Thursday, January 27, 2011

Guest Post by Terri Reid

I've been getting a lot of requests to do guest posts.

What I find interesting about this isn't so much that people want to share their self-publishing experience with me, or with the world. The thing that tickles me is more and more authors are selling a lot of ebooks.

Before we get to today's guest post, I'd like to share an interesting tidbit of info, courtesy of BookBee.net.

Apparently, Ken Follet's publisher raised the price of his ebook from $7.99 to $9.99... and sales dropped 48%.

Jason Davis, who runs BookBee, took that as evidence the Agency Model doesn't work. I happen to agree with him. In fact, I spoke out against the agency model a year ago. Much as publishers thought they'd scored a victory by controlling their own prices, I predicted it was an epic fail.

Publishers were, and still are, trying to slow the growth of ebooks in order to protect their business model, which is built around selling paper.

How has that been working out for them? Not very well. Ebook sales have climbed at an astonishing rate, print sales have fallen, and the agency model earns less money for both the publisher and the author.

Jason's post also links to another of his posts, where he discusses the optimal price point for ebooks ($2.99-$3.99) based on the research of Dave Slusher, who used something called "math" to analyze prices based on some of my sales. I encourage all readers of this blog to check them out.

Strangely enough, though the agency model is costing publishers money, those who self-publish using the agency model are doing very well. That's because authors are using it to find the sweet spot to maximize profits, whereas publishers are apparently using it to hasten themselves out of business.

While modest pricing is no guarantee of sales, it's worth noting that more and more self-pubbed authors are hitting the Kindle bestseller lists. Take a look at horror sales at Amazon.

Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror

There are several things interesting about this list. Most interesting is 12 of the top 20 bestselling books in the horror category are self-published. And I say "books" because this list includes print books as well as ebooks.

I currently have three of the Top 20 bestselling horror titles on all of Amazon.

Terri Reid has two.

Naturally, I asked her to do a guest blog. So without further yakity-yak on my part, here's Terri...

Early in the month, I sent Joe a frantic e-mail.

Hi Joe -

You are the only person I know who can give me a serious answer to my question. I'm "freaking out" a little bit here - but in a good way.

My books have consistently sold 350 a day since the beginning of the month.

Every day - no change.

I was just checking Amazon and my books are in the top 20 of about 10 different genre lists - Ghosts, Paranormal Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Women Sleuths, Romantic Suspense - they are all over the place.

My Amazon ranks are at #301 and #345.

I am in shock. Does this continue? When I look at these numbers and estimate forward - I'm making amazing money.

My reviews, for the most part, are great. I'm even picking up good reviews in the UK.

My question - is my bubble going to burst or is this really happening? And can it continue?

My husband, sitting across the room from me in my office, was concerned as he watched my face when I read Joe’s response. My eyes filled with tears and I placed my hand over my mouth.

“What did he say?” he asked.

I read Joe’s response:

The bubble isn't close to bursting, Terri.
Write more.

J

I’m sitting here at my desk a week later writing this blog to tell you my story. Since the e-mail, I have consistently sold more than 300 books a day. My average book sales are 330 a day. Two of my books, Loose Ends and Good Tidings from The Mary O’Reilly Series, are the majority of the sales. But, even my “Ghosts of New Orleans” is selling more than 30 books a day, so I have absolutely no reason to complain. I sell my books for $2.99. About seven percent are Amazon International sales - so I get 35% of the sale price, the remainder of the sales is at 70% - you do the math.

So, what’s my story?

I don’t think you need my whole bio to understand how I got here, but I’d like to offer some relevant points. I did well in high school and received scholarships to go to college. After two years in college, I was married and expecting my first child. College was put on hold. Seven children later, I was working as a consultant doing advertising, marketing and public relations for small to medium-sized businesses in the area. I even had some Fortune 50 companies as clients. I still hadn’t found the time to go back to school, but as a consultant, my clients were more interested in what I could do for them, than the degree hanging on the wall - thank goodness!

In the background, in my spare time, I was writing novels. It was my dream - “Someday I’m going to be a writer.” But, at that point, it was in the same category as “Someday I’m going to be the same size I was when I got married” nice to dream about - but then you wake up!

However, some of the stories had to be told, so, I continued to write. A little every day. While I was writing, I was trying to find my voice and decide what I wanted to write. But, again, since my consulting was paying the bills, writing was more of an escape.

Then the economy crashed and because of the uncertainty of so many things, my clients started tightening their belts and holding on to their money. Marketing budgets were slashed. My business was in trouble. I started looking for a full-time job, but even with fifteen years of experience, I didn’t have a degree. And in this job market, employers have lots of options.

Suddenly, the thought of writing for a living made sense, because, really, what did I have to lose?

I had been working on Loose Ends for months. I found myself with more time than money, so I worked nearly full-time to complete it. During that time, a friend sent me the Wall Street Journal article about Karen McQuestion and her amazing success in e-books. I had heard of Kindles, but I had no idea they held such a market share. I sent an e-mail to Karen, who was gracious enough to answer me. She shared her experiences. Then I did some research on my own and decided that I was going to try downloading my book through Amazon.

Before I learned about Karen, I had planned to send my book off to an agent I had an acquaintance with in New York. She’s a very successful agent and, at one time, had told me she liked my writing. But the biggest thing that sold me on e-publishing was the finances. I could get paid within 90 days of downloaded my book. I could make the same amount of money on my e-book that I would through a traditional publisher. And, perhaps, as an entrepreneur this excited me even more; my destiny was in my own hands.

I uploaded Loose Ends on August 3, 2010. I joined some forums and told them about my book. I went on Facebook and told my friends and family about my book and asked them to put my link on their Facebook pages. I called the editor of the local paper and told him about my book. The paper did a Sunday feature about me and my book. (I had to borrow a Kindle from a friend for the photo.)

In August I sold 142 copies of my book. In September I sold 248 books. In October I added another book, “The Ghosts of New Orleans.” I had read that multiple books help you cross market and lead to more sales. The Ghosts of New Orleans was a novel I had written four years ago. It was a darker novel than The Mary O’Reilly stories, but I felt it still had merit. I did a quick edit and uploaded it on October 10th.

In October I sold 789 copies of Loose Ends and 195 copies of The Ghosts of New Orleans.

At the end of November, I added the second Mary O’Reilly book, “Good Tidings.” It was available on the night before Thanksgiving. By the end of the month, one week later, I had sold 142 copies of Good Tidings, 745 copies of Loose Ends, and 320 copies of The Ghosts of New Orleans.

In December I watched my numbers climb and three weeks into the month, found that both Loose Ends and Good Tidings had sold over 1,000 copies. I reached those numbers the day after Joe invited us to be part of his Best Seller blog. I couldn’t believe I was part of that crowd of authors. By the end of December, I had sold over 5,000 books.

