Sales


Some words

*   *   *

In instances such as this, with a book that is seriously the biggest mindfuck EVER, I struggle to even wrap my head around what I just got done reading….

*   *   *

I have been rendered speechless many times after reading a book for a whole lot of reasons. This time, lost for words because I’m incredulously thunderstruck, I think I was even trembling while reading one memorable scene…

*   *   *

Doucette has managed to get into the head of his female lead so thoroughly that, despite her unbelievable circumstances, the reader feels intensely for her…

*   *   *

Trying out a new genre

By now you know what Sapphire Blue is and you know what a lot of the reviewers have had to say about it.  And if you’re reading this you might have also decided not to read it.SB32

I understand.

I have, for a number of years now, developed a core readership with my mashed up sci-fi/fantasy books Immortal, Hellenic Immortaland Fixerand this has worked out pretty well for all of us.

Then I wrote Sapphire Blue, an erotic novel, which is very, very far removed from anything you’ve seen from me before.  (The closest I ever got to this kind of writing was the sex scene in Hellenic Immortal and maybe the succubus short story we released at the end of Immortal.)

I’m sure some of you were confused by this.  I’m also sure many of you have never read erotica before.  So maybe you liked my other books but know you aren’t reading this one because it’s not what you look for in a book.

Immortal_Cover58Also: maybe you’re a dude.  This is one of the consequences of going from a genre with a largely male readership to one that is mostly female.  I lose everything I have built up with my other work, because most of you are simply not going to follow me down that road.

And I can’t even be surprised by this, because I don’t read erotica either.

More words

*   *   *

For someone just dipping his toes in the erotic pool, this book is fantastic. I love the controversy that surrounds it.

*   *   *

I really wish I had someone to discuss the book with because of the many shocking moments, not the least of which was the ending…

*   *   *

What a mindf*ck, my jaw is still dropped! Sapphire Blue by author G. Doucette will either make you run away screaming in terror, or have you spellbound, it all depends upon your erotica intensity level. While I’m still half running/ craving more, this archeological erotica will have your mind and body buzzing with wth moments.

*   *   *

Pride of authorship

Hellenic_Immortal20This is why being an author can be maddening at times.  Because I know I can say to you, my reader, if you liked the other things I wrote you will enjoy this as well because I wrote it, and I am proud of it.  This is a true statement whether you identify as a man or a woman, whether you’ve read erotica or not.  (It is not true if you are my mother, but she’s the only one getting a pass today.)  But there are only so many ways I can say that.  Eventually I have to rely upon some of you reading it and telling people about it.

Fixer_Hi-Res_CoverIt’s true that erotica sells.  It’s also true that every book needs a word-of-mouth effect in order to be found.  Recommendations are more important to a novel succeeding than any marketing, which is why on the one hand I understand if you don’t want to read it because it isn’t what you are used to, on the other hand you are exactly who should be reading it, and telling other people about it.  Because you already know my writing, and Sapphire Blue is as good as anything I have ever done.

Still more words

*   *   *

Taken for what it is — which is paranormal erotica and horror and suspense — Sapphire Blue is compelling and well-written and not a little disturbing. Really freaking disturbing at times. 

*   *   *

The author created original, well developed characters and a plot that kept me engaged.

*   *   *

It reads kind of like Fifty Shades. Poor girl, rich intriguing guy etc etc but it’s also different from it. There’s a stronger plot and better characters.

*   *   *

Getting the word out

What Sapphire Blue needs is readers.  To that end, we’re going to try something next week.

Hang on, this calls for a banner.

SB-eBook-Sale

There we are.

We’re going to be selling Sapphire Blue for only $0.99 for seven days (on Amazon and iBooks, and at the TWCS website) so if you are one of my readers and you consume e-books, now is your chance to prove me right (or wrong.)  I think you’ll like this, because I think you’ll like something I’ve written.  And it will only cost you $0.99 to see what all those quotes above are talking about.

Full Cover 1

More importantly

You have friends, many of you have websites, most of you have Twitter accounts, most of you have Facebook.  Next week, help me get the word out.  Take that banner (or I can email it to you) and share it.  Share this article.  Send people to Sapphire Blue and tell them to give it a try.  Next week is their chance.

