Saturday, June 23, 2012

To Nook or not to Nook...

Okay, the Nookers have guilted me into putting some of my newly re-acquired backlist up for THEM. So at least for the next few weeks, here you go:

For Nook: $2.99
On Amazon:  $3.99

Five troubled college students left alone on their isolated campus over the long Thanksgiving break confront their own demons and a mysterious presence... that may or may not be real.

Bram Stoker and Anthony Award Nominee for Best First Novel.

"Poltergeist meets The Breakfast Club as five college students tangle with an ancient evil entity. Plenty of sexual tension... fast pace and engaging plot."
     -- Kirkus Reviews

For Nook:  $2.99
Amazon:    $2.99

A Boston District Attorney suspects his wife has made a terrible bargain with a mysterious hospital counselor to save the life of their dying child.

"Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre."
      -- The New York Times Book Review

For Nook:  $2.99
Amazon:  $2.99

Two psychology professors and two exceptionally gifted students move into an abandoned Southern mansion to duplicate a controversial poltergeist experiment - unaware that the entire original research team ended up insane... or dead.

Based on the real life, world-famous parapsychology experiments conducted at Duke University by Dr. J.B. Rhine.

"Sokoloff keeps her story enticingly ambiguous, never clarifying until the climax whether the unfolding weirdness might be the result of the investigators' psychic sensitivities or the mischievous handiwork of a human villain."
     -- Publisher's Weekly

For Nook: $2.99
Amazon: $2.99

An alienated high school girl who is dreaming of a terrible massacre at her school believes she can prevent the shooting with the help of a popular boy, her secret crush, who is having the exact same dream.

"Alexandra Sokoloff has created an intricate tapestry; a dark Young Adult novel with threads of horror and science fiction that make it a true original. Loaded with graphic, vivid images that place the reader in the midst of the mystery and danger, The Space Between takes psychological elements, quantum physics and multiple dimensions with parallel universes and creates a storyline that has no equal. A must-read."
       -- Suspense Magazine

I have to say this Nook thing is a bit of an experiment.  One of the amazing things about e publishing is the sheer control authors now have over pricing and venues, and the infinite flexibility of choices we enjoy (or dread, depending on your point of view!). We can change the prices of our books literally overnight, and play with where we choose to make our books available, to determine what is the most profitable for us.

And when I say profitable, what I'm really talking about is exposure.

There's an ongoing and vehement debate about the effectiveness of e publishing for Nook. The big problem is that Amazon is so incredibly effective at marketing that enrolling in the Kindle Select program, which makes your book exclusive to Amazon for three-month periods at a time, has been for some time now more profitable for authors than making books available on multiple platforms (including Nook).

The two reasons for this are:

1) The ability in the Kindle Select program to promote your book for free for five days of those three months, an incredible marketing spike, and -

2) Any book enrolled in Kindle Select is made available in Amazon's Lending Library, and authors are paid a certain amount per borrow (about $1.70 for a $2.99 book, but it fluctuates.)

So the math that authors are being forced to do is - "Can I reach more readers and make more money with Nook sales or with borrows from the Amazon Lending Library?"

And the answer seems to be - "It depends on the book."

Thus my experiment this month, because I really don't know. My goal is to have the most people read my books as I can reach, and I'll choose whichever path is getting my books to the most readers. And the only way to find that out is just to try.

So I'm trying, and I'll report back on how all this goes.

Authors never used to have to think about this, by the way. Our publishers did all of this - or DIDN'T do it, as often seemed the case! - and we had no control or input whatsoever over or into the various strategies.  Now it's up to us to research, analyze, experiment, and go with the best strategy for whatever our goal is in publishing.

It's a lot of control, and a lot of responsibility.  And a lot of authors I know are freezing up at the sheer overwhelm of the increased demands, and not jumping in to this brave but chaotic new world.

I'm trying not to freeze up, even though it really is kind of annoying, alternating with terrifying, to have to make business decisions like this instead of just concentrating on the free-form creativity that writing is.  I really HOPE that having my books up on B&N for Nook will prove viable; I hate the idea that anyone with an e reader would not be able to instantly download any one of my books any time they wanted one. After all, instant gratification is the very essence of e reading, isn't it?  It sure the hell is for me.

