Sweet news, people of discerning taste. The wait is over. CAPTIVES: Breakers #6 has come to audiobook. You can find it on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

captives-audioWant some even better news? Book #7 is scheduled to hit audio in December. And Book #8, the finale, should be out early next year. I expect that the only people more excited to have the full series on audio than I am is you all.

If you’re new to BREAKERS, it’s a post-apocalyptic series about a small cast of characters who struggle to survive as the world ends — not just once, but twice. The first three audiobooks are available together on Audible for just one credit. That’s 42+ hours of listening. At the moment of this post, the set has 1010 ratings and a 4.3 average. With the remainder of the series on the horizon, now’s a great time to jump in.

Gosh. With sales pitching like that, just imagine how good the writing in the books must be!

The BREAKERS series may be over…but the world goes on.

And I’ve got a new story in it! You can find it in TAILS OF THE APOCALYPSE, a new collection of stories featuring animals in the apocalypse. The book includes work from Nick Cole, Michael Bunker, and eleven others. And for the next few weeks, the publisher will be donating $1 of every sale to Pets for Vets, a charity that connects military veterans with shelter animals.

Oh yeah: there’s also me. My story’s about a young Raina in the early days of the plague. The book is available for Kindle and in paperback.

Tails of the Apocalypse Cover(I don’t know if or when this collection will be out in other formats. However, I think there are still some review copies available, so if you’re not a Kindle user, email me at edwrobertson AT gmail and I’ll see what I can do.)

It was pretty fun to revisit BREAKERS, especially without the pressure of tying the story into a larger series arc. I definitely see myself writing a few more of these as time goes on. In particular, there’s a story implied by the end of BLACKOUT that deserves exploration. Yes, it’s the one you’re thinking of. I have some other things to write first, but I’ll be keeping that one in the back of my mind.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy TAILS!

From the department of “It’s About Damn Time,” I’m happy to announce I’ve set a new Breakers book helpless into the world. Go catch it! Quick, before it escapes!






Amazon UK




Google Play




I’m happy to have added Google Play to my list of distributors. For those of you here for the publishing-related stuff, I’ll try to get up a post about them before too long.

Until then, buy early and buy often!

