Thursday, February 02, 2012

News From the EBook Front

Just under a month ago, I uploaded the rest of the Matador novels to While Dan Moran's Fat Sam store is still my market of choice–the links on the right mostly go there– has a bigger pool of readers.

(I can't wait for India to come online, supposedly later this year. More English readers there than in the U.S.)

I didn't expect to blow the bestsellers on Kindle out of the water, nor did I. First batch of these books are twenty-five years old, and most of them long out-of-print. They did sell enough copies to make me smile and shake my head. My best month at

At this stage, it's all free money.

What I found most interesting was something I had heard from other writers who have ventured into ebookery: The titles I already had up got a bump in sales. Again, not major, no new, custom-made concert-class guitars in my future from the profits, but noticeable. A title that had been selling eight or ten copies a month jumped to twelve or fifteen. Even a couple titles that were moribund trickled up to three or four copies each.

Allowing for the new readers that people got for Christmas, that's still a snowball-effect I find intriguing.

Here's the deal. It sounds like a "Well, duh!" but attend:

The more books you have available, the more sales you are apt to make. I'd heard this from writers who have a backlist a mile long, and it seems to be true in my case.

I can understand why. If you have one book up, it's hard to get it noticed. If people find and buy it, and even if they love it, then they are done–there's nothing else of yours to read. If you have five books up, then if they like one, they will probably at least preview the others. 

If you have twenty books up, there's is a built-in momentum factor. Find a writer you like, enjoy one of her books, chances are you will check out her other work. Get into a series, if you are like me, you want to read them all. What happened the character before and after this one? 

The rising reader floats all boats ...


TracelessTiger said...

I tell you what would sell really well.

A Matador Sourcebook - like a terminology guide into the universe of the Matador novels - with names and technical read-outs of weapons, planets and main and side characters, perhaps from an in-universe point of view.

You could have it also filled with new artwork showing different details of the Matador universe.
A professional-canon timeline and history also.

I guarantee you, this thing showing up on the shelves of Barnes&Noble, would attract veteran Matador fans, - and attract new ones, curious readers who see the cover of the sourcebook, and suddenly get interested in reading all the Matador books.

Star Wars and Star Trek have wildly popular sourcebooks that sell well, and every half-decade or so when they get updated into a new version, that sells well, too.

This would be serious cash in your pocket after a while.

Brad said...

I like that idea. Put me in for my normal 2 copies.

Steve Perry said...

If we ever get the game going, that'll no doubt be part of that. As a stand-alone, you'd need artwork and a lot of research to get this up.

I have a rough index, tagged to the first few books that I made from my own use -- there's a name or place and the page numbers where it's mentioned, so I could go look up descriptions and stuff once I was into the subsequent novels. Plus some pages from the copy editors, who usually include a similar document with their edits -- least they did in the paper days.

Be honest here, I don't think the work would justify the sales. This ain't Star Wars or Star Trek. I don't believe the market is there.

Kris said...

"(I can't wait for India to come online, supposedly later this year. More English readers there than in the U.S.)"

Population sizes aside; this fact still makes me sad.

Steve Perry said...

Why does it make you sad?

Stan said...

I love having another source for my "Matadors" fix. However, I have noticed quite a few "typos" in the e-books, enough to be distracting but not enough to keep from reading.

Steve Perry said...

Seems to be a problem with ebooks in general. Most of those I've read, even from major publishers, have more typos than the printed versions. Probably some kind of glitch in the transfer process.

Jim said...

Here's where you'd find a market...

Like a lot of authors who cross "universes", a lot of your invented tech moves around with you as you travel. Methods of powering starships, justification for FTL approaches, terms and slang, and so on. I know I've seen fugue, that multi-channel communication system whose name is escaping me at the moment, some weapons, for example, in your books. Not so much in pure genre like Star Wars, where you pretty much have to play with their rules, but in your other stuff. L.E. Modesitt, Jr's books often involve "needleboats" and some of the same plant or animal names, as another example.

So -- provide a "Steve Perry Sourcebook" instead. Include the Matador stuff, as well as stuff from the Venture Silk books, and so on. So, for example, the entry on spetsdods might read something like "personal weapon, ultimate point-and-shoot, worn on the back of the hand, and extending along the index finger. Fired by extension of the finger... Featured in Matador novels."

Maybe include some timelines and a little of the "hidden backstory" for some of the series, too.