All quotes above were taken from Goodreads reviews

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How to write a good sex scene

I made my debut today as a contributor to the Huffington Post with an article on How to write a good sex scene.  Give it a read!

Incidentally the rest of the title was supposed to be “(or how not to write a bad sex scene)” which is really a more accurate description.

As with all things Internet-based, your shares, likes, retweets, reblogs and reposts can only help.

Price changeSB32

The ebook price for Sapphire Blue is now $4.99.  (At least, on Amazon it is.)  We decided to go with a price that is more in line with the genre standard.  So if you were holding out, you have even less of a reason to do so…

Fixer_Hi-Res_CoverDirect from the publisher

We are four weeks away from Fixer‘s official debut, which means you’re four weeks away from having the book you can pre-order right now sent to you!

Okay, that’s probably the worst pitch I’ve ever written, but it’s the middle of the day, on a Friday, and I’m hitting an afternoon food coma.

Forgive me.

And after you’ve forgiven me, follow this link right here to pre-order your own hard copy of the best book you’ll read this year.

…okay, that was a little better.

Also

If you pre-order a copy I will mail you a signed book plate for it.

Is that cool?  I think that’s pretty cool.

Pre-ordering ebooks

If you happen to be a fan of the electronic book format, you will also find that it is possible to pre-order a copy of the ebook right now from iTunes.

Tracking sales ranking

I’ve been confusing my friends and family a lot lately due to my addiction to Amazon.  I don’t mean shopping, I mean watching other people buy my books.  It’s unhealthy, and I understand that it’s unhealthy, and I can’t seem to stop.  Or make any sense.

“Okay but what does that mean?”

What happens is, I’ll look up one of my books on Amazon– this is a lie, it’ll already be open, I’m just hitting refresh– and say something like, “It’s below thirty-thousand!” and whoever I’m speaking to will either A: ignore me (recommended) or B: ask, “what does that number mean?”

It doesn’t mean I’ve sold thirty-thousand copies.  That would mean larger numbers are better, but this is a sales rank, meaning it’s the overall rank of the book in comparison to a much larger pool of books for sale.

As for what the rank means in terms of sales, I really didn’t know and couldn’t find out easily.  And that was how I went through most of June, looking at the rank for Immortal and Hellenic Immortal and wondering what their sales rank meant in terms of real sales.

July

Then July happened.  Something weird transpired in July that the publicist termed (and she might have invented this) a “media hangover”.  We had a big media push in May when Hellenic debuted, and that push involved a blog tour, some print media, and my appearing on television, twice.  The result was a modest bump in sales in May that essentially vanished in June.  I knew there was more print media coverage coming (it’s still pending, because print media is for-fucking-ever) but basically I was a wreck for most of June.

In July, I gave a nice long interview for a podcast, and a new review popped up, but there wasn’t really anything else of note.  Despite this, sales exploded.  Suddenly those sales rankings I was babbling about weren’t in the thirty-thousands, they were in the three thousands.

But what does it MEAN?

I didn’t know what these numbers meant in terms of real live sales, but I found a website called NovelRank that I thought would help.  It tracked every time a book’s rank moved up and calculated each bump as a sale.  So I plugged in both books and started using that to figure out how many books I was selling.  (Note: obviously, I get a real report from the publisher on a month-to-month basis.  I was doing this because I can’t wait for that report, because I’m insane.)

Now.  There is an obvious weakness in NovelRank’s scheme, and it’s one that the site itself admits openly to: it isn’t very good at tracking sales for books that have sold over 100 copies in a month.  (It is very good at tracking sales for books that are in the lower range, and it’s really meant as a tool to see how well a promotion might be going and that sort of thing.)  At a certain level a sales rank improvement– or a sales rank that only improves slightly or worsens slightly– is an indication of X number of books sold since the last time the rank was updated, with X being “a number greater than one”.

Another problem with NovelRank’s scheme is Amazon really only updates the ranks about eight times a day, so the best I was ever going to see was eight books sold per day.  And this turns out to be… a little low.

