Friday, May 13, 2011

Indie Publishers Achieve the Impossible

"The novel that has become the poster child for the new publishing model that achieved what the big legacy publishers could not: Consistent Amazon Top 100 sales."

I came across a blog yesterday by writer/marketing expert Robin Sullivan of Michigan (Write to Publish) who seems to have her finger pressed against the pulse of self and indie publishing, especially the Amazon Top 100 for Kindle E-Books. For the past few months she has been watching the progress of my novel THE INNOCENT (as well as it's sequel, GODCHILD), and in the meantime, reported some interesting facts on its position in the Top 100 these past 57 days, the most interesting of which, if not ironic, is this: the new self-publishing model has enabled me to make a living as a traditionally published author.
A good living.

In other words, since my indie publisher StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink runs their operation on only a fraction of the overhead of that of the big boy legacy pubs in NYC who used to publish both THE INNOCENT and GODCHILD, they are able to liberally play with pricing. In this case, THE INNOCENT was priced at $.99 for about a month allowing it to reach as far as No. 4 in the Top 100. Once that happened, StoneGate then changed the price to $4.99 in order that we might increase our profits for the month of May, which has worked. The risk that can occur from such a dramatic pricing shift is that the novel could be bumped out of the Top 100 in a matter of a couple of days. But INNOCENT has shown some resilience in hanging in there for 13 days now at the new price, or about half the month.

Add to that another price change down to $3.99 as of yesterday afternoon, and it's possible we'll hang in there for the entire month. Time will tell. But even if we don't, we will have made as much money in the past two month on THE INNOCENT as I made when I cashed my first big advance check for the novel (and that check was about as much as some people make in a whole year!).

Which leads me to conclude: StoneGate Ink has been able to pull off what Random House could not. It has made both THE INNOCENT and GODCHILD Top 100 Bestsellers and it made them profitable. The publisher has also gave the novels staying power by recognizing that a novel isn't something that's static once it's released to the public; or something that you toss up against the wall to see if it sticks. A novel and it's pricing is something that must constantly be tweaked and honed, until it finds its own sweet spot.

But regardless of pricing, the most important thing the indie publisher has done for me is to generate an audience of enthusiastic fans that now measures in the hundreds of thousands.


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