Aided by Kindle Review rec and 99-cent sale, ‘Solomon Scandals’ zoomed to 1K rank at Amazon out of 850K

For years, as founder and editor of TeleRead, I complained of e-book gouges by big publishers eager to protect their trade in paper books.

imageMy little publisher, Twilight Times Books, owned by the author-friendly Lida Quillen, listened.

Last week with my blessing, Lida dropped the price of The Solomon Scandals on Amazon to 99 cents, a fraction of the earlier price there ($5.99 list, a few dollars discounted). Suddenly my novel rocketed from a rank of around 250,000 to just 1,000 or so.  Not bad. The Amazon Kindle store sells more than 850,000 items, and of course, with rank, smaller numbers are better.

imageCurrent rank is in the 6000s, but that is with at least four free books and some other 99 centers now competing against Scandals on the same page. Sixty-two percent of people dropping by still end up buying Scandals.

So what do you think? Would you like the 99 cents to be permanent or at least remain another month or so? The sale was supposed to end yesterday, but pleased by the results, Lida says it’s still on through early April, perhaps the 5th or 6th.

imageMeanwhile big thanks to the Kindle Review for spreading word of the sale—and to Lida for refining her Amazon strategy. Some other Kindle TTB books are also 99 cents there. To answer one question, yes, I’d love to see a similar price reduction in other formats. No matter who sells Scandals, Linda prefers that retailers shun the oft-consumer-hostile technology known as Digital Rights Management.

Different books need different pricing strategies and tactics. In Scandals’s case, as I see it, the goal right now is simply to get the book’s existence known, establish my brand as a novelist, and grow the book’s value in Hollywood, where a veteran HFPA/Golden Globe judge is talking it up as “outrageous and unique” and pushing to get a movie made. Although Scandals has drawn raves in the Washington City Paper and in online reviews, the big media won’t touch it, perhaps in part because the novel takes on—the media. My irreverent portrait of the D.C. elite probably isn’t helping, either. “Outrageous and unique” isn’t always in vogue here.

Enjoy the idea of bypassing the press? Then spread word of the e-book edition. And if you can get your local bookstore to carry the trade paperback of Scandals, so much the better. I love both formats and would hate to see E entirely displacing P.

Update, April 6: The price of the Kindle edition is now $2.99, as I expected—still a bargain (Twilight Times Books decides these matters and needed to factor in Amazon’s steeply lower percentages for bargain-priced books).

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David Rothman

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