Decisions

Here’s a sentence that probably doesn’t make sense if you aren’t self-publishing things right now: I’m not sure if I should stay exclusive to Amazon or not.

That seems like a pretty silly statement, because sure, Amazon’s Kindle accounts for most of the ebook sales, but why limit my books to just that one distributor when there is also Apple and Nook and Kobo and so on?  There doesn’t appear to be a solid reason to deliberately limit my exposure in that way.Immortal_Cover58

Perhaps.  But it turns out Amazon can be kind of a bitch about this.

There’s this thing called the Kindle Select program.  If your book is in Kindle Select it becomes eligible for the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program (take notes! This is going to get complicated!), which is their monthly subscription service.  You are also not eligible for the Kindle Lending Library (KOLL), which is… a library thing, I think.  If you aren’t in Select, your book is not eligible and you don’t get any of the benefits from KU/KOLL.

What are the benefits of KU/KOLL?

  1. People borrow your book

That’s it, that’s the benefit.

Hang on, there’s more

Okay, sorry, it’s more complicated than that.  Every borrow means money for the author.  How much is variable from month-to-month and dependent upon Amazon’s mood ring interface, the lunar cycle, and a dart board in Jeff Bezos‘s office, but it’s been between $1.30 and $2.10 per borrow.

Hellenic_Immortal20This is a low number if your book is being sold for $4,99 and up, and it’s super-fantastic if your book is being sold for $0.99.

For my Immortal Chronicles, it’s just about perfect because I sell those at $2.99 apiece.  I get more per book for each sale than I do for each borrow, but not a lot more.

If one can argue that three people might borrow a book that, if unavailable to borrow, only two would buy, I’m coming out ahead.  Those additional borrows also help with the Amazon sales rank, because they count the same as a sale to Amazon’s algorithms, and borrows bump a rank immediately.  (Sales don’t count until the money is collected.)Immortal-Edge-of-World-Low-Res-Cover

It’s a good deal for me, in other words.  The problem is, one of the requirements of being in Select is that I’m only in Select.  The books can’t be on sale anywhere else.

Going wide

Here’s my dilemma.  As a hybrid author, I have four novels that are indie published– Immortal, Hellenic Immortal, Immortal at the Edge of the World, and Fixer.  All of them were distributed wide and in print, and all of them sold well, although Amazon Kindle is still by far the biggest contributor to my royalty checks.

Last year I started self-publishing The Immortal Chronicles while waiting for book three of the above Immortal trilogy (Fixer is a standalone book that has its own sequel pending) to come out.  This was a way to draw attention to the novels and to create new interest in the main character, and it worked extremely well.

GeneDoucette_ImmortalatSea1400Soon, the Chronicles began to take on a life of their own, and I started to feel bad for the readers I felt I was leaving behind.  Some of the trilogy’s fans bought books in print, and others bought the novels on their Nooks or through Apple.  I was telling new stories for Adam the immortal and ignoring people who wanted those stories.

I decided the best way to take care of this was to publish an anthology that covered the first three Chronicle books, something I could put out in print with a respectable number of pages, and something I could keep out of Select and release through other platforms.

Ah, but I couldn’t do that last thing, because the content of the anthology included stories that were in Kindle Select.  They had to come out of Select first.GeneDoucette_HardBoiledImmortal1400

Now the dilemma

As of this afternoon, the first three books in The Immortal Trilogy– Immortal At Sea, Hard-Boiled Immortal and Immortal and the Madman– are all available on other platforms.  This means I’m free to release the anthology– First Folio– the same way.  (It’s already in print.)

But now I’m dubious.  See, here’s the problem.  The first two books have been out of Select and available on other platforms for about a month– Madman just went live today– and in that time the numbers for all my books on the Kindle have dropped.

GeneDoucette_ImmortalandtheMadman1400Book four of the Chronicles– Yuletide Immortal– came out in December and all four sold very well, but in December all of them were also in Select.  Since these are standalone novellas, they don’t need to be read in order, but it looks like when a “book four” came out it boosted interest in books 1-3, and it only helped that all four could be borrowed.

Will that happen again when Regency Immortal comes out next month?  It will be released in Select, and coming out right when Yuletide comes off Select.  (It’s a 90 day commitment, unless it’s renewed.)  Can a “book five” sell well–and borrow well–under these circumstances?  I honestly don’t know.

The other channelsGeneDoucette_YuletideImmortal1400

What I do know is that right now the other distribution channels aren’t picking up the slack, by which I mean the sales I’m getting from them aren’t offsetting what I think I’m probably losing in borrows from Kindle Unlimited.  Worse, it’s possible the entire Amazon promotional machine may be tied to Unlimited.

Right now my marketing plan is: release new books in Select but only for the first 90 days, which is when the most borrows occur, then go wide after that 90 day period is up.  I plan to stick with this approach to see if I can get some traction from Nook and Apple and Kobo, but if they can’t figure out how to connect the readers of my novels–and I know they’re out there–with the novellas, I might end up pulling the books and returning to Select.

I don’t want to do that.  What I want is for everyone who would like to buy one of my books to have that opportunity, via whatever channel is available.  (Actually, what I really want is for Amazon to take away the exclusivity part of Select.  That would solve all of this.)  I might not be able to afford to do that, though.

