Friday, January 6, 2017

Coming in 2017

Good morning and Happy 2017 to you!


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...


Ebooks:
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


Audio Books:
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)


Print Books
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.



























46 comments:

  1. You had me at ALEXANDER MASTERS!!!!

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    1. I think his wonderful narration on this title will help those readers who couldn't quite get into this book. He really brings out the Sherlock Holmes vibe. :-)

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  2. Wow — you're really pampering your readers this spring, aren't you! (And also keeping yourself mighty busy writing!)

    And thank you for sharing your thoughts about Kindle Unlimited. It was extremely interesting to read about your experience.

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    1. I'm glad I experimented because I've heard such very different things. And I don't like the feeling that I'm unfairly biased -- I like to know what I'm talking about. :-D I can see that it might make sense for a certain type of writer at a certain point in their writing career.

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  3. Ah, I missed so many books. Not Adrien English of course, you can't miss that (and it was great!).
    So I'm really looking forward to catching up with the titles and waiting for the much-anticipated books. <3

    And a Happy New Year!

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    1. Wishing you a very happy New Year, Tharayn!

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  4. If nothing else, 2017 is going to be a treat for the eyes and ears. :D Looking forward to so many treats this year.

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    1. I'm thrilled about the audio projects in particular. There's some really good stuff coming.

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  5. So many treats awaiting us! Thank you, Josh! Happy writing and Happy New Year! :-)

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  6. As a reader I am looking forward to spring. All that fine books and audios. As a friend I hope it is not too much work.

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    1. Happily Fair Chance is all done, so it's just writing Monet Murders and then the two novellas.
      :-)

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  7. I just downloaded Christmas Waltz, and now I'm waiting for the snow to hit (Atlanta area). I miss your daily updates.

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    1. This may sound odd, but I miss those daily updates too! It was fun -- so much so, that I'm already looking forward to next year's calendar.

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  8. As a KU subscriber, I find your experience unsurprising based on my own reading patterns. I use KU mainly as a way to read books that are moderately entertaining but not good enough (imo) to spend real money on. I read a ridiculous amount right now due to an injury and it's just not feasible to buy every book I read. Most authors I read on KU I will never buy a novel from. There are some I would, but don't because every release is KU and stays that way. However, I will say I've found a few authors who have one or two KU titles and have used that as a springboard to buying their other work (Jordan Castillo Price comes to mind). The advantage to that vs. free reads is that they show up on the KU search on Amazon.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

      We hear a lot about the voracious reading appetite of romance readers -- so I'm sure there are some readers for whom the program makes sense.

      Yes, the KU search is probably one of the key advantages for unknown and unestablished writers. That's a great tool.

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  9. Wow! That's a schedule I can live with :) It's a great line up.

    I must admit I was a bit confused on the audio that you were having an audio without an ebook, but then it became clear when I got to the print books.

    I am not a KU subscriber, but it has made finding a book to borrow for my Amazon Prime monthly book a lot easier. Almost all the KU books are available to borrow with the Prime, and I can sort on my Kindle to show just the KU titles.

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    1. Yes, that's one of Amazon's cute tricks. You don't actually get to opt into the loaning of books. They make that call. :-D

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  10. Looking forward to a great year of reading and listening. Thanks and a belated Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you, Karen! And the same to you.

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  11. Alexander Masters YAY. his reading of In From the cold is my all time favourite listen. I'd listen to him read a shopping list :-)
    I'm so looking forwards to Ill Met by Moonlight too.
    What a lovely spring we have in store.

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    1. I LOVE his reading of that series. It's so good. Both his Marc and his Stephen!

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  12. Looking forward to the New Year reads!! Thank you ;)

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  13. I read someplace recently about a service that cancels recurring subscriptions or memberships for you. The number one recurring subscription that people request discontinuation for? Kindle Unlimited.

    I have stopped enrolling in it, and my Smashwords sales are WAY up since then.

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    1. I was definitely startled at the negative impact on sales. My preorders ended up being about the same. But the sales after the month of release...holy moly. Decimated.

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  14. SO looking forward to Blind side!!!!

