My Books



“I actually could not put the book down. It is well written and kept my interest. I want more from this author.”
Reader review of Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead on Amazon.com 

All books available in paperback and as e-books from major online bookstores.
See below on the right-hand side of this page for specific links to sellers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Roiling the Market

At a family event on Saturday, my wife’s Scottish brother-in-law cut to the chase.

“How many of those books have you actually sold?” he wanted to know.

I actually didn’t have a clue. I am not very good at keeping track of what’s happening with all the various sellers who carry my two titles. Their web pages are equipped to generate whatever reports I might like about books sales, whenever I might like them, but I always seem to have more pressing things to do. Counting up my sales always feels like time I should be spending on marketing my books. Marketing my books always feels like time I should be spending on writing the next book. It’s an endless cycle.

I wish I was as good at marketing my books as Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams is at marketing his. He has had a book out for the past twenty months or so called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life. He also has a blog, where he posts something just about everyday. These days he usually blogs about Donald Trump. I do not blog as often as he does but, on the positive side, I put my comments about Donald Trump on my other blog because I like to think that people interested in my books already know as much (or more) as they want to about Donald Trump or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton.

The clever thing that Adams does is that, at the end of every blog post, no matter what he happens to be writing about, he always adds a random-sounding non-sequitur line pitching his book. They are usually quite humorous, like this one: “Everyone is talking about my book. I hope we don’t run out of Kindle versions before you get yours.”

That is funny because I don’t think anyone has ever ordered a Kindle book from Amazon only to get an email saying, “This title is temporarily out of stock. We will ship your Kindle book as soon as it becomes available.” Adams’s line about the Kindle book made me smile because it reminded me of one of the reasons I like e-books. If they are for sale, they are in stock—always.

Another reason I like Kindle books is that is the format apparently preferred by most of my readers. No less than 68 percent of my books’ sales revenues are through the U.S. Kindle store. (After my weekend conversation, I went home and checked.) Another 12.5 percent are from Kindle sales through Amazon’s non-U.S. sites. Four percent are from other e-book formats. The remaining 15.5 percent come from books distributed on good old-fashioned paper.

I wonder if that is typical. I have no idea and, apparently, it is difficult to count e-book sales as compared to paper book sales. Earlier this year an article in The Guardian estimated that 26 percent of e-books sold on Amazon in the UK were by self-published authors. By comparison 31 percent were sold by the UK’s five biggest publishers (Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Simon & Schuster). So my guess is that my statistics may not be atypical for many independent authors.

Many self-published authors sell exclusively through the Kindle store and do not even bother with paper books. When I first started, I was not sure if I would release paperback versions of my books. Now I would not consider doing a book release that did not include a paperback version. People who prefer that format really do prefer it. And, if nothing else, paperback books make handy birthday and Christmas gifts for my relatives.

Okay, now’s the time to try a clever Scott Adams-style kicker. Here goes. If you like eating sushi in September, then you might like my book. It has no Japanese words.

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