Experimenting with Kindling
Nifty First Book Friday news: Harry Connolly’s piece has been picked up and reprinted at Black Gate. Congrats, Harry!
I’ve talked a bit about e-books and self-publishing. There are folks like J. A. Konrath who claim to make it work. When I posted about my electronic royalties, Konrath was one of the first to jump in and say flat-out that $6.99 was too much, and I would make more if the books were cheaper.
I decided to experiment. I’ve taken my mainstream novel Goldfish Dreams and have released it in Amazon’s Kindle store. There’s no DRM, and I priced it at $2.99 for worldwide distribution. I’ve also uploaded it to B&N. (The B&N version is still being processed.)
I intend to be 100% transparent about this, sharing sales and royalties and the rest. I’m as curious as anyone to see what happens.
Here are the advantages I believe I have, going into this:
- I’m a midlist fantasy author, so readers will (hopefully) have some confidence that I can write a decent book.
- I’ve got a moderate online following. At best guess, about 2000 people see the blog each day. I don’t expect everyone to rush out and buy the book, but I suspect some will.
- Goldfish Dreams is a rerelease of an out of print book from a small press, so it’s already been through the gatekeepers once, and has benefited from some editorial feedback.
On the other hand, this is a mainstream book, so I’m not sure how much my stature as a fantasy author will help. And as a reprint of an out-of-print book, I lose the initial friends & family sales, because many of them already have the printed book.
My investment so far:
- Steven Saus did the e-book conversion, because it quickly became apparent I would need many hours to teach myself and prep the files. Steven did a very nice job putting the book together in multiple formats and checking to make sure everything was clean and ready to go.
- The cover art is recycled, with permission, from an unused concept from the original print release. I added a blurb from Heinz Insu Fenkl.
- Setting up accounts on Amazon and B&N and getting the books uploaded took an hour or so of my time.
I honestly don’t know what to expect. I imagine there will be some initial sales, but how many? I couldn’t say. And what will happen in the long term? Will sales grow over time or die off? I keep reading arguments about how e-books can be so much more profitable for authors. Will I actually see a significant profit? Your guess is as good as mine.
I am not going to start going all-out on advertising and self-promotion. For one thing, I don’t have the time. For another, that sort of thing gets annoying fast. I’ll post updates about the experiment, but I’m not going to become That Guy.
Let the experiment begin!
Where to purchase:
- B&N – Forthcoming
- Other suggestions?
Description: Eileen Greenwood’s first year at Southern Michigan University means freedom: freedom from the brother who molested her, freedom from the father who refused to believe her, and freedom from the sister who turned her back on it all. Eileen desperately wants to escape the past and live her life, but nightmares and flashbacks make it impossible to forget what she endured. Instead, she becomes obsessed with learning what transformed her brother into a predator. In the effort to understand, she risks her health, her friendships, and her future. She will face both her own memories of the past, and a monster far worse than her brother … if she can find the strength to confront him.
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October 18, 2010 @ 10:21 am
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October 18, 2010 @ 10:35 am
Oooh, I like the term “Kindling”. That’s clever.
October 18, 2010 @ 10:37 am
Just a data point: I bought this at fictionwise however I have yet to read it as the description makes me think that it would make me sad so haven’t felt up to it yet.
Jim C. Hines
October 18, 2010 @ 10:40 am
I was going to add “Nookie” as well, for the B&N side, but that seemed like a bit much 🙂
Jim C. Hines
October 18, 2010 @ 10:41 am
Thanks, James. It’s … well, it has some intensity to it, as you probably guessed. I think it’s a hopeful book overall, but it wouldn’t be my first suggestion if you wanted something light or cheerful.
October 18, 2010 @ 2:02 pm
Hey Jim – if you get the book into the Smashwords system, Smashwords will push the book out to about half a dozen electronic distributors. Just go there, read over their style guide, and put the RTF of your book into its “MeatGrinder” software.
Yes, they really do call it that.
October 18, 2010 @ 2:31 pm
Mike, in my experience the “Meatgrinder” system is aptly named. The first two jobs I had converting eBooks was to fix formatting errors that were introduced by Smashword’s conversion system. There’s screenshots of “before” and “after” on my website.
As a consumer of eBooks, I find it horribly annoying when I find formatting errors – something I still see in digital versions of books from major New York houses. (One that really drove me nuts – a random space in the middle of every 500th word or so.)
October 18, 2010 @ 4:54 pm
It’s so awesome that you’re doing this, Jim. I’m really excited to see what the results will be too. And as a kindle owner, $2.99 sounds so reasonable for a book (even a mainstream one that I might not usually rush out to buy) by an author I know and like that I will definitely buy it.
Can’t wait to see how your experiment is going a week from now!
Jim C. Hines
October 18, 2010 @ 10:21 pm
Thanks, Cy! I’m rather curious to see how it all turns out myself 🙂