Entangled Publishing’s Fresh Approach to Book Pricing Helps Build a Captive Audience
Entangled Publishing is an independent publisher with a focus on romance titles. Eager to compete with larger, traditional publishers, the indie is exploring new pricing strategies and rethinking the author's role in the publishing house. Below co-founder Misa Ramirez describes how Entangled melds the best of what self- and traditional publishing has to offer.
Who are you?
Founded in 2011, Entangled Publishing, LLC started as a boutique publisher of romance fiction. We began with a clear mission that authors who write great books should receive the majority of the profits. We opened our doors with a handful of team members and authors, offering quality covers, editing, and the power of a New York marketing machine. In three years, we have experienced explosive growth and have garnered a reputation as a publisher on the forefront of a changing industry.
How are you innovative?
From a business standpoint, we set out to create a new way of doing business. New York publishers tend to price their front list the highest, eventually discounting their backlist. When self-publishing arrived on the scene, it increased the number of producers and products in the marketplace. As a result of that increase, self-publishers were motivated to discount their front list to stay competitive while holding higher prices on their backlist titles. This is a textbook example of Cournot versus Bertrand competitive pricing models, where New York publishers pursue the Cournot model (competing on the amount of output of a product) and self-publishers pursue Bertrand (competing on the price of a product).
Entangled chose a model in between the two-a hybridization if you will. For some of our best-selling authors, we're keeping their front list high and discounting their backlist. To newer authors and midlisters we'll offer a discounted front list in an effort to quickly expand their platform and find those new readers who will want to read their entire backlist regardless of price. Bertrand is typically not known for high quality items, so we hope to change that element as well.
What makes you successful?
Being able to break new ground in the old-guard publishing industry helped us gain a foothold in the publishing world. Our small infrastructure has allowed us the needed flexibility to respond quickly to the rapid changes happening daily. We are able to adjust pricing, marketing strategies, production timelines, and editorial content to stay at the forefront of the new publishing paradigm rather than chasing trends. But most importantly, it's our willingness to explore new pricing strategies that has made us the most competitive in the marketplace.
Who is your competition?
Any publisher of romantic fiction, including those authors self-publishing, is a competitor. But so are television, movies, sporting events, concerts, etc. We are in the entertainment industry, and it's important to realize that there are a lot of choices for how potential readers could be spending not just their hard-earned dollars ear-marked for entertainment but also their time. It's important that we deliver a high-value experience for the amount of time a reader would invest in a book. Therefore, we consider the quality of the book to be more important to a reader than the cost. People can make more money; they can't make more time.
We currently have nine imprints, and will soon be expanding our offerings. Our next big move will be in the under-served teen category romance market, with two new imprints: Teen Crush for contemporary YA romances and Teen Crave for fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi YA romances. We believe teens have even less time than some adults to read, and reading these shorter romances will leave them feeling satisfied after a short investment of time. We recognized shrinking reading time as a trend in the adult segment, and that recognition resulted in much of our early successes with our shorter category romances. We expect this trend will continue into the young adult market.