Now, the secret to my success is...there is no secret. I’ve heard rumblings that Paranormal Mysteries or Paranormal Romances are easy to sell. I didn’t write my book because of market trends. I wrote it because that was the story I had to tell. And, thinking back to Joe’s list - they certainly weren’t all Paranormal genre books, although there were a few.

There’s been a lot of conversation about quality. You do yourself and this new industry a disservice if you think you can upload something poorly written, poorly edited and poorly executed and try to sell it. Be sure you are offering the best product you can. Don’t be your own critic or editor - that never works. Have someone who knows editing - a friend who’s a journalist or hire someone - to go through your book. Get some beta-readers to read it and ask them to be honest. It’s better they critique your product before you upload it, then afterward say, “Oh, you know, that bothered me a little too.”

You only have one chance to make a first impression.

You need to get out there and talk about your book. You are your own marketing and public relations team - if you don’t think your book’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, why should I?

You need to believe in yourself and remember the brilliant words of Joe, “The bubble isn't close to bursting...write more.”

Write more!

Joe sez: A few things strike me about Reid's post, and her publishing journey.

As far as I can tell, she doesn't have a website or a blog. She only has 233 Facebook friends. She doesn't have a Twitter account. And though she's active on Kindleboards.com and her local paper did a story on her, it really doesn't seem like she's done an overwhelming amount in the way of self-promotion, especially compared to other recent guest posters.

Her covers are decent, and the black and white stands out, but in my opinion they could be improved.

She's clearly new at this, as indicated by her apparent belief that simply uploading a few ebooks would give her the income of a fulltime job. In fact, she didn't even try to get an agent or a publishing deal, but thought that her first book would be good enough to sell on its own.

And guess what? She's selling like crazy. In fact, with no track record, no real marketing strategy, and what I view as somewhat unrealistic expectations, Reid's ebooks are outselling many of mine, and she's going to make $20,000 this month.

So what can we attribute this to? A low price? Good writing? Luck? All of the above?

That's why I love Reid's story so much. She's new at this (both writing and self-publishing) and perhaps a bit naive (like we all were when we started out) but she's making huge money and selling like crazy.

It might seem like I'm knocking her, but I'm really not. The fact is, I'm in awe of her success. If anyone is proof that the old ways of publishing are dead, it's Terri Reid. She's spearheading a new movement, one that completely ignores the conventions of traditional publishing.

Now, does this mean everyone can sell 10,000 copies a month?

Of course not. If everyone could do it, everyone would be doing it.

Reid has obviously found her niche, and self-publishing was a smart and (in hindsight) an obvious choice. Though she didn't mention much about her marketing strategy, she had a job in marketing, so she clearly has done something right. Though she didn't mention much about her writing background, her reviews and sales again point to her doing something right.

The future isn't Big 6 publishing houses vetting manuscripts, rejecting the majority, taking 18 months to publish, and then insisting upon ebooks with high prices and DRM, all the while paying authors one third of what the house makes.

The future is smart, talented writers doing it on their own.

124 comments:

JAScribbles said...

Talent. One word that says so much.

Great post!

Jenna

Michael said...

I hear these stories and they sound great. I'm working on getting some of my projects online, and know that I have some writing talent, as I've been published in some big name short story markets. I also had an agented book that had an offer pending before it all fell apart.

However, I put a couple of books of mine on Amazon about a week ago and have yet to see a single sale. Hard to build from zero.

gniz said...

Yet another inspiring tale. And still so many authors can't accept the truth of the matter. I wrote a new blog post about this peculiar form of author insanity today.

Writers with Battered Spouse Syndrome

L.J. Sellers said...

Congratulations, Terri! I agree with JA Scribbles. Those kind of sales mean you have a lot of talent. In today's publishing world, that now means you can also have a bright future.

wannabuy said...

Love the guest posts. Terri, well done.

I'm amazed at the ramp up in sales. 3+ books certainly seems to help. I wonder how many will be required in a year? 5? 7?

One carry over from the last thread:
Children's books are taking off in ebook form. Ipad Apps, Nook books... Amazon has really dropped the ball here. Yawn. What matters is that other companies have provided the devices.

Today's young kids are going to expect everything to be touchscreen...

Neil

Gary Ponzo said...

The sad part is there are so many writers stuck in an old business model waiting to make it in the traditional method. We all have friends like that and I bite my tongue as I listen to them explain the flat-earth theory one more time.

Jacqueline Howett said...

I love hearing these kind of stories to boost my day. Keep them coming. its interesting really, if you study it. Some have no blog followers and yet get sales. Sometimes it might be just a title that grabs you, or a book cover, then a little more curiosity and I'm actually reading and relating to a book I thought I would never read.

Jacqueline Howett Author of The Greek Seaman, a seafaring novel.
http://jacquelinehowett.blogspot.com

Tim Frost said...

Insightful and inspiring! This all feels a bit like a gold rush - with independents like Terri and Joe staking their claims, while the mining companies pack up their wagons and leave town.

Tim

Joseph D'Agnese said...

Thanks, Terri. You must be a good writer. I can feel the enthusiasm in this post.

I think good writers have always known that they need to be persistent. This market is simply changing the manner in which you have to be persistent. It's more more uplifting to be contracting book covers, formatting your ebooks, managing your marketing than sending out queries and partials.

I had to laugh at Terri's use of the word bubble.

I worry that we're trading one faceless corp (Big 6) for others (B&N, Amzn, etc.) If, at some point, they imagine that they are leaving money on the table, all they have to do is change the percentages and we're back to making the writer's traditional living wage: next to nothing. This is what I meant a few days ago when I brought up the bubble analogy.

That won't happen, though, will it, heh heh?

--Joe

Merrill Heath said...

Michael said: However, I put a couple of books of mine on Amazon about a week ago and have yet to see a single sale. Hard to build from zero.

That's one way to look at it. OTOH...there's nowhere to go (from zero) but up.

Merrill
Alec Stover Mysteries

Kendall Swan said...

Great post, as usual. Congratulations, Terri.

It is very inspiring to hear about a new writer doing well as I'm a relatively newbie myself. Practice, practice, practice. "Write More."

@JAK- re last post- HOLY MOLY!!!

@wannabuy I agree- touchscreen is where it's at. I've been using an iphone since '07 and find myself getting frustrated when I have to use the miniature joystick on my beloved Kindle. And I have even thought about buying a color Nook (gasp).

I very much want an ipad but between the iphone/kindle/netbook, it feels a little redundant.

Hopefully, Amazon will catch up in this arena, since hardware will probably still matter for another couple of years.

Happy Writing, y'all.

Kendall

Lucy Kevin said...

Terri - This is a lovely post. I'm so happy for you! I don't read horror (too much of a scaredy-cat, I'm afraid) but my husband does. I will hand my kindle over to him with one of your books on it!

