Monthly Archives: October 2010

I’ll take ‘Odd Place Names’ for $400…

“Meaning 2-shelled, the name of this New Jersey town goes back to its oyster industry days”

What is Bivalve?

A kind reader emailed me the other day; he’d recently finished my book and was amused when my main character’s home town was in fact the answer to a question on the October 25th episode of Jeopardy. Once a bustling center of commerce, Bivalve exists today as a virtual ghost town, beautiful and serene as nature has gradually reclaimed much of the marshy shoreline. It was the ideal setting for the start of Last Exit In New Jersey, perfect not only geographically but also as just the sort of place Hazel Moran would proudly call home, which says something both for Bivalve and for Hazel. Bivalve is so utterly Jersey while being removed from all that is Jersey… while still being in New Jersey. I’ve often remarked that I plan to retire to Bivalve; one day I’m heading the boat down to Bivalve and I’m not coming back!

Anyhow, there you have it. Read a non-socially redeeming mystery thriller about some nice and not so nice folks from New Jersey, you may just learn some fascinating facts, including ones that could ultimately win you money on a nationally televised game show!

Things that make me HAPPY!!!



Ebook pricing, sales and the value of readers…

Yes, folks, I cut the price on Last Exit In New Jersey. Oh did I cut the price, all the way down to $0.99!

Why? At $2.99, which isn’t high by any measure, sales had been respectable, steady and building. But I’d gotten to thinking, and decided to try a bit of an experiment. My costs are no different no matter the price I set. However, based on Amazon’s royalties structure if I set my price below $2.99 my royalties would drop from 70% to 35%. Translated, that means at $0.99 it takes 5.8 sales to equal the royalties of one sale at $2.99. Still, if the lower price attracted more readers  I had the potential to gain more fans who might just tell some friends about this new book they enjoyed. So long as my sales rose at least six to one, I would still come out ahead in the long run.

The flip side of this is the ‘perceived value’ issue. There are many authors out there who insist they’ve offered up their hearts, souls, blood, sweat and tears, years of their lives, relationships, sanity, you name it, to the altar of their craft. Their writing is the embodiment of all they have sacrificed. Surely this is worth more than the price of a cheeseburger on the value menu and readers will respect that. Moreover, readers, seeing a bargain-priced book will automatically assume the author lacked confidence in their work. It had crossed my mind that readers might get that impression, but as I said, this was just an experiment. I’m extremely confident in my book. The cover (first impression) is sharp and the title memorable and unique. The blurb (second impression) is professional and intriguing, and the book itself (final impression) delivers a story filled with great characters, genuine dialog and a plot that doesn’t let up from page one to the end, all well written and precisely edited. It’s not to say I didn’t put my heart and soul etc. into my work, but in my opinion the best writing in the world is nothing if no one ever reads it. Readers (at least my potential readers) aren’t judging books based upon the level of suffering that went into their creation – they’re looking to be entertained.  I’d love to see my writing career take off and pave the way for future books and limitless cruising time, but that has to start somewhere and for now I’ll be happy to see my book sales buy some boat parts. The bottom line: Nothing is set in stone. I’d see how things went and then decide whether this was a win or fail. I could always change the price back.

I’m happy to report that it didn’t take long to see results. In fact, literally overnight my sales increased to more than ten times what they’d been. Ten to one. The math is easy. Ten times more exposure to new readers, ten times more potential fans, ten times more chances for word of mouth to spread. That easily makes up the difference in per-book royalties and then some. My rank on Amazon skyrocketed, which in turn makes it easier for more readers to find my book in the first place. It’s fun seeing the sales number rise, knowing there are so many more people out there reading my work. In making my book more affordable to readers I’ve gained a larger audience and, in the end, higher overall earnings. I think it’s a win-win for everyone. Might some of those readers still bought my book at the higher price? Perhaps. But it’s just as likely others might not. They’d be missing out on a great book and I’d be missing out on a potential new fan.

I was discussing this in a forum last night, and Lexi Revellian, a writer from the UK, reported seeing much the same results after trying the same thing with her novel, REMIX. She said it perfectly when she wrote: “Readers are taking a chance on a new author. Let’s make it less of a decision for them.”

My choice in pricing doesn’t mean I put any less value on my work, only that I put greater value on my readers.

And the winner is…

Yes, folks, today’s the big day. The day I go to, type in the total number of entries I’ve had for my “Only In New Jersey” Kindle Cover giveaway, hit the ‘generate’ button, and announce the lucky winner!

I’m delighted to report this month I’ve had record traffic on my blog. I’ve also had my best month so far, sales-wise, for Last Exit In New Jersey. As my daughter would put it, I’m one happy panda. However…. due to underwhelming interest, I’ve received a total of… brace yourselves… THREE entries.

I guess a cover made of convertible roof fabric and a New Jersey license plate isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea. But for three of you it is, and what great odds! So, with no further ado, here it is…

Here’s a closer view…

There you have it. Entry number three. Congratulations Lindsay! I’ll be emailing you directly, and thank you all for participating!