Wednesday, March 27, 2013

E-Book Experiment

In my last post, I shared the cover for my upcoming paranormal thriller The Mummies of Blogspace9.  So this week, I'll tell you about the marketing experiment I have planned.  

It's bold, it's dangerous, it's potentially disastrous, but as my wife always tells me - this is what you do for fun, so if it stresses you out, stop writing and find something that doesn't stress you out.  

I've briefly considered the following alternative non-work activities: macrame, yoga, darts, and scrapbooking.  And I concluded that I still very much want to write.  So it's time to be bold and not stress too much about the consequences.  That being said, let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions, I'm half ears.

To date, I have five books published; four novels and one archaeological tome.  Three were published by commercial presses, and two I did myself.  All are available on, and all have middling sales.  So I'm going to do something new for Mummies.  

I've been following the wisdom of Joe Konrath, the master-blogger and writer who compiles the Newbies Guide to Publishing.  He suggests the following steps for publishing success (and I'm paraphrasing here): 

1) write a truly great book; 

2) produce a truly great cover; 

3) offer the book exclusively in e-book format using Amazaon KDP Select; 

4) price the book at 99 cents; 

5) offer the book free for the first week; and finally 

6) pay to have your free book giveaway promoted.  

So that's my plan.  The final draft of The Mummies of Blogspace9 is currently being tuned by the experts at  When I get it back, I'm going to shell out $230 to have it promoted on, as Konrath suggests.

The hope is that the initial offering creates a bounce and results in more sales.  Of course, offering the book at 99 cents on Amazon will result in only 35 cents in royalties.  But as the economists tell us, it's all a matter of volume.  I don't know if I'm going to get rich from this, but like I said, it's an experiment, and I'm not going to worry too much about it or my wife will make me knit or weave something instead of writing.

But I'll still worry a little.  So if you have any thoughts, let me know.


bettye griffin said...

Two indie titles seems like a very small amount to invest in making it free or 99 cents...there isn't a large selection of other books readers can then purchase by you after they enjoy the first one. Your traditionally published books might see a bump, but how much of that is actually going to go into your pocket? Joe Konrath has something like 50 indie published books...huge difference.

I tried a giveaway at my eStore, and while I gave away a decent number of eBooks for a non-Amazon giveaway, I didn't see a bump in my sales until I published the third in a series of three connecting stories. I suppose people read the last one--which has sold quite well--and wanted to go back and read the other two. In that same vein, I wonder how many of those who downloaded the first book for free actually got around to reading the book vs. it merely taking up space on their devices.

But of course, everyone's results are different. If your books are not selling that well on any platform to begin with, making it exclusive to Amazon isn't going to hurt. Good luck to you!

Liane Spicer said...

Good luck, William. I'm not going to try this until I have more books in the store, but I've taken note of it for future reference. Let us know how your experiment works. And don't worry! Knitting just doesn't seem like 'you' somehow...

Charles Gramlich said...

I've done all these things expect pay for the promotion. At least I hope the books and covers were good.

William Doonan said...

I hear you folks, but according to the stats, the sales bump comes on the book that you are actually giving away - after the free cycle is over. The idea is that there will hopefully be a buzz by then, if buzzes still exist!

It may not work, but I have to give it a try.

Anonymous said...

William, good luck with your experiment. I too envisioned myself sitting in a rocking chair knitting and just couldn't make the leap. Rather sit at the computer and write. In either case, I'll be broke. You can't sell knitting much either.

James R. (Jim) Callan said...

We will all be interested in seeing how sales go. Will you plot a graph of sales so that a bump, large or small, will show up? And what does the $230 buy? I haven't looked into that. But I have often heard you have to spend money to make money. We are all waiting anxiously to see how it goes. Best of luck to you. (Do NOT take up knitting.)

William Doonan said...

Thanks, Velda. I'm sharpening my knitting needles just in case.

James, you bet. My plan is to be completely transparent about the details. Stay tuned for details, or e-mail me and I can send you the links I'll be using.

John Brantingham said...

Man, I love your work, and I hope this works for you. No advice except that marketing is constantly shifting right now. I think it's a good idea. I for one will be the first in the eline to buy your book. Maybe you can sign my Kindle!

Cora said...

If you don't try it you will always wonder what might have been, so good luck to you. I will be following your experiment closely.

I don't think I could price a novel, with all the work that goes into it, for 99 cts. I agree with Bettye that Konrath has lots of books out and is well known which makes a difference. Good luck to you on this.

Lesley Diehl said...

Keep us apprised of how things go. and, just from the cover alone, I'd buy the book, and I'd pay more than .99 for it, and I'm cheap!

William Doonan said...

Thanks John, Cora & Leslie,

I hear you - the marketing world is changing, but I have to try something different. And no doubt, 99 cents seems too cheap to me too, with all the work that I put into this. I could price it at a more realistic $43,000, but I might not get a lot of sales. Maybe I'll try that price for the next book, in hopes that someone adds the book to their shopping carts without checking the price!

Sharon Arthur Moore said...

I, too, am eager to see how this turns out for you (and I wish you countless riches), but I wondered how many pages it is. Also, didn't you have to pay for the formatting, the cover, etc. What do you figure your total investment in this book to be? I am intrigued by the strategy! Good luck!