Monday, August 02, 2010

Guest Blogger Stacey Cochran on “Sequels” and eBooks

Stacey was one of a few who took me into his house when I was on tour with the Rusty Nail 500. He's probably the only guy on the planet who has more rejections than I do, and his persistence and dedication to getting his work read is an inspiration to all. He's also one of these "pay it forward" type of writers who extends both hands in helping others and shining the spotlight on them.

Stacey is currently doing a blog tour for his latest ebook, CLAWS 2. It's $2.99. You should check it out.

Now, here he is...

STACEY: Thanks, Joe, for having me at your place in the midst of my CLAWS 2 Blog Tour. For folks unfamiliar with me, CLAWS 2, or a Blog Tour in general, you might check out my website for more info.

The goal of a Blog Tour is for an author to visit a number of blogs over a set period of weeks in order to promote and spread the word about his/her book. I launched CLAWS 2 on July 1 as an eBook-exclusive available through the Kindle store and have managed to set up 18 “tour stops” with blog proprietors for the months of July and August. It is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing I’ve ever used, and so far July has been my most successful sales month in a year.

What I need: 1) customers to buy my book, 2) customers to write reviews of the book, 3) other bloggers to host me during August and September.

If you can host me on your blog, drop me a note as a comment or via my website. We’ll set it up.

CLAWS 2 Cover

Amazon Link:


So I thought I would write today about my observations regarding sales numbers for CLAWS 2 and CLAWS. The main point that I’d like to make for newbies is that I have seen a dramatic increase in sales of CLAWS with the launch of CLAWS 2.

Joe could probably speak to this subject as well, as he is the author of a great series of books.

As naïve as it sounds, I had not considered that CLAWS would see any bump with the release of CLAWS 2. When I wrote these novels five years ago, my main reason for doing so was that I thought it would look cool. To my knowledge, no one has ever published a series of novels so similarly titled. Of course, filmmakers do it all the time (Nightmare on Elm Street, SAW, Friday the 13th, JAWS, Piranha, etc.). With writers, the fashion seems to be to change up the titles around a catchy theme (drinks, alphabet, colors, numbers, etc.), but no one just calls their series TITLE 1, TITLE 2, TITLE 3, etc.

I thought it would look cool, and I’d never seen it done in the publishing world. That was the height of my expectations and rationale.

So far in July, the original novel (released in summer 2009) has actually outpaced the new book at a roughly 5:4 ratio. When these novels spiked in July, CLAWS actually peaked in the 100s overall in the Kindle store whereas CLAWS 2 reached only #213.

It’s worth noting that the price-point for the books is different. CLAWS has been at 99 cents all along, and CLAWS 2 is at $2.99. Some folks are likely hearing of me for the first time and so are willing to give the 99-cents book a shot before purchasing the new title.

Whatever the case, the books have worked in tandem to drive up overall sales in a way that I simply did not anticipate.

I’ve had a number of folks ask me if there is a CLAWS 3 in the works. The truth is I outlined some preliminary notes back in 2006 for a third book regarding spotted leopards in the American Southwest and the border fence issue.

What I’d like more than anything else is to sell the series to a major publisher. I could easily write a CLAWS 3, 4, and 5, and it’s likely that such a filmable series would get optioned and could see move adaptation.

I may have to find traditional success with another novel altogether before I’m able to sell the CLAWS series. Or I may not be able to sell it at all. That definitely seems to be where we’re at with it now.

The sales numbers for my eBooks have been nothing short of a career break-through since May 2009 when I launched CLAWS.

If there’s a lesson to be taken from this, it is that readers will buy closely-linked series books in tandem. For newbies considering how to develop a career, it might be worth thinking through how you might publish a series of books and exactly what kind of series seem to do well with publishers.

Thanks so much for your time and for reading, and thank you, Joe, for hosting me today at your blog.


Author Photo

Stacey Cochran was born in the Carolinas, where his family traces its roots to the mid 1800s. In 1998 he was selected as a finalist in the Dell Magazines undergraduate fiction competition, and he made his first professional short story sale to CutBank in 2001. In 2004, he was selected as a finalist in the St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Dr. Susan K. Miller-Cochran and their son Sam, and he teaches writing at North Carolina State University. His books include CLAWS, CLAWS 2, Amber Page, The Colorado Sequence, and The Kiribati Test.