Winterwakers Part 1 is free on Kindle (plus other book-related thoughts)

We’re coming up on the two-year anniversary of the publication of Winterwakers Part 1: Cold Hands, the book that kicked off both the Winterwakers series and my writing career. What started as an experiment to see if I could actually do this has turned into a new phase of my life, one that will continue for as long as I can make it work.

To coincide with this anniversary, I’ve shuffled some of my sales channels around, and, more interestingly, lowered some eBook prices. Here’s what’s happening, now and in the future:

  • Winterwakers Part 1: Cold Hands is currently free in the Kindle Store! This is a limited time deal. If you’re interested in the book, but haven’t been willing and/or able to pay for it, now is your chance. It will go back to its regular price on October 25. Speaking of that regular price …
  • After the free promo ends, Part 1 will be 99 cents US in the Kindle Store – forever! I am not kidding when I say “forever.” That’s the new permanent price of the eBook.
  • The Part 1, 2, and 3 eBooks are now Kindle exclusives. There are pros and cons to this. The obvious downside is that you can no longer buy them from other eBook sellers. There are quite a few positives though, including the fact that I am now able to run these free eBook promos.
  • Don’t worry: the Winterwakers Omnibus is still available everywhereThe aforementioned Kindle exclusivity only applies to the individual-part eBooks. You can still buy the Omnibus Edition, which combines all three parts, a bonus epilogue, and extra appendices, at the eBook retailer of your choice.
  • The Winterwakers Omnibus eBook is now $4.99 US everywhere. Yes, Part 1 is cheaper than a bag of ice (and far less likely to leak all over the trunk of your car), but the Omnibus Edition eBook is the best value for your reading dollar, especially at this price.

Cool, right? I think this will be a good thing for a lot of potential readers, especially the ability to read my work for free (or, at most, a buck).

And now: a bit of an FAQ, if you’re interested in why I did this, what it’s like self-publishing a novel, or what I’m doing next.

Why did you do this?
Winterwakers has been out for a while now, and I’ve not really tinkered with the price or the sales channels much since that time. The $2.99-per-eBook pricing was set back when there was no omnibus or paperback. That price made sense at the time; if anything, $2.99 for a 200-page book was a pretty great deal. But now that the story is done and the omnibus is out, sales of the individual parts have been almost nil (which is not at all surprising). I figured it might be time to re-think how I sell the individual-part eBooks, and this is what I came up with.

Why did you go exclusive with Amazon?
Making your eBook a Kindle exclusive (this is called KDP Select in Amazon’s universe) comes with quite a few benefits. I can now offer the book for free for a short time (as I am currently doing), plus I can now do giveaways and other promotional things via the world’s biggest bookstore. It also makes the books available to a whole new market of readers via the Kindle Lending Library. And honestly: the vast, vast majority of my sales come from Amazon. The few that don’t are almost entirely for the omnibus anyway, which remains available everywhere.

But I don’t like Amazon. This sucks. Aren’t you afraid of losing readers like me?
Sorry. But no, I really don’t think I will lose any potential readers this way. Like I said: the few people who are buying my eBooks from other stores are almost exclusively buying the omnibus. And honestly, the omnibus is a far better deal for you, and *leans in closer* I’d rather you buy the omnibus anyway. It’s best for me to have as many sales and reviews on that title as possible. From my perspective, this is a win-win.

Okay, so why are the individual Winterwakers parts still available at all, then?
Because I recognize that there are many readers who aren’t willing or able to put $5 down on a debut author they’ve never heard of. The 99 cent Part 1 is for them. Hopefully they’ll like it so much they’ll pick up Part 2 or the omnibus as well, but even if they don’t, at least they read something from me instead of the nothing they would have read before I did this. There are also Amazon-related reasons I’ve already outlined above.

Doesn’t giving your book away for free, or selling it for only 99 cents, devalue it in people’s minds?
Mmmmmaybe? I think this is a valid question, but any answer I give would only be a guess. What I do know is that $3 for Part 1 is a questionable proposition when the omnibus is only five bucks for three times as much story. I am selling almost zero copies of anything that is not the omnibus right now, so I literally can’t do worse by pricing it lower.

But what if Part 1 steals sales from the more expensive omnibus?
I really doubt this will happen. I think the people who buy Part 1 at the new low price wouldn’t have paid for the omnibus regardless. I could be wrong about that, but this is all just speculation either way.

Any chance of a price break on the paperback?
Not any time soon. Possibly not ever. My margin on a 600-page print-on-demand paperback is pretty small, and if I price it much lower I will not be earning anything from it. I can be far more flexible on eBook pricing.

Will you do the three-small-part thing for future books?
The real answer is: it depends on the book. The book I just finished writing is a stand-alone novel, a bit more than half as long as the Winterwakers omnibus. For the next story I have in mind, I’m pondering doing a series of novellas, but it’s still way too early to make that decision. There are good reasons to part out a story, and there are good reasons not to.

When’s your next book coming out?
I don’t know. It may never come out. I’m querying this one to literary agents instead of self-publishing. If I get an agent, they’ll have to sell it to a publisher, and then, hopefully, it will get published. Odds are not in my favor, but it’s a solid book, and I think it has as good a chance as anything.

Will you self-pub a book again?
I dunno. All I can say at this point is that I haven’t ruled it out for future work. But I think the book I just finished is well-suited to traditional publishing, so I’m giving it a shot. What I do after that is still TBD, and there are too many variables at play for me to lean in any direction right now.

Will there be a Winterwakers sequel? You kinda left the door open for one.
I would like to do one someday, but don’t hold your breath. I have other ideas I want to explore first. And honestly, Winterwakers hasn’t sold well enough for a sequel to be a viable use of my time and energy. If it suddenly started selling thousands of copies, then obviously I’d have to rethink my priorities. But right now, writing a sequel to a book that, though well-liked, didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, makes no sense to me from a career/business perspective. Sorry.

So you have nothing else for me to read? That’s a bit of a bummer.
Yeah. Trust me: I would very much like for you to be able to read more stuff that I’ve written, but these things take time. Publishing moves at a glacial pace, and even self-publishing involves a tremendous amount of work on my end. But rest assured: I am working hard to get my next book out there, and I will continue to bust my ass writing new books. You should sign up for my email list if you haven’t already; it’s the best way to learn what’s coming up from me. And in full sincerity: I appreciate your interest in my writing; it means a lot.

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