Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Difference Between Sales and Fans

Unless you've been living under a pile of archaic dead tree books, you know Amazon has raised the royalty rate for self-published Kindle authors to 70%.

This rate only applies to ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. If your ebooks are with another etailer (mine are also with Sony, Kobo, iPad, and B&N) and that etailer discounts them, Amazon will also discount them to match prices. Which is why some of my $2.99 ebooks are selling for $1.59 on Kindle (and I'm only earning 70% from the lower price.)

I'm sure it will all get sorted out eventually, and I'm not concerned about making a smaller profit on the lower-priced books. Past evidence shows me the lower the price, the more copies an ebook sells.

Even so, I am losing money. In June, thanks to being part of the beta program (which allowed my to release my ebooks at 70% for a week), coupled with the release of two new ebooks, ENDURANCE and TRAPPED, I made over $10k in a single month. I expect subsequent months to earn the same, matching my earlier predictions.

So I'm not sweating the sale ebooks for now. I can weather some temporary discounting, trading more sales for less money.

But can you? And more to the point, should you?

While some authors raised their prices to $2.99 in order to take advantage of the new royalty rate, others stayed at lower prices. Some even dropped their prices, in a misguided attempt to sell more books and widen their fanbases.

Big mistake. Here's why.

(At this point, I encourage anyone who has self-confidence issues to STOP READING RIGHT NOW. I'm warning you. If you don't have a thick skin, this is going to really irk you.)

Let's look at two kinds of business models.

The first is an author who wants to sell as many books as they can, so they list them at a low price. This encourages impulse buys, but the royalty is low. I don't see how any author can make a living doing this, at least at this point in time. Even selling 3000 ebooks a month will only earn $12,000 a year, which is way below poverty level.

An author confident in their prose, however, knows the writing is an even bigger lure than the low price. Because if a reader likes your writing, they will pay more. A lot more. I know this for a fact, because fans have bought my ebooks for $12.99 and print books for as much as $50.

At a $2.99 price point, selling 1000 ebooks a month earns $24,000 a year.

Selling fewer copies makes you more money. But it's more than that.

There's a difference between making sales and gaining fans. It's tough to differentiate between the two, and there is some overlap, but I'd break it down like this:

People who buy your work may become readers.

Readers who like your work will probably become fans.

Of the two (buyers and fans) you want to have fans. Fans are willing to pay more. Fans buy everything you write. Fans write reviews. Fans talk about you. Fans get really excited when you have a new release.

At this point in the ebook market, it is possible to keep finding new buyers by hooking them with a low-low price, because the market is growing so fast. But is this the business model you want to follow?

Consider X-Ray Specs.

For the younger among you, comic books of the 70s always had an ad for Johnson Smith Co, which sold gag gifts like joy buzzers, fake vomit, and X-ray glasses, which claimed you could see through things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Ray_Specs_%28novelty%29

Of course, they didn't work. And any kid who shelled out $1.99 for them was very disappointed.

My point? X-Ray Specs sold to new customers... once. No one ever bought them again (once bitten twice shy.) But they didn't have to, because there was an ever-growing audience of suckers who would give them a try.

Compare this to Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Many people who try B&J get hooked on it. They seek it out. They become repeat buyers.

In short, they become fans.

X-Ray specs have no fans.

Now, a low price point can attract both first time buyers, and potential fans. But once you have the potential fans, shouldn't your goal be to make a living as a writer?

Walk into any Ben & Jerry's parlor, and they're happy to give you free samples.

Johnson Smith would never give X-ray specs away for free, because they know it won't lead to other X-ray specs purchases.

I know, for a fact, that readers are willing to pay good money for good stories. If they get a good story for a great price, it's a bargain, and makes them happy.

Right now, you can give readers a bargain, and still make a living. But giving readers too much of a bargain is selling yourself short, because it seems you aren't expecting repeat buyers.

So when you worry about raising your price, what's your real worry? That no one will think you're worth the higher price? That you won't have repeat business?

Now I'm going to say something to completely alienate myself from 99% of self-pubbed authors (if I haven't already.)

The reason I've sold so many books is because I have repeat buyers. And these repeat buyers are willing to pay $3, $7, $12, $25 for my books.

If you don't seem to be getting repeat buyers, it isn't the price that's keeping them away. It's probably the writing.

I wrote a million words before I sold anything. I've been honing my craft for 20 years. At this point, I'm pretty confident I can write a decent book. And I price my work accordingly.

So what does all of this ultimately mean?

If you're selling all of your books for 99 cents or less, you probably aren't going to make a living. And if you are making fans, you're losing money, because they'd pay more. Much more. $2.99 is still a huge bargain, compared to any other book format.

If you're selling all of your books at $2.99 and aren't seeing sales, consider dropping the price of one or two. The low price will attract more buyers, and if your writing is good, some of those buyers will become fans.

Right now, my two bestsellers are $2.99, even though I have several ebooks for $1.59.

What does that say about price, fans, and my writing?

Now, if you're selling poorly, it doesn't automatically mean your books suck. But it is something you should check, if you haven't already. I've said many times the secret to ebook success is a low price, a great cover, a good book description, and a great book. If you have all four of these, you should be able to find fans. And those fans will pay three bucks.

I've spoken to a few authors who are annoyed that I've released ebooks at low prices, thereby undercutting the current price publisher want to sell ebooks for.

But let's look at the math. At the current royalty rate, an author earns $1.75 on a $9.99 ebook through traditional publishers, 64 cents on a $7.99 paperback, and $2.50 on a $25.00 hardcover.

I earn $2.04 on a $2.99 ebook.

I'm making a better living selling ebooks on my own than I do with print publishers.

The key here is "making a living."

If you want to earn $10,000 a month on ebook sales, like I did, you need to sell about 5000 ebooks at $2.99. Or you need to sell 30,000 ebooks at 99 cents.

I'm not going to tell everyone to raise their prices, even though it would be better for authors across the board if everyone did.

But I do encourage you to experiment with price. You can be selling fewer copies, and earning more money, with a lower price. This seems like a smarter way to do business. Because if readers like you, they'll buy more, and they'll pay more. Three bucks is nothing to a reader. But the difference between 33 cents in royalties and $2.04 in royalties is a huge amount for a writer.

Sales ranking is great for ego and bragging rights, but it doesn't mean much if you aren't earning a decent wage.

108 comments:

rjkeller said...

I agree that there is no way to make a living as a writer when all of your books are priced at 99cents, and I don't intend to do that. However as a self-published-only writer who has to fight an already existing stigma, I decided to price my first book low (it has bounced between .99-1.99 for the past year) to make it easy for readers to take a chance on me. It's worked well. I'm nowhere near close to quitting my day job, but I've been able to supplement my income enough to take a big cut in hours so I can spend more time on my writing. And I'm building a decent sized fanbase who (I am confident) will be more than willing to pay 2.99, or even more, for my future novels.

