Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Word About Sales and Other Stuff

Okay, I admit, more than one word.

Let's start with the good news - we've had the first Amazon UK sale of "Let's Do Lunch" in February. Smashwords sampling is over 80 - I expect it to be more than 100 by the end of the quarter. Total sales for January = 16, February = 14.

Barnes and Noble is my best market. I sell twice as many books there. Okay, so that means merely 8 or 9 sales per month. That triples my sales per month. The bottom line is that we've sold more copies of LDL in two months than in 6 months of 2010.

Ya, can't beat that with a stick - but who'd want to?

I replaced the Amazon cover of "Let's Do Lunch" to my 'way-back-when' cover. It's been 13 days since my last sale, it seems a change is in order.

Alas, I don't see myself putting - ahem - beefcake* on the cover. That's not the point of the story.(I am assured that covers including nude male torso shots sell vastly more copies than scenery covers. See the note at the bottom for the 'industry' term for such covers.)

I'm working on the cover I want - a photo of the building. Cropping the photo proved to be a challenge - the work-around frustrated me so, I had to set it aside for a few days.

Changes in the industry

Another mid-list writer has taken his work off the market - take a look at this post on Publisher's Weekly. The post in a nutshell: Mid-list writer had deal on the table, he asked about e-rights and was told the split would be 75% to 25% of net. He then asked if he was getting the 75% - however the answer was 'no.' He declined the offer, deciding to self-publish instead of taking a bad deal on his e-rights.

Why is this important? E-books don't 'go out of print' therefore he had signed away his e-rights FOREVER. While a single e-book title grossing $1,000 a month would be a pittance for the publishing company. For the writer this would be a substantial slice of month income.

I don't know of many people who would sneeze at an extra grand a month. Do you?

If you haven't discovered the Business Rusch by Kristine Katherine Rusch at least take a look at this one. At the risk of sounding hopelessly sexist - she has a woman's eye for navigating the turbulent waters of this changing industry. She doesn't browbeat the reader, she presents information and opinions in a common sense fashion while keeping her options open. (I say that's female because it seems much more sensible to keep your options open, instead of burning bridges. Burning bridges is a guy thing - like bungee-jumping.)

Or maybe it's the fact that I agree with her - Big Publishing is hardly dead. They are in a position to talk terms with the e-vendors and take advantage of e-books - with access to one hell of a back-list. After all, 1 book selling 500 copies a month times 100,000 (or more) books is NOT a pittance.

Last but not least

* I find the term 'man-tittie' offensive. Puleeezz ladies - some class!


Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer said...


I really like the following version of your new cover ...which yes, I know you're still tweaking but please don't go with that choppy yellow for your name across the bottom. It looks so much better having your name on the book/menu cover under the title:

Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer

Ms Kitty said...

Hmm - you are the first person to comment on that. I used that cover on Authonomy - but DataHog thought my cover was bland and needed something to spice it up.

So I put my name in yellow.

I will keep that in mind - I've got another cover 'cooking' on Amazon.

This is an interesting experiment.

Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer said...

No! You know what the title/author name on the menu reminds me of? A Jennifer Crusie book cover :) Seriously. Putting that yellow on there makes it look both amateurish and cheesy (no pun intended; it'd be cheesy if it were neon red, too)

The cover's not bland or boring but if you really wanted to spruce it up a bit, add more food to the table. Personally, I think it's fine as is and is a great concept for your book title. Assuming of course this is the romance genre title? I can't keep your books and genres straight, I'm sorry to say.

Ms Kitty said...

If you ripped through months of forum posting (or years of the blog) I can understand your confusion.

Contemporary and Paranormal - they don't quite make the 'romance' genre - not enough sex - too much plot. (shrug) I'm not losing sleep over genre any more. Or prices for that matter.

I'm going to bring the 2nd novel out at $4.25 - and bump the price of the 1st one sometime this summer.

It may take as long as 8 weeks for the price to populate up the vendor chain - not worth the hassle right now.

Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer said...

Yes, I did go through a lot in one sitting. So are you writing in the Romance subgenres "Contemporary Romance" and "Paranormal Romance" or are you writing Contemporary fiction and Paranormal fiction? Huge difference.

