Category Archives: kaitlin queen

Update on UK pricing for our print editions – good news!

One of Us by Iain RowanI posted recently about the unsatisfactory distribution – and erratic pricing – of our print editions in the UK. Prices were higher, with high postage rates; and just to complicate matters, prices could vary widely week to week; and all of this was beyond our control at infinity plus.

We have some very good news on this: CreateSpace (our print-on-demand supplier) and Amazon (our main distributor) have finally got their European act together!

Now you can order our print editions from Amazon’s UK and other European stores for a price we’ve set, with the advantage of Amazon’s normal delivery options (including free).

So what’s stopping you? Right now we have the following available:

  • Iain Rowan’s CWA Debut Dagger-shortlisted crime novel One of Us, at £7.99
  • Eric Brown‘s collection of psychological horror stories, Ghostwriting, which contains some of his finest writing to date, at £6.99
  • And bestselling children’s author Kaitlin Queen‘s first adult novel One More Unfortunate, at £7.99

Coming soon we’ll have Iain Rowan’s crime collection, Nowhere to Go, recently shortlisted by Spinetingler for a best crime collection award, plus more to be announced soon.

Ghostwriting by Eric BrownNowhere to Go by Iain RowanOne More Unfortunate by Kaitlin Queen


UK pricing for our print editions

So far, UK pricing and distribution for our print editions has been a bit erratic. For example, today’s prices at Amazon UK are £14.99, a hefty mark-up on the $11.99 US price; when I checked a couple of weeks ago the price was a much more reasonable £7.99…

Over at The Book Depository, however, the UK prices are much more reasonable, at £7.45 with free postage:

 


New: print edition of Kaitlin Queen’s “Essex noir” One More Unfortunate

We’re delighted to announce that the print edition of Kaitlin Queen’s murder mystery One More Unfortunate (described by one reviewer as “Essex noir”) is now creeping out into the bookshops.

Today it’s become available at CreateSpace, and in a few days it’ll be on Amazon and then starting to appear elsewhere. Here’s what one Amazon review said about the e-edition:

“There are twists and turns galore before finally the murder is solved… The characterizations are vivid, and in a couple of cases really quite affecting; the taut tale-telling rattles along at good speed; and the solution to the mystery is both startling and satisfying. Recommended.”

There’s also an extract up at the infinity plus website.

(Hint: while it’ll be great to have wider distribution, the author gets the best royalty if you buy direct from CreateSpace. Just so you know.)


Our first print title

Just received in the post today:

One More Unfortunate by Kaitlin Queen (proof copy)

This is the first bound proof of what will be our first print title. Very exciting!


Simultaneous release, or not?

It’s a simple question: as infinity plus starts to release both print and ebook editions of some* of our books, should the two versions be launched simultaneously or not?

The ebook edition is so much speedier to produce: we could release ebooks of our next books from Iain Rowan and Eric Brown within a few days if we chose to. The print editions take much longer: right now we’re waiting for physical proofs of these two to be delivered; when we finally give the go-ahead for distribution, it’s likely to take a few weeks more until they’re widely available.

So: should we delay the ebooks so that both editions can come out together, or should we just plunge in as and when the different editions are ready?


* Why will only some of our books have print editions? We decide on a case by case basis. In many cases, we have electronic rights but another publisher still has print rights, so we can only do the ebook edition. In other cases, while the print rights may be available, if a print edition has already been produced that format might be less viable for us to re-release. Our first three print books have never had a print edition before, and only one of them has been out as an ebook: Ghostwriting, a new collection of psychological horror from Eric Brown will be published for the first time in ebook and print editions, as will Iain Rowan’s Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger-shortlisted novel One of Us; Kaitlin Queen’s adult crime debut, One More Unfortunate, appeared in an ebook edition just over a year ago, but has not previously had a print edition.


Forthcoming titles in ebook and print

One of Us by Iain RowanYes, this post’s title says ‘print’.

We’re very pleased to announce that our next title, Iain Rowan’s superb debut crime novel One Of Us, will be available in both ebook and print editions. Iain has won the Derringer Award for his short crime fiction, and this novel was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Award.