A few weeks ago you wrote about not needing a platform in order to succeed as an indie writer, and I agree with you about that 100%. Anyone who has the talent and the drive can succeed. However, your name recognition and existing fanbase gives you a huge advantage in pricing your books for the 70% royalty right out of the gate. Most of us have a battle to fight before that gate even opens up. I'm not complaining about that...I understand it. I'm just saying.

Karen McQuestion said...

I always wanted a pair of those X-Ray Specs, but my mom wouldn't let me order them. I'm still kind of miffed about that. I never got sea monkeys either.:-(

Oh, and great post too, by the way!

rex kusler said...

You make some good points, Joe. I think an unknown, without support from friends and relatives, pricing their first book at $2.99 probably won't sell even one copy. 99 cents for the first one, in the hopes someone will give it a chance, is probably the best strategy. And then, $2.99 for future books. The real test will be the second book at the higher price.

Jude Hardin said...

An author confident in their prose, however, knows the writing is an even bigger lure than the low price. Because if a reader likes your writing, they will pay more.

I agree. That's why I think a new release ebook should be priced comparably to what the traditional publishers are asking. $2.99 is still an impulse buy. It still looks like a Yugo in a lot full of Cadillacs.

Joe Konrath said...

Jude, if I priced an ebook at $9.99, I'd be making $7.00 fir every sale. That reeks of price gouging. Besides, I'd be losing money. I have a $4.99 ebook for sale, and the drop in sales isn't made up for by the higher royalty.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Joe, are you absolutely sure that your royalty goes down when Amazon discounts your books? My royalty DOES NOT change when Amazon discounts my CreateSpace-printed books, and it does not seem correct that Amazon would lower your royalty.

Or maybe I'm misunderstanding you-- what happens in my case, is that I have textbooks for sale, and they are also nationally distributed. B&N has them discounted about 20%, so Amazon follows suit. My royalty percentage does not fluctuate with the discounted price-- I make the same amount of money, regardless of whether or not Amazon discounts my books.

I think you should double check your royalty reports. The author's royalty should be based on the list price, in the case of a self-published book-- unless this is some weird thing with Amazon Encore?

Cunningham said...

Great points, Joe.

I think it's a matter of creating different points of access for both readers (sales) and fans.

At Pulp 2.0 I want to cater to both sales and fans. That's why we have basic e-editions of our books and a print edition which has bonus features you won't find elsewhere.

[And since we use Createspace, it's a simple matter to design and upload the files and have it ready for sale with little-to-no upfront cost except time, energy and creativity]

We know our stuff isn't going to appeal to everyone all the time, but to our fans we want to reward them with the 'collectible' edition.

We also offer freebies and other merchandise. Again, it's about different levels of access.

David Wood said...

Good post! We also need to consider the possibility that books that are too heavily discounted might sell, but go unread. I've seen too many posts in Kindle forums in which readers reveal that they've bought literally hundreds of cheap or free ebooks, and never read them. This is not to say that it's wrong to offer a book cheap or free, but if that book goes unread, we won't gain repeat buyers or fans.

Joe Konrath said...

Christy, with Kindle, at the 70% rate, if your ebooks are cheaper elsewhere and Amazon matches prices, you get paid on the sale price.

Thee Desecrator said...

I found you through Serial because it was free. I think those temporary free e-books on Amazon do wonders to attract fans. I never would have found you without that. I then went on and bought Afraid for $5.49 (I think) and then probably close to half your library at the time.

Another I discovered that was doing a temporary free e-book deal through Amazon was Will Hubbel (aka Morgan Howell) with Queen of the Orcs, the first in a trilogy. I then continued purchasing the rest of that trilogy and his next series of the story.

If someone has a decent library to their name and are competent, it is good to put out a free e-book on Kindle. If they are decent to good, they will get shot up to the top fairly quickly and the rest of their work is easily accessible.

Robert said...

So true Joe, and as a reader, I may buy a low priced book from someone I have never read before, but unless the book is good, I wouldn't down load a second even if it was free. Before eBooks I got hooked on a lot of authors out of the bargain bin. I'd buy that discounted hardback for $3.99 and if I liked him/her, I'd preorder the next book at full price.And of course, tell all my reader friends about this great new author.

Joe Konrath said...

Authors can't release ebooks on Kindle for free. Only publishers can.

PV Lundqvist said...

I write kid books. Unlike adult books, price doesn't seem to drive sales (as in, the top hundred on Amazon aren't dominated by <$3 books).

I'm tempted to raise the price to $2.99, but sales are sluggish as it is. Then, again, not too many kids own kindles. Not too many ebooks are being sold (for now)

So I don't know what to do. And there's the added factor of perceived value: people have told me that they were thinking of buying a book, saw the cheap price, and thought it must not be worth much. :(

The Vampire Years said...

Joe, you are referencing 2.99 for a novel length piece, yes? What do you think about different (shorter) lengths. Considering that a 2.99 30k novella would be close to parity w/ the proportional cost of one novella from a three-author anthology (for example) - does it make sense to price an ebook novella at 2.99?

I know many of the popular epublishers in my genre would charge almost $5 for the same size novella. (Shock, right?) So 2.99 seems like a bargain in that respect, but certainly not when compared to the proportional cost of a print antho. I'm leaning more the 1.99 to 2.49 range for an ebook of this length. (The better option being to just write something novel length, of course, or don't release the first novella until I can at least bundle it with a similarly themed second novella if I insist on writing short.)

Thoughts?

Edie Ramer said...

I've already thought this through, and decided that if people don't balk at paying $3 for a cup of coffee, they won't balk at paying $3 for a book. Thanks for confirming my decision and adding new reasons to go for it when my book is out.

David Wisehart said...

Joe,

Thanks for letting us know your thinking on this.

I changed my price from $.99 to $2.99 and it definitely affected sales. In June, I sold about four copies a day at $.99. So far this month, I'm selling a copy a day at $2.99.

With a higher price, and a higher royalty, I'm making fewer sales but more money (so far).

I do suspect that many if not most of those $.99 sales were never read. Perhaps now a higher percentage who buy my book will read it.

In any case, I plan to keep my book a the higher price for at least a month to see how the figures play out.

I'm also looking forward to the new Amazon preview feature that should debut this month. It will allow readers to view a sample in their browser without having to download the sample to their e-reading device. That should make it easier for them to judge the quality of the writing.

David

Mike Jastrzebski said...