But if my goal is the most readers I can get...

Well, we'll just have to see, won't we?  The fact is, with e publishing, we get all of those numbers. And the numbers are very telling, and they don't always tell what we want to hear.

So how about you all?  Authors, what are you finding on the Kindle Select vs. multi-platform question?  Is Nook paying off for you, or are you sticking to Select?   Anyone trying Kobo's new program?

And readers - how many of you actually ARE Nook readers?  If you are, are you supporting the Nook platform by buying a lot of Nook books?  Are you aware of how agonizing a decision this is for authors?

Any insights greatly appreciated!

- Alex

Related marketing posts:

The Madness of Marketing
Letting it Ride (Kindle Select promotion)
Bestseller lists and Tag lists
Liking, Sharing and Tagging 
My e publishing decision 
To Nook or Not to Nook? 
Giving it Away (Kindle Select promotion)


Angele said...

We're a two-Nook, no-Kindle family and buy a LOT of Nook books. While I know it's possible to strip the DRM off Kindle books, I respect, on a philosophical level, that B&N chose the epub format over something proprietary. As a reader, I'm so glad you're offering these books at B&N (I just bought all three, bringing my Nook Color's current Sokoloff selections up to six). As a writer, I'm hoping you'll gain lots of new readers and I'll be eagerly awaiting the results of your experiment!

cncbooks said...

{{Also posted at Goodreads}}

Alex, I'm a Nook reader (Nooker?) and, yes, I do support authors by buying and reviewing on my blog. In fact, I've just bought The Harrowing---thank you for making it available.

I currently have 178 books on my Nook which I've owned since November. That's 178 books I wouldn't have if they were only available on Kindle. I truly do understand the dilemma but I see no reason for an author to completely abandon the rest of us. Use Kindle Select periodically but recognize that if you don't ever offer your books anywhere else, you lose a lot of potential readers.

Incidentally, I also buy in small quantities from Kobo, Smashwords and a few other places but I choose not to feed the Amazon behemoth when it comes to books---could be because they helped kill my brick & mortar store. To you and many other authors, Amazon is an amazing place to be (and I don't dispute that at all) while to me it's the entity that is doing its best to control the book industry.

Thanks again very much for making your backlist available.

Lelia Taylor
Creatures 'n Crooks / Buried Under Books

Unknown said...

I'm neither a Kindle nor a Nook user - I've a Sony e-reader which I chose because it didn't tie me into buying from just one source.

But then, I'm living outside the US, in Western Australia, so I'm part of your International readership. :)

(And the easiest way for me to buy ebooks at the moment is through Smashwords or Borders.)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Angele, thanks so much for the support! (And I have to say it's SUCH a relief to be able to offer the books at what I think is a more reasonable price - it was killing me to have e books up for 11.99 and 12.99. I wouldn't pay it for an e book myself.)

I'm glad to hear you're so actively supporting the platform. I'm hoping we can ALL make all these options work!

(I absolutely won't engage the DRM on any platform.)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Hi Leila, great to hear from you and THANKS so much for your thoughtful response (and for buying the Nook books!)

It really is so painful for authors like me who are caught in this dilemma - you know no one loves bookstores more than authors. We want ALL venues for books to succeed and be profitable.

This is why I am SO HOPING that Nook will grow and be a profitable platform for authors - and that they will STRIVE to be a profitable platform for authors. This is my living - I've always supported myself exclusively through writing, first as a screenwriter and now as an author. But it's Amazon that's making it possible for me to do that right now - not my NY publishers, not my UK publishers, not B&N, not Smashwords, not anyone else. I crunch the numbers every week trying to figure out how I can make this work. But I am never unaware of your point of view.

(Don't people say Nooker? Seems like a natural. Nooker and Kindler, or Nooker and Zoner??)

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Right, and Lisa is a Smasher.

Sorry, I really have had too much coffee this morning. Should eat something.

Lisa, I'll try to get The Price and The Harrowing up on Smashwords today. Smashwords just makes it so hard to take the books DOWN if you want to do a Select run, and the sales aren't worth the hassle, except for my workbooks, which I really need to have available in pdf form for people until I get a physical book out there.