More plot and less sex in the latter, I'll grant you, but the former two subgenres of the Romance industry have just as much sex as the author needs or wants :) and more plot - best of both worlds.

I've noticed, however, that Paranormal fiction can be just about anything--including what some people call Fantasy genre except for SF/F afficionados--while Paranormal Romance seems to be trending exclusively to the "dark" stories with "creatures of the night" (werewolves, vampires, demons) as the Heroes.

Since I have "paranormal elements" in Dicky's Story--on the light side not touching the darkness--I was kind of disappointed to find yet another way my book would not "fit" into the mold of the industry trends. Time was, stories about miracles and magical wonders would be called paranormal. Not these days, not at all.

Ms Kitty said...

Contemporary Women's Fiction is probably the correct genre for "Let's Do Lunch."

I'm calling "Swallow the Moon" e-Pulp Fiction because it's Indie published.

Plus there are all these 'rules' or 'tropes' that you have to follow for the romance genre. Stylistically (is that a word?) I write for women who are more interested in good stories. Intelligent fiction for intelligent women is the goal.

Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer said...

I typed my reply and then the logging-in script cleared it Agggggh...I hate technology sometimes.

So what did I say? Umm.. I think I was saying I found it interesting that you don't want to call yourself or associate yourself with Romance genre because you see your readers as more intelligent and wanting more thought-provoking stories. Interesting, because *I* write what I think of as intelligent stories for intelligent people--but not just for women.

Did you know that 20% (yeah, 1 in 5) of the romance genre readers is male? And of those, half (10% of all romance readers) are crossover readers from genres such as mystery, crime thriller, and a very small amount of detective novel readers?

I don't necessarily want to exclude these guys from my attention. In fact, I specifically want to INCLUDE them and make sure I can appeal to the crossover readers. I write SF still, sort of, more like SF Romance than SF action/adventure like I used to but I want to appeal to the standard SF reader, who is still sadly the narrow demographic of a 13 yo white male in the US or at least, on the No. American continent.

I have an interesting snippet of the Raif story on my "walled garden" Wordpress blog you can check out:

You have to register (just provide an email and retrieve your password) but otherwise, it's open to the public. I just don't want the spiders to index me.

I think the key to any of the genres is to write "interesting characters" who do "amazing things" or at least "interesting" things and go through some kind of transformation that results in "self-improvement" of some kind. This is standard to all writing.

In Romance genre, the closest thing to a formula that I can discern is that the couple is always bonded somehow at the end--whether verbally committed, legally married, genetically obligated through pregnancy or just implicitly "together"--and the cadence of the book has specific ups and downs for sex scenes and expositive passages. The "love story" of the main characters has to be somehow inextricably linked to the main plotline but otherwise, it doesn't have to be a "bodice ripper" format, though those are particularly popular STILL today. Ick. I hate them--and yet I caught myself writing one. Literally. Rainey ripped Lacey's clothes off in an early draft. Hey, they'd just taken out 3 would-be assailants and were both overflowing with adrenaline so...but that whole scene is gone. Sadly. It was a good one.

Ms Kitty said...

HEA - Happily Ever After is the #1 requirement. The 'romance' should be at least 70% of the plot. The heroine and the hero must meet in the 1st chapter...those are the top 3 rules of romance.

Where are you? Odd - I got the comment, but it's not here.

Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer said...

I've never heard that one about them having to meet in the first chapter! Plus I've read enough romance novels where they don't so I'm not buyin' it :) I like to be different just to be different, can you tell?

I'm in Raleigh NC and I'm not sure why you got the post in email but it never showed up on the blog...yeah, the blogger scripts were doing weird shit this morning, like I said. Who knows with Blogger.

Ms Kitty said...

Harlequin has the 'meet in the first chapter' trope somewhere in their guidelines or the meriad of blogs and forms. There are so many that I gave up on that market.

I'm one of those 'rules are made to be broken' writers. That's half the fun, after all. Make it work and thumb your nose at anyone who says "you can't do that!" LOL