I just put my first book on Kindle at $2.99. I have several author friends who belive Joe is an exception to the rule and I should continue trying to publish through traditional publishers.

I just completed my book, The Storm Killer, and have some interest from a small publisher, but if I only sell 40 copies a month I'll make as much as the advance from a small publisher. I plan to treat selling e-books as a business and in order to make it profitable I need to sell at the $2.99 price.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Christy, with Kindle, at the 70% rate, if your ebooks are cheaper elsewhere and Amazon matches prices, you get paid on the sale price.

Hmmmm... that's a really interesting bit of news. I blogged about the Amazon/Macmillian drama a few months ago, because Amazon was using e-books as loss leaders in order to encourage publishers into lowering e-book prices to 9.99 or less.

The amazing thing was that Amazon was losing money on mnay of these Kindle editions, in order to try and keep the prices at less than $10 (you can read about the Macmillian drama on CNET).

But it looks like Amazon has decided to use a new approach, and sidestep the publishers all together. If Amazon can get enough writers to agree to their new contract terms, and IF those writers are making enough money on Amazon's DTP platform, then Amazon isn't forced to haggle with publishers anymore and the ebook prices will fall naturally.

It's a very smart move on Amazon's part.

James Ashman said...

Great post, it's exactly what I was writing about earlier in the week myself. Fans and making a living go together. There isn't anything wrong with actually making a living, which is all this is about. It's not about gouging people for money or getting massive amounts of readers. It's just about making a living with writing, and to do that means we gotta be thinking about the business aspect of it.

Anna Murray said...

Good post. I increased book prices to 2.99 several weeks ago.

The increased price has cost me in ranking (and sales), but not in revenue. With the 70% royalty I should make more in July on lower sales.

If I'm to make writing a full-time job I have to meet financial goals. Amazon is offering me an opportunity at 70%, and I'd be crazy not to test the waters. So far it's looking good, and I've made a pledge to purchase only 2.99 or higher indie books because I want to give the greater benefit to the author.

Anonymous said...

I would suspect most authors make 50-100 times more sales at Amazon than BN.com, Smashwords or any of the others. The fact that Amazon has gotten so aggressive with mathing sales prices of competitors so early in the 70% game is probably a way to put pressure on authors to in turn put pressure on BN, Smashwords, etc.

The next chess move? BN will be forced to not put books on sale, otherwise authors will bail. Down the road, BN will probably also be forced to pay 70% as well.

Publishing continues to be an interesting game.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of sales, how's the Steal this Ebook piracy experiment going? It's been up a month, hasn't it? I await the results with interest.

Joe Konrath said...

I sold 343 copies of Jack Daniels Stories on Kindle in May.

In June I sold over 350 (still waiting for the final count) plus made over $150 in donations from people who took it for free.

Plus, On June 21 I raised the price of Jack Daniels Stories to $2.99, so it is a buck more than it was last month.

Does piracy hurt? Hell no.

Robin O'Neill said...

Again, Joe got me thinking. This is the weekend I raised my prices. I'll keep 1 book in each category as a loss leader, but the other current books and new ones will be at a more realistic price.

Of course it's hard to price your ebook at $4.99 when customers can buy the hardcover edition for a penny. If they're looking for a deal, there it is.

Years ago I met a very wealthy man whose business motto was "I will not be oversold" because he knew the customer would always think something cheap was cheap.

Mark Terry said...

And interesting argument, and one that my own sales seem to support. The best sellers I have are the Derek Stillwater thrillers in e-books, The Devil's Pitchfork and The Serpent's Kiss, both priced at $2.99. Dancing In the Dark, priced at $1.99 hasn't sold well. But, I would add that in the next couple days Dancing In The Dark will be republished with a vastly different cover and title: Edge. And I might jack up the price to $2.99. What the hell.

Ty Johnston said...

Hmm. Good points. Good post. And no, Joe didn't say anything to drive my away or discourage me even though I'm one of those self-pubbers who sells all my Kindle stuff for a buck or cheaper.

Here's why: It's part of my marketing plan. I actually have a contract with a print publisher, but my first print novel won't actually be out in print until next year. Meanwhile, the digital version of that novel and its two sequels are spreading the word some. Hopefully I'm making readers and some fans. Time will tell if it works.

Will this help me out in the long run? Who the hell knows? From my vantage point, it's all a crap shoot. But each month I'm selling more e-books than I did the month before, and I know I'm having return readers because sales on my sequels always pick up a few days after sales of the original novel. I think. Maybe I'm wrong. Again, who the hell knows? With Amazon being so secretive about everything, it's more than difficult to tell what's being sold to whom, when, where and how.

Other Kindle stuff I'm selling are small short story collections of 5 to 7 tales, so my feeling is 99 cents is about right for them.

Jon VanZile said...

Joe,

There's literally no way you can say piracy doesn't hurt, based on your experiment.

1. You're still counting donations? There's about a 100% chance these donations were made by people who simply agree with you, but who aren't book shoppers. You have to back them out.

2. Your sales remained steady ... but so what? You can't neglect the multiplier effect of your own promotion. That blog post netted something like 300 comments and was widely distributed. This publicity alone permanently and irrevocably warps your results. This whole experiment is so unreliable in structure as to render it useless.

I'm not taking a position on piracy either way here ... but I'll admit that stuff like this drives me crazy. It's like all those push polls politicians use and then release results declaring that the majority of Americans think Obama is the anti-Christ or the GOP hates America. It's just intellectually dishonest. You can make your argument—and maybe you're even right—but if you are going to conduct an experiment and use that as support, at least have the decency to make it sort of quasi reliable.

Amanda Hocking said...

I think new authors obsess over price too much. I know I did. I raised 2 of my books to $2.99 and fretted days over it. And the truth is that every week my books sell better, MUCH better, than they did the week before, even with the price raise.

In June, I earned over three times as much as I make at my full-time day job (note: I don't make that much.)

Also, all of my books have been pirated. I've found copies of the first book on three different sites, but all three of them have been.

And as far as I can tell, the piracy hasn't hurt my sales yet.

Authors also make the claim that readers won't pay more for unknown authors. The fact is that I've paid $5.99, $6.99, even $12.99 for books by authors I'd never heard of. Why? Because they had good covers, good descriptions, and they had the right shelf space in a bookstore.

But thanks to Amazon, indie authors have the same really good shelf space. So from point of view, paying $2.99 for an unknown author isn't a big deal.

Joe Konrath said...

Your sales remained steady ... but so what?

Guess what? I'd put money that they'll continue to remain steady.

The ebook was downloaded, I estimate, more than 3000 times. I still outsold last month, and at a higher price.