A few months back, I was approached by a group called Podium Publishing about the audiobook rights to my post-apocalyptic Breakers series. Recently, I’ve been getting several emails about the decision, so I thought I’d run down my experience with Podium in specific and my thinking in general.
I tend to get windy, so a quick summary: I’m very happy with both Podium and my decision to sign. Although it’s still very early in our contract and they’re a pretty new outfit, they seem legit. My initial sales seem pretty good, too.
But some of my reasons may not apply to everyone. There are some advantages to producing your own audiobooks, and other advantages in letting someone else handle them. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut right and wrong.
So. Time for lots and lots of words on the subject.
As for how things went down, I was initially emailed about the rights by Podium’s executive producer, James. A quick google turned up little about the company. Although they’d signed a handful of indie authors I recognized, including Andy Weir of The Martian fame, they looked small. Legit, inasmuch as they had indeed produced audiobooks present on retail sites, but I was unsure they’d be able to do much if anything for me that I couldn’t do for myself.
But I didn’t know that for sure. And audiobooks had been on my mind for a while—as one of those many things I needed to get done someday, but didn’t have time for just then.
So we set up a call. And James had quite a pitch. Not only did he mention “algorithms” before I did—a man after my own heart!—but it turned out he and his engineer had experience producing traditionally published audiobooks for the big houses. This, to me, was a big point in their favor. If I were to sign the audio rights away, I would want to do so with someone who could probably put out a better quality product than I’d be able to manage on my own. Otherwise, what’s the point?
We talked a good deal about indie publishing, the history of the digital audiobook industry, what Podium was, etc. Over the course of all this, I got the feeling James knew what he was talking about. So by this point, I wasn’t worried about them being a small startup, because it felt like they were capable of good work (and I’d already heard a few samples)—and that they might know how to sell it, too.
Which made things very interesting. Because I had two basic concerns I wanted met before I’d sign with an audiobook publisher:
a) Can they do better work than I can?
and obviously,
b) The specific terms of the agreement
If those were met, however, I was ready to sign. Which I think runs counter to the conventional indie wisdom that, barring an overwhelming offer, you should produce your audiobooks yourself. And ideally, pay a flat fee to a narrator. Then all those sweet royalties are yours forevermore.
This thinking makes sense for many of the authors presenting it. People who are, in other words, a big enough deal that we want to hear their advice on this stuff.
But I see two key differences between self-publishing your ebooks and self-publishing your audiobooks. First, the cost of audiobook production is generally much higher than the cost of ebook production. At the rates many professional narrators charge, an audiobook can easily cost $2000-3000 to produce. That’s significantly more than most ebooks, which I would generally peg in the $100-1000 range. And second, the audiobook market, while growing, is much smaller than the ebook market. Meaning it’s going to take you longer to recoup that investment.
Meanwhile, there’s an opportunity cost to waiting until you can pay for those production costs. There’s a point at which it’s better to start earning, say, 50% today than it is to wait until some undetermined point in the future to begin earning 100%. (Not to mention the audience growth you lose out on by waiting, too.)
That point differs for everyone and every book, and is ultimately unknowable. And should include the possibility that you might never get around to it by yourself.
Okay, enough blathering about the monetary cost. Because it also costs time to produce your own audiobooks. Ideally not much, certainly not as long as writing a book, but you’ve got to locate a narrator, set terms, deal with any problems that pop up along the way, proof the finished product, publish it, blah blah blah. I’ve watched several friends go through this process. For some, it seemed streamlined, and probably only required a few days total. For others, it sounded pretty hellacious. Sometimes the projects were aborted midway through.
With this in mind, I’d done some research and thinkin’ before speaking to James. I was looking at a backlist of three books in the series, a fourth going live in the near future, and writing two or three more within the following year. Each book could cost me a couple thousand bucks and an unknown amount of time to produce. At that point in my career, I had neither to spare. And when it came to time, I’d rather spend it writing a new book.
So by signing with a publisher and giving up a cut of the royalties, I would be free of nearly all logistical details—and of the risk of never earning back the production costs.
In other words, as a very savvy friend pointed out while I was mulling this over, I was using the exact same reasoning that writers use to convince themselves to sign with traditional publishing houses. But as I’ve laid out in what is surely tedious detail, I feel like the economics of ebooks and audiobooks are much, much different. To where it’s apples and oranges.
Anyway, back to the phone call. After a long, fun talk, James offered terms. I negotiated just a bit and was happy with the outcome. Generally, I love being as transparent as possible, but I don’t think I can get into hard details with this; Podium is my partner now, and it would be improper to compromise their ability to bargain with other authors. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters what they offered someone else—I think what matters is whether you’re happy with what they’re offering you.
According to my email records, this all went down about three months ago, in late June. I exchanged a few emails with them in the meantime, but nothing heavy duty. With very little involvement on my part, the first Breakers book went live on September 5 on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
Two weeks later, here is where it’s been hanging out on the iTunes Sci Fi & Fantasy charts:

#9 in SF&F! Whee! #133 in the whole store! Champagne party time!

…so, what does that mean in terms of sales? I have absolutely no idea. Nor what its ranking means on Audible. I do know that, if iTunes’ bestseller lists are straightforward, it’s currently outselling all but one of GRRM’s audiobooks, all the Ender novels, hot new stuff like The Bone Season, etc. Additionally, though it’s not ranked as highly on Audible, its reviews are favorable–4.3 on both story and the narrator’s performance. (And the fact there’s already 15 of them is a positive sign for its early sales totals, too.)

What’s unknowable, of course, is.. well, everything. Would Breakers have done this well if I’d produced it myself? I can’t know. Would its ratings, preliminary as they are, have been on par? Again, absolutely no idea. It does seem that most audiobooks get a lot of visibility purely as new releases, regardless of who published them, and I’ll be surprised if it holds its ranks for too much longer. And while Podium did some marketing for it, it didn’t look like anything overwhelming.

Still, it sure looks like a good start.

Are there tradeoffs? Absolutely. Obviously, I make less per sale. I don’t have direct control of anything. I won’t even know how many it’s selling for some time. Heck, for all I know, Podium is a hyper-elaborate ruse and I’ll never see a dime. That would make this whole post look pretty ridiculous!

All I know is that, right now, it’s doing well, I’m happy with the contract, and that this audiobook wouldn’t exist at all if I hadn’t made this decision.

Yet I know it’s not a decision that would make sense for every single author. That’s why I tried to break down my thinking. I hope it’s useful. Any comments or questions, fire away.