I'm thrilled to be experiencing similar success with the two books I've released in January. Seattle Girl is currently ranked #143 in the BN.com store and Falling Fast is #303 at BN.com! If 3 really is the magic number, I can't wait to see what happens when I put my 3rd up soon!
~ Lucy Kevin

wannabuy said...

Tim,

To me this feels like any other technological shift, in particular the need for C++ programmers prior to the 'dot com' boom/bust.

My friends who went to 'dot bombs' and did software/chip design and programming still make more money than I do... None saw a day of unemployment.

I'm a fundamentals based investor. For electronics I look for chip development & production. With TI, Freescale, Marvell, and MIPS all trying to gain ereader market share, it points to a healthy and growing market. We'll know ereaders are mainstream when Via and other '2nd tier' chip makers get into the business. ;)

This isn't a Gold rush, it is a new industry. Some authors won't break out. Obviously Terri did. Unknown to a full time income. Excellent. :)

Neil

JL_Bryan said...

Thanks for a great guest post, Terri! I never get tired of stories like this :)

Joe- Looks like I'm on the bestselling horror list with you! (well, at #77)

STH said...

@ Niel and Kendall,

We have an Ipad and a Kindle here. The kindle is great for what it does, but it can't really touch the Ipad. That thing is just awesome. Every ebook delivery system has an app, they all look great. And if kids books with pictures are going to go "E" it will be through tablet devices for sure.

BTW - I looked at the Nook color, it's basically an Ipad without all the functionality. The best thing about the Kindle and the regular Nook is e-ink. Easy on the eyes and very light weight. Nook Color is a backlit screen. Get an Ipad instead.

One other big difference - you can't read an ipad by the pool on a sunny day. But you can read it in a pitch dark room while your wife is trying to sleep by switching to a black screen with light gray words. Love that feature.

JL_Bryan said...

STH-

Does the iPad have an option where you can get a "pen" and write on it like a tablet? I've been trying to figure this out.

STH said...

I meant "Neil.' Sorry.

STH said...

JL, Yes. Actually, the ipad has an option to do just about anything you can think of. It's very close to being a Tri-corder from Star Trek.

Michael Allen said...

For my money, perhaps the most important part of Joe's intro is the bit where he says that "though the agency model is costing publishers money, those who self-publish using the agency model are doing very well. That's because authors are using it to find the sweet spot to maximize profits, whereas publishers are apparently using it to hasten themselves out of business."

A case in point is Martin Cruz Smith's THREE STATIONS. In the UK, priced at £9.59, in the US at $14.79. I wrote a comment on the UK Kindle page pointing out that no sensible person would buy an ebook at £9.59, but £4 might be OK. But Amazon didn't allow it online! In the meantime, most of the seven reviews that have appeared subsequently say that the book is a big disappointment, so I'm certainly glad I didn't spend nearly ten pounds on it.

Kendall Swan said...

@ STH

I've always wanted a tri-corder!

I will think on it. Maybe I'll get one as a reward to myself when I get my sales to 2k a month. I work well with incentives.

Ok, back to writing about sex and vampires.

wannabuy said...

@STH:"We have an Ipad and a Kindle here. The kindle is great for what it does, but it can't really touch the Ipad."

I agree. For kids books, I've given up on the Kindle. But as you noted, for eye strain, eink is the only way to go. I wouldn't read multiple books a week on the Ipad, but for those that read 3 to 6 books a year, it is all they need.

Watch a toddler on a touch screen tablet and it becomes obvious that touchscreens will take over kids books; I estimate kids ebooks are back in 2009 (just forming a market).

My two year old already mocks my laptop and Kindle for not having touchscreen... The IPad was a Christmas gift too; how fast children adapt.

Neil

Terri Reid said...

Thank you, Joe, for your comments and insight. I really appreciate this forum and all the information and support you offer.
Thanks, also, to all of you who have responded. I am overwhelmed by your comments.
@Michael - get out on the forums and blogs and market your book. Make sure your descriptions are interesting. Facebook is a wonderful tool - be sure you let people know about your books. Once they start moving into a higher position, sales become easier.
@wannabuy - personally, I am going to write at least 3-4 books a year to keep this going. I don't know if there's a magic number - but that's what I'm going to try.
@Joseph - I think Amazon, et al..realize they have a goldmine with indie authors too. All they do is provide us space and we do the rest and they rake in some pretty good money. An excellent example is Victorine Lieske - she has a book that she's selling for .99 cents - and I think she sold 7000 copies last month. She gets 35% - Amazon gets the rest. Why would they think of giving something like that up?
@Lucy - my books aren't too scary - you might like them. :)
Again - thanks to all for their comments!!!

Terri

V. Furnas said...

I love reading your post. They give me urgency and encouragement to keep going. Thank you!

STH said...

Kendall Swan said...

"I've always wanted a tri-corder!

I will think on it. Maybe I'll get one as a reward to myself when I get my sales to 2k a month. I work well with incentives."

When I sell 2k in a month I'm going to buy a solid gold desk lamp for my home office.

"Ok, back to writing about sex and vampires."

Me too, only without the vampires. Good luck:)

Merrill Heath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merrill Heath said...

Don't want to hijack the thread, but I've seen references to uploading to Amazon and B&N. Smashwords can do this for you. Is there an advantage in doing it yourself, individually?

Congrats on your success, Terri. I read your book descriptions on Amazon, as well as some of the reviews. They sound interesting. But I'm curious - how long are your books? Can you provide a word count or number of pages?

Thanks.
Merrill
Alec Stover Mysteries

Jamie D. said...

One of the best (and worst) things about these guests posts is my already too-big TBR pile...yet another author to add. I'm never going to run out of reading material, that's for sure.

Congratulations on your success, Terri! Very inspiring!! :-)

Selena Kitt said...

I remember that exact moment, looking over at my own husband with goosebumps on my arms and tears in my eyes after doing some of my own maths-stuff, realizing that I was making... HOW much a month? And this was going to last until... ???

Well, we'll just see next month, I told myself. It will probably disappear. Poof. And then next month came and the sales were more. And then next month... and then...

Joe may just be right. Unfortunately, I have a very wary cynical side that is always warning me the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

But that's just me. :)

Terri, I'm so glad for your success - and I can't tell you how excited I am to find ANOTHER horror writer to add to my growing list! W00T! Joe just keeps adding to my TBR pile ... keep 'em comin!

On the Kindle vs. iPad debate - I own both too and I still read almost exclusively on my Kindle. I've got my iPad in an Otter Defender case and it makes it WAY too heavy to be a reader for me - plus after writing and staring at a backlit screen all day, my eyes thank me for my Kindle.

But I agree that the iPad is freakin' cool. I love all the apps, reading kids books on it rocks, and there are even kids books that will read TO you. You can also change the screen color, so my dyslexic daughter can focus better on the words when she's reading chapter books.