The pirates, and those who own Kindles, are two different demographics.

My main sales are through Kindle.

Ergo, piracy doesn't hurt sales. Which my experiment, limited as it may be, proves to my satisfaction.

You're welcome to run your own experiments. If you reach a different conclusion, let me know.

But my guess is: you won't.

Joe Konrath said...

This publicity alone permanently and irrevocably warps your results.

So you're saying you can prove causality between my Kindle sales and the publicity this blog brings?

Isn't that intellectually dishonest as well, since there's no proof publicity here led to sales?

Publicity here led to donations--I can make a solid case for that. But when the sales remain the same, I gotta say that shows the publicity was a non-factor. And when they stay the same next month, when the publicity has passed, that will also help my case.

I truly wish my blog was powerful enough that I could say "buy this" and have everyone listen. But it isn't.

I'm getting around 5000 hits a day--and I sold just over 300 copied of JDS in a month--about the same as last month.

Your publicity argument is deeply flawed.

M. M. Justus said...

You know, I'm not sure why this post would irritate someone with a thin skin. Because I've been doing my best to thicken my paper-thin skin for years, and it didn't bother mine...

Jon VanZile said...

No, the publicity argument isn't deeply flawed ... the fact is, I can't PROVE that your publicity as a result of this experiment had any effect whatsoever on the outcome. Nor can I prove it didn't. Because it's literally impossible to prove such a thing. There's no control.

Here's a hypothetical ... let's say piracy of this book cost you 30 sales, but blog supporters who heard about this experiment bought 30 more, which may be reasonable or it may not be reasonable but it's not outside the realm of possibility. You can't prove this didn't happen. I can't prove this did happen. But the point is, it MIGHT have happened because of the nature of the experiment. It's literally useless to design an experiment like this and then "use" the results for anything at all.

I actually came back just now to delete this comment, because I don't have any interest in picking a fight with you on your blog, and I think your experimenting with Kindle is really interesting. But you'd already responded ...

I'm one of those people with a very sensitive BS meter, and this particular episode is just BS. Imagine there was something real riding on this experiment of yours ... would you accept any results from an experiment designed like this one, if there were real consequences involved?

You shouldn't, because it's not reliable. Like I said, maybe piracy hurts sales. Maybe it doesn't. But here, with this thing you've done, you haven't shown anybody anything either way, except that you have a gift for promotion.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

This is a very fair assessment of ebook pricing issues. I've experimented with all of my ebooks over the short period of time I've had them up.

My latest release, a novelette called Remote Control, currently retails for $0.99. I priced it very low as it's not a full length novel and I think it may work to bring in more readers.

My novel Whale Song is currently priced at $1.99 and I expect I'll keep it there a while.

My thrillers The River and Divine Intervention were just dropped from $4.99 to $2.99. They'll stay at this price until December when I plan to put all my books on sale for Christmas.

Ironically, it's Whale Song at $1.99 that sells the most, but then again I shouldn't be surprised. It always was my #1 bestseller--even in paperback.

I have a new release planned for Sept. 27th. It's my debut romantic suspense, Lancelot's Lady, which has already won a small award. My only dilemma is should I release it at $7.99, which is lower than the average new release, or should I release it at $4.99, so my books are all under $5?

What do you think, Joe? I'd value your opinion.

Regarding fans vs. sales, you're dead on. I want fans. Sales will follow. My original first three paperbacks retailed for a ridiculous $26. But people paid it! Why? Because they were intrigued by the covers and cover text, or they'd read one of my other books. I recall back in 2003 people telling me I'd never sell at $26 each. But I did.

Now these same books sell for $1.99 and $2.99 in ebook edition. :-) I'm very happy to be able to make them more affordable.

So Joe, for a brand new release, do you think prices should be closer to what new releases are selling for? Even $7.99 is a deal compared to $9.99 +. Or do you think $4.99 is a decent price? Or...do you think $2.99 is where the majority of ebooks should be?

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling Canadian author
www.cherylktardif.com

The Thriller Librarian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Karen, I got the Sea Monkeys. Trust me, you didn't miss anything. I was miffed that they never looked cute and monkey-ish like the cartoon showed. Shrimp brine...ugh...

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

The Thriller Librarian said...

I've heard of authors pricing Kindle books low (or publishers setting the price temporarily at $0.00), as a "loss leader" to promote the author's other writing. I guess the assumption is that if a reader falls in love with a book that he got for free, or paid very little for, he will be more likely to buy that author's "regularly priced" books for $6.99. Who knows whether this approach will be effective, but I'm sure folks will be experimenting with pricing strategies for some time to come.

Carl said...

`Personally I've been experimenting with my prices for a while now and I've pretty much got it just about right. I tend to charge no more than $0.99 or $1.99 for my books,although there are exceptions. Out of 71stories at Amazon, 12 of them are $2.99 or above. My sales have gone up dramatically over the past two months, because a) I haven't been greedy and b) there is a demand for my kind of tales. I write erotic stories, and because I prefer to write a graphic story I'm often accused of writing porn.

Like I said though, there is a demand for it and as long as that demand is there I will keep writing.

Keep up the good work Joe, you are an inspiration to us all.

Carl East

author Scott Nicholson said...

I moved up a few novels to $2.99. In the next few days, I got a handful of emails from readers thanking me for the "low price" of $2.99. I have never gotten a single note like that from the several thousand 99 cent sales I've made. My belief? Joe is right--the readers will buy, follow, talk about, write to you, be a partner. (I avoid the word "fan" because it seems not quite fitting for the relationship I want with my readers--because I believe they create half the book in their heads).

And because I also want to earn a living at this, and this is looking better than any year I was publishing in NY, I want people who WANT to read me. I am not sure the market will ever grow large enough and fast enough to make a living on 35 cents per sale.

And I fully expect two things to happen soon--many indies will flock back down to 99 cents when they get sluggish sales this summer, and NY is going to start pushing the lower level of its midlist to $2.99 (while authors actively bail from publishers). So the competition is not yet begun. However, you're not really competing against the coming millions of ebooks. You are competing against your own limitations.

Scott Nicholson
http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com

Joe Konrath said...

I can't PROVE that your publicity as a result of this experiment had any effect whatsoever on the outcome. Nor can I prove it didn't. Because it's literally impossible to prove such a thing.

But I can prove that my sales before the piracy blog, and after the piracy blog, were comparable.

As for controls, this experiment had several. Many of my other ebooks are being pirated, and I didn't mention them in the blog post. And yet, their sales haven't dropped either. The ones that haven't been pirated yet have seen similar ratios to the ones that have.

And six months from now, when all of my sales trajectories stay similar, I believe that's a good indicator that piracy doesn't hurt sales.

