The KBoards Pricing Short Stories on Kindle Article

As requested, the return of the 2011 KBoards Article on how to price short works

NOTE: This article was written for KBoards in 2011. This method worked at the time I was using it. However, Amazon has changed their system many times since 2011, making drastic changes to how short fiction is listed in 2015. I have not used the methods listed here since 2015.

Also, the ONLY author name linked to from this website is my EelKat penname. Please note that I have 15 pen names on Amazon and 40 pages of books published in my Kindle dashboard.

(40 pages x 10 books per page = I have almost 400 books published on Amazon across my 15 pen names.)

So if you try to check these pricing methods against my EelKat penname, you will not find many if any of my EelKat pen names using these.

I've been writing short works since 1978. All total I have 683 fiction titles and a whopping 2,000+ non-fiction titles. Needless to say this is my full-time job. Most of my stuff is priced at .99c or $2.99. But I've got all sorts of prices, with the highest being $75.

I'd recommend trying $1.49 for your non-fiction for the first few weeks (say about 4 or 5 weeks) on Kindle and see if you get an increase in sales that way. In other words change the .99c and the $2.99 ones to $1.49. For the word count range I am writing, short nonfiction (in my experience, with my own titles; side note: my titles are spread out across 15 pen names and vary from 5k words to 350k words per book - I consider "short" non-fiction to be anything under 50k words, which is 100 pages) often does better at $1.49 then it does at .99c

Actually, if it was me, here's the way I have tested the waters with new non-fiction titles of the 10k to 30k word count range (where most of my titles are):

I start out pricing them at $2.99 and leave it there for 2 or 3 weeks, and keep track of sales during that time.

Next, I change the price to .99c for another 2 or 3 weeks, and again track sales.

Then, I'll change prices to $1.49, again tracking sales for 2 or 3 weeks.

Finally, I look at each title and compare how well it did for each price range. At that point I will change the title to whatever price range it did best in (.99c, $1.49, or $2.99).

IF, the book did really well in $2.99 (say, it sold 3 copies at .99c but then sold 100 at $2.99 - big difference), I will experiment further.  If a non-fic title does WAY better at $2.99 then it did at .99c, that is usually an indication I can raise the price quite a bit higher. 

So, in that case, I will test prices again, this time raising it to $3.99 for a few weeks, tracking sales, then $4.99 for a few weeks, tracking sales. If sales stay steady at $4.99 (same as they were at $2.99) I continue to raise the price every 2 or 3 weeks to see how high it'll go before sales stop. Usually $4.99 is the stopping point with sales falling at $5.99, $6.99, $7.99, and $8.99, but not always.

As for fiction prices...

I price my fiction work based on word count:

  • 0.99c = less than 3,000 words
  • $1.49 = 3,000 to 7,500 words
  • $2.99 = 7,500 to 20,000 words
  • $3.99 = 20,000 to 30,000 words
  • $4.99 = 30000 to 50,000 words
  • $6.99 = 50,000 to 90,000 words
  • $8.99 = 90,000 words or more

My serials skew slightly lower:

  • 0.99c = less than 5,000 words
  • $1.49 = 5,000 to 12,000 words
  • $2.99 = 12,00 to 30,000 words
  • $3.99 = 30,000 to 50,000 words
  • $4.99 = 50,000+

My Erotica skews slightly higher:

  • 0.99c = less than 3,000 words
  • $1.49 = 3,000 to 5,000 words
  • $2.99 = 5,000 to 15,000 words
  • $4.99 = 15,000 to 36,000 words
  • $6.99 = 36,000+

My Monster Porn skews even higher:

  • $1.49 = less than 3,000 words
  • $2.99 = 3,000 to 5,000 words
  • $4.99 = 5,000 to 15,000 words
  • $6.99 = 15,000 to 36,000 words
  • $8.99 = 36,000+

I price my collections/bundles/box-sets like this:

$2.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 10ks (30k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 5ks (25k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 2ks (20k total)
  •    25-pack of 1ks (25k total)

$4.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 15ks (45k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 10ks (50k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 5ks (50k total) or 
  •    25-pack of 2ks (50k total)

$6.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 20ks (60k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 15ks (75k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 7ks (70k total) or 
  •    25-pack of 3ks (75k total) 

$8.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 30ks (90k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 20ks (100k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 10ks (100k total) or 
  •    25-pack of 5ks (125k total) 

I price my Erotica collections/bundles/box-sets like this

$2.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 5ks (15k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 2ks (10k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 1ks (10k total)

$4.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 7ks (21k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 5ks (25k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 2ks (20k total)

$6.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 15ks (45k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 10ks (50k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 5ks (50k total) or 
  •    25-pack of 2ks (50k total)

$8.99 = 

  •    3-pack of 20ks (60k total) or 
  •    5-pack of 15ks (75k total) or 
  •    10-pack of 7ks (70k total) or 
  •    25-pack of 5ks (125k total) 

Now that chart is not a hard and fast rule. It's my starting point. I publish my books at those prices, and then over time raise and lower prices based on sales. I will point out that most authors baulk at my price chart as it is somewhat higher than most authors are willing to charge. Keeping in mind, that if you want more sales, you will want to price lower then I do.

