Friday, January 6, 2017
Coming in 2017
I'm running a bit late today. I've spent a very busy and productive week making plans --and slightly tweaking this year's schedule. In fact, I'm surprised to find that it's already Friday. Next week I begin work on The Monet Murders, the second book in the Art of Murder series.
That's the first change of the year. Originally I was going to put Slay Ride out this month, but having done two historical releases at the end of last year, I think maybe it's just as well to stick with contemporary for now. So Slay Ride is now scheduled as a December 2017 release, which leaves me a bit more time for Jason West and Sam Kennedy.
So here is the immediate future line up...
The Monet Murders - Aiming for a late February/early March release
Fair Chance - March 15th (final book in the All's Fair trilogy)
Blind Side (DG 6) - April 21ish
Ill Met by Moonlight - May 30ish
The Curse of the Blue Scarab narrated by Alexander Masters
Murder Between the Pages narrated by Kale Williams
Fair Chance narrated by JF Harding
So This is Christmas narrated by Chris Patton
The Monet Murders narrated by Kale Williams
Blind Side (undetermined)
A Shot in the Dark (narrator unknown)
The Curse of the Blue Scarab (now available)
So This is Christmas - January
All I Want for Christmas (the two holiday coda volumes combined) - January
The Monet Murders - March
A Shot in the Dark - Ill Met by Moonlight and This Rough Magic combined - Juneish
Also for readers new to my work and looking for bargains, I'm putting together a couple of compilations of older titles. These collections are roughly half-price off the cost of buying the stories separately.
I Spy...Three Novellas: the complete I Spy series
Dark Horse, White Knight: Two novellas
Point Blank: Five Dangerous Ground novellas (we're still working on this one!)
Also, I had mentioned that I would report on my experience with Kindle Unlimited.
Short version: Never again.
Long version: I see why a lot of readers like the program. I had the opportunity of trying it out both as a reader (with a free six-month subscription through one of my credit cards) and as an author.
As a reader...well, I like to "own" books. As much as an ebook can be owned. Also I have very limited time for free reading, so I wouldn't get my money's worth from the subscription (even if most of the books I wanted were in the program -- and they're not). But I can't deny it was a LOT of fun browsing the lists and downloading titles that I might one day get around to sampling. So if you're a voracious reader, KU might be good value for you.
As a writer, KU was a disaster for me.
Now, there were some variables here that in fairness have to be addressed. First of all, the book I used as my trial run--Murder Between the Pages--was not my usual thing. Not even my usual historical thing. It was quirky, comic locked room mystery -- and historical is already a smaller audience for me. My contemporaries always do significantly better than my historicals.
Secondly, it was a novella. Had it been a novel, something along the lines of The Curse of the Blue Scarab, I would have earned more because KU is currently paying about half a cent per read page.
(On the other hand, there's a cap on the page count, so that might ultimately work against a title like TCotBS. Not sure.)
What I am sure of is that KU significantly cut into my regular Amazon sales by at least -- looking at the absolute rock bottom minimum of 500 units. And instead of earning about $2.00 per book, I earned about .70. Ouch.
Now, if you're a writer who typically charges .99 cents a book, .70 is WAY better than the .35 net you take in per unit. But I don't charge .99 cents a book. The minimum I charge per title is $2.99. So for me this was not a successful experiment.
Nor can I find indication that I expanded my readership any. But again, that could be the limitations of the title I chose to experiment with. Besides, I already do a lot of giveaways and sales and so forth--I already have perma-free titles on all the sites.
To worsen matters, because KU requires exclusivity, I also lost about 1000 units in other vendor sales. Now a portion of those might be recouped when I remove Murder Between the Pages from KU at the end of this month. But I'm guessing not many, because you move most units in the first few weeks. It's just a fact of publishing life.
Maybe if Amazon permitted preorders at other sites it would have helped, but they don't. You are locked into KU for 90 days (on top of the preorder period) and that's basically that.
I can see that if you don't have an established readership or you're selling a book that might have a wider audience, KU might make a certain amount of sense for you. It does not make sense for an author like me. And it definitely did not make sense for that particular title.
But I don't regret the experiment because I've been staunchly against KU without actually having the practical experience to back up that gut feeling. Now I have the practical experience.
I'm also not judging authors who choose to put their work into KU. I can see that in some instances it might make sense. I didn't make sense for me.
Anyway, that's where we stand moving into 2017. I hope the new year is off to a brilliant start for you.