Why a Little Ebook Novella Being On-Sale for One Day for Ninety-Nine Cents is a Big F’n Deal
March 2, 2016
Listen, we’re friends, right? We’ve been through some serious shit together. Like the thing with the guy at the place that time, that was wild, right? But we came through it. Ride or die. All that. We’re like the two friends from Johnny Cash’s cover of “I See a Darkness” by that ginger hipster kid.
So, I want to talk honestly with you for a second here.
Here’s the truth: Most books just aren’t bought or read by that many people. MOST books. And when I say “books” I’m talking about a book released under ideal circumstances. It had a big publisher. They put it on shelves in all the big chain stores. There were ads an’ shit. Maybe they even sent the author out on one of those magical, mystical “book tours” you see in movies and on TV shows about every writer ever.
That fuckin’ book? Very few people bought it or read it. That author went back to their day job on Monday.
Seriously, think of how many people you think buy a book like that. Okay, now cut that number in half. Now cut that number in half. Now divide by three.
You’re probably still on the high side.
Now, here I come. And I’m writing this series of short books. The series is called Sin du Jour. It’s a funny supernatural action/adventury-type deal and I like it. I like it a lot. There are two books in the series out right now. The first one, Envy of Angels, came out last October. The first sequel, Lustlocked, just dropped in January. The third one, Pride’s Spell, is due out in June. I have four more installments planned after that.
It seems pretty impressive, right? Sold by Macmillan, one of the biggest publishers on the planet. I’m getting starred reviews in Publishers Weekly. Both books have like, 95% approval on Goodreads. Fancy people tweet about it.
That’s all great. It is. But I can’t spend any of that, and you have to read the fine print. The Sin du Jour books are published by Tor.com Publishing, a collective of utterly amazing professional folk who have nevertheless launched an entirely new imprint of that giant publishing mega-corp. They released their first book last September, and that was their first novella. Their first novel is still to-be-published. Because that’s the other thing. Tor.com Publishing is doing something entirely new and highly experimental for contemporary mainstream publishing: Novellas as standalone books. Print, ebook, audiobook. And they’re doing all their selling and marketing and distributing digitally, which means these books generally aren’t in physical stores on physical shelves. You have to order ’em on-line.
And my series is kind of an experiment within an experiment, because I’m doing a whole run of these short books. And they’re all released close together, like old pulp serials in a new high-tech exo-battle-skeleton body.
So, to recap: New experimental publisher, new experimental series and business model, no brick-and-mortar, a short format and shorter release schedule we have to retrain the audience to understand and accept.
I’m not selling nearly as well as the author who has to go back to work in the bakery or drug store the Monday after their book tour.
But hey, this is not me complaining. Not in the least. I fucking love what we’re doing. I believe in this model. I believe in both the creative and professional benefits of it. I believe over time I’ll turn my little series into a hell of a property and a hell of an earner. But right now it’s like any start-up, new and swimming in a big sea and looking for a harbor.
That’s the reality of the right now, the beginning. I’m writing a series of little books not a lot of people know about.
Which brings us to today. My editor and my publisher did a very smart thing. They convinced the folks at Amazon, where most digital books and certainly most of my digital books are sold, to make Envy of Angels a Deal of the Day. For *today only* you can download the ebook version of Envy of Angels for just $0.99 (ninety-nine cents). Less than a buck, folks.
And I’m excited as hell. And my publisher is excited as hell. This is a big, big deal.
Why, you ask? Why is a tiny largely unknown ebook being on-sale for one day for a dollar a big deal to anyone?
Well, for one, Amazon goes all-out for these deals. They’re going to email people to let them know about it. You’re going to see ads on the site. You’re going to see the book topping lists. And the price-point and that exposure will attract thousands of people who otherwise never would’ve checked the book out or probably even heard of it to buy the ebook. And much more than any money I make today, if I can retain a healthy portion of that audience it’s a huge injection of life into the series. My retention rates are good. People who read one Sin du Jour book generally like it and buy the other books and tell their friends to do the same. So folks buying my one-dollar ebook today leads to a lot more sales in the future and hopefully regular readers and buyers of the series.
So today has the potential to be a massive shot in the arm for a fledgling series that really needs it.
That’s why it’s a big deal.
So, with all that in mind, and thank you, my friend, for sticking with me here, I need you to go spread the word about Envy of Angels being the Amazon Deal of the Day at just ninety-nine cents. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr, wherever you are on-line, let folks know about this for me. And tell some real people, too. Text your friends. Call your grandma. Phone your favorite local call-in radio show. It’s all helpful.
ALSO important: Members of the World Fantasy Convention are currently nominating works for the Hugo Awards. Envy of Angels is eligible in the novella category. Today would be a great day to pick it up for consideration if you’re a Hugo voter, or to let Hugo voters know they can pick it up for less than a buck. So if you are one of those folks or know some of those folks, please take that under advisement.
Let’s sell some books! Commerce! Capitalism! Fight Club philosophy is so 1990’s. Screw it. CONSUME.