Well, I’ve been pretty quiet lately. As usual, that means one of two things: either the police have finally caught up to me, or I’ve got a new book out. Luckily for me, it’s the latter: Reapers, the newest book in my post-apocalyptic Breakers series. In it, a hunt for a missing person leads former agent Ellie Colson through the wastelands of New York State–and right into the middle of an explosive gang war.

Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo
“Oh,” you say. “That’s nice, but that’s the fourth book in a series, and I like to start at the beginning.” Yes, I can see how that would be a problem.. but hey wait what’s this??


Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo
“Yeah, but a set that fine must cost like two million dollars.” It sure looks like it! But for the next few days, it’s just $0.99.
For the writers out there, this is the second prong of my release strategy (the first being the typical “alert my mailing list/Facebook page that a new book exists”). Most of the big advertisers won’t run a brand-new book. BookBub used to, but no longer, and places like ENT generally require a decent number of reviews before they’ll feature something. But they’re obviously happy to run an older title, so long as it meets their standards, and right now they love featuring steeply discounted box sets, because their readers love the value.
I can’t afford to leave this set at $0.99 forever, but I’ve got some ads on it running in a couple days which will hopefully lead to spillover on Reapers. I’ll see how the ads go, and then, after a few days, I’ll probably raise the price on the box set to something like $5.99–still a bargain, just not a no-doubt choice over the individual titles, which will be temporarily reduced to $3 each. I’ll be playing it by ear as to when exactly to tweak prices up, but the set’s standard list price will wind up at $9.99 ($3 off the first three books’ list).
I’m hardly the first to say “Hey, you know what people like? More books for less money.” But with new releases, it’s all about how high you can fling them into the ranks. Since a box set is one of the most potent sales tools there is, to me, it makes extra sense to pair it with a new release.
I don’t have any ads or donation buttons on this blog, so if you these posts helpful, consider picking up one of the above books. I’ll never know if you don’t, but who knows, you might even like them.

As self-published authors, we don’t talk about failure enough.

Tobias Buckell recently wrote a piece about “survivorship bias” and its relation to self-publishing. He argues that the problem with self-publishing is we only hear from the winners. The survivors. When all you hear about are the successes, your view of how easy it is to succeed will be wildly distorted. His argument is based on this great article from You Are Not So Smart, which you should totally read.

Done? Yay. In response to Buckell, authors on KBoards have raised the interesting counterpoint that literally every single trad-published author is a survivor, meaning their whole perspective is skewed. Which.. is tough to argue with. On the other hand, I don’t think it nullifies his point.

A lot of people are self-publishing. Very few of them do well at it. And you almost never hear–and thus learn–from the failures.

Well, I named this blog Failure Ahoy for a reason. I think failure is awesome! Failure is what happens when you try. Fail enough, and you might even succeed. With that in mind, I’m going to post more about failure. I want to make it okay to suck. I have failed in many ways along my self-publishing journey, but there is no more stark or hilarious an illustration of that failure than my first covers. Man, I might need to brace myself here. Like with tequila.

Okay, ready if you are. Let’s dig up some corpses.

Breakers, Cover #1 – February 2012

COMMENTARY: Okay, this one isn’t really a corpse (don’t worry, they’re coming). It’s just the wrong cover for the book. I like it a lot, though. The way the text is broken up and the subtle map is very cool. Awesome concept. But what does this cover say about the book inside it? Looks literary, right? Perhaps something involving sidewalks? And thus a new genre is born.
But my book’s about the end of the world. Viruses and aliens. If my book were more like The Road and less War of the Worlds, I think this cover would be a great fit. However, this book came out during the Golden Age of Amazon Select, which I used to get rolling after 12 solid months of self-publishing failure. As I was planning and executing my free runs, I noticed a couple things.
First, it was kind of hard to get this book listed by the major freebie sites. Second, when my book was free, it didn’t do so well compared to other indie titles in my genre. Yet after its free runs it sold pretty well, relatively speaking, and I was getting some good reviews. After a couple months of carefully comparing my book to others like it, I thought I might have an all right book, but I was pretty sure my cover wasn’t properly expressing the genre.
Breakers, Cover #2 – May 2012

