Thursday, May 26, 2011

PART II of my Q & A with J. Carson Black: The Question of Multiple Climaxes

"Sally, obviously enjoying the big bologna at Katz's Deli!"





Ok, get your mind out of the gutter.
This is a family show after all.
But what J.Carson Black has me exploring this time is this: Is it possible for an indie author experience multiple climaxes with his or her books or, what's known as "spikes" up the E-Book, Kindle, and NOOK bestseller lists?

My simple answer is "yes."

While in traditional publishing, it's more common to have a single spike after which the book will slow down and hopefully enjoy steady sales (as Black points out in her query to me), it's more likely that with the indie publishing model, our books can enjoy multiple spikes for as long as we live, or for as long as E-Readers are sold to the reading public, which will be forever and ever.

Unlike in traditional publishing, we authors can better control our pricing (in my case, I consult with my publisher, Aaron Patterson, at StoneGate Ink, who is always receptive to price changes if it's worth it). Take THE INNOCENT for instance, which reached No. 3 on the Amazon Kindle E-Book Bestseller list last month, and stayed in the Top 10 for more than a month. It rose up like a rocket after we changed the price from $2.99 to $.99. But what also fueled this fire was that the novel had just been the subject of a month long virtual tour, and the cyberwaves were full of fresh reviews and interviews regarding the book.

Since May 1st, 'Innocent' has been priced at either $3.99 or back to it's $2.99, and it's never descended lower than 270 or so. Which means we're probably making more money by not being priced at $.99 and holding our own in the top 10. While I'll sell somewhere around 12K copies of 'Innocent' this month, I'd have to sell around 70K in order to receive the same cash payout at the $.99 price. That's a lot of books.

But...and this is a big BUTTTT....Books that are able to reach not only the Top 100 of the Amazon Kindle Bestseller List, but the Top 25, help propel your other higher priced books. Just take a look at Black's novels. Incredibly, she has something like 4 books in the Top 100 right now, and these books are almost certainly fueling one another. With a $.99 price tag, they are priced to sell, netting her a very nice payday. If she were to price some of her novels at $2.99 or even $3.99, they might not reside in the T0p 100 but they would certainly generate a whole lot of pretty green for her.

So can THE INNOCENT achieve a multiple climax?
Almost certainly.
There are certain books that will drag ass no matter how much you push them. There are other books that will sell steadily at a certain range and not move too far up or down no matter what you do (those are you money makers...your bread and butter books)). Then there are those books that will do better than others if given the slightest nudge, and THE INNOCENT seems to be one of them. Right now it's selling at around 200, making us a nice, fair profit. But I'm certain StoneGate will run a special at some point in the future and when it does, the novel will likely work it's way into a hot, loud, screaming climax.

But remember folks, it ain't all about pricing. It's more about great writing, and putting out a lot of books. You never know which ones are going to take off. So concentrate more on the writing as a craft and you will succeed. Inevitably, it's your best marketing tool. If the writing is no good, you'd better plan on getting a real job.

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