Tag Archives: Pendragon Chronicles

How to do a successful ebook promo (without BookBub)

Starting out as an indie author

As many readers of this blog know, I broke down this month and did a free promo for one of my Big Fat Fantasies again, Shadow of Stone, the second book in The Pendragon Chronicles. For a number of reasons, I hadn’t really wanted to go there anymore:

1) The reviews you get after a free run are sometimes downright depressing, since a lot of people are grabbing the book who are not your target audience.

2) The Pendragon books are REALLY long, and they took a LONG time to write. Something irks me about giving away all that work for free.

3) I don’t want to support the assumption on the part of a growing number of readers that the only good book is a free book.

Nonetheless, I decided to plan a free promo for Shadow of Stone. In the last half a year, it has sold less than 50 copies and had less than 20,000 pages read. Meaning that even though the book can be borrowed through KU, there were very few people taking advantage of the opportunity.

Shadow of Stone

I think part of the curse of my Pendragon Chronicles series is that the books are standalone novels. And it seems that when readers come to the tragic conclusion of Yseult, which ends with no cliffhanger pulling them on, they are not as compelled to immediately buy the next book — only about 25% of the people who buy Yseult also pick up book 2. So I really didn’t have a lot to lose by tossing SoS out there for free for the first time in years.

Before I scheduled the free run, I applied for ads with a number of sites where I’ve gotten good results before. A lot of places don’t want to advertise book 2 in a series, even if the novels are standalone, but I finally got approved for an ad with Manybooks.net for May 21, so I set up the free promo around that. Organizing a free promo is very different than a 99c sale, since with that you want to go out with a bang. Your sales ranking doesn’t disappear like it does when you’re giving the book away for free. I figured for the free run, I wanted my heavy hitter towards the beginning, so that Shadow of Stone would soon be high in a lot of top 100 lists, which in turn would (I hoped) lead to organic downloads also improving the rank. Around the more expensive ad, I scheduled a couple of inexpensive promos through Fiverr, and applied for as many free ads as I could. (You can see the list of free sites I usually apply to here.)

The strategy worked better than I imagined, even though I never heard back from a number of the sites offering free ads. Here’s the breakdown for my ads, other promo activities, downloads, and income during the course of the free run for SoS:

Shadow of Stone free from May 20 – 24

May 20 – Natali FB promo Fiverr ($5.50) – 185 downloads, $21.32 in earnings
NewFreeKindleBooks (free)
May 21 – ManyBooks ($25) – 685 downloads, $27.47 in earnings
EbookDaily (free)
May 22 – Posted to Facebook groups – 263 downloads, $22.94 in earnings
May 23 – Fiverr Bknights ($10.50) – 1382 downloads, $76.08 in earnings
Booklovers’ Heaven (free)
Blog post
Mailing list
More FB groups
May 24 – More FB groups – 363 downloads, $28.90 in earnings

Ask David (free) – ran Shadow of Stone from May 20 – 24

Applied for but no response:

Reading Deals
Frugal Freebies
SF Signal free fiction
OHFB (May 24)
Ebookshabit
Freebooks
Choosy Bookworm
EReader Cafe
Ebooklister
Freebooksy
Iloveebooks
Newfreekindlebooks
ebookasaurus
Armadillo
Freeebooksforme

I also tried to set up a Facebook ad based on impressions, since I figured an ad where I pay for clicks for a free book would hardly be worth it, *g* but it was never approved. That’s an experiment I would still like to try for a free book, but maybe with a permafree where time is not of the essence.

One more thing I did which helps explain the huge jump in downloads towards the end of the free run: just before I was intending to go to bed on May 23, I checked the rankings for SoS, and it was very close to breaking the top 100 overall free on Amazon. Since I’m in Central Europe, that means it was prime time in North America. So rather than shutting down as I had intended, I sent out pleas on Facebook and Twitter, asking people to share the word and help me break the top 100.

It worked.

Here are the rankings of Shadow of Stone when I got up the next morning:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

It was #1 in several other categories as well, but those are the ones Amazon decided to show me. 🙂

During the course of the promo, I sold 51 copies of Yseult, which had previously been limping along at about a sale every other day. Strangely enough, sales of other books not in the series picked up as well, something I rarely experience with a 99c promo.

But the fact remains that the vast majority of my income from this promo was from sales of Yseult. The way the Amazon algorithms are right now, I definitely would not recommend a free promo for a book that is not part of a series. The rank for SoS after its free run (where it broke the top 100) was #126,851. Yseult, on the other hand, was #7580 — at full price. The sales I’ve seen since the promo are mostly a result of the increased rank of the companion novel.

