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I’m old enough at this Indie Author game to remember when a free book pushed sales nearly through the roof. Perma-free, the big boys called it. That’s the free ebook in a series that sells the rest of the line. Golden days those were. Or so I’ve heard.

I didn’t manage to write quickly enough to capitalize on that particular marketing trick.

Or take another old saw (remember with ebooks, nothing is really all that old) that nothing sells the old book quite as well as a new book. In other words, the trick to selling well is to produce, produce, produce.

But the times, they are a changin’. Today, the even some of the best performing ebooks writers are noting that sales are becoming more of a challenge with each passing day. They claim it’s difficult to become noticed these days. And from what I’ve seen, I suspect they are correct.

Anyway, the mantra now is shifting from a strategy of getting your next book out there to advertising your current works under something I call pay to play. This means you buy advertising on popular ebook recommendation sites to push your work. Bookbub is praised widely. And other sites for book promotion are also mentioned in reverential tones. Once you pay. They include your book on their list, and sales result. Or so both writers and the site owners say.

I do not doubt them. Advertising is a widely respected, promotional game. But ebook margins make pricey ads a wee bit off-putting in some instances.

Then. there’s the other side of today’s complex market. Those reports say the book-selling market is fragmenting. They predict the entry of such awe-inducing names as Wal-mart and Costco into the future mix.

If those predictions are correct, this hungry, hairy, crazy market for ebooks is about to become hungrier and hairier and even crazier.

I believe it. I’ve seen changes occur in this business that I could never have imagined on my own.

I started off this journey three or four years ago, when I learned I could write a book and publish it as an ebook for free. When I learned that I sat back in my chair and said, “I’m going to do that.” (I’d always wanted to write and publish a novel, after all.)

And I did. And it was fun. And the book sold. But today’s books sell a little less well because so many people, I believe, are sitting back in their chairs and saying, “I’m going to do that.”

In sort, the ebook world is a crazy world. But I’m glad I’m in it. And I’m glad I’ve had what success I’ve had. After all, I didn’t even put a price tag on my first book for nearly two years. Why? Because, said I, who’s going to buy a self-published ebook by a no-name writer? But they did and it was good, and I had fun, and thank you all so much.

May the future, whatever direction it unfolds, be half as much fun as the past couple of years has been. And to those of you who’ve bought my books, thank you very much, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have.

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