Also available in print soon will be Kaitlin Queen’s crime novel One More Unfortunate (already available as one of our best-selling ebooks).

And another one due soon in print and ebook editions is Eric Brown’s new collection of horror fiction, Ghostwriting.

Other forthcoming titles include Stephen Palmer’s monochrome gothic fantasy, The Rat and the Serpent, and more infinity plus singles from Lisa Tuttle, Eric Brown, David Levine, Kit Reed, Garry Kilworth and others.


infinities: now free on Amazon UK too… and more lessons from ebook pricing experiments

It’s taken a while, but now Amazon UK has caught up with the US and dropped the price of our infinities anthology to zero.This is yet more good news for us, as the purpose of the book is to draw new readers in to explore the work of our authors and friends.

infinities

When the price dropped in the US this book raced up the freebie charts and has lodged itself firmly in the top ten anthologies; within an hour infinities hit the number two spot in Amazon’s UK anthology chart. We’ve had a similar experience with Iain Rowan’s Derringer-winning short story One Step Closer, which has been the UK’s top free short story for more than a week now.

So our experience so far is that freebies shift copies. Not so much of a surprise, but nice to see that the ones we’ve released have competed extremely well with all the other free stuff that’s knocking around.

What will be really interesting is seeing whether these freebies are just hoarded – downloaded because they’re free, but not necessarily read. Or if they’re read, but the kind of people who download freebies aren’t inclined to actually buy the other books we have to offer.

Or, as we hope, the freebies will introduce our authors to new readers who will then go on and buy more from that author.

It’s hard to prove cause and effect, of course, but we’ll be doing what we can over coming weeks to see if there’s a freebie effect or not!


infinities: number one at Amazon

After a couple of days at number two, finally our infinities anthology has taken the top spot in Amazon’s free anthology chart! So far the book is still free only on the US site, but I hope it will reach the UK site before too long.

number one at Amazon

Downloads:
download now for free from Amazon US


infinities: now free on Amazon and racing up the charts

A sales spike this morning drew my attention to the fact that Amazon have now dropped the price of our infinities anthology to zero, matching the price level already established elsewhere. This is great news for us, as the purpose of the book is to draw new readers in to explore the work of our authors and friends.

Within a few hours over 150 copies had shifted, taking the book to number 3 in the anthologies chart.

So far the price drop is only on the US site, but I hope it will reach the UK site before too long.

So what’s it all about? Here’s an earlier post about the book:

short stories, novel extracts and a complete novelette from infinity plus and friends:

Eric Brown, John Grant, Anna Tambour, Keith Brooke, Garry Kilworth, Iain Rowan, Kaitlin Queen, Linda Nagata, Scott Nicholson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Steven Savile
(edited by Keith Brooke)

100,000 words of infinitiesshort fiction and novel extracts from a range of top genre authors.

Back in 1997 the original infinity plus website started out on the principle that we’d all benefit if a bunch of authors got together and put stories online for free: readers would get a chance to discover new writers, and those writers might share readers around and sell a few more books; and in the meantime, we’d build an online showcase crammed with excellent reading.

Now an ebook imprint, infinity plus is still going strong. With our first infinities anthology we’re returning to those launching principles: here’s a bunch of genre authors getting together in an anthology that is free to download, giving readers the chance to sample and discover before — we hope — going on to buy our books.

infinities is an anthology; it’s a sampler; it’s a catalogue for works published by infinity plus and our friends in the writing world. And it’s free. We hope you enjoy it.

Downloads:
download now for free from Amazon US


The price of ebooks

How much should an ebook cost?

It’s pretty clear that a large proportion of the ebook audience resents publishers setting ebook prices at the same levels as print editions. We can all see that, for a start, an ebook has little material cost to produce: no paper, no ink, no physical distribution or storage.

Other costs are similar, though, if a book is to be produced well. A book needs editing (yes, even indie books need that!) – structural edits, copy edits, proofing. A book needs marketing, perhaps more so in a market swamped by e-product; although, let’s face it, most ebooks get little if any additional marketing input from the big commercial publishers. The book needs design, both internal and external, and striking, appropriate cover art. And, of course, someone has spent a substantial part of their life producing the words: most writers can’t just give that work away for nothing.