GeneDoucette_RegencyImmortal1400Anyway

If you’re a fan, and you don’t have a Kindle, I’m thinking of you.  If, in six months or a year, I end up abandoning you for the exclusive waters of Kindle Select, please don’t take it personally.

It’s not you, it’s me.

*Note: I appreciate the irony of all the Amazon links above.  Here is the link to all my books at Barnes and Noble. I have yet to find an easy web-based interface with Apple.

UPDATE: a reader who knows how to do things I don’t was able to hook me up with a link to my Apple books page.  Here it is!

Latest draftGeneDoucette_RegencyImmortal1400

I took the day to finish a new draft of Regency Immortalbecause I’m unreasonably paranoid about these things, by which I mean “putting a book up for pre-sale before I have finished it.”

My current approach is to not do this–post a listing on Amazon, I mean–until I have made it to the end of the first draft.  Before then I don’t even know what my ending is going to look like, most times (I don’t outline) or how long the story is, or whether I’m going to like either of those things.

I did wait, but by the time I got to the end I realized the story I wanted to tell was going to have to be a little different in the middle–because romance!–and the story was going to end very much with a “to be continued” sort of vibe.

Sorry, spoilers!th

GoodReads

Having finished that new draft, I added Regency Immortal to GoodReads, so if you’re a part of GoodReads, take a second to add it to your shelf.

Thunderclap

I’ve also started a new Thunderclap campaign for the release.  I thought this went very well for Yuletide Immortal so I figured why not try it again?  As always, a Thunderclap only works if people just like you help me out, so if you can, follow this link and add your social network of choice to the campaign.

While you’re there, if you could also help out with this campaign, a guy named Damian Jericho will be very grateful.

Finally…

Book six of The Immortal Chronicles is still a long way away.  I need to put more work in on the unnamed novel #4 for Adam (perhaps the start of a new trilogy… perhaps…) but I can tell you already what the name of that sixth book is going to be called: Eve.

I know…th

Book five in The Immortal ChroniclesGeneDoucette_RegencyImmortal1400

Happy Monday!  The biggest news from the weekend: The Patriots won the Super Bowl!  Regency Immortal went live!

I’ve set it up with a release date of March third, just so I have a little extra time to get the story where it needs to be.  Translated: it’s supposed to be a romance, and I don’t know if I know what I’m doing.

Adam, as you can imagine, is not terribly romantic.

Here’s the blurb:

“Anna was beautiful and smart and just the right kind of dangerous to get me killed, which was often what I looked for in a woman, to be entirely honest. The interesting ones are somehow almost always the ones who come with life-threatening risk on the side. It keeps my life exciting, and might also explain why I have trust issues.”
–Adam the immortal

Adam has accidentally stumbled upon an important period in history: Vienna in 1814. Mostly, he’d just like to continue to enjoy the local pubs, but that becomes impossible when he meets Anna, an intriguing woman with an unreasonable number of secrets and sharp objects.

Anna is hunting down a man who isn’t exactly a man, and if Adam doesn’t help her, all of Europe will suffer. If Adam does help, the cost may be his own life. It’s not a fantastic set of options. Also, he’s probably fallen in love with her, which just complicates everything.

Pre-order your copy now!

The latest Immortal Chronicle

I’m nearing the completion of the first draft of volume five in The Immortal Chronicles: Regency Immortal.  I’m hoping to roll it out for everyone by the end of March, but look!  I already have a cover!

I’m excited!  How could I not be with this cover?

GeneDoucette_RegencyImmortal1400

Wait, I could just quit?Image

I have a new article up at the Huffington Post this afternoon.

I didn’t know quitting was an option.

I imagine that sounds a little like a derivation of one of those motivational-slash-inspirational mantras that someone with a title like “life coach” shouts at an unreasonable volume, or possibly the beginning of a convoluted humble-brag, and that isn’t necessarily where I’m going with this. I only mean that when it comes to writing, it legitimately never occurred to me that I could (or should) simply not write anymore. Like, at all.

Here’s a link to the full article

The Immortal Chronicles anthology #1GeneDoucette_FirstFolio1400

You can now pick up the first three books in The Immortal Chronicles in one volume!  That volume is First Folio: Pirates, Succubi and Madmen and the ebook edition (Kindle only) went on sale this morning.  You can download your copy here.

Paperback

Also for the first time, you can own Immortal Chronicles stories in print, if you enjoy that sort of thing.  That edition is on sale online more or less everywhere books are sold.  My two personal favorites are the Createspace Store and Amazonbut don’t let me talk you out of getting it from somewhere else.

And this is the full cover, which makes the whole thing worth owning, in my opinion.

GeneDoucette_FirstFolio_full

The first Immortal Chronicles anthology

We are one week away from the formal digital release of First Folio: Pirates, Succubi and Madmen, the first anthology collection of The Immortal Chronicles!

If you’re a reader of the Immortal novels but have not yet delved into the shorter novellas, now is your opportunity to own the first three Chronicle stories in one volume.  And unlike the individual stories, the anthology is available in print!

Also, look at this cover.  LOOK at it!  It’s gorgeous!

GeneDoucette_FirstFolio_full

First Folio is also listed on Goodreads, so buy a copy, and add it to your Goodreads shelf

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