Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What's the best price for an e-book by an unknown author?

You've finished your first e-novel, polished it, got it proof-read and edited and now it's ready to publish for the rest of the world to read. Whether you put it out on Amazon Kindle (KDP), SmashWords or Apple iBooks, you need to pick a suitable price for it. The price is one of the most critical decisions you will make and could make or destroy your e-books sales.

This guide will explain the pitfalls and help you decide on the right price.


Do you read excerpts or sample chapters?

Amazon routinely provides the first three chapters of e-books for free. Other publishers and book sales sites usually offer similar arrangements. I've seen a lot of indie authors posting excerpts on their social networking feeds and blogs. There's an awful lot of free material out there for us all to sample.

1st three books of the Astronomicon Science Fiction series.
So, my question is, does anyone actually read it? How often do you think that an unknown author sounds interesting so you download the free sample material and give it a go?

Most people I've spoken to about this seem to have the opinion that reviews and reputation far outweigh the marketing effect of free chapters. How many people actually download the free chapters? How many then don't get around to reading them anyway?

Have you ever had a reader say that they read your sample chapters and then went on to buy the whole book?

Marketing our books is usually the hardest thing for indie authors. It would be helpful if self-publishing sites like Amazon gave authors some helpful stats on pageviews for our books and the number of sample chapter downloads. I would not be surprised if my monthly sample download count is substantially lower than my book sales.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Is it worth #publishing one chapter at a time?

Astronomicon: The Beginning
The world of indie publishing is a large and often complicated world. There are an ever increasing ways to publish your work and everyone seems to have different idea of what works. I suspect that different genres and formats are better suited to different methods and media, but are there any firm patterns emerging?

I've tried publishing e-books, paperbacks, short stories and even publishing one chapter at a time on Wattpad.com. The latter has been an interesting experience but I don't feel it's worked too well so far.

I decided to publish the whole of the first Astronomicon novel chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad.com, but rather than just cutting and pasting each chapter, after much research,  I went for a slightly different approach. I created shorter chapters by cutting each chapter into several shorter ones. This both catered for the tendency towards short attention spans online and gave me many more chapters to post. I am currently posting about five chapters per week so having more chapters extends the run time of the experiment. On Wattpad it seems that a lot of short chapters work better than a few long ones. I guess short instalments are more accessible and less of a commitment?

If you want to see this format, check it out on Wattpad.com. There are 25 chapters posted at the time of writing this. What I am most interested to see is the fall off rate of each chapter, to see how many people are still reading by the last chapter. It could prove to be a useful diagnostic tool as any poorly performing chapter, in terms of keeping the readers' attention, should stand out. This may allow me to improve the guilty chapters and increase the book's ability to grip readers.

I will report back soon.

Saturday, 16 November 2013