BTW--if we're talking about 30 people who would have bought it not buying it because they stole it instead, that 10% of total sales is a minor sample and well within the normal fluctuation or a title selling on Kindle.

But my goal for this--showing that free sales didn't slow down my Kindle sales--has been proven to my satisfaction. If it hasn't been proven to yours, then run your own experiment and try to control all the variables.

Joe Konrath said...

Or...do you think $2.99 is where the majority of ebooks should be?

Yep. But I haven't done enough experimenting with higher prices to be sure. Most of mine has been done at $2.99 and under.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Thank you for the reply, Joe.

Cheryl

Karen McQuestion said...

Cheryl,
First Joe says the X-Ray Specs didn't actually work and now you tell me the sea monkeys weren't cute and monkey-ish like in the illustrations (weren't the girl sea monkeys depicted with a hair bow?)? Talk about disappointing...

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Yeah, uh, sorry, Karen. There were definitely no hair bows on my Sea Monkeys. Couldn't tell which were "girls" either. No monkey ears...no swinging from vines through the jumgle.

Maybe if I'd had a magnifying glass...and a few shots of rum...wait! I was like 8, so no rum.

I think my brother got the x-ray glasses. The only thing they were good for was making him look like a dork. :-)

I'm trying to think of what else was on that page in the comics. Wasn't there something to make a guy buff so jocks wouldn't kick sand in the weak guy's face? (Hmmm...I think my brother got that one too...no, it didn't work either.)

Cheryl, who is now reflecting on all the money I wasted on gadgets from the back of comic books...

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Here you go, Karen and Joe...
a little comic nostalgia for you both.

And Karen, check out the bow.

Awesomely vintage comic book ads

Tying this loosely to book marketing, maybe we should be selling Sea Monkeys, X-Ray Glasses, Whoopie Cushions and more at the back of our books...? :-)

Selena Kitt said...

Hey Joe, curious... do you own a Kindle?

I just got one. I've discovered, it's really a very different experience to be a Kindle READER than it is to be a Kindle AUTHOR.

I've already found three new authors I'll buy again that I'd never heard of. Great discoveries.

But it's interesting that you say Kindle readers and pirates aren't the same. I think there may be a larger subset that overlap than you might believe...

Karen McQuestion said...

Cheryl,
I can't believe you tracked down those ads! And I was right about the hair bows. :-) I love the line "Own a Bowl Full of Happiness--Instant Pets!" No wonder sea monkeys sold so well--who wouldn't want a bowl full of happiness?

Joe Konrath said...

Selena--

I do own a kindle. :)

If I want to pirate an ebook, I have to download it, convert it to mobi, hook my kindle up to my computer, transfer the file, and hope there are no formatting errors.

It's much easier just to buy it for three bucks. And I have a very strong feeling the rest of the world agrees.

Robert Christopher said...

@Karen If you think the Sea Monkeys and X-ray glasses were bad you should have seen the fake brick and the smoke from finger tips!

Anonymous said...

I just finished two ebook novels

"Sea Monkeys" and

"The Man in the X-Ray Glasses."

I hope you will take a look at them.

The other 6 ebook novels I already have up, are called

Smoke from Your Fingertips,

The Spy Who Could See Around Corners,

Kicking the A-- of the Bully Who Kicked Sand in My Face

The Man Who Built Muscles Overnight,

and the companion books to that trilogy, The Man who Lost 500 Pounds in an Hour,

and
The Woman Who Grew Bazooms Overnight.

I am selling my ebooks for $0-minus 10 cents each. There's this clever idea that such a loss is a tax deduction against my income from my day job.

Anyone else here in my genre?

Anonymous said...

Want to sell you ebook on Kindle for 99 cents and still get a 70% royalty? Here's how.

List it at kindle for $2.99. Now you're in the 70% class. Then list it on Smashwords for 99 cents and port it to BN where it will be picked up.

Kindle will (hopefully) find and match the 99 cent competition rate and the author will get 70%.

Tex said...

If I want to pirate an ebook, I have to download it, convert it to mobi, hook my kindle up to my computer, transfer the file, and hope there are no formatting errors.

There are a few sites out there that have hundreds of books in .txt or .doc format. New books, too. King, Steig Larson, etc... All I have to do is download them, and email them to my kindle account and they show up just fine, and for free.

That's the best part of the kindle. No other ereader has this capability.

Selena Kitt said...

@Tex - so are you saying Kindle would actually be the pirate e-reader of choice for easiness of hacking/converting files?

@Anon "Want to sell you ebook on Kindle for 99 cents and still get a 70% royalty? Here's how..."

Um... wait... didn't Joe just say that if the price is found lower elsewhere and Amazon discounts it, you WON'T get the 70% royalty rate?

*scratching head*
*confuzzled*

Kait Nolan said...

I would expect that the goal of MOST of us is certainly to make a living as a writer, and the whole buyers vs. fans argument is absolutely relevant. It seems to me that the best strategy for those of us without the visibility or existing fanbase is to release something cheap (i.e. 99 cents or a buck) that garners higher sales and visibility (we're going to just assume that good product, good blurb, good cover, etc. are a foregone conclusion and no-brainer in this equation) in order to draw readers in and encourage them to give us a try. The hope then being that if they liked it, they will come back for the higher priced (and probably lower ranked) books that follow. So in that sense I think the ranks and sales numbers on the cheap stuff is more than just bragging rights--it's like the hawker at a carnival luring people in for whatever else you have to offer.

Joe Konrath said...

Kindle will (hopefully) find and match the 99 cent competition rate and the author will get 70%.

Only if it is within a certain percentage. I believe the two dollar difference is too much, and Amazon will make your title unavailable.

If you listed on Amazon at $1.99 and Kobo at 99 cents, Amazon would give you the 70% on 99 cents.

But this is all pretty moot. My goal is to make $2 per download, not $1 or 70 cents.

All I have to do is download them, and email them to my kindle account and they show up just fine, and for free.

Well, that certainly makes it easier to pirate. I'll have to play around with uploading a few of my personal Word docs and see how it looks.

author Scott Nicholson said...

I am surprised so many writers are having a hard time understanding that this is THE BEST TIME in the history of the world to be a writer!

Instead of worrying about 99 cents or $2.99, just try to make the most money with your best work right now. Believe me, all this will be changing soon enough, and it will never get any easier.

Scott Nicholson
http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

Selena Kitt said...

@Scott

"Believe me, all this will be changing soon enough, and it will never get any easier."

How do you see it changing?

evilphilip said...

"How do you see it changing?"

Like most big companies, the big publishers will not stay dumb forever.