So many projects, so little time...

Am I going to see you at RWAustralia in August?

Rhonda Lane said...

The first ebook I bought for my NOOK COLOR (love it) was your THE UNSEEN. Yup, I paid full price.

I have a smartphone (Droid) that supports both Nook and Kindle, but I love to read on my Nook. Don't like the Kindle. I only have it for Kindle-only books and I will wait for a book to finally leave Kindle Select so I can buy it. Not only that, but I dislike the Kindle app so much, that I rarely read Kindle books on my phone - I'd rather read Nook on my phone.

C. S. Lakin said...

I've pulled all my ebooks out of KDP Select. I never saw many sales after my large free downloads, and it's always bothered me to give Amazon an exclsive and not have my books available for Nook, iPad, Kobo, etc. As I see more and more authors doing this (mostly because Amazon changed the algorithyms and now the ranking system is terrible)I hope it will change the game. I don't have any intention of going back to Select, although many of my author friends make high five figures sales a month through it and don't want to give that up.

MJFredrick said...

I have a Nook and buy LOTS. I've got an Android chip in it, though, so I can read free Amazon books, but very very rarely do I buy a book from Amazon. That said, 90% of my sales are from Amazon, because it's just so much easier to find new books that way.

Robin M said...

I have a nook and have probably 80 books waiting to be read. Love nook - no ads. Will never have a kindle because of that factor. Plus last I looked they use Sprint for network and I abhor them.

Yeah for making accessible to nook. Downloaded The Price and The Unseen. Own paperback copy of The Harrowing. Loved, loved, loved it. I rarely buy any kindle books,even though I could probably side load them into my nook. Too much hassle. Prefer Amazon for hard back and paperback. I also use smashwords.

Plus I do support authors by doing reviews on my blogs.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

I always remember that, Rhonda, that The Unseen was your first e book! Such an honor...

Wow, some serious problems with Kindle, there. Since I've never used a Nook I don't know what the difference is, but I'm really pretty low tech in general. I'm happy just to have hundreds of my favorite books in the palm of my hand.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

C.S., thanks for that input. I hear more and more authors saying the same thing you just did about Select and other platforms. I'll just have to see what the numbers say for me. My rights were tied up and I wasn't in Select for those few months of huge sales, but it's still being an incredible tool for me.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

MJ, thanks for responding! I think most, if not all of us authors feel that way - we don't want to be exclusive, we want to support other platforms, but... 90% of sales? How can anyone ignore that?

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Thanks so much for buying the books, Robin! I hope you'll let me know what you think. And bless you for supporting authors on your blog. Some people don't realize how incredibly important that is for us.

Now, I have a basic Kindle but it doesn't have any ads on it - I think that's only the lowest level of Kindle.

I never thought to get a Nook because, honestly, B&N was always such a hassle to deal with for my pb and hc books; it just seemed that Amazon knew how to get books out there.

Ann Marie Gamble said...

I bought a Nook at a very reasonable price because it seemed like it would most easily handle all the sources and formats I'd already acquired (indies and PDFs and the library). I like that it holds a battery charge for a very long time and that it preserves an alternative venue for authors and publishers.

Solar_ted said...

Alex I'm not your best source for info as I'm not much into mysteries, but do like J A Jance and follow two of her series. I'm more into Sci-Fi but do read other kind of books that catch my eye.

BUT I own a Nook and the only way I'd buy one of your books is if was Nook available. The exception would be some book that really, really, really, really caught my interest but I'd have to read it on my 'puter and I don't enjoy reading books that way.

I'm also interested in screenwriting so have downloaded a sample of your Screenwriting for Authors book but due to other books I need to read at the moment haven't read much of it yet. What I have read I like and likely I'll buy it in the end.

I'll also likely give one of your novels a try as I've heard good things about your writing. So I hope you continue your Nook availability.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Ted, I appreciate your willingness to read my stuff.

Believe me, I don't like having to pull books from Nook periodically and go Amazon exclusive. I'm just trying to point out WHY so many authors simply have to - it's our living, and B&N is not providing anywhere near enough of an income stream right now. I hope they figure out how to change that.