That media hangover

It occurs to me, well after the fact, that most people don’t buy books as soon as they hear about them.  They add them to wish-lists and buy them later.  The delay between May and July appears to be exactly that.  With allowances made for the possibility that folks who heard my radio interview made immediate impulse buys after hearing me talk about myself for an hour or so, that May push (and specifically the television appearances) worked much better than it appeared to have at the time.

And now Immortal is regularly holding its own ranked below 4000 overall and Hellenic is humming along at below 9000 overall.

What do these ranks mean in real sales?

Um…

I can’t tell you

OK, I only have a rough idea, but it’s a lot better than 8 books a day.  It’s also better than all of the other months combined, going back to when Immortal first debuted in 2010.

So as you can imagine, I’m happy with where we’re going.  And I see no reason to stop addictively hitting refresh any time soon.  Or, not until I have a best-seller.

Then maybe.

That sound you hear is me holding my breath

I am slowly going insane.  This insanity is due to the following facts:

  1. Immortal and Hellenic Immortal are both doing very well, both in terms of sales and reviews, however…
  2. …there is more press coverage coming.
  3. Eventually.

The press in question is of the sort I can’t talk about right now.  Because talking about it before it happens will look pretty terrible if it doesn’t happen.  Just know that there are some big things to come, and I am excited enough about it that I can’t do much of anything but hold my breath and wait.

And this is absolutely killing me.

Book Three

A dirty little secret that isn’t all that dirty or secret is that I haven’t begun writing the next book in the Immortal series yet, which is causing some of you a degree of anguish which I am both impressed and surprised by.  It will get written, but… oh okay, here’s another list.

  1. Adam’s “voice” is a reflection of mine, and his moods are as well.  My first draft of Hellenic Immortal was started around 2006 or so when I was still pissed off that Immortal hadn’t been sold yet, and that frustration became a part of his voice, which in turn became him being grouchy about Clara.  Imagine, if you will, what his voice might sound like right now, if I start writing new material while also holding my breath.
  2. I have actually not written a fresh and new piece for a little while, and I have less time than I used to.  The fundamental change is that my office moved and I am now commuting to that office by bike, which means I’m spending 3 hours a day in the saddle instead of getting fat in front of my computer.  The good news is, I’m in fantastic shape, but I’m going to have to figure out a solution that gives me more wide-awake free time.
  3. I don’t quite have enough yet to start writing.  I have pieces, but the big picture isn’t there yet.  I don’t need a lot– I don’t outline and do very, very little planning when writing, and usually start well before someone else would– but I need more than I have.

Still: nobody panic.  The work will get done.

New publisher

As I explained here, Immortal is changing publishing houses, and Hellenic Immortal is on board with the same publisher.  That publisher?  The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, henceforth known as TWCS because that’s a mouthful of a name.

I met some folks from TWCS at the Indie Book Event over the summer, and honestly I think the only reason it took this long to inquire about working with them was that I thought they only handled romance.

You will find that TWCS has a website!  And marketing!  And promotions!  And you will likely find that the least expensive place to buy their books is directly from their website, so keep that link on-hand.

Publishing dates

The new edition of Immortal will be available February 9, 2012.  This edition will have a new cover design (about which you will hear more about just as soon as we figure out what the hell the new cover should look like) and it will be marketed as having a bonus chapter/teaser for Hellenic Immortal.  I would LOVE it if you, a fan who has already read Immortal, picked up a new copy of the book.  But I’m going to be honest with you: the bonus chapter is the same thing I shared with you at the beginning of the summer.  You can read it for free right now here.

The publishing date for Hellenic Immortal is April 5, 2012.

Keep in mind these dates are written in very dark pencil, not ink.  Ahead still is: editing; cover design for both books; navigating the mayhem likely to ensue when attempting to issue a new edition of a book from a different publisher than the one who published the old edition, which is going to wreak havoc with online retailers.

Now then: anyone want to pitch a cover idea to me? I’m open to anything.

Birthday wishes

“I don’t want everything.  Where would I put it?”