If independent authors continue to undercut the Big 6 by pricing their product at $2.99 it could generate a pricing war -- great news for readers, not so much when your independent book is priced the same as a mainstream release from a big name author.

There are a lot of other things that could happen... most of them good for the author. I predict at some point that big publishers are going to start buying a lot more books from authors and paying a considerably better advance in order to keep that author from "going it alone".

I could even see a situation where big publishers are buying books that they have no intention to publish in order to tie that book up for a period of time and keep you from putting it up on the Kindle yourself.

I'm not psychic, but I don't see any real downside for authors other than the idea that the Kindle is going to become the slushpile of the future and finding the good books vs. the dreck is going to be harder as more and more books are uploaded into the system.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of other things that could happen... most of them good for the author. I predict at some point that big publishers are going to start buying a lot more books from authors and paying a considerably better advance in order to keep that author from "going it alone".

I could even see a situation where big publishers are buying books that they have no intention to publish in order to tie that book up for a period of time and keep you from putting it up on the Kindle yourself.

I'm not psychic ...


No kidding. This vision is so far divorced from reality I don't know where to begin. Love it how so many authors pop off on here as if they have MBAs from the Wharton School.

dr. cpe said...

@evilphillip

I like your and others' speculations about what might occur in bk pub future. I think many are close to accurate...

Though there are clauses in the big6 and other pubco contracts about how ebk will be handled and when... if what you suggest (below) as a secret unilateral move by a pubco becomes even a remote possibility with even one author (assuming a contract was signed that would have to say this specifically: We have no intention of publishing your book,) there will be boycotts called against whomsoever in midtown Manhattan.

That 'buy the other company' in order to quell competition (viz; Bertalsmann/ Napster) is a corp technique, tis true. But, I shudder to think such quelling technique would ever be covertly employed on the author of a book. Let's pray not. It would seem the utter filth of depravity were a big pubco to do so.

>>>>I could even see a situation where big publishers are buying books that they have no intention to publish in order to tie that book up for a period of time and keep you from putting it up on the Kindle yourself.>>>>

dr. cpe said...

@anonymous

And your point is? People here are speculating, giving opinions. Problem is?

>>>>>No kidding. This vision is so far divorced from reality I don't know where to begin. Love it how so many authors pop off on here as if they have MBAs from the Wharton School.>>>>>

Ernest said...

What if an author's intentions are to sell an ebook inorder to obtain a contract for a print version, as in hardback, clothbound?

Such a strategy would be to market as ebook and switch when offered the hardback contract. Is this possible? Has it been done.

Anonymous said...

"If independent authors continue to undercut the Big 6 by pricing their product at $2.99 it could generate a pricing war -- great news for readers, not so much when your independent book is priced the same as a mainstream release from a big name author."

I just don't see that happening, at least not to the extreme that big name authors ever come down near $2.99. Right now you've got the likes of Scott Turow and Douglas Preston squawking that $9.99 is too low for their precious words, and from what I can tell from the Amazon Kindle best seller list, folks are still buying their ebooks at $12.99 - $14.99.

I foresee independent authors getting established with ebooks in the $.99 - $2.99 range, and then being able to ask (and get) more for subsequent works. I don't even blink at paying $5 or $6 for my favorite indie writers. The big boys? I don't see them coming back below $8, and even then not until the paperback has been out for a while, if even then. With there being so much great writing from lesser knowns, I don't even consider high-priced best sellers anymore.

I just don't think the Big 6 is going to take as much advantage of their new agency model as they can. They are too set in their ways. They'll survive, sure, but never drive out the independents who are clearly becoming much more pricing savvy.

David Derrico said...

I think it's clear that readers are willing to pay $2.99 for books with good covers, good descriptions, and good samples -- especially if they hear positive feedback from another reader. Word-of-mouth is still the magic bullet.

Amazon took a bit of a hard line, since I updated my list prices to B&N and Kobo through Smashwords a couple of weeks ago, but Kobo hasn't updated the price yet. So Amazon won't let me raise the list price of my first novel to $2.99 (they pulled it and confirmed that was why). If it's going to take Kobo weeks or months to update prices, and that gets in the way of my Amazon sales/royalties (when Kobo is probably a tiny fraction of my Amazon sales), they may find lots of authors opting out of Smashwords retail distribution.

So, I haven't been able to do a full experiment since my first book is still temporarily $0.99 (actually on sale for $0.79), but the sequel is up at $2.99 and sales haven't fallen at all. Which means, to me, that people who like my writing and think reading more is worth a buck, think it's worth $2.99 too.

David Wisehart said...

The Big 6 publishers won't be able to compete with $2.99 indie books on price alone. They must cover their overhead or go out of business. Their best bet is to convince buyers that they are charging a premium price for a premium product.

evilphilip said...

"No kidding. This vision is so far divorced from reality I don't know where to begin. Love it how so many authors pop off on here as if they have MBAs from the Wharton School."

I'm appreciative that we have anonymous trolls who are willing to take time away from their Tony Robbins seminar to speculate on what I have my degree in and where I got my degree from.

Obviously, our anonymous friend has never heard of an option.


Big Publishers are losing money and big business seldom sits around and does nothing forever. At some point they are going to have to make a change.

The current comments from big publishers seem to be that they think eBooks is going to be the platform that saves them from their falling sales.

I disagree. I think that eBooks saves AUTHORS from falling sales because it provides them with an opportunity to get out from under low advances and indifferent agents and make a living going at it on their own, I can't see how charging $12.99 to $14.99 for an eBook is going to save big publishing. Most of the time I can buy the physical book from Amazon.com for less than that.

That means another creative solution will have to be in the works because big publishers are not going to want their $12.99 eBook competing with your $2.99 eBook forever. That is a big old bucket of fail waiting to happen.

Ty Johnston said...

evilphilip, you bring up an interesting idea: the option. Hollywood's been doing it for years with screenplays.

I don't expect book publishers, especially not the big 6, to go this route. But still, it's an idea that's definitely out of the box. Something to think about.

I can't imagine publishers wanting to pay indie writers much of anything to keep them from publishing a book. If someone tried to toss $500 my way to keep me from self publishing, it wouldn't be enough to stop me. And I'm pretty sure publishers couldn't afford the huge dollar signs it would take to keep major writers from publishing.

I live in tobacco country, so maybe it could work like some tobacco subsidies. Get the government to pay me NOT to write. ;-)

Nah, who am I kidding. I'd still write in secret. Just not publish, I guess, or publish under another name.

Alastair Mayer said...

@Ernest asked: Such a strategy would be to market as ebook and switch when offered the hardback contract. Is this possible? Has it been done.

