The Market’s Shifting

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.

News, Views and Clues on the Global Ebook Scene – It’s Bigger Than You Think!

I don’t know how many of you consider the foreign book market, but this post should encourage you to have a look. It’s amazing that I can sit here in a very small Illinois town and have books selling in such a wide variety of locations. I hope you enjoy this article.

Mark Williams - The International Indie Author

Welcome to the Ebook Bargains UKofficial Blog.

We send out a semi-regular newsletter to our advertising authors and publishers with news, views and clues about what’s happening in the world beyond the US ebook market, and the feedback has been great. But until lnow there’s been no opportunity for readers to share their views and news with others. Hence this blog, which is aimed anot just at EBUK advertisers but at anyone interested in the international English-language ebook scene.

This blog launch post is a little (okay, a lot!) longer than the norm, but we think you’ll find it well worth reading through.  Please feel free to have your say, ask questions, point out any errors, etc, in the comments section below.


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Pleased with Smashwords’ Series Management Tool

Had to take a quick moment to post a thought on the new Smashwords’ series tool. Its arrival could not have come at a better time for me.

I was considering starting a mystery series with a bit of a different focus than my current novels, which are basically stand alone books, but all targeted to a certain type of read. That is, Murderous Relations and Murderous Decisions both deal with what happens to  different types of women when murder intrudes in their lives. I plan to write more ‘murderous’ (I know, what was I thinking!) novels. Again, they will focus on individual women as they deal with the thrills and chills murder has brought into their lives.

The new series will differ in that the books will have two recurring characters, Angela Clark and Mickey Carter, who ferret out the trouble and run the criminals to ground. From my early work on book two, I’m hopeful this may prove a good run. The books will be novella length and the first book is basically just a very short story called, A Long Way Home. It may be accessed here.

But while I was stoked on the concept of running the two sets of books. I was unsure how to delineate them from each other. I considered publishing them under different pen names. But I thought that would be clunky and time-consuming and besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to divide my audience.

Then, along came the new series management tool at Smashwords, and my dilemma was solved. They will now be clearly marked as two different series both under my present name. Thank you, Smashwords. I am so pleased.

Sometimes, all  life requires in this book business is being in the right place at the right time — and a creative partner with bright, new ideas.  😉

Confessions of a Self-publishing Author

I grant you there are days when I wonder why I do this. But the question doesn’t linger with me for long. Because the answer is I like challenges. And writing and publishing and designing my own book covers provides enough challenges to keep me both busy and entertained.

Plus I just flat out enjoy being an entrepreneur. I like biting into my hamburger at night, knowing that I’ve truly earned it. I thrive on exercising my wits in an effort to put myself and my book in front of an ever increasing number of eyes. I groove on hanging out in self-pubber’s chat rooms and lists and forums. I lap up the mantra with relish that self published authors are going to take over the world. (Even if I think we’re unlikely to accomplish that goal.)

My only true weakness is keeping my fingers at work on the keyboard long enough to pump out the-next book. It’s so much easier and more entertaining to jump onto the web and do all the above-named stuff. But I know the novel’s the thing. And somehow, I eventually manage to pull another one out of somewhere.

And that’s the mysterious part. Where do these books come from? Where are our characters born? Of course, that’s not the singular province of self-published authors. That act crosses the great divide between us and them. (You know, the writers with contracts and deadline handed down by somebody else.) But no matter how different our outlooks or methods might be, we’re all engaged in the same game. Tapping our creativity and putting books out there in the most entertaining fashion we can.

There is a great deal that divides our two camps. But there’s a great deal that unites us as well.

For my money, though, I get a hoot out of going it alone.

Once Written, Now Sold?

Beyond the challenge of writing the novel comes the uphill climb to sell what you write. You’ll find lots of advice to help you. And much of it’s worth reading. But few posts or even books match the straight talk of this post by Russell Blake. He writes thrillers. And isn’t shy about saying his goal is to sell what he’s written. I hope you find his views as published via his blog as worthy as I did.

And to all of you now struggling with a WIP, carry on!

Thought for the day

He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

 St. Francis of Assisi

Gaga for this post

Rarely do I go gaga over a blog post, but not so with this post from Writer Unboxed. (Read it here.) I think it summarizes today’s publishing world in the best of all possible manners. Why, indeed, should one arm of the current publishing frenzy denigrate another? Who says we cannot mutually coexist or even flip from one side to the other? Why should all authors feel compelled to be socially active or even possibly overactive in our search for readers? Why can we not be ourselves? And if we’re the sort to feel most comfortable in our rabbit holes, ignoring the world at large, why can we not do that as well??

We can, according to the author of Writer Unboxed. We can be pantsters. or planners, or love to connect with people. or be private in the extreme.We can be traditionally published or willing to put ourselves forward on our own.  It’s all  our option. It’s the nature of today’s publishing world, says Writer Unboxed. And I’m with her all the way!

So, happy writing, happy reading! (For me it’s back to my third reading of The Hunger Games and its sister stories.)