The Price of Grimdark Books

I broke down the cost of roleplaying game PDFs two weeks ago. Now, let me do the same for the price of grimdark books!

The Abstract

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:

GroupCount ( Range )Words ( Range )
Short Stories37.5 ( 35-40 )9375 ( 8750-10k )
Full Books420 ( 380-460 )105k ( 95k-115k )
Average Page and Word Count

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:

GroupPagesAverage
Short Stories61, 38, 27, 28, 52,
35, 33, 37, 35, 29
37.5
Amazon Full Stories416, 256, 208, 768,
640, 416, 415
446
Suggested Stories420, 452, 420, 420, 516, 420,
297, 315, 564, 369, 395
417
Favorite Stories492, 424, 431, 324418
Page Data

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!

Published by

Jimmy Chattin

Processor of data, applier of patterns.

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