Some Thoughts On Ebookery

After almost two months online, “A Walk in the Rain” has sold a whopping 10 copies. This is not uncommon, and I was warned a while back that short stories really don’t sell well. They almost require a novel – even a series of novels – to sell, when they become crumbs for fans begging for more from an author they like.

However, a few other things have come to light that need to be said:

  • I’ve said it here before, and I will say it again: Stop promoting on the fact you have an ebook.  That stopped being a novelty a long time ago. Sell on content. If you don’t have a story, why do I need to kick back a dollar or more?
  • I really believe selling your book for 99 cents screams “AMATEUR!” or “I’m desperate for attention.” Which is usually a big turn-off. It might explain why short stories don’t sell well as ebooks (says the guy who’s selling an ebook for 99 cents.) If people buy your book at 99 cents, they’re almost as likely to buy it at $2.99.  Only $2.99 speaks of a little more confidence in your work.  And let’s face it, the royalty rate on Kindle is much better at $2.99. Save 99 cents for short stories. (See above to see how well that works.)
  • Never quote Amazon rank to me.  Amazon rank is meaningless. You could rank higher than Stephen King on a particular day, and all it means is your friends and family bought 20 copies while no one was buying The Stand. Chances are, the next day, Steve will make the gross national product of a small African nation off The Stand while you’ll still sell only a dozen copies. The only numbers that count are copies sold and money made. That’s it.
  • A couple of writers told me it’s impossible to sell ebooks because theirs never sold. Um… I need to know its out there before I buy a copy. Put it on your web site. Talk about it on the blogs. But…
  • Don’t be obnoxious and desperate about selling your ebook, or even your print book. One lady reached her thousand-fan limit on Facebook and started inviting people to her fan page. Fair enough. I have a fan page, and I did the same.  The trouble is I ignored the invite. So she sent another. And another. And another. This went on for about two weeks. Not only did this make me even less inclined to like her fan page, but she now has one less friend on Facebook.
  • Which takes us back to point one: It’s the content, stupid. I don’t want to hear about how you need more fans on your page. I don’t want to be bombarded with daily requests to like your page. I don’t want constant barrages of requests for reviews. (Incidentally, I don’t do reviews anymore. I enjoyed it when I did it, but I don’t have time anymore.) There’s advertising, and there’s stalking. Try not to cross the line.

Does that mean I’ve found the secret to ebook success? Oh, hardly. Most people I’ve seen screw it up royally or don’t have the means to promote their work. I’m under no illusions I’ll be a JA Konrath, but if I can sell enough copies to pay for editing and artwork for new work, it’ll be a go. Otherwise, it’ll be a curiosity.


3 thoughts on “Some Thoughts On Ebookery

  1. You are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    1st, 99 cents gets readers. The more readers you get, then eventually you’ll have a fan base that *will* pay 2.99. But not yet. We used to pay a nickel for a pop, but now we pay a buck or more. I’d rather have more readers at the lower royalty than fewer readers at the top. It’s a choice: money or readers. The more readers you have, the more money you’ll make. Not vice versa.

    2nd, Amazon rank = visibility. The higher you are on the rankings, the more people who might not have already known about your work will find it.

    It’s about the long haul, too. The more you sell, the more you sell. That’s Allan Guthrie’s logic for his crazy successful novellas BYE BYE BABY and KILLING MUM. Get into marketing, try to find readers outside your usual circle, and keep at it.

    I’ve bought short stories, novellas, and full novels at 99 cents. I’ve bought novels at 2.99. I bought a couple at 9.99 but have decided not to do that again. It doesn’t make sense.

    If you think it’s not enough content, add a couple more stories to the thing.

    Dude, I want you to be successful. I love this story and my fucking name is on the damned thing, too. So repeat after me: NO MORE DECLARATIONS LIKE THIS ONE UNTIL I SELL A LOT MORE.

    Do it!

  2. I’m with you on the $.99 for a full novel – there are enough people doing it now that it’s no longer guaranteed visibility, either. I’ve bought a few 90-cent novels, but none that I wouldn’t have just as quickly paid $2.99, or even $4.99 for – they were books I already wanted. $.99 is a fair price for short stories, but I agree with you there, too – I’m not a big reader of shorts. But hey, it’s making you more on Amazon than sitting on your hard drive.

    You need to add a Share via Twitter to your blog posts (even if you hate Twitter) – I thought I would, but I actually don’t, and I was planning to tweet this. 🙂 Oh, and put your stuff on B&N and Smashwords, too – more outlets= more ops for sales. It’s a good story – the sales will come – eventually!

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