Of course, these numbers don’t come close to those to the profit you can make if you DO get a BookBub ad. But since those are few and far between (my last was in January), I’m very happy with the 4:1 ROI of this particular promo. 🙂

If you found this blog post helpful, perhaps you would be interested in the book, Starting Out as an Indie Author! You can learn more here.

 

More excuses and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

The last week has been filled up with marketing business and Christmas shopping, and my word counts have suffered accordingly. I had two 1000 word days in the last week, but I also had a couple with next to nothing, when I was formatting Looking Through Lace for Createspace, and everything else surrounding the new cover. The new ebook cover is now live, but the paperback is not yet available. I will let you know when it is.

I also managed to get a BookBub ad for Chameleon in a Mirror in the UK only, and I spent some time on various discussion boards, trying to figure out if it would be worth it. Pretty much everyone agrees it is, so I plopped down my $100 for an ad on January 5th. Maybe it will even get my sluggish UK sales going a bit. 🙂

Summary for the week: formatting, marketing, and 2900 words. 🙂

With that out of the way, I can offer you a little more fiction for WIPpet Wednesday. Today, I’m giving you 6 short paragraphs for the 6 in 16. This snippet comes directly after the one I gave you last week from Ygerna:

“My third eldest daughter, Ygerna,” Erbin said.
She stretched out her hand. “It is good to see you again. Welcome to Dyn Tagell.”
Uthyr took the proffered hand with both of his, hands so large they engulfed hers. “We have met before? I find that hard to believe. I am sure I would have remembered a young woman so beautiful.”
Ygerna felt herself blushing yet again — and wished her complexion did not always betray her so. “Several times, Dux. But if I remember right, the last time was over two years ago now, at the funeral of my brother.”
Vortigern’s chief commander released her hand and tilted her chin up with one forefinger. “Ah, yes, I think I recall a red-headed hoyden who might have been you. But now you are a woman grown. Forgive me for not immediately recognizing you.”
She stared into the Pendragon’s eyes, flustered, confused, and strangely happy, her heart beating so fast she could feel it in her chest. Her betrothed, Gurles, had never made her feel this way.

Tintagel, Wikimedia Commons
Tintagel, Wikimedia Commons

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

Word counts slowing down, and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

For the last week, I’ve been catching up on other things, like marketing, that I mostly ignored during Nanowrimo. Since my last update, I’ve gotten another 4100 words written. Not as much as I would like, but at least it’s still steady progress. Seeing as the hubbie and I went out for a long bike ride on Saturday (yes, the weather here in Central Europe is still good enough for that); we had kids and grandkids over on Sunday for cookies and home-made ice cream; I got some more ads and a free promo for one of my books organized; and tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes from the garden made — I think I can be happy with that word count. 🙂

Ygerna is coming along nicely, and I’m still feeling enthusiastic about the project. That makes me hopeful that I can fill in all the holes I left in the Nano draft by the end of the year. Wish me luck! 🙂

On to the excerpt for WIPpet Wednesday. For the 9th day of the month I’m giving you 9 paragraphs. This excerpt comes immediately after the one I gave you last week.

Just before they reached the courtyard between the upper and lower hall, Ygerna grabbed Geraint’s hand and pulled him up short. She smoothed down the front of her dress, pulled his tunic into a semblance of order, and brushed his curly blond hair away from his forehead. “You must join the wedding party as befits a relative of the bride, looking respectable.”
He tugged on a lock of red hair that had escaped from her braid. “So should you.”
Ygerna grinned. “How right you are, little brother.” She wound the stray strand around her braid and tried to tuck the edges in somewhere before taking his hand again.
When they joined the rest of their family, her mother gave her a stern look.
Argante shook her head. “Where have you been, Ygerna?”
There was no time to answer, even if Ygerna had been inclined to do so, which she wasn’t. The first guests were already entering the courtyard as she and Geraint took their places next to their sisters according to age, with Argante at the head and Blodewedd between them. Names passed by in a blur as she curtsied and kissed hands and murmured words of welcome along with her mother and father and siblings.
That is, until Uthyr, leader of battles, stood in front of her. Suddenly the event was no longer a blur of unfamiliar faces. The Pendragon of Britain was the most handsome warrior Ygerna had ever seen, tall and muscular, with penetrating blue eyes, golden blond hair, and a short-cropped beard in the British fashion, not like her clean-shaven father who kept to Roman ways.
“Ah, the spy with hair the color of glinting rubies,” Uthyr murmured. “If you want to remain unseen, you should consider covering your head.”
Ygerna blushed and rose from her curtsy.