I've tried reading on my iPod Touch - and I can do it, but not for long. I sat at my son's wrestling meet and finally read Serial. That was relatively short, though. I don't know if I could it for hours on end - too tiny! Esp after you're used to an iPad or Kindle.

Megg Jensen said...

Another fantastic post! I'm debuting my book, Anathema, hopefully next month. I, too, believe in the snowball effect. The sequel to Anathema is already written, waiting for editing and I have five more books close to being ready.

2011 is going to be a great year for indies...I can just feel it! :-)

wannabuy said...

@Terri:"personally, I am going to write at least 3-4 books a year to keep this going. I don't know if there's a magic number - but that's what I'm going to try."

Wow. That is enough to keep 'the machine fed.'

@Selena:" iPad in an Otter Defender case and it makes it WAY too heavy to be a reader for me"
Agreed. The IPad is too heavy for how much I read. But I still think it is 'enough' for casual readers.

7" tablets (e.g., Android) will be even better (for readers). Exciting times ahead.

There will be bumps, but for now the authors should be investing the time in writing.

Neil

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I just got a sample of your Devil's Deep book. If I like it, I will be glad to buy it and write a review.

One is better than zero.

Michael said...

Thanks, Anon. I appreciate that. I'm just not sure how to get started, to get those first few sales, etc.

Joe Konrath said...

I'm just not sure how to get started, to get those first few sales, etc.

Do you read my blog? The last few weeks have been guest posters sharing their experience on how to sell books. Plus I've got 5 years of posts talking about selling books.

I also said you needed a good cover and a good product description.

Terri Reid said...

@Lucy - sorry,I forgot to add - congrats on your books!!!
@Merrill - my books are about 55,000 words long. I like putting my books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble myself because I can get daily updates on sales and they pay much faster than Smashwords.
@Selena - I know JUST how you feel. :) I am still amazed - every day!
@wannabuy - well, I sure hope that's enough. :p

Christopher Bunn said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing, Terri. Very inspirational.

Eliza Gayle said...

Terri, Congrats on your wonderful success. I love paranormal books so I'll have to try one of yours.

It seems a lot of us are looking at our numbers and waiting for the other shoe to drop. lol

Garry M. Graves said...

JAK, these self-pub success stories are always fun to read besides being informative and instructional of the process. But this T Reid story is extraordinary. For her sales figures to realize those kinds of numbers, in four months, astounds me. Particularly considering her cover, lack of blog/website, etcetera...what gives? Is there something she’s not telling us?

However...I will admit from my own experience...having multiple titles up on your Amazon bio page helped me. Recently uploaded a biography, not my normal genre (personal development), nevertheless, received a nice sales bump in a very short time.

All of us are learning how to do this, from you, JAK. Thanks Again.

Garry M. Graves
Character Happens! (you have my blogsite listed in your right column).

Nancy Beck said...

@Michael

Looks like you need reviews.

This site

http://www.simon-royle.com/indie-reviewers/

has a listing of reviewers who are willing to look at self-pubbed books. Might be worth a try.

Good luck!

Nancy

Nancy Beck said...

BTW, my comment was for Michael Wallace.

Kendall Swan said...

Amazon UK just paid me (for blog and ebooks). Woohoo! Hopefully AmazonUS will pay today, as well.

Is it possible to send a whole company happy, positive, grateful thoughts? Or should I just send them to Jeff Bezos?

I'm just so happy for the opportunity, the chance to get a piece of a gigantic, growing pie! And that there's enough for everyone who takes action to get a piece, too. (At least for now.)

I'm not quite crying but I do need a moment.

Happy journeys everyone.
Kendall

Mike Dennis said...

Congratulations, Terri. Excellent post. I like your covers, too.

Keep on writin'.

Selena Kitt said...

Is there something she’s not telling us?

Not to discount Terry's writing talent - because you can try the below trick and have a crappy book and it won't work, once readers start 1-star reviewing your book (and sometimes it's really difficult to say why some sales take off and some don't) but my personal guess to such quick sales for these books would be the word "paranormal" in her titles. Along with "mystery." Being able to put your genre in your title seems to help the search engines find you, which in turn will get you more exposure.

More exposure = more sales = higher rankings = more exposure...

etc... :)

Terri Reid said...

@Christopher - thanks!
@Eliza - don't you hate waiting for that other shoe? :) Thanks!
@Garry - okay - I'll tell you. I pray - LOTS!!!
@Kendall - don't you love those little "you've got money" notices. :)
@Mike - Thanks!!! Although Joe gave me some things to think about!
@Selena - you know - I think that's brilliant and I really wish I had thought of that. :) But, I agree with you- positioning is the key and it seems - just like a river with currents flowing through it - once you move to one of the current you move along very swiftly.

Thanks again everyone!!!

Terri

Lundeen Literary said...

@STH and Kendall -

Am I the only one who remembers the PADD from Star Trek:TNG?!?!? PADD stood for Personal Access Display Device, and looked just like an iPad or a backlit color Kindle. There's even an iPad app called Captain's Log which turns your iPad into a PADD visually speaking.

Coolest. Stuff. Ever.

@Michael - a few tips, aside from what Joe said...

-put your name & book title here when you post about it - some blog readers will seek our your book. (also, we can go look and offer an opinion on covers, tell you how to help your tagging, etc.)
-Post. On. Kindleboards. Make friends there, there's plenty of cool people. Put your book in your signature. Join an author tag exchange while you're at it. Buy and review some other books. Set up a page for your book.
-Send free ecopies to anyone who agrees to write a review. Do that until you reach a certain number of legit, content-laden reviews (i.e., not 1-line reviews which say "it was good. I liked it." The number that you reach will be your own goal that you determine. Post about this on Kindleboards, facebook, here, etc. as long as it's people you know or as long as you are also providing true answers to questions and adding to the discussion.
-Get on Goodreads. Pull your own book onto Goodreads. Chat in the goodreads forum. Do the above stuff and rinse/repeat.
-Do a Goodreads-only giveaway. Do a Kindleboards-only giveaway.
-Set up your Kindle author page, and add your photos, videos, blogs, and other RSS feeds.
-Have you tweeted about your book? Why not!?!
-Post on the Kindle forums on Amazon
-Post on the forums for your genre on Amazon.
-Post in the author forums on Amazon.

Just these things alone will start to drive your sales up.

Jenna
@LundeenLiterary
www.lundeenliterary.com

JL_Bryan said...

STH and Selena - Thanks for the info on the iPad! I like writing by hand, but doing it on notebook paper is kinda silly these days.

Kendall - I know what you mean about loving the whole company!

STH said...

@JL - I wasn't saying it's a substitute for a legal pad. You CAN write on it, but it's not practical for writing a lot. More like jotting notes.