COMMENTARY: Take two. My giveaway numbers for my first three free runs with Cover #1 were 1000 copies, 1600, and about 2000. In its first three months, aided by those free runs, it sold about 800 copies.
When I first went free with this one, my second and current cover, I gave away 25,000 copies. In the 30 days following, it sold 2765 more (Select no longer works like this, unfortunately). Twelve months later, it’s sold over 20,000.
Those sales have also been aided by two sequels, a permafree novella, about 200 more reviews on book one, and plunging into the non-Amazon markets, but I think it’s pretty clear the second cover was much better at driving sales. Articles like this–“The Real Cost of Self-Publishing a Book“–like to play up the costs for cover art, editing, etc. That article says low-end covers start at $150 and can run as high as $3500.
This isn’t wrong, exactly, but I got this cover for $75. I was still very poor at that point, so I spent a lot of time hunting down every cover artist who charged $100 or less. This artist had primarily done YA and covers involving women in snazzy dresses. Not really what you think of when you’re looking for someone to put together a cover for a post-apocalyptic novel full of violence and aliens, but after poring over her portfolio, I thought she could do it.
This was probably the first time I had been right about anything. But it took me three self-published novels, several collections of short stories, and 15 months to reach the point where I had the resources, experience, knowledge, and motivation to sort through these artists, find the one I liked best, and hire her.

The White Tree, Cover #1 – February 2011

COMMENTARY: …and this was how it all started. I made this cover myself, and I’ll give myself credit for this much: I didn’t try to do too much with it. I knew my talents as an artist (none) and didn’t try to overreach.
And that’s about all I did right. Interesting choice on my part to leave the base of the trunk hanging there above the line. Was I unable to draw a couple plain white lines to connect them? Apparently.
I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but I was pretty satisfied with this cover at first. I thought it was kind of iconic. If nothing else, you couldn’t beat the production cost ($0). Also, in early 2011, there weren’t a lot of great self-published covers out there. It didn’t look as bad then as it does now. Most of all, it simply felt incredible that, after ten years of pursuing agents and editors, one of my books was finally for sale.
But enough contextualizing. This is not a good cover. Any fool can see that, but apparently I wasn’t your average fool. A part of me knew I’d need to do better once I could afford it, but I thought the writing inside the book was good enough to overcome its humble cover. Ha! Ha! Ha ha ha ha ha!
I sold about 100 copies of this in 2011.
The White Tree, Cover #2 – February 2012

COMMENTARY: I still like this cover. I think it’s pretty and captures the mood of the book. It was within my budget ($65) and paid for itself many times over. Thanks to it, and beneficial, now-defunct Select algorithms, I sold maybe 2000 copies of this book in 2012.
With that in mind, I will now reveal the lesson I was only just beginning to take to heart in 2012. This wisdom is so deep and hard-won that I’m not sure anyone else in the history of self-publishing has ever before expressed it:
I am deeply sympathetic to anyone working with a limited budget. I know what it feels like to make the reckless decision to spend your money on feeding yourself instead of buying a cover for some pipe dream self-publishing venture. But the good news is the market’s matured. It’s 2013 and you can get amazing pre-made covers for as little as $30. No matter how broke you are, find a way to save up that $30.
Incidentally, I might still be using this cover except I wasn’t happy with the way the cover for the sequel turned out. That meant redoing both of them.
The White Tree, Cover #3 – December 2012

COMMENTARY: This cover and the one for its sequel cost a whole bunch. Epic fantasy illustrations will do that to you.
I felt okay shelling out for a third version of the cover because I figured a) it would easily pay for itself long-term, and b) I’d never have to upgrade this series again. It’s been close to six months and I probably just broke even on them. Even with the new covers, these books only sell a fraction as well as my Breakers novels. I guess covers aren’t everything!
The Roar of The Spheres, Cover #1 – March 2011
Now, in my defense, I was using this as a placeholder while my real cover came in, and it was only live for a week or two, but…no, you know what, that’s enough. This is what happens when you have no money and no experience self-publishing and you think the words inside are all that matters.
This is what failure looks like.
The Roar of the Spheres, Cover #2 – March 2011
COMMENTARY: The one cover I spent real money on in 2011. This cover cost $125 and I still think it looks great.
But apparently the world disagrees with me, because this is my worst-selling novel by leaps and bounds. So far, I have sold 3 copies of it on Amazon this month. It is May 29th.
To put it another way:
See that amazing downward line between July 2011 and February 2012? The reason that line isn’t jagged like the other parts of the graph is because it sold zero Amazon copies for six straight months.
Its failure to sell despite a sweet new cover is the main reason I didn’t pay to redo the cover on The White Tree for nearly a year. I had “learned” that a new cover doesn’t guarantee a damn thing. And it doesn’t, necessarily–but if you learn how to get your book in front of shoppers, which I had no clue how to do at that point in time, it can make all the difference.
But I wasn’t in position to learn better until the Select program allowed me to get my books in front of readers. It was only then that I started to get a feel for the impact a cover can have on purchasing decisions. And to imagine how my books look when they’re jumbled up with every other title in the store. How critically important it is to make them stand out from the crowd–while at the same time telling a potential reader, “Hey, this is a story about X. If you like stories about X, you might like this book.”
Oh, and for the record, I think Spheres needs a new cover. I love this one, but as with my first Breakers cover, it doesn’t capture the genre. Or maybe I really am the only person who likes it. There’s no guarantees I’m done failing with covers yet.
If I can ever convince myself it’s a good enough book to bother with, I’ll probably try something with a spaceship on it. That last sentence is ironic but also 100% true.

