Thursday, April 6, 2017

Zandri is Wide (Not in the Ass) and a First Quarter Assessment: Notes from a Hybrid...No. Whatever


That's me arm-in-arm this past Sunday with the Noir at the Bar crew NYC

You all would have heard by now that Amazon KDP kicked me out of Select apparently for violating the exclusivity agreement once in 2012, once in 2013, and again in 2014. They couldn't prove that I had violated anything by producing the "warning" emails at my request, but they said it is so and if they say it is so I guess it has to be true.

Ever get the feeling the crucifix will one day be replaced with the Amazon logo? 

It's all for the good though, because like those pesky young adults who won't leave their parent's basement, I had been depending upon Select too much as of late for my indie books, and it was time to leave the nest and go wide. Which I have. I'm everywhere except Google at present, but I'll get there too. I'm only one person, people! Maybe I should hire an assistant. Preferably a hot little brunette. Don't get me started...

Onwards. It's the end f the quarter and I'd like to do an entirely non-scientific assessment of this year thus far in sales and productivity. In other words, I'm not going to bore you with specific numbers, but instead just a general accounting of how it's been going with my traditionally published books, my Amazon Imprint Published Books (namely Thomas & Mercer), and my indie books published under my imprint Bear Media (Bear Thrills, Bear Pulp, etc.)

Okay, so the traditional side of things. The hard-cover of The Corruptions arrived in late January while I await the paperback version of Orchard Grove which came out in hard-cover in January of 2017. Both books seem to be doing well, in paper, audio, and especially e-book. Although I don't have the exact sales figure for the first part of this year, I believe we're looking at around 4-5K in sales, mostly in eBook on the back of a Book Bub, which I was fortunate to acquire (and finance). What I must stress here however, is the importance of authors doing their own marketing since leaving it up to the publisher will usually result in crickets. They just don't have the time. One of the books I have going traditionally at present is stinking up the joint which sucks, because when I was publishing it under Bear Thrills it was doing relatively well. Live and learn.

Amazon Imprint Books (Thomas & Mercer): There's been a lot of changes at the firm as of late, and every single one of the editorial and/or marketing people I started out with in 2012 are gone baby gone. Some good people have taken their place, but while last year at this time I was hitting the overall number 1 spot on the Amazon bestsellers list with The Remains (and all the residual sales that went with it), this year thus far has been kind of a yawn. Sure books like The Remains and the Jack Marconi PI novels continue to carry the bulk of the load (I have a whopping 9 books with the firm), there hasn't been a promo yet that's propelled a single title to the top 10 much less the top 100. But that doesn't mean it won't happen next week. So if I had to guess without looking the numbers up, I'm around the 3-4K sales range there.

Indie Books: In terms of full-length novels, I believe I'm somewhere around 15 now. I'm not sure how I've done it, but I've sold around 7-8K books during the first quarter, not including KDP borrows. So that's something to be proud of. The Ashes, the sequel to The Remains, is doing very well, and considering AP passed on it, saying it's too late for a sequel and therefore a "non-starter," I'm more than pleasantly surprised. Now at the same time, I've also given away more than 10K books so far this quarter and if I had to guess, that's one of the reasons for my success (remember, there are hybrid authors out there who sell way more than me, and more who sell way less, so it's all relative).

So where does this leave me? I'm making a nice living, and slowly, incrementally doing better with each new book published one way or another. Some might say I should pick a method of publishing and stick with it, but truth is, if I were to go back to being traditional exclusively, I'd have to pick up more freelance work, or maybe grab a teaching gig. So that's out of the question because I love my freedom. And I'm not ready to go entirely indie either, because I enjoy my books being in stores and libraries, and I love the trade reviews, and you're just not going to get that with indie (sorry for the run-on).

I'd like to think I'll do more books with AP, but I might be tipping the scales with 9 novels right now, plus When Shadows Come is still in the red in terms of its earning out its advance (Come on guys, let's market the hell out of this one. It was selected as a Suspense Magazine Best Book of 2016 for God's sakes...What's not to like?)

So now I'm wide and thus far I'm selling almost the equivalent of what I would have been making in page reads per day at Select. So that's a good thing. But more marketing will be needed in order to get the word out. That includes Facebook and Amazon Ads.

As for the production end of things, you'll recall in a past post that I have committed myself to writing only fiction this year (that can change), and thus far I'm putting out on average 10K new words per week, plus rewrites. So this is a full-time job to be sure. But what this means is, I not only have a new thriller for a traditional publisher to pick up, I am, at the same time, able to publish a series novel, novella, or short story at least once per month. And what's the best marketing tool for a writer? Proliferation. Or, simply writing more books. Write, publish, rinse, repeat. Word of mouth is a big help too, but you have no control over that. So if you're a writer, turn off the Twitter, and get busy. Get writing.

For links to all my "wide ass" books and all the stores that sell them go to:
WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM

 

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