Well, I've had an interesting last week-or-so. On Thursday there was a hell of a party. On Friday, there were at least two hells of a hangover. Then over the weekend I quit my band (amicably and by mutual agreement, for the best interests of the band, but it still takes some getting my head around).
As a result, I didn't write this blog post on Saturday, when I should have. I also didn't plug this interview that I did on Thursday nearly enough (apologies, Anne!). Which means the answer to this might be obvious:
Why aren't you buying my book?
Well, apart from my shameful lack of self-promotion over the last few days, anyway. I'm not actually being as petulant as that sounds, either. What I mean is, what would convince YOU to buy my book? I've sold 2 copies in the 17 days the book's been on sale, and I can't help thinking that even a brand new starting author should have managed a bit better than that.
Here are a few things I think have been holding me back thus far. I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me which, if any, of these would encourage you to buy.
1 - Availability on the Amazon Kindle store. I'm guessing this is the biggest thing holding me back. I launched on Smashwords first because the royalties are so much better there and I wanted to be able to see how much of a difference Amazon availability made. Obviously, I won't know until I get the book up onto the Kindle store, but I'm hoping I'll at least see some progress. I was hoping to do this late last week, but obviously circumstances intervened. I hope to find time before the end of the month, but that's beginning to look a little optimistic.
2 - Hardcopy. Kindle penetration isn't anything like as widespread in the UK as in the US, and I think a lot of people over here don't realise that you don't actually need a Kindle to read ebooks. Of the people who do know that, however, many aren't keen (and who can blame them?) to read a whole book off a computer screen. Certainly, I've had several people tell me they wouldn't read an ebook. Unfortunately, hardcopy is going to have to wait, at least until I can afford the entry price for CreateSpace's premium service. I've done some playing around with the royalty calculator and such, and I think I can put the book out for about £7/$11. Would you be interested in a dead tree (edition) at that price? Also, what's the going rate for a trade paperback in the states? Here they tend to be £8-9.
3 - Reviews. I haven't organised any yet, because I feel really awkward (and slightly terrified) approaching reviews. Sidebar: if you're a YA and/or fantasy reviewer and you'd like a copy, let me know. I'm painfully aware of all the places where my book is showing up as 'unrated' or '0 reviews', and it can't look terribly professional.
4 - Price. I remember reading a J.A. Konrath article that said that $1.99 seems to be an unpopular price point, though I remain unconvinced that price alone could put someone off a book. It happens to be my ideal price at Smashwords' royalty rates, but if it's holding people back I might go to $2.99 when I move to Amazon. Or I might move in the other direction. I've blogged long and hard against high prices for ebooks (and I have another in the works, I think), but I'm really tight for cash at the moment. Either way, do you think about price points when buying ebooks?
5 - Writing a different book. I know YA fantasy isn't everyone's thing. If you wouldn't buy a YA fantasy book regardless of any of the above, please disregard this message. I think as YA books go, 'Heaven Can Wait' reaches pretty far outside its core target audience, but it's still a story about a teenager in love, even if he does have to fight a bunch of ghosts and demons along the way. I will be writing other, less-YA-ish projects once I'm done with the Non-Agency, so there'll be something for you eventually. Bear with me!
Please, please, please, leave any advice you can. Balancing promoting my book with not failing my PhD is hard, I need all the help I can get!