Stephen Wright

As today is my birthday, I have decided to be obnoxious, which I admit is not a large step for me but here it goes.

Read Immortal

That’s what I want from you, on this, the occasion of my forty-third birthday.  I would like for you to go out and find my novel Immortal through whatever means you have at your disposal, and read it, and enjoy it, and then tell people about it.

“My god,” you’re thinking, “He wasn’t kidding.  That’s obnoxious!”  I agree!  But I get to be obnoxious on my birthday.

But really?

Yes, really!  Look, it’s a great book.  It’s been out for nearly eight months now and has collected exactly zero negative reviews.  Look here, at the blog tour page, and read for yourself.  See?  And it’s not like these are all coming from friends and family, because my family isn’t that large and I don’t have that many friends.

If that doesn’t work for you, look at the Goodreads page.  That’s thirty-five ratings for a 4.43 average out of a possible 5.  Or look at the seven five-star Amazon reviews.

Still not enough?  Read the sample chapter first.  Or if you want, read the teaser for the second book.

Dude, really, this is annoying

I don’t care!  And I’m still going!

The book costs $14.95 in print (at Amazon) or $9.99 as an e-book (everywhere e-books are sold) and it’s absolutely worth it.

Ask anyone who’s already read it!  In fact, if you are one of those people who has already read it, go ahead and say so in the comments.

As of this moment I have 1,187 followers on Twitter and 672 friends on Facebook.  If half of those numbers bought Immortal today it would jump to the top 100 in best sellers on every online retailer, and by this time next month I might be negotiating a wider distribution deal, which is what I really want for my birthday.

You don’t really think this will work, do you?

Shut up, imaginary inquisitor!  It’s my birthday!

Also?  I want a pony.

Blog tour!

I kind of buried the lede, but: I’m hosting my first official blog tour for Immortal!  And I need your help!  See the bottom for details. But first…

Planning the future

I had the opportunity on Saturday to sit down with a couple of New York-based editors.  I was at a convention called Boskone at the time, and the reason I was able to sit down with these editors was partly that nobody else was.  They had these things called “Kaffeklatch” at which one could sit down for a scheduled hour with a professional… something.  Mostly writers.  And since most of the people at the convention were there to meet writers, those were the Kaffeklatches that filled up.

I was there to meet writers too, but since I am a writer, my highest priority was to find readers and to network with people and maybe to see what a convention is actually like. (This was my first.)

So anyway. I sat down at a table with two editors, and they asked me what I wanted to talk about.  And the long and sordid tale of the life of Immortal came out, ending with the triumphant publication of said product.  None of which was a question: more like a speech.  The question, at the end of all that, was: “now what?”

Now what

The answer was: put together the positive reviews and blurbs– I have quite a lot– and show them to an agent or seventeen.  And then the agent–we’re assuming here that one signs me, which is a specious assumption but it’s where we are– can go out and hopefully sell the mass market edition.

I thought this was a stunning idea, largely because it never even occurred to me that the rights to the mass market edition of Immortal was something I could market.

I gave them my rough sales numbers, with a number of caveats (no distributor other than Amazon for the print edition, no ebooks before mid-December) and found that these weren’t actually bad numbers at all.

Then again…

Earlier this week, I traded some emails with an agent I knew before this mad scheme was cooked up, gave him the same information I gave to the kind editors at Boskone and heard something slightly different: the sales numbers need to be much higher, “and soon” for an agent (well, for him) to seriously consider it.  A figure was provided, and that figure was the same as the rough number I’d already sold, times ten.

Challenge Accepted!

If I keep promoting as I have been so far, and if nothing else changes, I’ll probably end up needing at least another 1,000 sales to get in the neighborhood of the right number.  Now, there are other factors that could play into this.  For instance: a distribution deal would make an enormous difference, but I don’t have any control over that; the e-book sales numbers from every resource other than the Kindle have not been reported yet; there are P.R. avenues that have not yet been explored by the publisher.

Still, 1,000 extra seems about right.  So how do I get those sales?

I HAVE NO IDEA.

However, since that doesn’t do me any good, I’m going to declare “challenge accepted!” anyway.