@Jenna - Great post. And...

"There's even an iPad app called Captain's Log which turns your iPad into a PADD visually speaking."

Whoa. Checking into that.

Jamie Sedgwick said...

Another great story. It seems a lot of people posting here are part of this pioneering movement, and that's exciting. Maybe someday history will look back and recognize some of these names they way we recognize names like Gates and Rockefeller today.

Getting exposure helps of course, and more sales lead to more exposure. Personally I haven't found giving copies to reviewers helps much. You still either have to hound them or accept that only 10% of your books will turn into reviews. That's better than Amazon statistics, but freebies aren't always the best answer IMHO.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Jenna,

Thanks for that to-do list. Although it wasn't addressed to me since I have a novel that should be up in about two weeks, I copied it in my to-do list.

And Joe, thanks as always for a great blog. Thanks to Terri as well. :)

Michael said...

Thank you for all the great advice and to the anonymous person who helped me make my first sale. If anyone else wants to take a look at a free sample or buy the book I'd love to have any feedback about how to do this better.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004K1F0E6

Steve said...

I enjoyed the post. There is no where to look but up. I like that. My second thriller is up at Kindle. Download samples you may enjoy them.

Prophecy of the Medallion

Death Mask

scott neumyer said...

@Michael - everything Joe and the others said... Also, delete those reviews you wrote yourself for your own books. that will definitely turn readers off.

Marie Simas said...

Particularly considering her cover, lack of blog/website, etcetera...what gives? Is there something she’s not telling us?

Her books are good. That's the secret. And when your books are good, everything in the universe conspires to make it happen.

Look on Goodreads, on the Kindleboards-- it's all readers, gushing about the authors they love. You only need a few good reviews and a couple of good books to get the ball rolling.

But the opposite will happen if the books suck-- bad reviews will sink the book and the author. That's why you never have to worry about a "slush-pile" of shit on Amazon. The readers who download shit will want to tell everyone, and the readers who download gold will scream it on the mountaintops.

Jason W. Chan said...

Terri's story is very inspiring. I started as an indie author last April, but I realized that I was uploading novels that were not ready to be published. So, I took those off and began uploading the ones that were edited and ready to go. I haven't had anything near the level of Terri's success of Terri, but I think it's due to my lack of promotion. So, knowing that, I've recently began to seek out reviewers and stuff like that. I have also published my next novel, Meet Me at Taylor Park, a novel like The Notebook. I will be promoting that one like crazy. Fingers crossed.

Debra Lee said...

Congratulations, Terri! I finally made a decision to pull my books from my small press publisher and am in the process of uploading them on my own. Publisher had prices too high. I did upload and original book, TAKEN back in late August that didn't sell too well. In the past week the numbers went up significantly, which I attribute to changing my cover and lowering the price. I've been paying attention to what Joe says. Can't leave out the fact I did some promoting on the kindle boards as well. Debra

Michael said...

Got it. Thank you all for the advice. I'm going to keep working on this. My writing skills are definitely ahead of my marketing skills, which are essentially non-existent. :)

This is why writers fall into the lazy trap of continuing to follow the traditional publishing model.

Free books for Kindle said...

Great post, Terri. I love, and agree, with Joe's bubble comment. This wagon is just getting started. Once the Kindle drops below $100 (and it probably will this year), ebooks will explode.

bowerbird said...

terri said:
> However, some of
> the stories had to be told,
> so, I continued to write.
> ...
> Suddenly, the thought of
> writing for a living
> made sense, because, really,
> what did I have to lose?

this is the story i like to hear...

the writer who writes because
the stories demand to be told...

the self-publisher who decides
"i guess i have nothing to lose by
offering my books to people"...

and the audience who responds
by reading, and telling friends...

this is the way worlds change...

pay attention...

pay close attention...

this is the way we all change...

-bowerbird

Tara Maya said...

Jenna
@LundeenLiterary
www.lundeenliterary.com

Thanks for those marketing tips. Folks can also post excerpts (500 words or less) to my blog, 500 Words.

http://taramayastales2.blogspot.com/

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

Tara Maya said...

And Terri...what a wonderful story!

I'm so glad you shared it with us.


Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

STH said...

Hey Tara, I sent you 500 words just this morning. :)

bowerbird said...

marie said:
> Her books are good.
> That's the secret.

amen.


> You only need
> a few good reviews
> and a couple of good books
> to get the ball rolling.

that's right.

the "you _must_ market" crowd
is selling you a load of hogwash.

and that hogwash won't scale.
as more and more new writers
join this revolution, the _din_
from all of them _marketing_
will only turn off customers...

you are not in charge here.

the _readers_ are in charge.

_they_ are the ones who will
determine the books that they
will reward with word-of-mouth.

_they_ write the reviews.

it is _their_ actions which steer
the recommendation engines.

do you think writers were the
only ones to be constrained
by the corporate gatekeepers?

the _readers_ were the victims.

and now _they_ are in charge...

i'm not saying you need to
kowtow to their every wish.

indeed, the beauty of all this is
that you can spit in their face
and your art can still _exist_...

but do not get the impression
that you can tell the audience
what they should buy. you can't.

-bowerbird

Terri Reid said...

I can't keep up with all the responses. :)
Thank you to all for your nice and supportive responses!
To those of you taking the plunge - go you!!!! I know you are going to be amazed at your success.
To those of you who look out at the future and see so many possibilities - I agree and all I can see is this industry growing and the need for good stories to increase every day.

Michael said...

Does anyone have a good recommendation for a graphic artist to design covers? I sent an email to JA's artist about a week ago, but haven't heard anything. I'm guessing he's snowed under from all the referrals from this site.

Terri Reid said...

Michael - you can go over to Kindleboards and do a search. There are quite a few threads (just saw one on the front page of the Writer's Cafe) about cover artists.

A.P. Fuchs said...

In terms of "secrets," I'm going to be conducting an experiment toward the end of February.

Bottom line: my own experimenting for a year and research has determined that genre is a key factor for sales, if not the key.

I have good covers and good descriptions; I've tried ultra cheap books, from $2.99 to $9.99, even .99 cents; sales volumes barely fluctuated; my dollars-earned dropped because of the low price point.

The last remaining question is the genre issue.

So far, my love story www.canisterx.com in February.

Top genres based on observation (in no particular order):

1) Thrillers and mysteries
2) Paranormal romances
3) Romantica/Erotica
4) Romance/love stories
5) Authors whose books sell simply because of name branding/recognition (ie. Patterson, King, Koontz, etc.)

Hey, I could be totally wrong about this but process of elimination says otherwise.

Let's see what happens.

A.P. Fuchs said...

My previous posted somehow got messed up on the fifth paragraph.

What it read was my love story, April (written under the name Peter Fox), is selling really well. Why? This one I know isn't cover-related as the cover's kind of meh. Plan on fixing that. It's moving because it's a love story and love stories are popular.

