C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

The power of the pulse giveaway: 99 cents or nothing?

This Plague of Days OMNIBUS (Large)

When I did my Bookbub promotion of This Plague of Days, Omnibus Edition, my dentist said, “You’re giving it away? Really?”

“Yup.”

“Okay.” He chuckled at me. He also didn’t know what I know.

That giveaway boosted my author rank and sales after the promotion was over. Most important to me was getting more reviews on that property. I got more reviews, thank Thor. The giveaway met my goals. If I had stuck to one genre (horror/fantasy) I would have seen more profits, too. However, I write across genres so that’s on me. My crime novel readers are not typically my horror and fantasy readers. Though there’s a little cross-pollination, readers are often fiercely interested in only one genre, no matter how much action and fun they’d find in Hollywood Jesus (my favorite of the Hit Man Series.)

"Perhaps the most underrated crime novel of all time." ~ Robert Chazz Chute

“Perhaps the most underrated crime novel of all time.” ~ Robert Chazz Chute

 

This week I’ve put just about everything except the Plague of Days series up for sale (just 99 cents!) on Amazon. That sale will end soon, but in the meantime, my strategy seems to have worked. But perhaps not as you or I expected. 

Here’s the thing:

You never know which book will crash hardest or fly highest until you put it out there.

Murders+Among+Dead+Trees+1121-1

I happen to think Murders Among Dead Trees might be my best book. However, it’s a collection of short stories. Collections are notoriously difficult to sell. The collection features several award winners yet it still only has four reviews on Amazon. My Cyber Week Sale hasn’t moved more than one or two copies of Murders Among Dead Trees.

A few more people bought Self-help for Stoners this week, but the sales numbers don’t bowl me over. Self-help for Stoners is a fun and quirky little short story collection that sells a little at a time, but steadily, and the paperback sells more than the ebook, especially this time of year. (You’re thinking it sells because of Christmas. I think it sells because there’s a great story about how to get away with murder using a skunk.)

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Author of Cybrgrrl, Maxwell Cynn

“You will laugh your ass off!” ~ Author of Cybrgrrl, Maxwell Cynn

 

A cursory glance might make you think that big free works and little 99 cent pulse sales don’t work.

That’s not what I get from this sales experiment. My sales of This Plague of Days (which stayed at their old price) went up.

99 cent pulse sales can boost visibility, but readers still have their favorite things to read and This Plague of Days outsells everything else I’ve done. I promoted everything else but buyers still gravitated to what are already my most popular books even though they weren’t on sale! 

Price matters less to some buyers. For those who are price sensitive, they still have the opportunity to pick up some great books for 99 cents. I have no regrets. The occasional pulse sale can move books…just not necessarily the books we think they will move. I’m also happy to give readers a break on price this time of year. Without cheap ebooks, a lot of people don’t feel they can afford to read more books. Believe me, I understand. This is a tough time of year for a lot of us and I’m glad to help stretch a dollar’s value.

My conclusions:

Write more books to get more shots at the readers’ sweet spot. Write more books to figure out what readers want most from you. (Authors can be terrible judges of what readers want unless we have empirical evidence, like sales numbers.)

To get more out of pulse sales, consider promoting them more than I did. I relied on my G+, Twitter and Facebook networks for my Cyberweek giveaway. Bookbub and several other sites promote 99 cent books as well as free books. I didn’t plan ahead with paid advertising, but I didn’t want to spend money on the giveaway if I could avoid it at this time. (Holding back might have been a mistake.)

Many authors prefer the 99 cent buyer to free seekers. That tiny commitment may tend to attract more committed readers instead of hoarders who may never get around to reading the books they download. (And why not? Supermarket chains have figured out that a mere quarter is enough to reduce the drastic loss of very expensive shopping carts.)

If you’re trying to make a living from your writing, write more books like the ones that are already successful for you. That’s why my next book is The Haunting Lessons, now available for a short time for free on Wattpad. It has some commonalities with This Plague of Days, but is more upbeat, faster and funny. I’ll put the whole book up on Wattpad, but I’ll take it down when it’s published on Amazon, closer to Christmas 2014.

Until then, you can read The Haunting Lessons for free by clicking the cover below. Enjoy it now because its time on Wattpad is running out.

Have a look at the beginning of my new series, free on Wattpad.

Have a look at the beginning of my new series, free on Wattpad.

What’s your experience with free versus 99 cent sales?

~ Please check out my author site at AllThatChazz.com.

Filed under: author platform, book marketing, My fiction, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Etiquette to forget: Podcast, blog and be bold

Grab the newest podcast here! Also? I’m much nicer than I look.

I am very active in social media with the aim of boosting ebook sales, yours and mine. One of the ways I reach out to new readers is my weekly comedy/narrative podcast, Self-help for Stoners, named after one of my books in a desperate, craven marketing ploy (so, no, you don’t have to be a stoner to love it.) I’m upping the stakes and, as of tonight’s podcast (March 1) I’m making a bigger play for more new listeners and readers. Yes, I’ll risk being obnoxious here and there. More on that in a minute. First, a word about attitude and bravery.