Taking all of the costs into account, it’s still clear that an ebook is far cheaper to produce than a print edition, but even then, from a publishing perspective we should consider a book’s different editions as a package: good mass market paperback sales can subsidise the hardback edition; ebook sales can provide an income flow that makes the difference between a book being viable or not. Deal or no deal, as far as the author is concerned.

This is a dangerous argument, though, and it would seem that some publishers are using inflated ebook prices to subsidise print to too great a degree, and this is one reason readers object.

Considering all the arguments, it’s clear that ebooks should be priced substantially lower than print editions. This can have other benefits for author and publisher, drawing in the waverers who might not shell out a tenner but will take a punt on an ebook for two or three quid.

That does become a self-perpetuating argument, though.

If $2.99 brings in a new audience who might then go on and buy other books by that author, why not $1.99, 99 cents, even freebies?

As the market stands, some of the most successful indie and self-published authors have priced their books at 99 cents. It’s not a guaranteed route to success, but it’s certainly a well-trodden one.

When we launched infinity plus ebooks in December 2010, pricing was something we discussed at length. Rather than match the prices of the larger commercial publishers, we opted for what seemed to be a good compromise level of $2.99, and we’ve been reasonably successful with this, with all of our titles hitting Amazon category bestseller charts at some stage.

The market is always moving, though, and the summer has been fairly quiet. Time to try something new.

Well, as it happens, what we’ve tried isn’t so new (not for us, and certainly not for other publishers): earlier in the year we priced Kaitlin Queen’s romantic crime novel One More Unfortunate (my favourite review of that one described it as “Essex noir”) at 99 cents for a month. Sales took off, and we sold around 30 times as many copies that month as we would have expected; sales subsequently returned to a bit more than previous levels, but at least a fine book found a whole bunch of new readers.

This month we’re doing it again. Iain Rowan’s first collection of crime stories, Nowhere To Go, has been cut to 99 cents for September. Again, it’s a book I love (naturally, you might point out, as I published it…), with some cracking stories, including the Derringer Award-winner “One Step Closer”. It’s been reasonably successful since we published it earlier this year, and has picked up some fantastic reviews. Hopefully this promotion will get it out to a new audience, just as the earlier promotion did for Kaitlin’s novel.

From a writer’s perspective, the whole price debate provokes mixed feelings. Writing a book is hard work and it’s nice to think that people place a value on our books. When people expect it for free that’s bound to have an effect. And do note: I don’t object to free fiction on principle – for ten years I distributed millions of words of free, professional fiction through infinity plus. What concerns me is trying to find a model that rewards the writers and encourages good writers to write, rather than making it harder for that to happen.

I’m also intrigued by the effect this rapidly changing new market has on the words we actually produce. Already ebooks place more emphasis on openings, for example.

In the past, readers might pick up a book in a shop and glance through the opening, which is one reason why we needed to make sure our openings hooked.

With ebooks and the emphasis on downloading samples, everyone’s at it! Now, the opening chapter or three become even more important: if your sample doesn’t hook ‘em, then they’re not going to click ‘buy now’.

And the impact of pricing? When prices drop below a dollar or so, prospective readers are far more likely to buy than sample. The effect this has is that these price-influenced readers accumulate large personal libraries of free and cheap ebooks. They’re never going to read them all. They’ll do the e-equivalent of picking a book up, reading a bit, putting it down again and then… next time they read they have to choose whether to resume something they’ve started or try something different. Just how many of these cheap books never get read beyond the first few thousand words?

So as the market twists and turns and finds a new shape, what do we have? Increased emphasis on good books that make a reader keep reading. More weight on good openings, on hooks, on engaging the reader. It’s all about storytelling.

Writing this, I realise that a lot of the questions that trouble me as a writer don’t really trouble me at all. The new market hasn’t changed how I write. With each new book I still want to make it my best one, and I want readers to be unable to put it down. Which is exactly the kind of writing the new market should encourage.

All I really need is to find a publishing model that allows me to find the largest, most receptive audience for that, and to make it rewarding enough to help me write, not hinder it. Easy, eh?


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