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Ellora's Cave

Switch Blayde

Ellora's Cave is going out of business. Too bad.

They were the ones who led the change to have graphic sex in romance fiction (what they coined "romantica" for erotic romance).

They were also the ones who changed my writing. It was their editor who gave me feedback that started my quest to learn how to write fiction.

Crumbly Writer

What was their stated reason for folding: failing demand, decreased readership of romance, widespread acceptance of romance by every other publisher, ebooks or the prevalence of Amazon?

They were always a niche player, at best. They only accepted romance novels by female writers, and as I recall, rejected your work because it 'didn't sound like something a woman would write' (not their exact words, but something to that nature). As independent publishing has become easier and more widespread, they've got less of a dedicated fan base to rely on.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


What was their stated reason for folding


There's been a lot of discussion about them for quite some time on wattpad. People said they weren't paying royalties, although one author I know who was published with them said she always got paid. People said their ebooks were too expensive for the current market (most likely due to Amazon). They said they laid off most of their editors which, along with not paying royalties, was a sign of big trouble.

I don't know the reason. My guess is the competition, mostly Amazon.

I wouldn't call them a niche player. Romance has been big for many years. They had a huge market so they were not a small publisher, more a medium size one. They had male authors. Not many, but there aren't many in the romance genre.

They rejected my manuscript because adultery wasn't allowed (just like incest, underage sex, rape, etc. wasn't allowed). Their readership was women (bored housewives?) and they didn't want to read about adultery (just like many readers on SOL don't want to read about cheating).

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

I don't know the reason. My guess is the competition, mostly Amazon.


The market, including Amazon, is awash in free romantica/erotica/porn, most of it bad, which is another factor. No matter how good the books they published were, they had to compete with a ton of crap and it's hard for the reader to find the good stuff. (Unless it's by someone on this group, of course.)

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

No matter how good the books they published were, they had to compete with a ton of crap and it's hard for the reader to find the good stuff. (Unless it's by someone on this group, of course.)

It's hard for us too. I used to value Amazon as a way to reach new readers, but over the last couple years, I'm reaching fewer new readers, as most Amazon and AU-Unlimited readers only seem to care about "free books", rather than purchasing better quality books. (Specifically, I've found, and the documentation backs it up) that while a free first book in a series is more popular, it leads to almost NO additional sales, while the readers who are willing to pay anything for a first book, will almost certainly purchase others. (Also, my books sell better when I charge more for them! I may sell a few less, but the readers are more consistent purchasers.)

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

while a free first book in a series is more popular, it leads to almost NO additional sales,


That's not what the authors who hang out on wattpad say.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


That's not what the authors who hang out on wattpad say.


It varies, but my fan base is largely 'price inelastic', meaning they're less impacted by price. Many independent book sellers take the opposite tack, marking their books as low as possible (though the optimal price for ebooks seems to be $2.99, rather than free), but for the few new readers I pick up thru 'free' giveaways, I don't garner many additional book purchasers, which I interpret as 'freebies don't buy'.

One of my business models in past years is to continually attract new fans, because each stands to purchase multiple books, but I've done better offering books at a 75 or 80% discount, rather than offering them for free, as it weeds out those uninterested in purchasing.

That said, I also haven't garnered any 'library sales'. In years past, authors typically gave libraries free books in hopes of garnering sales. Not only have libraries refused to order any of my books (only one to date), but the few local libraries I've given free copies, as a local author, promptly shipped them off to the state capital regional library, rather than keeping them locally where people would be interested in reading my works.

I suppose the 'free' benefit depends upon the companion prices. A free book is probably more likely to produce sales of a $2.99 book, rather than a $5.99 book, but since my sales are inelastic, I now focus on making my books as 'professional' as I can by adding value (grapics, design, previews of other books, cast lists, etc.) to justify my higher prices.

In terms of my print books, my sales jumped when I went from $5.99 to $7.99, $9.99 and eventually $14.99. Print books still aren't a major factor for me, but it reflects certain trends. Raising prices on my ebooks cost me a few sales, but it's more than recaptured by the return on investment. Since I sell to fewer readers, and most readers are paying me when they can read my material for free, I figured 'why give someone else (namely Amazon) my money?'. So instead, I try to make my published books more interesting than the stories on SOL.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

A free book is probably more likely to produce sales of a $2.99 book, rather than a $5.99 book,


They never mentioned that. What they said is that it attracts new readers who won't pay to take a chance on an author they don't know. Then when they read the free one, they look for more (if they like it). Now they're not taking as big a chance because they already liked a book from that author.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

They never mentioned that. What they said is that it attracts new readers who won't pay to take a chance on an author they don't know. Then when they read the free one, they look for more (if they like it). Now they're not taking as big a chance because they already liked a book from that author.

I understand the logic, but most author's works are more price elastic than mine (i.e. they can sell many more books for $0.99 than they can for $1.99). However, that doesn't apply to me, because most people who follow me purchase ALL of my books, regardless of the price differential between the titles. What's more, since my books fit into a niche market, offering the books for free still won't attract mass-market readers. Instead, I'm only looking for a few additional niche readers, who generally aren't looking for free book purchases.

In other words, I'm only discussing what works for me, as an author, rather than what applies to 70% of the book buying public.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

(i.e. they can sell many more books for $0.99 than they can for $1.99).


That's not what the authors on wattpad say. Just the opposite. That when you price it low the reader assumes it's not professional.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

though the optimal price for ebooks seems to be $2.99, rather than free


Story length is relevant to the optimal price point. No one publishes stand alone short stories in print, however, there are plenty of independent authors on Amazon putting out stand alone short stories at the same price points as novels.

After getting burned a couple of times, I started checking the story size in the details before buying.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

What they said is that it attracts new readers who won't pay to take a chance on an author they don't know.


A point proven true by Baen Books, however, they sell most of their e-books between $5.99 and $15.00 with more books priced at the $15.00 end than the $5.00 end. They do have a smattering of $2.99 books but they appear to be more info books than fiction.

Bondi Beach

@Dominions Son

Story length is relevant to the optimal price point. No one publishes stand alone short stories in print, however, there are plenty of independent authors on Amazon putting out stand alone short stories at the same price points as novels.

After getting burned a couple of times, I started checking the story size in the details before buying.


Amen.

bb

samuelmichaels

@Crumbly Writer

As a reader, nowadays I am most attracted by Kindle Unlimited books, since they are free incrementally (but not free in the absolute sense). If something is not available on KU, the next most attractive tier is free first book in the series, with each subsequent book being in the $2.99 to $4.99 for a novel-length book.

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