To correct my above post, I said to check out my site in February as I get this experiment underway. Process of elimination says I'm onto something.

noothergods said...

Heh, looks like newbies can make money self-publishing.

Basil Sands said...

Michael, Jerry Scullion at http://sculliondesign.com/ did two of my book covers as well as some for Scott Sigler and Seth Harwood. I like his work and plan to use him for my next book as well.

Jorgh said...

Congrats on your success Terri! This was a really awesome read. I love these stories, they always motivate me to get off my ass and get back to work on my books.

Keep 'em coming~

Adeptus Fanaticus said...

Wow. My suspicions are being confirmed!

The numbers kind of pan out because I remember (and I am not THAT old) when books WERE between $2-$5. Which is right in line with what a kid of 14 can get a hold of fairly easily.

For me it was turning in pop cans over the course of the week and then going to the bookstore. Well, Mr. Kornath you sealed it for me. While I am an aspiring author you have made me a believer in going straight self-pub.

Wow. Keep it up.

L.C. Evans said...

Terri, great post. You are an inspiration. I'm still finding my way in indie publishing and finding more success every month. I love being a part of this.

Lundeen Literary said...

@STH - I know, right?!?! So cool!

@Jeanne - No problem! You'd be surprised how much just those few things can help. :) And my comments are addressed to you, if you find them helpful! :D

@Tara - Thanks! I'll remember to contact you about my excerpts as they come available. :)

@Michael -

You asked about covers - I do covers. You can reach me at lundeenliterary@gmail.com , but we'll get back to that in a second.

Ok, Some things I say may sting, but please don't take them personally. I'm looking strictly at the information provided.

-You have the choice to select up to 15 tags. Only 2 have been entered. Select 15 words or short combo phrases currently in use as Amazon tags - choose them carefully. You have 'adventure' and 'diving'. Really? That's it? Costa Rica, Thriller, Mystery, missing person, etc. Look at other similar titles and see what they're using as tags. Add up to 15 that work well with what you're doing, then join the author tag exchange on Kindleboards.
-You need to work on the blurb/product description. It's close, but not quite there. You need more malice, more of the feel of the book in it. Consistent verb tenses and tense agreement across paragraphs would be good. ;)
-Oh, god, the cover...

Tell you what. Email me the photo you used as a cover in as high a resolution as you can. Let me poke at it as an example, no charge. I'll make a few choices, and you can ask some lovely folks here for an opinion on the choices, if you like. If you want to use one, we can talk about it then, but that cover is not helping you at all. It's not horrific, by any means, but it is not helping you.

Jenna
@LundeenLiterary

STH said...

Since we're talking about genres and generating sales, I'd love to get opinions on something I've been struggling with.

My book straddles a few genres. In a nutshell it uses a pretty innovative take on reincarnation to create 2 interwoven stories from 2 time periods, in which many of the characters in one are actually reincarnations of characters in the other. But over the course the many lifetimes they've all lead in between the 2 narratives, people change. Heroes may become villains, lovers may be enemies. Who is who is part of the puzzle for the reader.

I've been having an issue about how to classify it. First and foremost it is a paranormal thriller. However, it is also very romantic.
But I'm afraid to use that word because the last thing I want to do is mislead people and have someone buy it expecting a bodice-ripper. You know?

Nevertheless, it can get reactions like this (excerpted from a reader review on Amazon) "The prologue of this book is one of the most compelling and romantic scenes I've read - I was totally moved by it."

So how do I convey that without having to follow it up with disclaimers "but it's not really a romance...etc"?

If I said "Romantic Paranormal Thriller" would that do more harm than good?

Thanks for your thoughts, Steve

the link is below if you want to look. I tagged it with words like Romance, but didn't play that up much in the copy.

­ King's X

Michael said...

Thanks, Jenna. I'll be sending you an email.

Barbra Annino said...

This is directly from an Amazon Board:

Janice399 says:
I'm buying 5 to 10 books a week just not from authors represented by publishers. They are whole books over 300 pages for 99cents to $2.99. Some are free. I don't look to popular authors anymore because the prices publishers price thier books at is not competive.

Right from the horse's mouth.

Terri, CONGRATS!!! - I'm in Galena. Are you in Freeport?

Barb

Barbra Annino said...

Someone here said 3 books is the other magic number and I have to agree. That seems to be another commonality that's worth mentioning.

Barb

Anonymous said...

From Amazon's quarterly report:

The company continued to hold its cards close to the vest on Kindle sales. But Amazon did say that Kindle books have overtaken paperback books as the site's most popular format.

It's an exciting time to be a writer...

Terri Reid said...

@ AP - good luck with your experiment!

@ noothergods - yes! we can. :)

@ Jorgh - get to work! :)

@ LC - thanks...again! :)

@ Steve - I chose paranormal mystery because although my book has romance -no one is hopping into bed with someone else. And most readers (okay, gross generalization time) of paranormal romances want that kind of interaction. I didn't want to disappoint my readers - so, I choose the other genre. What's happened is that paranormal romance readers have found my books and like them - but they don't feel fooled.

@Barbra - I'm in rural Freeport - off Hwy 20 - we are nearly neighbors!!! P.S. I love that quote!!!

STH said...

Thanks Terri. And BTW, I'd like to chime in to say that I like the cover of "Loose Ends." I think it conveys a sense of spookiness and mystery, and more importantly it stands out on a page with ten other books on it because it looks a little different. There's a lot of sameness on those list-pages in the kindle store. Sometimes subtle can shout.

Laura said...

To everyone who posted marketing tips--thank you! The list of blogs reviewing indie novels was exactly what I was looking for. I've been writing down notes and bookmarking links, and I plan to try the techniques that are working well for others.

Laura
flydaynovel.com

Michael said...

FWIW,

I like the cover, too. It looks professional, but it's different enough to stand out, with a very eerie feel to it.

Anonymous said...

In other news, GE Capital is giving Borders a $550 million credit line to keep them afloat.

You can find this in the zombie section. The title is "Breathing Life into the Dead."

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/borders-shares-surge-on-ge-capital-financing-2011-01-27?dist=afterbell

Chuck said...

Thanks, Joe, for introducing me to Terri's story. Succes on Kindle, Nook, etc, can be found by someone who doesn't love to blog all day !

Terri Reid said...

@ Steve and Michael - thank you so much. I might add a splash of color - but I like the black and white too.

@ Chuck - LOL What I didn't mention in my story (because it didn't seem necessary) is during all this, I signed a contract to write a non-fiction book (83,000 words) that was due by the end of the year (2010). So - I just haven't had time to blog!

Kendall Swan said...

@STH
Just bought your book (and Terri's) bc your genre hopping description sounded so cool.

