Clearly, more organizations are catching on, and here's a news organization that is delving into "rapid publish ebooks".

I think one of the keys, and this works for fiction as well, is to have a growing and large inventory of books available, which can amount to larger sales over time.

Here's the article. While it is focused on non-fiction and news reporting, there are a lot of take aways here.

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Random House is a legacy publisher.  They take a big chunk out of your earnings without doing much in return.


As for the large inventory:  I take my time over my stories and novels. What will happen here is that people will crank out crap as fast as possible to build their offerings, because they have to to stay alive in that competitive arena.

That's true about having a large inventory. Unfortunately, some authors will translate that as meaning "crank out as much as possible as soon as possible."

You have to look long-term. In 10 years, any honest author is going to have a large inventory. It can either be quality or crap. I don't publish as much fiction as I could because I want to be in the former, not the latter.

I think the word "large" needs to be defined.

I'd argue, that if she can get all the electronic rights to everything she's published, Ingrid would have what I view as a "large" inventory.

A handful of short stories and a handful of novels, and you have enough to start to build - you have enough inventory for repeat sales.

Cranking out the crap will work, unfortunately. It worked in Legacy publishing, as evidenced by Babysitter's Club, Mack Bolan, and certain other formulaic, marginally written series that would publish five or six novels per year. And sold like a certain market segment.

With self-publishing, though, the key is authors who are taking control of their publishing futures must also take control of their marketing. Once they do that, that inventory will begin to churn.

Well, I can't get the rights.  The problem is that e-rights have become so valuable that my former publisher will keep the print editions on offer and raise the price on the e-books.  At that rate, they'll never stop selling and I'll never get back my e-rights.  Meanwhile, traditional publishers will not pick up any of my new novels without e-rights, even though I have a proven library market.  It's a stand-off.


But yes, certainly I can move forward on my own with what I have.  Publicity is very hard to come by. I do not, for example, know how to communicate with a human being at Amazon in order to discuss promotion.  But I can manipulate prices to stimulate sales.  And I can learn to use twitter.

eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww, I hate Twitter, but it can be useful.

Have you experimented much with prices and what have you seen? I've read Konrath's blog - he certainly has some strong views on pricing.

It's too soon to tell.  I have 4 stories with a 99 c. price tag and one at 2.99.  They are selling equally (slowly). The 2.99 one though is the Shamus winner.

The point that has been made on Konrath's blog is that people who want free stuff or novels at 99 c. are not the sort of readers you want to encourage because they only care about cheap and will not return.

I also have a novel at 99 c. for one month;  this vs. 4.99 for the others.  There is a bit more activity for the cheap one, but no startling numbers.  It's possible that the 99 c. novel has sent some people to buy some of the others.  But I have no significant numbers to share on any of this.

There's a lot of back and forth about pricing. It's different for every author. Stephen King isn't selling novels at $4.99. I am because it fits where I am in my career.

One hard truth is that total revenue is a better measure of success than an Amazon ranking. I need to sell 10 of my short stories at 99 cents to equal what I make off one novel at $4.99. The novel won't rank as high as the short stories, but I will make more money off it.

Some authors are obsessed with inching that Amazon ranking higher and higher. It's a fun, tangible thing to watch. But money is what goes into the beer fund, not rankings.

Very true!

I agree and have set up for myself a rather strict pricing policy based on the size of the work.
$4.99-$5.99 for novels and full-size anthologies 70-110k words
$2.99 for novellas, five-story collections 20-69k words
$0.99 for short stories with occassional free loss leaders and promotional giveaways.
My best seller is the novel at $4.99.
My series short stories sell better than my standalones.
Just food for thought, and yes the rankinngs are fun to watch,but I agree, show me the money. :)
Good luck all,
David DeLee
Fatal Destiny - a Grace deHaviland novel

Do you feel the Amazon ranking is unimportant?

I only ask because I have a client who sells his product (a piece of exercise equipment) exclusively via Amazon, and to him, the Amazon ranking is everything. He gets is a VERY bad mood when it slips.

Just curious.

It's important, but it's not the most important. If your client is only selling one item, there probably isn't a difference between money and ranking. But if you have a diversified inventory, ranking takes a seat behind money.

My guess is that customer reviews are more important. For books, it's particularly confsuing and meaningless because it lists all sales (I think it used to include freebies) regardless of price.  Cheap stuff sells much faster, a lot of it just as impulse buys. What you want is sales to returning customers. Amazon doesn't count them.  But it does have a cool feature showing what else people bought. If a page shows that customers also bought other books by this author, then that's an excellent plus.


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