Dare to Fail!

If you read the New York Times Book Review on Sunday, then you shared in a very special moment with me. My novel, BLIND FAITH, debuted on the NYT bestseller list at #2, something unheard of for an indy published e-book.

Yet, by many standards I’m a failure.

Although I’ve been a writer my entire life, I didn’t sell a book until I was 40.

Although that first book was a hardcover, pre-empt deal, and earned cover quotes from a dozen NYT Bestsellers, including Sandra Brown, it was pulled 90 days prior to publication because of cover art issues.

That’s right, my dream debut was never published.

After 17 years of practicing medicine, I’d left to write full time, and suddenly had no book, no contract, no career, leaving me unemployed for the first time since I was 15.

My agent for that first book left me high and dry. I had to scrape up the money to buy the rights back to my own book even though the reason it died such a lonely death had nothing to do with me.

I got a new contract from a new NYC publisher and the first book was a bestseller. But the second in the series, a year later, had a drastically cut print run, a major book chain’s computer “lost” it in their system, and the print runs for each subsequent book were slashed as determined by more computers that couldn’t imagine growing an author–it just wasn’t part of their paradigm.

Looking at this sequence of events, you’d never guess during the five years they took place I was actually making a living solely from my writing. The definition of success for any writer.

Or that I’m now busier than ever writing books my fans are clamoring for.

Or that I hit the USA TODAY list and sold over 125,000 copies of ONE title in one month.

OR that I finally achieved every writer’s dream: making it onto the New York Times‘ Bestseller list. Hitting the combined print and e-book list at #2

No, if you only looked at that list of failures you’d think this is the timeline of an author who has no readers, no contracts, no chance of making it in publishing.

Why do I see success when any sane person would see failure?

Because each of those time points represents a leap of faith. A time when I chose the risky path, when I dared to fail.

That doomed first book got the attention of my second publisher. And while fighting to get my rights back to it, I wrote the book that made me a NYT Bestseller. Plus, I’ve gone on to publish that first book and its sequel myself and have already earned back double the money I was originally offered.

That doomed series, sliced and diced by computer generated print run decisions, earned me a group of rabid fans, several awards, critical acclaim, and caught the attention of a celebrity, one of my personal heroes, who I co-authored two new books with.

Working with that celebrity gave me new insights into my writing, gained me national media attention, and gave me the financial security to give my indy publishing venture time to take off. Leading directly, six months later, to a banner month where I hit the New York Times list at #2, made the top five on the USA TODAY list, sold 150,000 books, and earned more in one month than traditional publishing had paid me the previous year.

So you tell me…are you daring to fail enough? Playing it safe got me nowhere…where’s it taking you?

Free, too high a price?

Part of being an indy author/publisher is learning how to ride momentum and gauge what your readership will respond to.

This entails a lot of experimentation–and the ability to move quickly when you see an opportunity.

Today on Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn, I’m giving you the results of my experiment with pricing.

Click HERE to discover the pros and cons, what worked and what didn’t, and why I’m now aiming my sights higher than ever, trying to get onto the USA Today or New York Times bestseller lists!

(hey, I always say, if you’re gonna dream, dream BIG!)

Can we make a bestseller? Click HERE to find out.

And stand by for an early Freestuff Friday this week, where I reward everyone helping me take BLIND FAITH to the top of the charts!

 

 

 

 

Rock Stars!!!

So, last Friday I posted about my experiment in asking folks to help me make SNAKE SKIN, my FBI thriller, an Amazon bestseller.

The debate about how and when authors should ask for help like this spilled over onto several loops and provided some helpful insights.

Most authors felt that it was totally ethical–and in fact, part of an author “doing their job”–to promote their books by asking readers to vote with their dollars (or in the case of SNAKE SKIN, with their 99 cents).

Several readers chimed in to say that they didn’t mind being asked at all by an author they knew–that it made them feel like part of the “team” or “inner circle.”

(which was a huge relief to me since the people I’d asked for help were people who were on my newsletter mailing list)

Readers did stress that the key there was “author they knew.” Several commented that they do NOT like receiving unsolicited emails from authors OR publishers.

(and I sooooo totally agree! And that’s why my mailing list has always had a double-opt-in for subscribers)

Anyhow, enough about the “should we” part of Friday’s post. Here’s what you did do:

In one day, SNAKE SKIN rose from an Amazon ranking of 1700 to a ranking of #647!!!

AND it hit THREE separate Amazon Bestseller lists of ALL books, not just e-books.

This included raising to #9 on the Hard-boiled Bestseller list, #15 on the Police Procedural Bestseller list, and #49 on the Women Sleuths Bestseller list.

Not too shabby!

For me the take home messages from the comments and emails I received after posting this question  were:

#1 my readers ROCK!
#2 I need to get over my anxieties about promotion/marketing (one of my goals in starting this blog)
#3 my readers ROCK!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my marketing experiment!

Next time I perform an experiment like this, I’m going to try to investigate other places to spread the word about ebooks–if you know of any blogs or sites, please leave a note in the comments!

Rock Stars!!!

So, last Friday I posted about my experiment in asking folks to help me make SNAKE SKIN, my FBI thriller, an Amazon bestseller.

The debate about how and when authors should ask for help like this spilled over onto several loops and provided some helpful insights.

Most authors felt that it was totally ethical–and in fact, part of an author “doing their job”–to promote their books by asking readers to vote with their dollars (or in the case of SNAKE SKIN, with their 99 cents).

Several readers chimed in to say that they didn’t mind being asked at all by an author they knew–that it made them feel like part of the “team” or “inner circle.”

(which was a huge relief to me since the people I’d asked for help were people who were on my newsletter mailing list)

Readers did stress that the key there was “author they knew.” Several commented that they do NOT like receiving unsolicited emails from authors OR publishers.

