Ninety-nine Cent Price No Barrier To E-book Success
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with internationally successful thriller writer, Stephen Leather. Stephen has published more than twenty thrillers, many of them bestsellers, He has also worked in television.
What's a typical day of writing like for you?
Depends on what stage I am with the book. At the moment I'm trying to finish my new Jack Nightingale supernatural thriller Nightmare so I'm writing 18 hours a day! I haven't shaved or showered for three days, so it's pretty unpleasant!
As a thriller writer, how do you build up tension and suspense in your books?
Ha ha. It takes years of practice! I try to end a scene with something happening, and to join a scene where something is already happening. Very short scenes help. But there's no magic formula, no secret recipe!
I understand you're currently selling around 2,000 e-books a day. What strategy would you suggest writers employ to achieve the same results?
You have to write books that people enjoy reading. It's as easy and as hard as that. But a key factor with e-books is price. A new writer who wants to be discovered really has no choice other than to sell them as cheaply as possible. On the Kindle that means 99 cents, equivalent to 71p. Then when you have put your e-book on sale you have to spend a lot of time promoting it. Promoting and marketing are as hard as writing the book in the first place.
Marketing is important to any writer, but is it especially important when you become your own (e-book) publisher. What are the main marketing tools you employ to communicate with your readers?
Facebook, blogs, Internet forums. Plus you need a good website. I have two—one at www.stephenleather.com and the other at http://www.publishingebooks.blogspot.com/
If you can get the regular media enthusiastic, that's great. But it's hard!
What do you think the future holds for paperbacks and hard cover novels?
Sales of regular books will fall and sales of e-books will keep rising, but there will always be a market for "real" books. I wouldn't want to take a Kindle on the beach and the light has to be just right to read them indoors. And if you drop a Kindle into the bath it's finished! Also most people still like to have a shelf of books—I certainly do.
What would be the main advice you would give to new writers?
Keep writing. And read a lot. And don't give up. Nothing that's worth having comes easily. Except the lottery, of course....