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.

WIP Update

In my first attempt at writing a mystery series, I produced very little new content today. Instead, I spent most of my day editing. Editing has become rather interesting now what I’ve invested in a spiffy editing program. It’s amazing the kinds of things I’m learning from using it. I have a tendency to repeat words. This program is marvelous at pointing those errors out to me. Now, if it would only write the revisions for me, life would be a snap. LOL.

I’m at some twenty thousand words in this opus. I’d hoped to put this book out as a novella at around forty thousand words, but it looks as though the thing will extend well beyond that word total. Word count is always a mystery to me. The mantra for success today is to write quickly and publish often. They say doing so will to keep your name before the readers and increase your chances for a sale. To that end, I think a novella looks like a dandy choice. However, other people say longer books sell better than shorter ones. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough books out to test either theory yet.

Which brings me to my last point, my writing commitment. I thought it was fine. I thought I was doing a decent job of plowing forward in this writing attempt of mine, but I’ve begun to suspect I’m a I don’t produce enough words per day. In short, when it comes to book production in this digital age, I’m appear to be a piker.

J. A. Konrath recently posted his statistics for the sales of his titles on his blog. The info was an eye opener for me. Besides the fact he earned some  $1.5 million over the span of three to four years, it was his book count that blew my mind. I only totaled up titles for two years. But one year, he listed ten new titles. The next year, he recorded nine.

So, order to self: Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard. And pick up my pace!

I

Latest Work Progressing

I’m pleased to say my effort to launch a series seems to be working out. My first full book in the Angela and Mickey Mystery Series is progressing nicely.

Of course, the opening scene has been tweaked a time or two since it was originally posted here. Most of my works  are. I’m rarely content with my original effort. I’m almost never sure they’re the best they can possibly be. Plus, I believe my readers deserve no less.

I’m enjoying writing the adventures of these two madcaps. They are, to me, delightful characters. I hope they will eventually please you, dear reader, as well.

This is a new experience for me. I’ve written before of the joy of falling in love with one’s leading ladies. But in this case, a guy is worming his way into the mix as well. He’s fun. She’s fun. I’m having a blast.

More later,

Anna Drake

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Loving My Leading Ladies

I’m in the closing days of prepping and cleaning and editing and revising my second novel. And I’ve suddenly realized I’ve fallen in love again with my heroine. Lucky me. I adored the first one, too. I think both woman are brave, gutsy, and determined.  Even when they don’t think they are.

Maybe this heroine fixation of mine stems from all those years of reading Nancy Drew books. Or maybe, deep down, I believe women are stronger than they give themselves credit for being. Who knows. I only know I enjoying telling their stories. And that’s true even though the two women aren’t much like each other.

School teacher Jessica Chase was my first heroine. Somewhat passive, fairly unsure of her strengths and skills, it takes an outside force and a friend to push dear Jess to her feet. My second heroine, Victoria Cross, is used to standing up for herself. She’s first introduced to the concept as a child by her four, male cousins. The idea is then reinforced by her marriage to a husband who is devoted to his work. This leaves her in a position where most family responsibilities fall on her shoulders.

Both women are forced to come to terms with their strengths and weakness after experiencing a murder. How else? After all, I am a mystery writer as well as parent to my beloved heroines.

My first mystery novel was Murderous Relations. The second one is Murderous Decisions. Murderous Relations is out and available at many select etailers. Murderous Decisions is due out any day now.

Stay tuned.

A Romantic Mystery Writer?

I’m currently working on my second novel, which has now morphed to a story titled Murderous Decisions. My heroine is battling her way through a host of issues, including a handsome attorney she’s recently met. Not the usual fare for mystery novels. But the romance angle is secondary to the mystery. Plus it’s part of the plot. And to make matter worse, Victoria Cross is married to a very nice guy.

So here’s today’s rough, unedited work. My only hope is that you enjoy it. The book’s working title is, Murderous Decisions.

Continue reading “A Romantic Mystery Writer?”