Oh; and throw together a blog tour.

BLOG TOUR!

I need 20-30 bloggers who are interested in hosting one or all of the following:

  • a summary of Immortal
  • an interview with me
  • an interview with my narrator, Adam
  • an interview of me interviewing Adam
  • an interview of Adam interviewing me
  • a book review
  • excerpts from other reviews
  • blurbs
  • excerpts from the novel

(Interviews would either involve questions from the blogger or a set of Q&A’s provided by me.  It’s up to the blogger.)

I’m planning for a 30 day tour.  If it goes well, I may be convinced to release a little treat: a chapter from Hellenic Immortal.

If you are interested

The best place to contact me if you are interested in participating is on Twitter, @genedoucette.  I’m also known to respond to emails, at GeneDoucette (at) me.com.

It has been quite a year

I have a bad habit of focusing on things that haven’t happened yet rather than stepping back and looking behind me at what has been accomplished.  This tunnel vision quality is sometimes very useful, such as when I’m writing a novel, but maybe less useful in other settings, such as networking events.

So rather than concentrate on what still needs to be done– and since Immortal isn’t in brick-and-mortar bookstores yet or on any electronic device other than the Kindle, there’s a pile of screenplay work needing doing and two other novels to edit, this is a long list– I’d like to take a minute to look back on where we started.

A year ago at this time

This time last year, I had a publisher who did not yet officially exist.  I had barely succeeded in wriggling out of another contract to publish Immortal with a klepto-publisher that is thankfully no longer an entity.

I was not on Twitter.  I was not on GoodReads.  This blog did not exist.  (I was on Facebook, but that’s legally mandated nowadays.)

I had no idea how to get reviews for Immortal much less who to talk to for blurbs.  I didn’t even know what genre it was.

In other words

So it’s been a pretty good year, really.  And my impatience with the fact that I am not yet a world-famous author with a movie deal and a yacht (okay, not a yacht) shouldn’t overshadow the fact that the person I was a year ago would be kicking the 2010 version of my ass for worrying about current sales and distribution outlets whether there is such a thing as too much promoting.

So HAPPY NEW YEAR

And may next year be as fruitful as this one was.

And hopefully more profitable.

(Okay, let me have THAT complaint at least.)

Ebook challenges part two

Yesterday I dove back into the Ebook fray for two reasons: Immortal was still not set up on the Kindle; and we’d gotten back feedback from Smashwords on the ebook version we’d uploaded that required addressing.

As you know, I had issues reformatting Immortal to accommodate the Smashwords Style Guide, but the outcome was supposed to produce something that could be uploaded to both Amazon and Smashwords as-was.  It nearly turned out that way.

Kindle folderol

The problem with the Kindle availability was that each time the file I sent to the publisher was uploaded to Amazon, the resulting file still looked like hell.  After fiddling with this for a while, the publisher sent me the link and suggested I try it.  When I did, it looked considerably better.  Possible explanation: my file, which was emailed and then opened in another version of Word before being uploaded, had been altered by the program, which thought it was helping.

One of the first things one has to do before reformatting a document for epublishing is turn off all of the things in MS Word that are there to “help” you.  Auto-formatting, for instance.

But it still looked kind of crappy.  So I spent a good hour making adjustments to my Word file, uploading it to see what it looked like on Amazon, then making additional adjustments, and so on.  When I was happy, I finished the publishing process.

And: it is available now, directly from Amazon.

Shmashing

The Smashwords problem was much, much dumber.  In the style guide, it is “recommended” that specific language be included in the copyright information.  This “recommended” text is not “required” but “MIGHT” make it more difficult for the manuscript to be approved for their premium catalog.  

I didn’t include it.  And the premium catalog is what releases the book to all of the third party retailers, like Apple and Barnes & Noble.

So I had to fix that and send it back through their conversion meatgrinder, and wait for all of the War & Peace sized novels ahead of it in line to get done.  It’s available– again? Still?– from Smashwords.  And hopefully by the end of the month in a whole lot of other places.

The lesson. Don’t fuck with the Smashwords Style Guide or their abuse of the word “recommended.”

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