The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Magic of KDP

It's completely counter-intuitive that Amazon's KDP model of giving away free books will stimulate sales of the same book. Why would anybody want to buy a book that they could have downloaded free the day before? If it's in the KDP program, won't it be available free some time in the future if the would-be buyer is just patient enough to wait?

My son Michael suggested that I try two consecutive book giveaways starting on Christmas Day and ending on January 3, 2013, ten days later. All of those brand new Kindle readers who got them for Christmas presents needed downloaded books to read, so this made sense, at least to me. I had previously had free book giveaways for two of my novels in KDP, "The Surreal Killer", a full-length novel, which was very successful, and a novelette, "The Body in the Parking Structure", which was not very successful in stimulating new sales. But I learned a few lessons along the way. They were lessons everybody was already saying on Facebook, Goodreads, and Kindle Forums. Short forms of books---novellas, novelettes, and short stories---aren't as popular as full-length novels even if they are free.   People seem to want more pages for their money, even if the total cost is $0.00.  And nobody wants to download any book, free or at full price, unless it has a lot of positive reviews.  And maybe a catchy cover too, but this isn't quite as clear to me yet.

"The Surreal Killer" giveaway lasted five days, from 12/25-12/29/12.  In the USA more than 1,150 free copies were downloaded during this period.  Interestingly, Amazon UK readers almost matched this performance by downloading 995 copies of the book.

The performance of the novelette, "The Body in the Parking Structure" was different.  In the USA there were more than 825 downloads of the freebie between 12/30-12/31/12, with a little over 700 more taken in the first three days of January.  There was much less interest in this free novelette on Amazon UK, where only 29 free copies were downloaded between 12/30-12/31/12 and 39 more for the 3 days in January.

But then came the magic:  More than a 1.5 books a day (thus far) were either sold or were borrowed via Prime, mainly "The Surreal Killer" despite the more than 2,000 free downloads the preceding month.  Total sales/borrows were almost exactly equally distributed between in the USA and Amazon UK.  The January sales included all six of my book titles for sale on Amazon, but "The Surreal Killer" led the pack, with "The Body in the Parking Structure" comfortably in second place in the USA, but not in the the UK where "The Ambivalent Corpse" followed "The Surreal Killer" in sales.

What lessons are to be learned from this simple, but uncontrolled, experiment?  What do you think, readers?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Onward to the World of High Technology Blogging

My family decided to support my second career as a mystery writer by upgrading the technology available to increase my productivity.

My first gift was an iPad for more comfortable reading of e-books that the Kindle app on my computer that I had been using. The iPad also has a downloadable Blogger app that supports writing these blog posts for Blogspot off-line.  Now I can take any spur of the moment idea that occurs at any time and get it written down, properly formatted for Blogspot, at the instant of conception. If it still looks good the next day it uploads at the touch of a finger. If it doesn't look good in the cold, clear light of the next day, it disappears forever at the touch of a finger. If inspiration strikes during the 8-6 working day, so be it. Just open the iPad, start typing, and pretend it's work related.

My second gift was a smart phone, in this case an iPhone that synchronizes seamlessly with my iPad and laptop.  It's even more portable than the iPad and fits in a pocket.  Guess what?  It has the Blogger app available for free download too.  I'm pretty much out of excuses for hitting my goal of one or more posts per week to this blog.  And before any of you eagle-eyed readers notes the date on the last post, I just had a week of the flu as an excuse for being late.

Given the technology upgrade I hope to explore various new and different themes in the next few months.  Guest posts are most welcome, especially if they relate, however distantly, to mystery novels or mystery writing.

Happy New Year and Feliz ano nuevo to all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tich's New Review of The Matador Murders

"I enjoy reading Mystery novels, I love the excitement and solving problems. The Matador Murders is a pretty fast paced and well written Mystery.  Roger and Suzanne are called Montevideo to help solve a murder. In order to find the killer and free their friend from murder charges they must investigate the members of the two gangs that are at war. Someone is killing for leadership and they must figure out who this is.  Jerold Last did a great job creating The Matador Murders. The characters were fantastic and the storyline was great."


Thank you, Tich.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Review of The Body in the Parking Structure

This review is from Amazon: The Body in the Parking Structure (Kindle Edition) 4 Stars
"This is a short, fast paced read that has all the elements of a detective series with a notable shortage of detail.
This may sound like a negative but it is not.
This turned out to be a fun read. All the necessary information is contained herein but all those details that are used to drag out a story and flesh it out was absent.
Making it a really easy and nice read.
None of the essential information is missing.
The characters are fluffed out enough for the reader to connect to them though not so fluffed that they become THAT family member, you know the one!
The family member where you know every single breath taken.
This is a nice read and worth it's 4 * review rating."

I believe this is the first review of this book originating in the Southern Hemisphere (South Africa).  The 4-star rating overall is based upon a total of 9 reviews thus far.

It was fun experimenting with this short form mystery that takes place in Los Angeles rather than the much more descriptive style I used in my novels set in various South American locales.  It's quite amazing to me as an author how different the task becomes when you need to have a plot and a conclusion within some arbitrary constraint of total book length.