This gal is a little like I imagine Ygerna. Licensed through Shutterstock.

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

P.S. After posting this, I got the new cover designs for “Looking Through Lace” — you would be doing me a huge favor if you would click to the next post and vote! Thanks in advance. 🙂

On Words, #WIPpets, and Freedom for #Nanowrimo

I haven’t posted on my blog for over two weeks, oh dear. But I had a good excuse: Ygerna and Nanowrimo. 🙂

Portrait of a Woman by Charles Allen Winter, often cited as Igraine

After I finished the translation of the second Viking book, I plunged into the Pendragon Chronicles prequel with a passion. (I can do alliteration!) And with the help of Freedom, an app that turns off the Internet, I actually managed to make the 50,000 words, for the first time in several years.

I bought Freedom quite some time ago, but this is the first time I’ve used it extensively for writing purposes. It is now definitely going to become part of my writing routine. With Freedom and no distractions, I can get 500 words written in 30 minutes when I’m on a roll. Of course, many 30 minute sessions I only got 250-300 words, but most days, I didn’t need more than 4 sessions (2 hours) to get my daily word count — and I was way behind as a result of the translation.

Of course, being a winner doesn’t mean I’m done with the novel. It’s still full of notes to myself and research ideas. At some point I will have to do a major slash and burn session. But with Freedom, I suspect the loss will be less than usual, since I couldn’t access the Internet during many of my writing sessions. I kept trying to remind myself that most readers won’t care if the historical background isn’t as accurate as in the other books — and many will be relieved. *g*

Besides, with this prequel, I have the advantage of all the research that has gone before. Of course I don’t remember everything, but often an earmarked book or an Internet search will bring back a lot.

That means that progress for the last two weeks was well over 25,000 words. And during that time I also did (a rather neglected) promo for Yseult — which still managed to get it over 100 sales and boost its rank to #4 in Arthurian fiction. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

My math for today: 12 sentences for the month, plus the last sentence from the last post for the sake of continuity, since I haven’t played for a while. Ygerna and her little brother Geraint are watching the guests arrive arrive for the wedding of their older sister:

“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.
She squinted, trying to see the wedding guests better. Not that it would help much — it had been nearly two years since she had last seen Uthyr, the Pendragon of Britain, not since the funeral of their older brother, Tudwal. Nonetheless, she well remembered his commanding presence and golden blond hair.
Then a figure neared the land bridge that matched her memories. She pointed. “There, I think that could be the Dux Bellorum.”
At that moment, the blond warrior looked up and spotted them. He grinned and nodded in their direction. Now Ygerna was almost certain it really was Uthyr. She blushed and lifted Geraint back off of the wall. “Come, we should join the rest of the family to welcome Argante’s wedding guests. Race you!”
How embarrassing to be caught spying on the arriving guests like a child! What would the Pendragon of Britain think of her? In a matter of months, Ygerna would turn fourteen, the age of choice for a woman. She was betrothed to Gurles, a neighboring prince from the stronghold of Dimilioc. They were to be married at Christmas in front of the impressive basilica of Isca.
And Argante had barely spoken to her for a week after the announcement was made.

All comments welcome!

Changes for #WIPpet Wednesday, and a brief update

For Nanowrimo, I have temporarily set aside the second and third books of The Glassmakers Trilogy and turned to a prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles, Ygerna. Just for fun and inspiration, before starting it, I slapped together a cover:

Ygerna

I wasn’t actually intending to use it for publication, but now I find that I’m liking it better than I expected. What do you guys think? Can I use it? If so, what changes would you still suggest? (I definitely don’t want to keep the corset, frex, since that doesn’t really fit in 5th Century Britain. *g*)

On to the first excerpt! I’m going to make it easy on myself and begin at the beginning with the first 11 paragraphs for the 11th day of the 11th month:

Weddings can be anything from dazzling to excruciating, but more often than not, they are at least memorable. By the look of the guests arriving at Dyn Tagell, this wedding was shaping up to be particularly dazzling.
Ygerna’s little brother Geraint tugged her hand. “I can’t see!” he complained.
She chuckled and took pity on him, lifting him up and settling him next to her on the stone wall. He was big for a five-year-old, and it took some effort. Soon, she would no longer be able to carry him around at all.
“Will the High King be coming to the wedding?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. It was unseasonably warm for May on the coast of Dumnonia. But perhaps the sunshine would reconcile Argante to having her wedding here in this coastal fortress rather than the capital city of Isca. There had been many tearful arguments on that count between her and their parents, but their father Erbin had been adamant — with Pict and Erainn pirates haunting the western coast of Britain, he could not afford to be away from his strategic summer stronghold during the raiding season.
“King Vortigern is very busy,” she added.
“So is Papa,” Geraint protested.
“True enough.” Resting one arm on the stone balustrade, Ygerna peered down at the newly arrived guests. From their vantage point above the land bridge, they could see the parties crossing to the promontory singly and in pairs — given how narrow the passage was, little more was possible. Sunlight glinted off the jewelry of the richly dressed men and women, but from this distance, she couldn’t recognize any faces.
She pointed. “Look, there’s the Pendragon banner. But I can’t tell if the High King is of the party.”
Geraint leaned forward, and Ygerna wrapped a protective arm around his waist to make sure he wouldn’t tumble down the side of the cliff.
“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.

Here, BTW, is the book description I put up on the Nano site: “When young Ygerna first meets Uthyr, Pendragon of Britain, she is dazzled by the handsome and famous warrior. But when Uthyr interprets admiration as consent and takes her by force, Ygerna’s hero worship turns to hatred.
“And she will do anything to get revenge on the man who got her with child and ruined her life.”

As you can tell, it’s a rather radical reinterpretation of the Uthur and Igraine story, but I never bought that one in the first place, so I’m making it my own. 🙂

As many of you know by now, K. L. Schwengel is stepping down from the post as Head Wippeteer and handing the reins over to Emily Witt. Huge thanks to Kathi for keeping it going for so long. It’s been a grand time. 🙂 But it’s not over! The rules will still be the same: post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link to the Linky. I do hope this change won’t mean the beginning of the end for our little blogging community, so do keep playing, everyone!

Update: I’m a bit behind on Ygerna in Nano terms, but the site tells me that my daily average is 1200 words, so I’m quite happy with that. I still have about another 5 pages to translate on the Viking novel, after which I can hopefully make up for lost ground. But my marketing efforts have largely come to a halt, and my sales are suffering accordingly. I don’t seem to be able to do all three effectively at the the same time, translating, marketing and writing. One of them always seems to suffer. So that is something I still need to work on.

Effectiveness of ads for a 99c promo: Results for Yseult

Last week, I had a 99c sale for Yseult running, for which I took out several paid ads — none of them BookBub. *g* I promised to provide a summary of the results once the promo was over.

Here are the ads I took out and the dates they appeared:

Book Barbarian – Aug. 31 ($8)
Booklovers Heaven – Aug. 31 (Free)
Manybooks.net – Aug. 31 (Free)

Books Butterfly – Sept 2 ($50)

Bargain Booksy – Sept. 4 ($40)

For the week, I spent a total of $98 for advertising. At the beginning of the promotion, Yseult was at #511,349 on Amazon.com. The highest it reached during the week of the promotion was #7,555 on Sept. 3, according to the sales info on Author Central. Here is one of the better results caught as screenshot:

Arthurian fiction bestsellers

It actually made it up to #4 in Arthurian Fiction at one point, but I forgot to take a screenshot. 🙂

Here is how the sales during the week broke down:

Book Barbarian – Aug. 31 ($8)
Booklovers Heaven – Aug. 31 (Free)
Manybooks.net – Aug. 31 (Free)

Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2, before the Books Butterfly ad came out, I had 38 sales in the US and 2 in the UK. Before the ads came out, there were 2 sales. So I’m sure that most of those sales were a result of the ads, but since they were all on the same day I’m not sure exactly where the sales came from. Nonetheless, excellent ROI, and well worth using again. Perhaps next time on different days, so that I have a better idea which ones work best.

Books Butterfly – Sept 2 ($50)

After the Books Butterfly ad, I had another 47 sales in the US and 4 in the UK. In absolute terms, that means I lost money, but it is also the ad that pushed my visibility up the most and got me into some top ten lists.

Bargain Booksy – Sept. 4 ($40)

After the BargainBooksy ad, I sold another 30 copies of the book in the US and 1 in the UK. For me, in terms of ROI, this was the least effective of the ads I took out.

As I mentioned last week, I deliberately spaced the more expensive paid ads with a day in between so that I’d have a better idea of their effectiveness. When I’ve tested ads before, I’ve tended to do a different ad every day, which makes it more difficult to figure out which ads got me the sales, since there is always spillover.