Don’t do what I did?
Seriously, that’s the immediate takeaway here: your first covers don’t have to be perfect, but sweet fancy Moses, make sure they’re professional. These days, “professional” doesn’t have to cost any more than $30-60. Later on, if you’re making some sales and feel more confident investing $150-500+ on a cover, you can upgrade. In all honesty, it won’t hurt your career to have a bad cover–because you have no career yet–but it will sure hurt your feelings to wonder why no one wants to buy the book it represents. Go without sales for long enough, and you might give up.
It’s the middle of 2013, and I feel like “Pay for a decent cover” is such widespread and commonsense advice that it’s hardly worth posting about. But I don’t know, maybe there are still lots of people out there it might help. We rarely hear from the people struggling to sell a single copy. If you see your stuff in my early covers, a small investment could make a big difference.
If nothing else, the ones I did myself are pretty funny.
But there’s also this. Some people have the sense, talent, and up-front funds to succeed immediately. But I think most of us are pretty crappy when we start out. It’s virtually guaranteed.
Meanwhile, if all you’re hearing about are the mountains of gold everyone else is making, and there’s not a word spoken about all the junk those former failures went through until they started to succeed now and then, it can make you feel pretty bad.
The real takeaway is that learning to self-publish is a process. In hindsight, the lessons and solutions look obvious, but when you’re mired in the middle of it, it’s never easy to know where to go next.
I’ve learned a few things about covers, but in other areas of the game, I continue to fail mightily. I look forward to talking all about it.

It’s here: book three in the post-apocalyptic Breakers series, Knifepoint. Picking up a few years after the first two books, Knifepoint is the story of the survivors’ struggle for control of Los Angeles, and what it means to grow up in a world where plague and war have killed 99.9% of humankind. Oh, and Walt’s back, too.

Because it’s a new release and I want it to do really really well, it’s just $0.99 this week:


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple

What’s that? You don’t already have the first two books, Breakers and Melt Down? Well, good thing they’re also $0.99 for the next week. Because I love you. If you’ve got any friends who might enjoy the read, now’s a good time to let them know. All three books won’t be on sale together again for a while.


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple


Everything’s now live!

What’s up everyone. For the next few days, I’m going to be selling the two books in my post-apocalyptic Breakers series for $0.99. In these books, a lethal virus reduces the world population to a handful of survivors–and then it gets worse.

I’m running this sale at every store I can–Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. Whatever your preferred format, it’s available. (Sunday night note: I’ve just changed prices, so not every store may have updated yet, but they should soon.)

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

I’ve done my best to provide country-appropriate links, but the Kobo links may lead to the US store. Kobo links are hard! If these fail for some reason, please visit Kobo and run a search for “edward w. robertson” and all my books should show up. Same deal on iTunes.

I know some of you already bought Melt Down for a couple bucks more just a couple weeks ago. Oops! I’m still learning how to do this; if this sale performs like I think it may, I’m thinking about running any new release sales like this right off the bat. If you’d like to know about my new releases, please join my mailing list. I only use it to send notice of my new books. No spam. Die, spam.

I know many others of you are authors, and don’t give a damn about what I write or what I price it at. Well, maybe you should! This is part of my ongoing effort to figure out how to sell books in the other stores. If I learn how they work, you know I’ll report back. So if you feel like it, please share.

Thanks in advance.

Hey everybody! Remember that novel I wrote called Breakers? The book that spent a chunk of the spring as one of the 20 bestselling sci-fi novels on Amazon, and one of the top #1000 books overall? The book that’s currently just $0.99 on Amazon, and an almost-as-reasonable $2.99 on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and everywhere else? Remember that book?
Well, I wrote a sequel.

