Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More Eggs, More Baskets - Terry Odell

Please welcome Terry Odell for another interesting and informative guest piece.

I started writing a new book last week. I'd been between projects with other writing-related activities taking up my time. What I didn't realize until I immersed myself in Chapter 1 was that I need to write. It's a stress-release for me. If you're a writer, you write because writing is like breathing. You simply have to do it.

But will it make you rich? If you're looking at the success stories of the few rich and famous authors, you're going to feel like a failure from Day One. There are no overnight success stories. No shortcuts. A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. And nowadays, when the odds of a new author breaking into the Big Six are getting slimmer and slimmer, and the mid-list authors are going the way of the dodo, I decided to investigate alternate publishing methods.

Yes, I'd heard Joe Konrath preach that e-books were the get-rich-quick scheme of publishing. Two of my publishers focused on e-books, so I was a very early reader of the format. When my publisher remaindered my first Blackthorne, Inc. book, I took it the indie e-book route. I priced it at 99 cents and waited for the money roll in. Only it didn't. Even though I had 5 other books published via more traditional, albeit small presses, I had no track record in the indie market.

But I kept going, adding more books to my list as rights reverted to me. Slowly, I saw royalty checks that were bigger than the ones I'd been getting from my publishers. Mind you, those were so small that "bigger" didn't mean much. I remember rejoicing in my first 3 digit (in front of the decimal point) check.

I watched countless people tout their successes with the Amazon Select program. However, by now, I was selling books at other venues as well as Amazon. I didn't want to risk pulling them and locking them into Amazon only for 90 days. The perk of getting to price books as free didn't make enough sense to me. Most of the stories I'd heard raved about how many copies they gave away, and how high their books moved in the free column at Amazon. But I didn't hear nearly as many stories about how much money they made when they had to move to the for sale side of the business.

My theory, for whatever it's worth, was to make my books available to as many readers as possible, regardless of what kind of an e-reader they had. The fact that I have a NOOK, not a Kindle, played into that decision. Even though the majority of my sales came from Amazon, I wasn't ready to dismiss my other readers.

I took out the occasional ad, played with Facebook and Twitter, but to be honest, those are all crap shoots. Most people don't want to see promotions in the Social Media networks.

Mostly, I kept writing books. I have 8 e-books available now. I bypassed the publisher for my last 3 releases. I've watched my Amazon sales climb each month, so I'm now selling about 80+ books a day there. I don't play with pricing. I don't move books from one venue to another. I find the best promotion is simply keeping one's name visible, and that's a slow process. Just remember: Marathon, not Sprint.

But I broke my own rule last month for a special promotion offered by Barnes &Noble. It was only a 30 day commitment, and only a one-shot deal, unlike Amazon's program. I decided to gamble with my newest release, Saving Scott.

For me, it was a major success. I now have many new readers from Barnes & Noble. I'm selling hundreds of books a day there, where I used to be thrilled with ten. But as soon as my 30 days are up, I'm going to be adding  Saving Scott to all the other e-stores. For me, it's about having lots of baskets, with as many eggs as possible in each one.

If you're interested in my experiences with the NOOK First program you can find them on my own blog in the following posts.

Nook First or Amazon SelectNook First, Week 1:   Nook First, Week 2:  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terry Odell is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Her newest indie release, Saving Scott, is part of the Nook First promotion. It will be exclusive at Barnes & Noble for 30 days, but will be available at all other e-book stores the latter part of April.  Her next traditional release is Rooted in Danger, which is book 3 in her Blackthorne, Inc. series. It's available for pre-order. Buy links are HERE. To see all her books, visit her Web site. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.

Posted by Maryann Miller who agrees that slow and steady wins the race. Wait, isn't that a cliche?
Bookmark and Share

19 comments :

  1. Thank you for this helpful article, Terry. It is so interesting to me to see the different strategies authors have used to boost their sales. I think one key component, whether trying yours or the KDP Select via Amazon, is to keep writing and get more books out there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maryann, totally, totally true. Our product is "books" not "A book."

    And I'll be interested to see what happens next week when SAVING SCOTT is available at Amazon & Smashwords. It'll take a little longer to hit the other stores, because I use Smashwords to distribute to them, but it's all about having lots of things for readers to choose from.

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Terry. Thanks so much for this. I'm excited about the small press I signed with for my first novel, but I'm seriously considering self publishing the next because of profit and control. However, to do it right is an investment, and it's good to hear of authors benefiting. I have no problem with slow and steady, as long as I can keep writing and see the pay off.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stacy, I've been with small presses, and I think it's an excellent way to understand the business side of things. I don't think I'd ever have gone indie with a first book (not that the option even existed then, other than a vanity press)

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

    ReplyDelete
  5. Terry, that was a big reason for my signing with Muse. I needed to learn and wanted the support. I'm very happy so far, don't get me wrong. But I do want to try the other options, eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stacy, I think that's wise. And, the more options, the better. We never know what's going to stick when we throw things at the wall.


    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think you are so right, Terry. Write the best book you can, then write another book, and then another. Promote them all wherever seems logical, and eventually you achieve name recognition and a sort of critical mass. I'm most impressed with authors who release a new book at least once a year, and who have 10-20 titles listed on their webpages. Many seem to make a normal living at it, too. Get rich quick is just so... I don't know... unbalanced somehow. Why not treat writing as your long-term career?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Terry, since I love your books so much, I'm pleased that you are selling more books, that your name is becoming more well known, and that you're going to keep writing. Everyone is happy!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dani - Yep. Shortcuts aren't the way to go if you're looking for a career, not a lottery win.

    Karen - thanks SO much!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Terry, do you have a link for more Nook First info? I don't find anything and bn.com. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dani - Nook First isn't advertised; word of mouth keeps them busy enough, since it's a limited program. Email me and I'll give you the contact information.

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations on your increasing sales! I hadn't heard about Nook First before now. Everything seems to be about the Kindle.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Helen - yes, everyone thinks Amazon is the only place to be, but I've always been a bit of a square peg in a round hole. And a staunch supporter of the underdog.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Terry, tried to email via your site, but got kicked off. See your mailbox.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Terri, thanks for this frank and encouraging overview of your career, and congrats on your great success!

    While my agent has my novel out to publishers, after years of editing and rewriting to find the true heart of that complex book, I'm getting back to writing here as well. It feels awkward in a way, but absolutely necessary.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am SO sorry: "Terry." And I was recently busting on people for misspelling my unusual name! Please forgive me.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Terry, thanks for the wonderful reminder to have patience and keep working. I need to remember that just like in real life, I am a much better endurance athlete than sprinter. And just like when training for a marathon, you need to put in your training hours if you wish to finish with a smile on your face.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Marathon eh? Any water stations along the way ... I wouldn't ming a little refreshment.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kathryn -- the advice is always, "write the next book"

    Astrid - so true. And on the actual marathon side of things, my daughter always finishes with a smile. She puts in her training.

    Christoper. Of course. And some might even have chocolate.

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...