I'm sure others have done it, but in the SF field, John Scalzi's Old Man's War was picked up by Tor after he started publishing it (in serial form?) on his web site. More recently Larry Correia's Monster Hunters International was picked up by Baen Books after some self-published success, but I don't know if that was straight e-book or paper.

In both of these cases the authors had something of a platform already to help promote their books -- and they wrote darn good books.

The Vampire Years said...

@Ernest asked: Such a strategy would be to market as ebook and switch when offered the hardback contract. Is this possible? Has it been done.

For Horror - I would point to the relatively recent (07?) recent example of David Wellington's Monster Island, which was picked up by Thunder's Mouth Press (defunct imprint of Perseus Book group) after he was able to show that the last online installment of the book had 35,000 unique visitors. His subsequent vampire novels are w/ Three Rivers (imprint of Crown, which is an imprint of Random House).

The Vampire Years said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coolkayaker1 said...

I remember the Johnson Smith Co., wow! That is a bell-ringer for me. And the x-ray specs, well, they did work to an extent. Seriously, my friend had some. You could "see" the bones in your hand when you held it up to the light...sort of. We never could see anything more than a slip under a woman's dress though.

I just read an article in NY Times that said, in essence, that Lady Gaga is as world-wide popular now as Brittany Spears was in her prime, and yet Lady Gaga is earning 1/3 of what Brittany was earning. Why? Gaga's tune are pirated. Not to get into that ballywick again, but for what it's worth, everything about pricing e-books goes out the window when priacy of written books--something unstoppable according to your past posts, JA--becomes widespread. I giev it two to three years.

Moses Siregar III said...

I was chatting with Michael Shatzkin on his blog about agency model pricing, and I found this tidbit from him interesting:

The anecdotal evidence is that the increase from about $9.99 for a branded ebook to about $12.99 hasn't hurt sales. One publisher reported to me that raising a bestseller further from $12.99 to $14.99 did, so the publisher put it back to $12.99.

Joe, you said $4.99 didn't sell nearly as well for you. Have you tried $3.99 yet, and if so how did that go?

Keidi Keating said...

Interesting post! I'm just about to start selling my books via Kindle, so I'm a bit behind, but at least this has given me some ideas about how much to price them at...Thanks Joe :)

Moses Siregar III said...

Here's an agent's anti-self-publishing article. Of course, Joe is mentioned, along with the argument that he's only had success because he had been traditionally published before, etc. (something we've all talked about before).

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

"Lady Gaga is as world-wide popular now as Brittany Spears was in her prime, and yet Lady Gaga is earning 1/3 of what Brittany was earning."

Correction-- Lady Gaga's label is making 1/3 of what they want to make. Gaga herself has said repeatedly that she doesn't care if her fans file share or even pirate her work.

She has also said that she thinks that recording artists make their money from touring, and she makes 100 million from her tour.

We were talking about this Gaga interview weeks ago on Joe's blog. Some topics tend to come up again and again.

My point is that Gaga is not bothered by piracy and file sharing. And it may be part of the reason why her tour is sold out across the United States.

Zoe Winters said...

I totally hear you Joe but I think there can be good reasons to sell at 99 cents.

My currently available ebooks are novellas. They are each about a third of the length of a full-length novel. So in essence I AM selling at $2.99. I'm just breaking it up into chunks which is something I did because it gets people into a "buying habit" with me.

You buy one thing from me, and you "may" buy another. You buy 3 separate things from me (no matter the price) and it's a habit. You're far more likely to buy a 4th thing.

Shorter fiction tends to work better at the 99 cent price because if you go much above that people start feeling like you're price gouging because the work is shorter.

I also want to make the barrier absolutely as low as possible for new readers to try me. Yes, some of them will become fans, and that's awesome and preferred. Then they can either buy a print copy of the compilation of the novellas, or they can buy the next book for $2.99.

But I think one has to achieve a certain sales ranking before 2.99 even makes sense. Because it's less of an impulse buy. (Though it's still less than a Latte at Starbucks.)And people just don't know if they can trust you yet.

I think it's a good idea to offer "something" for either free (not on Amazon since they don't allow that) or 99 cents. Because it's allowing people to sample your stuff.

Though I may experiment with $1.99 for the two longer novellas and just see what happens. I do know some readers won't even try 99 cents because they are automatically suspicious that anything selling that cheap MUST be crap.

Anonymous said...

So many people think Joe is successful because he was traditionally published.

I think it is because he is a great writer, and traditional publishing confirmed that.

Look, the mathematical reality is that 99% of indie authors will only make a few sales per month.

Why?

Because all those horrible manuscripts filling the slushpiles of publishers don't magically become great sellers as ebooks.

Price is important, but great writing is essential. If your writing is mediocre or worse, whether you price your book at 99 cents or $2.99 makes no difference -- it won't sell.

A lot of indie authors have to accept that e-publishing is not a shortcut to a writing career.

There are a lot of indie authors who seem to feel they have a right to sell ebooks or they should have better sales because their sales are "low". Perhaps your sales are actually quite high given your product.

Be a great writer and charge a fair price (at least $2.99) and you, too, can be Joe. Write crap and it doesn't matter what price you charge.

Moses Siregar III said...

I'm considering selling my debut novel for ... one MILLLLION dollars.

Zoe Winters said...

LMFAO, Moses! I actually SAW Dr. Evil do the pinky finger next to his lip thing when I read that.

Moses Siregar III said...

Think about it, Zoe. You could make just one sale be good for at least four months.

Something to think about.

Moses Siregar III said...

*cough*

Think about it, Zoe. You could make just one sale and be good for at least four months.

Something to think about.

Zoe Winters said...

@Moses

Just 4 months? Wow, what are your expenses? :P

Moses Siregar III said...

Zoe,

Coke habit.

Moses Siregar III said...

I forget sometimes that others are in different situations.

David Wisehart said...

How hard is it to "make a living" as an indie author on Kindle?

For the sake of argument and simplification, let's define "make a living" as a 40-hour minimum wage day job (haha, right?).

In CA the minimum wage is $8/hr.

So assume a $2 royalty (on a $2.99) book. How many would you have to sell to equal an $8/hr retail job?

Skipping some basic math...

23 sales per day (seven days a week).

Is that impossible?

No.

Hard to achieve, perhaps, but not impossible.

If you have five ebooks on Kindle, priced at $2.99 each, and you sell five copies a day each, you'll earn more than enough money to replace a minimum wage day job.

Of course, I'm not there yet.

On June 30 I repriced my novel from $.99 to $2.99 and so far I've sold exactly one copy per day (vs. four copies per day at $.99).

But I'm writing another novel, in a more commercial genre.