I'm not interested in becoming a bestseller or a household name, so I don't do the race to the bottom to gain higher sales. A lot of authors do that and it works for them. Other authors do it and end up shooting themselves in the foot. You gotta do what works for you. Not everything works for everyone and what works for me may or may not work for you, so don't take any of this as being "the one right way" to publish or price you books and articles.

I do prefer to use $2.99+ as much as possible, because the .99c book is earning you only .35c, while at $2.99 you'll earn $2.09. Just think how much that adds up over time:

  •    .99c x 10 books sold = $3.50
  •    $2.99 x 10 books sold = $20.90

You'd have to sell 59 books at .99c to earn $20, but you only have to sell 10 at $2.99 to earn $20. It's a big difference and it adds up fast. So you can see why I prefer to price higher. The book is going to sell 10 copies regardless. I'm writing small niches that are not targeted for the mass market. So if someone wants what I write, they will pay whatever price is on it, because there simply isn't any other books out there in that genre. 

This is true of all tiny niche genres. 

Whereas if I wrote a "hot topic" genre, it has to compete against the millions of other titles in that genre, so your sales might be shit because you can't get higher in the search results due to all the competition. Hot topic genres HAVE to price lower in order to compete with all the other books out there in that genre, whereas small niche genres can sell for very high prices and people pay those prices, because they don't have other options, it's your book or no book. So the genre you choose is also going to affect how you price your books. 

There are a lot of things to factor in, so the information I'm giving you on what I do, only truly applies to exactly what I do, and to make it work for you, you will have to make adjustments based on your genre, your word counts, and your target readers.

So for you wanting to be a travel writer, you have to look at all the other travel non-fiction out there and ask:

  • How many pages is their book?
  • How many words?
  • Is it illustrated?
  • What do they focus on? (Travel with pets? Travel to birdwatching destinations? Travel for photographers? Travel for food lovers? Travel for seniors? RV travel? Hiking destinations? etc.)
  • What do the covers look like?
  • How good are you at cover art?
  • What are your photography skills for illustrating?
  • Which books are your competitors?
  • What price range are they selling at?
  • Are the print only?
  • Ebook only?
  • Hardcover as well as paperback?
  • How will your book stand out?
  • If there is no books out there already on your topic, is that because there is no demand?

You'll want to ask these and more, before you get started. 

There is a lot more to travel writing, then just buying an RV, traveling, and writing. You have to know your competition and know how the publishing industry works, and how to get your work published. It's a lot of work.


My print prices are about 3x higher then my ebook prices, and my hardcover prices are double or triple my paperback prices, with full color illustrated hardcovers going for as much as ten times that.

Plus I have one paperback that goes for $75 and a hardcover that goes for $250. Keeping in mind I ONLY write short stories and novellas, most of them under 35 print pages long.

As you can see, I price my fiction books very different then I do my non-fiction. My fiction has set prices, you know the word count based on the price and vice versa.

My non-fiction however, is priced as stated above, on a sliding scale, where I change prices and test the waters until I find the "sweet spot" for that particular title. That said my non-fiction vary from .99c to $14.99 with the bulk of it .99c, $1.49, $2.99, or $4.99. 

Travel fiction alone is not going to pay your RV travel bills either. You want to get into fiction, especially Erotica, if you want to actually make enough money to pay for the HUGE gas bills that come with traveling in and RV fulltime.

As someone who writes across 30 genres (including Erotica and non-fiction) with 15 pen names, I can tell you that you are at risk of lower non-fiction sales by having "smexy cover" (people in seductive poses) Erotica on the same pen name as your non-fiction. The Erotica readers may not care, they'll keep buying your Erotica, BUT your non-fic sales will plummet, because MOST people looking to buy non-fiction don't want to browse through "smexy cover art" (Erotica) to find your non-fic books, and MOST people looking to buy Erotica, are not going to give your non-fic a second glance, unless it's non-fic of a "sexualized" nature (such as How to get laid on a first date" sort of topic).

This again is a case of personal experience, been there, done that. That's not to say you will have the same results I did, that's simply pointing out that, by separating my Erotica to a separate pen name I saw increased sales in non-fiction.

So, if you are in this to make money, I recommend, based on what I've seen in my own career, that your best bet is to either to change the covers of your Erotica to be less sexy, or divide it out to a separate pen name. Say add a middle initial to one: Jack Diamond for the non-fic and Jack A. Diamond for the Erotica. something like that, would allow you to be using "2" pen names while not actually using 2 would just put the Erotica on a separate author page, so as not to offend your non-fic buyers/browsers.

I know what I'm talking about here, because I sell Erotica and nonfiction on the same penname, and by putting "non-smexy" covers on my Erotica under that pen name (no humans on covers) sales increased to the non-fiction on that same penname. It is only because of the humanless covers on my Erotica, that I'm able to do both Erotica and non-fic on that penname. 

So, it can be done, putting non-fic and Erotica under the same Author page, just know ahead of time that I think your non-fic sales will be much lower then they could be as a result. However, if you are seeing good sales all across the board on your Erotica and your non-fiction, well, then there really is no reason to change something that's not broken. So if it's working for you, to have them all under one penname, there's no reason to change them out to two.

But yeah. There's a lot to consider if you really want to make a career of traveling in your RV fulltime and writing to pay the bills. You can do it. It's just, not easy and the money is probably a lot lower then what you were expecting.

Ads by Amazon