We must have a distinctive voice in our blogging, marketing and podcasting. Recently, some bloggers said we should conduct ourselves so we don’t offend anyone. Act like we’re in church and stay relentlessly positive if you expect to sell any books. It’s kindly Sex, Death and Mind Controlmeant  advice, but I don’t believe it. Follow that formula and few people will follow you because you don’t have anything much to say. You won’t make a joke or a point. I say have an opinion and the courage of your convictions. That’s why tonight I turned my podcast upside down.

Your blog must inform or entertain (preferably both.) Don’t sweat someone disagreeing with you. What you really have to worry about is boring them.

I’m not out to make anyone angry about my podcast, though some people will be, especially with the podcast I’m releasing this evening. It’s become an experimental playground. In the past, I started out with reading excerpts from my fiction and doing little comedy bits. Then I slid sideways from reading fictive excerpts to straight narrative, totally improvised and often nakedly honest. I’ve talked about the friend I most admire, losing friends and misplacing friends.  I told a long story about embarrassing myself while mocking someone at Starbucks. I took two podcasts to detail my journey to meet celebrities Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. And tonight? As they used to say on Monty Python, “And now for something completely different…”

In tonight’s podcast (The Buckle Up & Brace Yourself Edition of Self-help for Stoners) I’m opening that envelope further. It took me about forty minutes to record it though after editing it came in at about half an hour. (A little punchier than my usual 40 minutes or so and I talk much faster with a lot more energy.) There was no script. I did not slow down to contemplate. It was a sprint in tiny surreal chunks with no transitions. Besides Skylanders and illiterate solicitors, I talk about why I’m an atheist and I relate an argument I got into with a fundamentalist Christian. This is dangerous territory. Many people would say, “Stay away from religion and politics!” However, I listen to many podcasts, and what I like best about them is authenticity. I don’t say anything I don’t believe just to provoke someone. I do occasionally say things I don’t believe in the service of fiction or a joke, but those instances will usually be obvious. (e.g. Vivisecting those puppies? Wasn’t me.)

I’m no Howard Stern, but this divide does remind me of a tidbit from his movie: People who love Stern listen to his show for about an hour. People who hate him listen for two hours. I’m not nearly that controversial and I won’t be engaging in spanking lesbians on air. (That service is only by request, by appointment and applicants? Please include a picture.)

What if God gives you what you want? What if you win an argument against God?

We worry about saying too much so we’re less than honest and worse? Dull. You may not lose readers or listeners if you’re really careful about what you say, but that’s not playing to win new readers and listeners, either. Playing it safe is sometimes the worst thing you can do. I plan to test that theory with this podcast. The metrics will make it obvious. I hope to get more reviews of the podcast with this format experiment. I hope the reviews will be happy and spur the curious to buy my books. Or they will annoy someone but they’ll know I exist. I’m not worried about the easily offended, but your indifference scares the crap out of me. More iTunes reviews and likes on Stitcher might help put my little weekly podcast on the radar. Is it a long-term shift? I don’t know, though I do like that I bring so much more energy to the podcast when I’m in rant mode. I stammer less when I let go and just go for it. Freewheeling off the top of my head with the little story about the murderous clown under your bed was fun, too.

If you care to check out this and past podcasts, you’ll definitely hear the difference, though I contend that, yes, I always had something meaningful to say, whether I was shouting it or droning in that sporadic Quaalude monotone, my damnable spasmodic Shatnerian cadence. Sometimes that little stammer of mine makes me wince and I think I just want to write my twisty and twisted little stories of suspense. Let people find me instead of putting myself out there. Writing stories is the core and that’s the most fun. But then there’s a cogent thought or a laugh I get from messing around on the mic and I remember that podcasting is some of the most fun I ever have marketing my books. It might be fun for you, too. As Mom used to say to me every day, “You’re a nut.” But more often than not, she said it with a grin instead of chagrin.

~ Robert Chazz Chute is the author of a bunch of weird ebooks of suspense that are full of delightful surprises, like punches in your brain from out of the dark. Take the ebook (or paperback!) Self-help for Stoners, for instance: The first story features a starlet who returns home to a town that hates her. There are bossy admonitions about rebuilding your life and making your dreams come true. Then you learn how to beat a murder charge in Texas with nothing but a skunk and a smile. There’s sci-fi that’s low tech. You’ll really enjoy the gay German dinosaur. There’s a pseudo-erotic story which turns out to be funny instead of titillating. There’s no gore or porn, but you will lock your doors and question your fellow man and think: On drugs? Stop! Not on drugs? Start! It’s simply the best collection of dark fiction you’ve never read and it must be true because I, your ever-loving author, said so.

Filed under: DIY, ebooks, podcasts, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, What about Chazz?, , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

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