To my way of thinking, with my limping sales in the past months, this promo was a definite success. Not only did I sell over 130 copies of the book (meaning I recouped the costs of the ads), I also sold several copies of Shadow of Stone, #2 in The Pendragon Chronicles, and paperbacks of Yseult as well — something that hasn’t happened in a long time. 🙂 Even my freebies in the series have a lot more downloads now than they did this time last month.

And now that the book has returned to full price, I’ve made a couple more sales, and seem to have several readers borrowing it, to judge by the pages read in my dashboard.

I promised to compile these results with those of other 99c sales I’ve done, but it’s late now in Central Europe, and I think I’m going to save the summary post for next week.

Anyway, I’m very happy with the results, even if some of them were quite different than expected. But I’m paying for that as well, and will know better what to use next time I schedule a promo for one of my books. 🙂

Promoting your 99c sale revisited: Yseult, A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur

About two years ago now, I pulled Yseult and Shadow of Stone, my two big doorstopper Arthurian novels, from KDP Select and went wide with them. Unfortunately, I was never able to get any traction with them on other sales sites, even with a couple of permafree titles. So when Amazon changed it’s payment model for borrows, I pulled them from all other sites and re-enrolled them in Select. At official KENPCs (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) of around 1000 pages each, when those are books are read to the end as borrows, they earn me almost four times as much for a borrow as in the old system — and they earn me more than for a direct sale too. 🙂

But as I have pointed out before, you can make neither sales nor a borrow if you don’t get your book in front of people. This summer has been crazy busy, and I haven’t had a lot of time to set up advertising. Now I finally have a Countdown Deal set up for Yseult this week, during which I will be testing a few more 99c promotional gigs. BookBub is not among them. I am trying to find out what advertising opportunities are out there for which you do not need to shell out hundreds of dollars. Next week, I will post my results, as well as summaries of several other 99c promotions I’ve done in previous months with the ads I bought for them.

Another thing I’ll be tracking is the ranking of Yseult. Before the promotion started, it was at #511,349 on Amazon.com. I have already had two sales, and now it is at #97,793.

This week, I’ll be testing the following ad sites:

Book Barbarian – Aug. 31 ($8)
Booklovers Heaven – Aug. 31 (Free)
Manybooks.net – Aug. 31 (Free)

Books Butterfly – Sept 2 ($50)

Bargain Booksy – Sept. 4 ($40)

I’ve also applied for a number of other free ads, but I haven’t received confirmation that my book will be carried, so I’m assuming it won’t be running on any of the other sites besides ManyBooks and Booklover’s Heaven.

I deliberately spaced the more expensive paid ads with a day in between so that I’ll have a better idea which ones are actually effective. When I’ve done this kind of thing before with a different ad every day, it ends up being hard to figure out how many of the sales are from the ad of the day, or from the ad that ran the day before.

Watch this space next week, when I will post my results, and provide a summary of ads for other 99c sales I’ve tested. 🙂

Shadow of Stone on sale for 99c through Dec. 19 – and testing ad sites

In my on-going attempt to get back into the swing of things marketing-wise — and figure out what works in this new self-publishing era of Kindle Unlimited and various other changes — I set up a sale this week for Shadow of Stone, the second book in The Pendragon Chronicles.

Shadow of Stone on Amazon

For over ten years, there has been peace in Britain after Arthur and his warriors soundly defeated the Saxons at the battle of Caer Baddon. But sometimes peace is deceptive …

After a series of hard winters and famine, an alliance of dissatisfied northern kings attack the rich cities of Southern Britain. But in the years of peace, Arthur’s army has grown soft; jealousies and trivialities rip once strong alliances apart. Cador, who is mockingly referred to as “farmer king,” must go to war again. The threat to their way of life throws him together with Yseult, the woman he has secretly loved since he was a youth.

But can their politically expedient marriage help bring peace to Britain again? Or will it only lead to further conflict?

As betrayals both real and imagined shake the foundations of former British unity, Cador and Yseult must try to negotiate their own personal peace. Who will survive the upheavals to come? Will Britain rally once more behind a common leader to fight off the common threat?

For the purpose, I found a few sites that will advertize 99c sales for free, as well as several cheaper ad options, which I have staggered throughout the week to test their effectiveness. It is well known by now that a Bookbub ad will get you hundreds of sales, but it can be very difficult to get a slot with them because of all the competition. Besides, placement in their newsletter costs hundreds of dollars. And while most books with a Bookbub ad earn the expense back, not everyone has that kind of ready cash up front.