I can see myself doing this full time in a year or two.

Maybe less.

Zoe Winters said...

@David

I had a really great month in June. I expect to drop off for a few months now until I get something else out there, but, like you, I definitely see long term financial potential in this!

rex kusler said...

I expect to continue to be wrong about what I expect.

Zoe Winters said...

@Rex :P

Stacey Cochran said...

Brilliant post as usual, Joe.

My only contribution to add is:

CLAWS 2 has just launched at $2.99

Oh, and I agree with everything RJ, Zoe, and Scott said.

Rock on!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you be paying Joe a commission for all the free advertising you derive off his blog, Stacey?

Joe Konrath said...

Just bought CLAWS 2. Hope it does great.

Stacey Cochran said...

Anon.,

If I ever make it big, I will use my money to finance a film adaptation of one of Joe's stories. It might be a made-for-TV movie, but I will find a way.

______________

Stacey Cochran
Author of CLAWS 2

Zoe Winters said...

I like the new book cover, Stacey!

Stacey Cochran said...

Thanks so much, Zoe! I was inspired by the original Into the Wild Cover. And I was shooting for a noirish feel.


Stacey
Author of CLAWS 2

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

The Big 6 publishers won't be able to compete with $2.99 indie books on price alone.

I agree with this statement, although I think that the Big Six publishers have an easy solution to the problem-- they just need to revive their backlist and out of print titles. Imagine how much money they could make simply by bringing back some beloved old books that have gone out of print.

Even if individual sales are just a few hundred a year, the book is still profitable-- in perpetuity! No printing costs, no warehousing, no shipping, no costs at all-- except perhaps a small author's royalty. That's it. Profit is still profit. Why should they let suck a valuable asset go to waste?

Mary McDonald said...

I uploaded my book last month to Kindle and initially sold it for $1.99. I knew the 70% was coming and decided that I'd need that month to work out formatting kinks. I sold about 15 books for the month.

In the first six days of this month, despite raising my price, I've sold 6 books. Sure, it's a small sum, but at this rate, I'll double my sales even with the price increase. I have a promotion on my blog, but only three of the sales can be attributed to that, the others are random amazon buyers I guess.

If I'm lucky, it'll be more as I'm starting to get some nice reviews too. :-)

All in all, with the exception of some formatting headaches, I've had an exciting first month.

David Wisehart said...

I agree with this statement, although I think that the Big Six publishers have an easy solution to the problem-- they just need to revive their backlist and out of print titles.

Agreed. But will they? The Big 6 should each set up a division for converting old assets to new ebooks. I think it will happen eventually, but these big corporations change very slowly.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

But these big corporations change very slowly.

YES... and there is the real problem, isn't it? That these big publishing houses are loathe to change, and that is what might kill them.

I read yesterday that Blockbuster got delisted from the NYSE-- they had the opportunity to buy RedBox a few years ago, or even start their own "Redbox"-- but they weren't going to change. So they kept doing business the old way, and now they are barrelling towards bankruptcy at lightning spped.

Change is just too scary.

Vincent Zandri said...

Right on Joe...StoneHouse just put out my newest thriller on E-Book at 9 bucks and it hung in there at around the 10,000 mark for a few days. Then they dropped the price to $2.95 and it's been in the top 100 for Kindles in the Hard Boiled genre, everyday since. I don't think they would ever go below that price if only for a day long push. But even though I've published traditionally with both commercial NY houses and other small indy presses, I can definitely see where fair pricing and a very good product will create fans and not just one-time buyers. Check out more of my feelings on the new publishing model here: http://vincentzandri.blogspot.com/2010/07/overnight-success-story.html?spref=gr#close=1

Stacey Cochran said...

Joe Konrath said... Just bought CLAWS 2. Hope it does great.

Thanks, Joe. And I meant what I said. As I continue to make in-roads into the film and TV industry I am realizing all it would take is a little financial push to get something made into a feature.

All I need is a fat Simon & Schuster or Harper-Collins advance, and I'd be making films. And, folks, guess who's work would be high on my adaptation list?

Not the douche bags who argue with me and needle me about what poor decisions I'm making as an author, that's for sure.

On the other hand, I know exactly how to market and shoot a Konrath picture. I can see it in my mind.

Lots of blood. Lots of screaming. I would fucking love it.

Stacey Cochran said...

Hey, Joe, largely because of your endorsement and with the help of Kindle Nation, CLAWS 2 has officially cracked the Top 1,000. Currently at #702 overall.

Thank you.

Folks, I really need y'all's help to get this into the Top 100. If you can post a link on your website, blog, Twitter, or FaceBook and tell folks to buy the book, that would be huge.

Thanks so much, Joe, and everybody else.

David Wisehart said...

Stacey:

I'd be happy to add a link for Claws 2 if you'll agree to do an interview about your book on my new blog. I just started a Kindle author blog and I'm looking to interview some successful kindle authors.

Shoot me an email: David_Wisehart@hotmail.com

Same goes for other Kindle authors wanting another site for their blog tours.

Thanks.

Coolkayaker1 said...

I'm on page 500 of Newbie's Guide and thought it deserves a review--I've now posted it on Amazon.com 7/6/10. Hope you have a thick skin, Joe. coolkayaker1

Robert Christopher said...

@Coolkayaker I think most successful artists have thick skins. You wont survive long if you don't; riding the emotional rollercoaster of praise and scorn will only drive the insecure artist nuts. Better to be even keeled and understand that there will be both good and bad reviews.

Joe Konrath said...

My skin is Teflon.

Thanks for the review. :)

Coolkayaker1 said...

My Newbie's review on Amazon: "3 of 4 people found the following review helpful"

Everyone else who reviewed this book got 100% "helpful rating". I'm only batting 75%. I'm the one that needs the thick skin, it appears.

John Smith said...

Dear Joe,

If you're reading this, can I ask a question. I'm going to publish a book on Amazon in one month. It's not a novel. It's actually a collection of short stories that is about 100 pages long. I'm going to put a starting price at $.99 . How long do you think it will take to get enough fans so that I can increase the price to $2.99, and still get a high enough sale?

Tessa Quin said...

I just wanted to thank you for this post and to tell you that I've linked it in my blog today. I think that you and Randy have excellent views of e-publishing. If I e-publish, I won't be the $0.99 writer.

Joe Konrath said...

How long do you think it will take to get enough fans so that I can increase the price to $2.99, and still get a high enough sale?

It depends on many factors, some within your control, some not.

If the stories are terrific, the cover is great, and you have a good description, the book could catch on. Or not.

Luck still plays a factor. No one knows why some books sell and some don't. All you can do is maximize your changes for success.