Re: romance label- bodice ripping is kinda eighties. The genre is so huge (and growing) with a gazillion sub-gs that I'm sure your book would do fine under it's umbrella.
Just my 2 c.
Kendall

Tara Maya said...

Obviously marketing isn't everything.

Terri has sold more than Snooki. Though apparently, that was a lot easier than you'd think....

Tara Maya
500 Words

Nancy Beck said...

@Michael

For cover artists, go over to the Absolute Write forums.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums

Go to the Self Publishing section. You should find a few threads on cover artists. In fact, one thread has a listing of different artists that that particular self pubber used for her books - & heard about others from other writers.

Nancy

Nancy Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Beck said...

Whoops, forgot to add two more things.

This might be the exact thread with that good list of cover artists:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=196830&referrerid=2977

I'm not sure, because I've subscribed to a couple of different threads on AW, and that site is propogating as I write this so I can't check to be sure.

Also, I've heard a lot about the Deviant Art website:

http://www.deviantart.com/

There are some artists on the site who are willing to do covers, altho I can't tell you which those are and what their terms might be.

Nancy

Cathy Keaton said...

Congrats, Terri! Thank you for sharing your story. We all learn how to do this new thing called e-book publishing the successful way when people making it happen share with others. I'm grateful to those who get the word out!

Anonymous said...

Yo. I am still trying to figure out why with the endless debate about pricing, there is apparently NO interest in the Bookbaby deal out there. Am I missing something? Anyone see any reason not to collect 100% royalties? What's the (apparent) catch here?

Jim Johnson said...

@ Anon. From what I can tell, Bookbaby charges a $99 sign-up fee and a $19 annual fee. Plus fees for other services. Sounds like a terrible deal.

Selena Kitt said...

@ Anon. From what I can tell, Bookbaby charges a $99 sign-up fee and a $19 annual fee. Plus fees for other services. Sounds like a terrible deal.

It's not a bad deal if you're a technophobe author who would rather still be using a typewriter :) For those folks, it could be a boon. But yeah, if you CAN do it yourself and save the expense... why wouldn't you?

STH said...

Thanks Kendall!

BTW, I just figured out a way to work the word into my product description, but unfortunately, I already made a change today, so it will be several days before I can change it again, and several days after that before anyone sees it.

shana said...

Terri you're an inspiration for every newbie like me.

And I can't wait to read your books!


Shana Hammaker

CHARLIE, Book One of
Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

Debbi said...

Way to go, Terri! Just goes to show that talent will out.

Whatever you're doing, just keep it up. :)

Lundeen Literary said...

@ Anon. From what I can tell, Bookbaby charges a $99 sign-up fee and a $19 annual fee. Plus fees for other services. Sounds like a terrible deal.

@Selena Kitt replied: It's not a bad deal if you're a technophobe author who would rather still be using a typewriter :) For those folks, it could be a boon. But yeah, if you CAN do it yourself and save the expense... why wouldn't you?


When one looks at the fine print, it is "100% of royalties after our retail partners take their cut." Meaning, 100% of the 70% that Amazon pays them. You're still getting the same money. Amazon and Apple didn't just decide to stop taking a percentage. :)

Jim Johnson said...

This is from their FAQs:

"What are your fees?
For a limited time, our signup fee is $149 $99 per eBook, which includes a FREE basic conversion to ePUB format* and delivery to all retail partner stores. After the first year, we have an annual fee of $19 (due on year two)."

So it's $99+$19 PER BOOK. Not worth it.

Plus, they charge $19 for an ISBN, which you don't need if you go Kindle only. $19 is a pretty good price since isbn.org sells them singly for $125, but I imagine bookbaby.com bought a block of ISBNs, which can dramatically lower the cost. Which means they could be paying $1 for an ISBN but charging $19.

Selena Kitt said...

Plus, they charge $19 for an ISBN, which you don't need if you go Kindle only.

a) I wouldn't recommend going Kindle only.

b) And Smashwords will give you a SW ISBN for free or your own for $9.99. And distributes to all the sites BB does. They don't have the same help with formatting that BB sounds like they do - but they DO have some pretty good instructions on how to do it yourself.

But like I said, if you're a technophobe, you might look at it and think, "Hey, they'll do all the work for me and I still get all my royalties."

I just depends on your priorities and skillz. ;)

Jim Johnson said...

I dunno, Selena. I suspect even a lazy technophobe can find someone to help them format an ebook for way less than $99 plus another $19 every year.

Though that would also beg the question as to why a technophobe would be looking at getting into ebooks in the first place. :)

Annie Bellet said...

That's awesome, Terri. It's also nice to see Horror making a come-back as a genre in general (thank you Zombies?). I loved it as a kid and then the bulk of it stopped getting published in the 90s (it was sort of declared dead after the 80s I guess or something).

Now, hopefully sci/fi will make a similar comeback, since it is my favorite thing to write :)

Best of luck with your 3rd book. Hopefully the trend (and sales) keep up for you!


Annie B
The Spacer's Blade & Other Stories

Dana Michelle Burnett said...

It is always inspiring to hear about the success of another indie author! I started down the Kindle road in November and while I haven't come close to the success you have had, it is much more than these stories made sitting in a drawer.

I think success has many factors, but first and foremost is a story that people want to read and you seem to have mastered that! Wishing you all of the best in the future!

Sibel Hodge said...

Thanks for sharing, Terri. It's a sad fact that many traditional publishers haven't wanted to take a chance on true talent because of the unknown sales factor. Now there is somewhere for talented authors to go following years of rejection.

And today it's been released that Kindle books overtake paperbacks on Amazon!

http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/27/technolo...n&hpt=Sbin

Terri Reid said...

Well, know that I've sold more than Snooki, I can pretty much wait for the movie offers to come in. ;p

Thanks to all who have commented. I just reread Joe's points - all very valid and insightful. But, especially for newbies, I want to add this:

Expect great things to happen.

Believe that your book is going to do tremendously well.

Have faith in your ability.

I wasn't joking when I said I pray a lot - I really do. I believe in Heavenly guidance. But, then, I also believe in hard work. "Faith without works is dead."

I also believe in the power of positive thinking. My kids tease me because I always believe that there will be a parking spot waiting for me at the front of the store. And, 95% of the time, there is. They get a little indignant when we go to WalMart and, if I'm driving, there is always a space one or two places from the front of the store waiting for me - or someone is just pulling out as we pull in. I really believe it's because I expect it to be there.

Try it out - expect great things to happen. Visualize yourself finishing your book, moving up the ranks at Amazon, or whatever you want to do.

I'm anxious to hear how things work out for you!

Terri

Kendall Swan said...

@Terri
"rockstar" parking. My hubby and I totally practice that, too. The power on intention!

We got the parking idea from the book "secrets of millionaire mind" by T. Harv ecker. (?)

