Saturday, December 22, 2012

Do not buy my ebook on Amazon…today

I know a lot of people don’t like Amazon, I’m not one of them.  I love one-click ordering, I buy everything from socks, to jeans, to books from the site—heck I even bought a rear tail light assembly for my 1994 Toyota (yes I own an 18-year-old car…and until recently its 20-year-old twin) at 1/3 of the price my local auto parts store was selling it for.  When I buy from Amazon, I don’t have to go out into the cold, fight traffic or circle parking lots for hours to find a space. I don’t even have to wait until the store is open.  It's always is there any time, day or night.

Amazon’s customer service is also incredible.  On two occasions my wife broke her kindle (her fault not theirs) and in just a matter of two-days a new one was in her hands, along with a prepaid box to send the broken one back. No hassles and friendly people on the phone. What could have been an incredible hassle turned out to be a pleasurable experience.

But it’s not just as a consumer that I appreciate Amazon. Without question they made my career possible and I can think of no other organization who have done more for authors  in regards to providing them the means to earn a living from their writing. If Amazon had never existed, my books would have remained in a drawer, or shared with just a few close friends and family.

But let’s talk a moment about “discoverability.”  This is that huge hurdle that is the bane of every author. “Back in the day” it was bookstores, and people spending hours leisurely browsing through tens of thousands of books, that got new authors found. But times have changed. Borders is gone, and much of the retail space at Barnes and Noble is now taken up with toys, nook displays, and in-store cafes.  The total number of titles carried is down significantly. Shelf space has shrunk, and in the not too distant future I anticipate that it will only be the household names that will grace the shelves.  

Say what you will about Amazon, they know how to do things right. Through their recommendations, books also bought features, and bestsellers lists I’ve found dozens of authors I’ve never heard of before…both self-published and from traditional houses. I can look at my author page, and see what other authors are cross-selling well with my books—a good sign that I might like what they have written.  

Recently Amazon started a new Author Rank feature where the top 100 authors in a given category were listed. For the first time I could get a feel for how I measured up with my peers.  Royalty statements only come twice a year, but now at any given moment I can see how my sales are doing relative to other authors. Since the start of this new program I’ve been doing fairly well. In the Fantasy Category I’ve been in the Top 100, 20% of the time and in the top 135, 100% of the time. I’m happy with those results, especially given it’s been over a year since my first release, and about eleven months since my last.

Over the last few days I saw significant improvement in my Amazon Author Rank, going from 124 on December 17th to 27 sometime yesterday. 

This was a temporary boost, and it came, I suspect, because of some recent sales on To my great delight Theft of Swords has been named to three of their 2012 year end lists:

As I said, the bump was temporary and the peek has come and gone. I currently rank in the 40’s and I suspect it’ll continue to fall (hopefully not further than my initial levels), but I’m happy because at least for a little while some people who didn’t know me might have seen my name and my books alongside authors like Abercrombie & Weeks.

So with so many good things coming to me from Amazon, why am I’m asking you not to buy my book from them?  Well notice the qualifier I put on there…“today.” If you can put off your purchase for just a few hours, I’m going to save you some dough, because I am told that tomorrow, December 23, 2012  Theft of Swords will be the Science Fiction & Fantasy Kindle Daily Deal.  For those that aren’t familiar with...

It’s a program where Amazon takes one book (or sometimes a group of books) and deeply discount it for 24 hours. They actually currently run 4 daily deals (general interest, science fiction & fantasy, romance, and children’s books). Right now the list price for Theft is $9.99 and Amazon generally has it discounted to $7.99 but for 24-hours (starting 3:00 am EST) you can get Theft for just $1.99 that’s a savings of 75%!

If you already have a print or audio version, and want to pick-up the ebook this would be the perfect time to do so.  But it also provides a great opportunity for sharing Riyria with your friends and loved ones. For less than $2 it makes a great “stocking stuffer.”  And, not surprisingly, Amazon makes it easy for you to gift an ebook. Here’s how it works.

1.    All you need is the email address of someone you want to send the book to.
2.    On the right side of the screen you’ll see a button to give as a gift

 3.    Then just fill out the form.  You can either have the email sent to you in which case you can print it and place it in a stocking, a card, or a box so that you can deliver it personally, or you can forward the email it to someone far away. There is also an option to send the email on your behalf and you can add a personalized message. (You can even buy it, and have it auto-delivered on the date you specify. Wish they could do that for puppies. Hard to keep one of those a secret.)

4.    The person who receives the gift can download the book anytime they want…they don’t have to receive it on the day of the Daily Deal.  If they already have Theft of Swords, or just don’t think it’s the right book for them…they can accept a gift card instead and use the money to buy something they would rather read.  

NOTE: Even people without kindle ereaders can read a kindle ebook.  Amazon has a kindle application and their software runs on ipad, iphones, blackberries, computers, tablets, and just about anything with a screen. So even if your friend or loved one doesn’t have a kindle…they’ll still be able to read the book.

Historically, books that are featured as the Kindle Daily Deal get a lot of attention, and a lot of sales. More often than not it will put a book in the Amazon Top 100 (something I’ve yet to achieve…the closest I’ve ever gotten was 102), and often they are #1 or in the Top 10.  Being on one of the Bestseller’s lists (Amazon, New York Times, USA Today) is a huge goal for any author, so by gifting Theft of Swords on December 23, you might end up giving me a gift as well…the ability to say I’ve finally “made a list.” 

So, if you’ve enjoyed Riyria, or maybe you’ve heard of it but haven’t purchased yet, today (Sat 22nd of Dec.) is not the day.  Wait a few hours (Until Sun the 23rd) and save yourself some money, and hopefully with so many sales coming in a very short time, the book, and the series will get a little more attention.

Even if I don’t get in the Top 100 I’ve had a great 2012 and a holiday season already filled with joy, and much of that is attributable to all of you and the support you have given me and my books. I hope you are having a safe and happy holiday as well, and that 2013 will bring you and yours a very happy new year.


  1. I think you are the only author I've ever read who has notified readers of a sale on his works. It somehow makes you seem more like a "real person" than a name on my screen.

  2. Thank you so much for letting us know! Tomorrow is my birthday, so I feel like this is Amazon's gift to me. I'll definitely snag a copy.

  3. Alas gifting of e-books hasn't yet managed to work its way over the Atlantic and don't yet offer it. Likewise the daily deal for your book doesn't appear to be available for us yet either, which is a pitty because I know that at least two of my friends will buy the Riyria series as soon as they've finished their current books.
    I did stumble over your "The Viscount and the Witch" short story, (how I didn't notice it before is beyond me...) and snagged a copy for £0.00 which is kinda cool.

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