My second commitment with KDP Select, where Amazon Prime members can borrow books for free (Amazon pays the author a nice royalty and gives the author the opportunity to make his or her novel free for up to 5 days during the 3 month commitment period), ended a month ago. I chose not to renew this time for a few reasons: (1) The initial "free effect" (as my fellow indie authors were calling it) where an eBook coming off a free run got a nice boost in the sales rankings was wearing off due to some supposed Amazon algorithm changes, (2) the number of borrows per month was steadily declining for me, and (3) I really don't like the exclusivity part of the Select agreement.
The last point basically means that when a novel is enrolled in KDP Select the author cannot sell that novel through any other retailer. No Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo or even selling or serializing the content on one's own web site or blog. This wasn't as much of an issue early on when the money was rolling in, but as the Select effect fizzled, so too did my desire to remain with it. Once my enrollment period expired, I got out.
Which is to say that my eBooks, The Five Elements and The Hall of the Wood, are now available for purchase outside Amazon. You can still buy my books on Amazon, but you can now also buy them here:
If you do decide to buy one of my novels, please take the time to go back to that retailer and leave a review or rating. Reviews help your fellow readers discover great new reads.
There's a lot of discussion amongst both writers and readers about the "correct" price for an eBook. Take 99 cents, for example. Some writers feel 99 cents is too low; you can't make a decent living wage without having to sell an astronomical amount of books. Some readers look on that price as an indication of lack of quality. Others see it as a benefit because they can read more books at less cost. And if a 99 cent eBook isn't good, no big loss. $2.99, in my opinion, is a fairer price for an author. Writing a book is a lot of work. At $2.99, an author makes about $2 per book sold, which is much better than the $0.35 he or she makes on a 99 cent eBook. Typically, I price my eBooks at $2.99 for this reason. While I'm not quitting my day job anytime soon, I feel that the $2.99 price point both rewards my efforts while maintaining a low enough cost for readers that they shouldn't think too hard about making the purchase. I've experimented with higher prices: $3.99 and $4.99. I've had some success with the former and a bit less with the latter. Inevitably, I seem to come back to $2.99 as my standard eBook price.
However, for this week at least, I've reduced the prices on both of my eBooks to $0.99. If you're on the fence, this is probably a good time to jump in and get each for a pretty low price. They both clock in at around 110,000-120,000 words and have been getting some pretty decent reviews. Here are the links:
The Five Elements
The Hall of the Wood
The Five Elements is now part of the Magic Appreciation Tour site. Here's my listing:
The MA site serves two purposes: (1) it connects authors with other authors and (2) it gives fantasy readers a place to find some great, new reads. The proprietor of the site, Daniel Marvello, also organizes "reading tours" where authors help each other out with reviews and other promotional "stuff" (Twitter, etc.). This isn't an uncommon practice and there's no obligation to either read or, more importantly, review something, especially if as a reader/reviewer you find it's something that isn't working for you.
The Summer 2012 Tour approaches. There was a previous Tour in the Spring of which I did not participate because I wasn't aware of the site at that time, but I'll happily jump into this one. I'm not entirely certain how the Tour will take shape, but you may wind up seeing some related posts here once things get going.
Continuing down the path of narcissism, I give you another stellar review for The Five Elements, this one from a very nice Goodreads member who won a copy of the novel via a Goodreads giveaway I ran not too long ago.
Here's the review:
I loved this book! Read it through in one night! The characters take you along for quite an adventure! The characters are very believable in some unbelievable situations but they display very real and sometimes raw emotions. Very well written. An exciting plot and subplots which weave a fantastic adventure. If you like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, you will definitely enjoy this book. I personally hope to see more from Scott Marlowe! Well done! – Phoenix Carvelli
I'm stunned she read it through in one night. I'm also stunned—and appreciative—that she seemed to have liked it so much.
I'm rounding out the remainder of my KDP Select free promotion days for both The Five Elements and The Hall of the Wood this week. If you're one of my two blog readers, then get your trigger finger ready, cause it's almost time to download.
Unlike some other promotional runs, I'm not going to go crazy promoting this one. This post will go up, then get syndicated over to Amazon and Goodreads and that's it. Alright, so I'll put it up on Twitter, too, but that's really it. This promotional stuff wears you out after a while. I'm also trying to keep my focus on the next book in The Alchemancer series which follows The Five Elements. It's going to be good, and that's all I'll say.
As for the free promotions, here's how it's going to go down:
4/10 – 4/11 (Tue-Wed): The Hall of the Wood goes free.
4/12 (Thur): For 1 day only, The Five Elements goes free.
The Five Elements for whatever reason always does well with these things. Thousands of downloads which then translate into hundreds of sales for so many days afterwards. The Hall of the Wood gets a fair amount of downloads—in the hundreds—but then never really does much after that. I guess it's the content. The Hall of the Wood is Tolkien-like, traditional fantasy, which just ain't in style anymore. The Five Elements is most definitely not traditional fantasy. Come Thursday, download it, read it, review it. That's all I ask.