So I am testing various options so you don’t have to! *g* Next week, I will summarize the results and put together a list of the advertizing sites I’ve found.

In the meanwhile, feel free to take a look at Shadow of Stone. And if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can now borrow it for free, since it is back in KDP Select. Just for the record, that is not because I am an Amazon fanatic, it is because my sales on other sites were so abysmal, the advantage of making money through borrows on Amazon just amounted to the better deal for me. When and if any other market seems to be developing more potential, I will add more of my books to other sites.

On splitting up a big book: Turning Yseult into episodes

As many of you following this blog know, I started my career as an indie author after I got the rights back to the original English of my novel Yseult, which was published in German as Flamme und Harfe by Random House Germany in 2009.

Flamme und Harfe, Ruth Nestvold

I published the English original in January 2012 on my own with this cover from the talented Derek Murphy of CreativIndie Covers:

Yseult, Ruth Nestvold

Since the original publisher of Yseult / Flamme und Harfe, Random House Germany, told me they were interested in a sequel (which they decided they were not interested in after all), when I published Yseult, I already had the next doorstopper waiting in the wings, Shadow of Stone, which I published in June of 2012.

That too sold quite well, and I began to imagine that I was on my way to a wonderful career as an indie author.

Halt.

Readers started wanting to know when the next “installment” would be available. Of books that were both close to 200,000 words, or over 500 pages long. Unfortunately, I don’t write fast enough to produce novels of that size every year, and I lost readers.

I started writing a prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles, Ygerna, hoping to make it free and attract more readers that way, but I soon noticed that the story of Arthur’s mother was too complicated for me to finish off in a couple ten thousand words, and it ended up on the back burner. I do have a free short story from the second novel available, Gawain and Ragnell, and that has helped my sales somewhat, giving potential readers a taste of the world of The Pendragon Chronicles. So I know for a fact that permafree can help your sales.

Then at some point I started noticing something new happening in ebook publishing: it seemed as if a lot of the most successful indie authors were publishing their ebooks in episodes or as serials, in chunks from between 50 to 200 pages. Like with a TV show, each episode might bring a single plot thread to a conclusion, but there was also often some kind of cliffhanger to make sure the reader came back for the next installment. An added advantage of the episode format is that the author can make the first “book” of the novel free in order to entice readers to give it a try.

Slowly an experiment started to take shape in my mind. I had these two Big Fat Fantasies, after all, together close to 400,000 words. But in the era of ebooks, when the reader can’t judge a book by how heavy it is in her hand, books seem to be getting shorter. And while the true short story has yet to make a comeback, readers appear to be increasingly accepting of novella-length books. (This is all totally subjective and unscientific, so don’t quote me on it.)

Anyway, as a result of these observations, I have decided to launch an experiment. I am going to take the four books of Yseult apart — which, btw, is how I organized the novel long before the advent of ebooks — and offer them separately. I will try to make the first book free on Amazon as quickly as possible. Here is the pricing structure I’m considering for the serial version:

Part I: FREE
Part II: 99c (my take, 30c)
Part III: 2.99 (my take $2)
Part IV: 2.99 (my take $2)

My goal is not to make more money than with the complete novel, although that is what would happen if readers were only to buy the individual parts. But when I do this, I do not intend to unpublish Yseult. That will still be available for 4.99 for anyone who is enjoying the series enough to want to buy the novel. Mostly I’m just hoping that with parts 1 & 2 at free and 99c respectively, a few more readers will try out the series.

So recently I’ve been working on a template for the covers of the individual episodes. I wanted to use the cover of Yseult as a basis, to make sure that no one bought any of the episodes thinking it was a new story in The Pendragon Chronicles. At the same time, the covers should be distinctive enough to stand out from each other. Given those considerations, here’s the template I came up with for the series:

Yseult template

And here’s my first attempt at a single title:

Yseult-Part-1

My thought is to use different colors beneath the “celtic fringe” *g* on the left / west side of the cover as a visual signal of the differences between the books. And now, as I write this, it occurs to me that the color for the first book, which takes place in Ireland / Eriu, should be a dark green rather than the dark purple I have now. *g*

Anyway, I welcome any thoughts / feedback you have in the comments below!

I might land flat on my face with this experiment, but I’m not out of much more than a couple days worth of work making the new covers, formatting the individual sections, and uploading them to the various venues. Wish me luck. 🙂 And do please let me know what you think!