Currently available on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble, Melt Down is the story of a handful of people who survive a global plague–and then must contend with the enemies who sent it. A post-apocalyptic thriller, Melt Down picks up at the same point as Breakers, then moves beyond into the world after the attack. A shattered world of brutality, slavery, and the struggle for control of what few resources humanity has left.
If you read and liked Breakers, I like to think Melt Down stands up to its predecessor. If you haven’t read Breakers, what are you waiting for, man? Go buy the hell out of it! If you like what I write on this blog, just think about what I must put into my books.

Over the last few months, I’ve grown disillusioned enough with Amazon Select to pull my book Breakers from the program. Yesterday, its exclusivity expired. Today, Breakers is available on Barnes & Noble for the Nook reader.

It should be in Kobo as well at some point, but it appears to be stuck in publishing at the moment.

Selling beyond Amazon is a tricky proposition. Amazon has a lot of different places for a book to be discovered–bestseller lists for free and paid titles, popularity lists, hot new releases, alsobots, email recommendations, its internal search engine, etc. Between all these venues, as well as the Select program, it’s possible–not easy, but possible–to actively sell your book through a number of different methods. Methods which authors talk about all over the place.

For stores like iTunes and Barnes & Noble, however, the only really effective method I’ve heard about is “write a series and make book one free.” Common wisdom holds it’s possible for romance and erotica to sell well on B&N. Everything else, however, tends to sink into the morass, which is why, when it comes to the non-Amazon storefronts, indie authors’ most common reaction is the e-equivalent of throwing up their hands and muttering to themselves.

Self included. The entirety of my non-Amazon strategy to date has been to make one of my novellas free for nearly a year. That did approximately nothing to spur sales of my other titles, even before I started pulling them to go into Select. And in the first two months since returning to paid, that novella has sold 11 copies on iTunes and 0 on B&N.

In other words, I’m clueless.

But that’s what I’m hoping to address now. I know that Breakers can sell when it’s in front of people, so unlike my other titles, if I can find a way to get it some visibility in the other stores, it should sell. Hypothetically. So how do you find that visibility?

With B&N, new releases appear to get a bit of it. Since going live over there, Breakers has sold 3 copies, which a) I’m almost certain is attributable to being automatically added to the new release listings, and b) has already made me more money than I’ve ever made in a single month at B&N. New releases seem to be listed for up to 90 days over there. The default sorting appears to be by “Top Matches,” whatever that means. It could be an algorithm of some kind, or it could be codeword for “a big publisher paid us for this placement.”

Virtually everything on the first 100 default titles of Science Fiction & Fantasy, All New Releases is a trad book priced between $7.99-14.99. The few exceptions near the top are trad authors publishing short works (Terry Brooks and Laurell K. Hamilton). There are a handful of indies in the last ~30, some of which are free. All of these books have nice sales ranks. If you’ve got a series, it might be smart to start it out in Select, then pull it out once you’ve got 3+ titles and try to create instant momentum for the rest of the series by making the first book free and hoping its New Release placement will pull the rest of your books along behind it.

Beyond that, though, it looks like B&N shoppers have to do some pretty active searching to find any new releases that aren’t big bestsellers. Bummer.

Bestseller rank on B&N is less volatile/more sluggish than on Amazon, by the way. For instance, a single sale of a new release on Amazon would put your initial rank around #50,000; Breakers, with three sales (only one of which might be counted toward its rank) is currently #379,078 on B&N. I saw the same thing with my free title: over the months, roughly 1000 downloads pushed it up to something like #15,000 in the ranks. With no paid sales three months later, it’s still at #51,251.

What this means in practice is it’s harder to attain a high rating, but once you do, it’s easier to stay sticky. This is another reason trad books sell much better there while indie books have a hard time gaining traction. But if you’re an indie with a big old fanbase, you can probably do pretty well for yourself.

Well, none of this is encouraging so far. On the plus side: 3 sales so far isn’t nothing. If I wind up averaging just 1/day at B&N, I’ll consider it a success.

I’ll try to come back to my progress at B&N a week from now. By then, I hope to be up and running at Kobo as well. I’ve also applied to sell directly through iTunes, but I have no idea when or if I’ll be granted access. I probably should have applied for that weeks or months in advance. Learn from my mistakes, people!

About Me

I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.


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