Ok, now "Rock Star" Author!

Congrats again.
Kendall

Michael said...

Terri,

I like your idea of positive thinking. One thing I try to do is focus on the things I know that I can affect. It's hard to change other people's behavior, but I can make sure that I write to the best of my abilities at all times and that I never send out a story that is not polished and professional. Hopefully, when I take care of that, the success will follow.

Selena Kitt said...

Though that would also beg the question as to why a technophobe would be looking at getting into ebooks in the first place. :)

Because they wrote a million mass market paperbacks in the 70's and now own the rights and would like to reap the benefits but can't unless someone puts their books up on Kindle et al? ;)

No reason why everyone can't jump on this wagon.

But I agree with you - the price @ BB doesn't seem very reasonable to me but I can see why someone like the above might do it anyway. Just like people used to pay to self-publish their books. ;)

I also think that it's going to be a growing market of services. People are already freelancing in it (along with cover art and editing services etc). I'm sure a company will come along with a more reasonable price and the free market will win out.

Terri Reid said...

@ Kendall - I love that "Rock Star" parking and writing. Yes - that's us - we're rockstars!!! Thanks!!!

@ Michael - not "hopefully" but "for sure!!!!" it will follow. You are going to be a star - Joe is going to be begging you to Guest Post - you might as well start writing it now. You will be as successful as you believe. I say - reach high!!! :)

Anonymous said...

AAwwwww....jeeezzz...when it looks too good to be true... "Per Book"?
Thank you, everyone. Meanwhile, I was jumping up and down in my study when I read that ebooks are already outselling paperbacks. Win one, lose one.
Will it matter when Coban and Patterson and Steele are all selling their work for the same .99-2.99? They can certainly afford to do that because of their high volume captive audience sales. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

@ optimal price point for eBooks

Jason Davis misquoted Dave Slusher. This often happens when someone who doesn't know 'maths' quotes someone who does.

Dave Slusher knows the limits of his data; he used sales figures J A Konrath published in a post dated 24 February 2010.

Dave Slusher wrote "I’m not advocated (sic) for $2.99 as the perfect One True Price for all ebooks forever. That was true for this data set, which is already a year old. This might well change over time, differ from author to author, genre to genre or publisher to publisher. What I do want injected into the thinking is that these numbers are calculable and measurable."

The purpose of Mr Slusher's analysis was to test an assumption he believes underlies the behavior of the publishing houses: Demand for books is inelastic. That is, readers will buy any given book in the same quantity no matter the price. His quick-and-dirty analysis showed that assumption does not obtain for J A Konrath's books.

It takes a leap of faith to extrapolate from that to the notion that the assumption does not obtain for other writers, but it's a small leap. To state it says that $2.99-$3.99 is the optimal price for ALL eBooks is just flat out wrong.

I, too, think that demand is elastic. What is the optimal price point? I do not know. I think it unlikely that we will ever know precisely. But I believe that $9.99 is too high.

@ J A Konrath: Thank you for inspiring me to self-publish. My novel has been languishing with a major house for . . . lessee . . . 20 months now. I shall price the novel at $4.99 and throw in a bonus short story and an excerpt from my next novel.

Sincerely
antares

Karen McQuestion said...

I haven't been keeping up, so I just now read Terri's guest post. I'm tickled that I was able to play a small role in her decision to get her books out in e-book.

Terri, I had to laugh about the freaking out. My husband and I went through that. Your question--"Can it continue?" is one I ask myself all the time. I'm starting to see every good book-selling day as a gift and I don't worry about it anymore. It is what it is. And so far, what it is is excellent.

Terri Reid said...

@ Karen - I love that - every good book-selling day is a gift. :) Thank you for being so willing to give a newbie some good advice.

Terri

evilphilip said...

"However, I put a couple of books of mine on Amazon about a week ago and have yet to see a single sale. Hard to build from zero."

I'll assume you have heard the story about the tortise and the hare? It isn't a race.

Robin Sullivan said...

First off, well done Teri! Joe started off this post with some comments on "optimum price point". I just wanted to add a comment on that point.

First I think that every book is different, and there is no "across the board" optimum price. I've long been howling in the wind that $0.99 and $2.99 is a price point people are setting not based on fact, but because they THINK that is what the market will bare. I get reviews and emails time and time again thanking me for the "low price point" of his books which are $4.95 and $6.95 so there is a large segment of the buying public who does not balk at these prices.

In any case, I recently did a few pricing studies, and found that lowering to $0.99 was losing me about $9,000 a month. For those who like to see numbers crunched you can see the results of the test at my blog Write2Publish.

Anonymous said...

Re the Big Six, Kristen Nelson (agent) has an interesting post about how long book contracts are taking to negotiate in the current climate: The Great Contract Delay?

http://tinyurl.com/6fwq3ty

Beginning of the end?

Ecommerce Development said...

We all have friends like that and I bite my tongue as I listen to them explain the flat-earth theory one more time.

This market is simply changing the manner in which you have to be persistent. It's more more uplifting to be contracting book covers, formatting your ebooks, managing your marketing than sending out queries and partials.

Terri Reid said...

@ Robin - thank you!

@ anon - that's very interesting. You think they'd start to catch on. :)
@econ - well, there are risk takers and there are people who need to feel very safe. Perhaps this new frontier is more for the rick takers at first. Then, once we really prove this works, the other will follow.

Kid Rock Tickets said...

I love it! Can't wait for the conference too, it's going to be great. And I'm 100% with you on the boob sweat. It's just plain unnecessary!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Great post and discussion. I certainly learned a ton.

Has anyone seen this? I just saw it on Smashwords:

href:"http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/41941">Amanda Hocking

Did this person have everyone's permission to use their names? Is it ethical?

Maybe I'm over reacting, but it looks like this author just wanted to get in the search engines with Amanda and Joe's names. To ride their coat tails and make a buck.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong.

*shakes head in disgust*

Robin Sullivan said...

I'll give some first hand experience on the length of time for a contract. We agreed to the terms on 11/10/2010 for a six-figure 3-book deal from one of the big-six and we still don't have a contract on 2/13/2011.

The good news...lack of contract is not holding up other departments as the editors comments have come back, covers are coming next week. And if Michael gets his edits in by the 17th then ARC's will hit the reviewers in Mid March. Alot of work for nothing if the contracts have issues and we can't sign....

Robin | Write2Publish | Michael J. Sullivan's Writings

Lois D. Brown said...

So glad I found this blog. I'm so wanting to learn more about the Indie world. Congrats to Victoria.

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night owl in IL said...

Terri -
I enjoyed reading your guest post & Joe's comments as well.

What stuck me was that you had 7 children and you still somehow managed to find any time to write. Amazing in and of itself. lol

I'm very happy to hear of your success. Keep up the good work. (I'll have to check out your books, too.)

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}