    Would it sound snobbish and irrational to say I usually hesitate to "buy" eBooks which is also has kindle unlimited option?? It kind of reminds me of those "book club" deals in the past - it seemed like an good idea at the beginning because there's ONE book you want to read and it's in huge discount along with 2 other "not so sure/unknown" books... 2 months later, I'd find myself having only finished that ONE book only and felt guilty spending extra money to buy books that I actually want to read!

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    1. Well, I think there's a lot of that kind of thing going on. There are some great titles available in KU, but because there is so much NOT great stuff...readers are increasingly cynical.

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  15. Wow, looks like a great year ahead for us! I'm really looking forward to all the additions to series.

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    1. That is basically the focus of this year. Concentrate on all the sequels and series. I just can't take the barrage of YOU PROMISED!! WHERE IS THE BOOK YOU PROMISED!!!

      I. Surrender.

      :-D

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  16. Do you think Carina Press will release Fair Play in paperback? And then Fair Chance in paperback sometime in the future?

    Thanks,
    Noah

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    1. I kind of doubt it. Their focus is definitely ebooks. It's a shame -- I do get quite a few requests for print -- especially for Stranger on the Shore.

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  17. Sounds like an amazing line up and I'm so happy about the audio books :) I haven't a clue about KU as I'm audio only but until a couple of years ago I would have been one of those readers who wouldn't have touched an m/m with a barge pole thinking (because that's what you tend to see advertised and weirdly what many authors give away as freebies) that it was all prostitute fits, porn without plot and chicklit with men. Point being you were one of the authors who changed my mind on that. I don't know a thing about Amazon's complicated policies but if they'd let you, I'd suggest putting titles on there after they've been out for five years to pick new readers. If there's an exclusivity thing, couldn't you just add the codes you've already written and hopefully Amazon can't complain.

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    1. Audio only! That's so interesting. I wonder how many readers are audio only?

      And thank you for the compliment. I like plot. :-)

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  18. Very exciting list. But now I feel guilty for being part of the barrage of demanding and insatiable readers.

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    1. Hey, you are the people that pay my mortgage and put food on my table. ;-)

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  19. "Ill Met by Moonlight". Besides being the story of my life, a title that Miss Butterwith and I have been waiting patiently for.
    And Curse of the Blue Scarab in print. Better than catnip.

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  20. I second everything Jessica says about Kindle Unlimited (except for the injury - I just read a lot). I have picked up one or two authors on KU who I'll actually buy a book from, but mostly KU just serves as an apparently endless supply of badly (or not-at-all) edited books about Mpreg werewolves (and I didn't even know that was a "thing" until I joined KU).

    One the one hand, I keep telling myself I'll quit as soon as "X" series is completed, and then I don't; on the other, I spend far much too much time yelling things like "'alright' is NOT 'all right'" to my reader.

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    1. LOL. Once you've lived through having a book edited and reedited by six different editors using six different "house styles" you will learn that there are some battles not worth fighting. In fact, not worth even showing up for.

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  21. I'm insanely happy that you've written another Fair Game part!
    I reread some of your books over the Christmas holiday (Cards on the table, the whole Holmes and Moriarity and Come onto these Yellow Sands (probably for the fifth time^^)). I haven't read the newest Adrien English though, that's still waiting on my kindle for a rainy day (not in the sense of actual rain, because it's snowing like crazy, but you know).^^
    Concerning your thoughts on KU as a user, I agree. I also always want to actually own a book. Even in the days of still reading mainly paper-books, friends would be like, 'You just read that entire book in the bookstore, why would you still buy it?' and I'd be like 'Because I want to read it again, duh! Also, I NEED to HAVE it!'

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    1. This is interesting because, like you, I am a re-reader. Even if I don't reread entire books, there are books I want to reread sections of again and again and again.

      But there are readers who don't reread ever.

      I understand the argument of "so many books, so little time," but these are often (though not always) the very readers who miss so much the first time through.

      I do think it's a basic division between readers -- read-oncers and re-readers.

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  22. I'm excited for the next Jason West/Sam Kennedy novel. I just finished listening to The Mermaid Murders and I'm hooked on those two gentlemen. And I've already pre-ordered Fair Chance. :) I love your writing.

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  23. I'm excited for monet murders. Are we going to get the next haunted heart story? I revisited it recently and really like the characters and the spooky vibes. But damn that thing is getting old with no sequel.

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    1. 2018. (I can only write so many books in a year!)

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