A silver lining


(I took this picture of clouds today to test out some features of the new camera)

I decided to experiment with making a book free for a longer period. The trilogy is selling well on Kobo and B&N, but wasn’t doing so well on Amazon. I’ve always felt that a lot of people on Amazon are out for bargains. However, other people had good experiences with making volume 1 of a series free for a few months or even permanently, so I decided to give this a try on Amazon. Of course you can’t make your book free on Amazon through their author dashboard, and that meant it had to be free on another major competing site first. I made Fire & Ice free on Smashwords and it went through to B&N. Amazon matched the price on the last day of February. Counting that day, and the 1200 downloads on B&N in February, the book has been downloaded close to 7000 times.

What does making a book free do?

Well, it makes people buy the other volumes. Not immediately, usually, although my sales for those two books have jumped up significantly and my Amazon sales are doing their best to impersonate my Kobo sales. This is a good thing.

It also helps to put your name out there. It means that people who liked book 1 and bought the trilogy might try any of my other books.

With all this happening, it looks like my self-publishing income may be breaking the $1000 monthly sales barrier in March. This is a lot more than you can make selling short stories to big-name magazines, or at least in the longer term. Added up over a year, it is probably also more than you will see from the sale of a debut novel. And you know what? Those books never go off sale.

As bonus, I get a feel for what sells well.

1. Series with characters with human-character-related problems
2. More series, as long as they’re complete
3. Sex (uhm, yeah, not going there :P)

It’s different from the way you’d plan a debut novel to be submitted traditionally. People love series. Publishers can be nervous about them. Readers like getting involved with characters. Publishers like prestigious stuff like awards.

So, what’s next?

I think that I might get a start on the sequel to Trader’s Honour once that book is done (four chapters and an edit still to go!), then a sequel to Ambassador (which is about a third written) and then maybe think about a alternate-history-ish fantasy (meaning that setting only resembles real places in the way of Kushiel’s Dart).