(and I sooooo totally agree! And that’s why my mailing list has always had a double-opt-in for subscribers)

Anyhow, enough about the “should we” part of Friday’s post. Here’s what you did do:

In one day, SNAKE SKIN rose from an Amazon ranking of 1700 to a ranking of #647!!!

AND it hit THREE separate Amazon Bestseller lists of ALL books, not just e-books.

This included raising to #9 on the Hard-boiled Bestseller list, #15 on the Police Procedural Bestseller list, and #49 on the Women Sleuths Bestseller list.

Not too shabby!

For me the take home messages from the comments and emails I received after posting this question  were:

#1 my readers ROCK!
#2 I need to get over my anxieties about promotion/marketing (one of my goals in starting this blog)
#3 my readers ROCK!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my marketing experiment!

Next time I perform an experiment like this, I’m going to try to investigate other places to spread the word about ebooks–if you know of any blogs or sites, please leave a note in the comments!

Could WE Create a Bestseller?

So, I was thinking…about ideas and paradigms and shifting power.

As an author who publishes both with traditional NYC houses as well as independently via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc, it seems to me that the brave new world of publishing is all about the reader.

Which I LOVE!!! Because that’s what it’s always been about for me. You, the reader. We, the reading/story-loving/book-consuming masses.

(yes, like writing, reading is an addiction and I don’t want a cure!)

For today’s FreeStuff Friday I thought I’d try an experiment….now, don’t panic, if you’re just here to grab your freestuff and run away, you can, (and yes, there’s a full-length FREE book waiting for you if you’ll bear with me for a moment) BUT I thought, could WE the readers create a bestseller?

A day or so ago I put my e-book, SNAKE SKIN, on sale for 0.99 at Amazon and BN.com…I did it because as an indy author/publisher I can’t give it away for free and 0.99 was as close as I could get.

I wanted to offer SNAKE SKIN as an inexpensive Reader Appreciation Gift for my newsletter subscribers to thank them for their support. To my surprise, as soon as I announced this new price, SNAKE SKIN leapt up through the Amazon sales rankings and is now hovering around 1700 (including being #17 in hard-boiled mystery books and #39 in police procedurals)

So….what would it take to push it sixteen hundred more slots to the Top 100 overall?

Definitely NOT 1600 sales (it only took a hundred to move it from below 5000 to where it is now–the rankings don’t mean number sold but how you compare to other books)….but how many and how fast to meet Amazon’s calculus and break thru?

I don’t know…so I’m asking you. Click HERE to buy SNAKE SKIN for 0.99 (c’mon, it’s less than parking meter change!) Tell your friends if the book looks like something they’d like.

And I’ll report back next week with actual, tell-all numbers.

Let’s see if WE can create a bestseller!!!

(and BTW, SNAKE SKIN is rated at 5 Stars on 12 reviews, so you’re not wasting your money)

Now, for your FreeStuff Friday regular programming: a full-length FREE e-book talking about just this kind of Power to the People marketing….Seth Godin’s UNLEASHING THE IDEA VIRUS!

You can download the pdf HERE (warning, it’s a big file–the book is 200 pages)

Enjoy! And thanks to everyone participating in my Best Seller Experiment!!!

Know a friend who would enjoy either SNAKE SKIN or UNLEASHING THE IDEA VIRUS? Click below to SHARE:

Could WE Create a Bestseller?

So, I was thinking…about ideas and paradigms and shifting power.

As an author who publishes both with traditional NYC houses as well as independently via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc, it seems to me that the brave new world of publishing is all about the reader.

Which I LOVE!!! Because that’s what it’s always been about for me. You, the reader. We, the reading/story-loving/book-consuming masses.

(yes, like writing, reading is an addiction and I don’t want a cure!)

For today’s FreeStuff Friday I thought I’d try an experiment….now, don’t panic, if you’re just here to grab your freestuff and run away, you can, (and yes, there’s a full-length FREE book waiting for you if you’ll bear with me for a moment) BUT I thought, could WE the readers create a bestseller?

A day or so ago I put my e-book, SNAKE SKIN, on sale for 0.99 at Amazon and BN.com…I did it because as an indy author/publisher I can’t give it away for free and 0.99 was as close as I could get.

I wanted to offer SNAKE SKIN as an inexpensive Reader Appreciation Gift for my newsletter subscribers to thank them for their support. To my surprise, as soon as I announced this new price, SNAKE SKIN leapt up through the Amazon sales rankings and is now hovering around 1700 (including being #17 in hard-boiled mystery books and #39 in police procedurals)

So….what would it take to push it sixteen hundred more slots to the Top 100 overall?

Definitely NOT 1600 sales (it only took a hundred to move it from below 5000 to where it is now–the rankings don’t mean number sold but how you compare to other books)….but how many and how fast to meet Amazon’s calculus and break thru?

I don’t know…so I’m asking you. Click HERE to buy SNAKE SKIN for 0.99 (c’mon, it’s less than parking meter change!) Tell your friends if the book looks like something they’d like.

And I’ll report back next week with actual, tell-all numbers.

Let’s see if WE can create a bestseller!!!

(and BTW, SNAKE SKIN is rated at 5 Stars on 12 reviews, so you’re not wasting your money)

Now, for your FreeStuff Friday regular programming: a full-length FREE e-book talking about just this kind of Power to the People marketing….Seth Godin’s UNLEASHING THE IDEA VIRUS!

You can download the pdf HERE (warning, it’s a big file–the book is 200 pages)

Enjoy! And thanks to everyone participating in my Best Seller Experiment!!!

Know a friend who would enjoy either SNAKE SKIN or UNLEASHING THE IDEA VIRUS? Click below to SHARE:

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