I broke down the cost of roleplaying game PDFs two weeks ago. Now, let me do the same for the price of grimdark books!
Short stories (8750-10k words) are much more profitable than full-length books (95k-115k) by a factor of 367% when it come to price-per-page.
The Data Collection
Data from the first and top-rated grimdark books from The Black Library and Amazon gives the average pages for short and full stories. Using the rule-of-thumb that there are 250 words per page, we can extrapolate word count. The “Range” below comes from a +/- ~10% of the average:
|Group||Count ( Range )||Words ( Range )|
|Short Stories||37.5 ( 35-40 )||9375 ( 8750-10k )|
|Full Books||420 ( 380-460 )||105k ( 95k-115k )|
Short stories where virtually sold for $4. Full books (not anthological or omnibus collections) were approximately $12.
Therefore, a short story is priced at about $.11 per page ($.106) while full books run $.03 per page ($.029), a difference of ~367%.
Without a doubt, without considering how short stories have a lower barrier of entry for the buyer and make a faster/less-risky production for the producer, writing grimdark short stories (and pricing accordingly) is the better business decision.
The Collection Method
Not as fancy as the RPG pricing post, I did most of this collection on the back of an envelope (no, really).
Already referenced above, I gathered from four groups: the first 10 short stories offered by The Black Library, 7 full stories on Amazon, 11 stories recommended from a first-read list (a source I follow and reference for grimdark content), and 2 books I myself favorite.
All stories were rated above 80%, some particular attention given to >90% titles.
Here is my abbreviated data:
|Short Stories||61, 38, 27, 28, 52,|
35, 33, 37, 35, 29
|Amazon Full Stories||416, 256, 208, 768,|
640, 416, 415
|Suggested Stories||420, 452, 420, 420, 516, 420,|
297, 315, 564, 369, 395
|Favorite Stories||492, 424, 431, 324||418|
The above full averages come to 427, but when compared with a median, ~420 is a confident middle position, giving the +/- ~10% range of 380 to 460 pages.
Quick and easy. Simply put, there is much more bang-for-buck by writing short stories vs. full-length novels (in the grimdark tone, at least!).
I hope this helps you with your writing – it has already helped me determine the price of grimdark books and where I ought best spend my energies 😁 Cheers!