

The 350k word option you mentioned as a possibility, is that only through Ingram Spark? And Ingram Spark is not through KDP, correct? I'm putting these books in KU.
 

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Bookread said:
Thank you for this information!

This is good to know. This will be my first print book (I've published around a dozen ebooks or so).

The 350k word option you mentioned as a possibility, is that only through Ingram Spark? And Ingram Spark is not through KDP, correct? I'm putting these books in KU.
Well, if you can make 350k words fit into 830 pages, then you can print it on KDP, too. It's tricky to say, though, because word count doesn't always translate well to page count. It depends on a lot of things, like font size, leading (the space between the lines), and gutters and margins. But it can also depend a lot on the story itself. If there's a lot of long paragraphs full of description, the page count might be shorter for a book with more words than it would be for a dialogue-heavy book with fewer words but a lot more white space.

I don't know what method you're planning on using for formatting, but if you have a Mac and Vellum, you could take what you have now and import it into Vellum, and then tweak the settings to see if you can get it to fit within the 830-page limit without being uncomfortably small.

Ingram Spark is a totally different company. But you can still use them for print, even if the ebook is in KU, because Select exclusivity is only required for the ebook, not for print.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
ShayneRutherford said:
Well, if you can make 350k words fit into 830 pages, then you can print it on KDP, too. It's tricky to say, though, because word count doesn't always translate well to page count. It depends on a lot of things, like font size, leading (the space between the lines), and gutters and margins. But it can also depend a lot on the story itself. If there's a lot of long paragraphs full of description, the page count might be shorter for a book with more words than it would be for a dialogue-heavy book with fewer words but a lot more white space.

I don't know what method you're planning on using for formatting, but if you have a Mac and Vellum, you could take what you have now and import it into Vellum, and then tweak the settings to see if you can get it to fit within the 830-page limit without being uncomfortably small.

Ingram Spark is a totally different company. But you can still use them for print, even if the ebook is in KU, because Select exclusivity is only required for the ebook, not for print.
Thank you for sharing that. Print really does seem like a different world to ebooks. In your opinion, is it worth publishing in print via KDP print and Ingram Spark print? Or do people usually do one or the other?

It sounds like 350k put into 830 pages would be tough - purely guessing here - as 350k / 300 words = 1,166 pages. I realize 300 is a rough estimate of words per page, but 1,166 and 830 seems like more of a difference than a margin error. Or am I looking at that wrong?

* * * Update for anyone still reading at this point * * *

I found a suitable (I hope) cutting point to split book 2 into two books, per everyone's recommendation. Book 2's ending is a bit cliffhanger-ish, but it is what it is. It split it pretty evenly to where book 1 will now be 175k, book 2 will be 204k, and book 3 will likely be around 175k-200k.

Thank you all for your wonderful advice! Now I just need to figure out how to price these now!

I'm excited about it, because it creates an extra book royalty, as now there are three books out of that 575k chunk of words, vs. just two. There will be a book 4, 5, and 6 now, and possibly more depending on if I need to split more books up.
 

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Bookread said:
Thank you for sharing that. Print really does seem like a different world to ebooks. In your opinion, is it worth publishing in print via KDP print and Ingram Spark print? Or do people usually do one or the other?

It sounds like 350k put into 830 pages would be tough - purely guessing here - as 350k / 300 words = 1,166 pages. I realize 300 is a rough estimate of words per page, but 1,166 and 830 seems like more of a difference than a margin error. Or am I looking at that wrong?
In a 6x9 book I think you'd likely get more than 300 per page, but even if you got 350, you'd still be at 1,000 pages total. I mean, if you wanted to just cram the words on the page, I have no doubt you could squish them in there tight enough to make the 830-page cut-off. But that's probably not the best way to put out a book that people will enjoy reading, of course.

A lot of people will do both KDP and Ingram for print. They do KDP for selling on Amazon, and they do Ingram for expanded distribution, because they can make more money per copy that way.
 
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