07 August 2012 by Published in: Uncategorized Tags:, , 7 comments

I’m going to try a little experiment as a summer promotion. I haven’t really played around with prices lately, so I figured I’d give it a whirl and see if price made any difference in sales volume.

To that end. I am putting two of my titles, number one and number two in the Dr. Steven Cross series – Zero Sum and The Voynich Cypher – on sale for two weeks in August. Starting later today, both titles will be reduced from $4.97 to $2.99 apiece.

Why, you ask, would you do that, Meester Blake?

Because I’m afraid I’m missing some boat where cheapskates are unwilling to give a book a try if it is over $2.99.


NEW NEW NEWS: A guest blog on by yours truly.

BREAKING NEWS: by author Bert Carson about, well, me. Good stuff.

NEWS: New guest blog on writing with the lovely Emerald Barnes is worth a look. “My Year of Writing Dangerously.”

BOOK REVIEW: A on my newest one, Silver Justice, by acclaimed author Steven Konkoly!


A few weeks of that will tell me whether that’s the case or not. These are both well-written novels, one over 130K words, the other over 100K. At $2.99 they are priced in the basement. Voynich has already sold about 8000 copies since its release at the end of March, so it’s no slouch, and Zero Sum is almost at that level (although it’s been out longer), so these are not unpopular books. But I would like them to be even more popular. I’d like new readers to gain exposure, and not by giving em away free – most who are downloading free books don’t read what they have. I know I haven’t. I’m probably not alone. I typically put in the time to read something I’ve been willing to pay for. Just the way I am.

So folks, if you could help spread the word of my summer madness sale, I would appreciate it. If over two weeks or so not much has changed in the sales rate, the price goes back up. To put it into perspective I would have to sell 30% more books to be even with the regular price. Needless to say if that doesn’t happen, I just paid a decent chunk of lost revenue to discover the effect of discounting on my work.

As always, please, no wagering.




  1. Tue 07th Aug 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Interesting. You’re gonna give a full report on this, right? Pie charts and bar graphs?

    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 07th Aug 2012 at 6:02 pm

      As you have no doubt come to appreciate about my detailed work.

  2. Wed 08th Aug 2012 at 7:29 am

    Can’t wait to see the results. I always take note of your opinions when pricing my books.

  3. Sat 11th Aug 2012 at 10:48 am

    Since you have been on Amazon a little longer than other authors, how about giving your ideas on mapping the life of an INDIE novel on Amazon Kindle Books?
    For example; what happens once a new novel is launched? Is there a time lag between no sales and a rise in sales? Is there a sales peak it will reach? A month, a year, two days!?! Is there a rapid/slow downward slope each novel will take over time? Mayb a year? Like the older Kindled Big House books now in 70% of the top 10,000 positions on Paid Kindle Sales; will Indie novels have a life as long as these books now have? Will a novel be smothered by new novels coming online every day? Must we authors produce 2 to 3 new books a year just to make a living? If there are 10,000 new Kindles/eReaders sold daily, will our growth always be on the increase?
    I think a discussion on this could be a very interesting and rewarding topic; for present and possible future information and authors to plan the next decade on Amazon Kindle!
    T I WADE

    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 11th Aug 2012 at 12:42 pm

      I’ll devote some time to it, but my short answer is, depends on how Amazon behaves. Right now I see most of the top 100 their imprints or trad pub imprints. IF that trend continues, it will be very difficult to get visibility, as Amazon is methodically squeezing out indie authors, or at least prioritizing trad pub and their own books. So the lay of the land has shifted dramatically post the DOJ bringing the suit against the Big 6 over their Agency model pricing. Since then, it would appear that the trad pub houses are playing ball with Amazon, so Amazon doesn’t need an ocean of indies making nice livings anymore. That is a sound business decision, as it makes sense for them to push what makes them the most money.

      But the news ain’t good for most indies, unless you already have a name. What I’ve seen is that a book like Fatal Exchange that was released a year ago has sold 7K or so copies, maybe now closer to 8K, but it is slowing. Still selling 300-400 a month, minimum, but down from 800-1000 a month when it would get visibility from a free promo now and again. My only real hope of continuing to make a nice living is to write a lot, and build series novels where I can give away the first in the series and then sell 4-6 books from the rest of the series. That’s the only thing that seems to be working now. The market is in flux, and there are plenty of new readers coming online every day, but that doesn’t really matter if nobody has ever heard of your books – and that’s the true state of affairs for almost everyone. Twitter doesn’t really do much anymore unless you want to market to other authors, from what I can see. That was last year’s phenom, or maybe even a 2010 phenom – the Hocking and Locke ascension year. So how to get visibility? Truth is that a novel like Fatal is only a year old. It was unknown for six months of that. So it’s a new release. But it is acting like it’s been out 4 years. Beats ms.

      My plan is to write and release 4 novels a year in 2013 and every year thereafter. Not dialogue heavy 10 word paragraph “beach reads” that are little more than comic books in terms of substance. Meaty, seriously written novels. My hunch is that eventually one of them will catch fire, but who knows when and if that ever happens? In the meantime, my strategy is to grow my market little by little. Someone discovers me and likes my voice, they will soon have 20 thrillers I’ve written to work through, none of which are crap. That’s more than most write in a lifetime. I enjoy writing, so it’s no big deal for me, but that’s not an easy way to make a living, by any means, when you look at the number of hours involved.

  4. lynne
    Wed 15th Aug 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for lowering the price on the dr. Stephen Cross series. I saw book 2 pn an Amazon email today and wad very interested, so i went to your web site to discover the title of book 1 so i could read it fitst.

    Interesting blog! When i read the blog about your experiment, i was in intrigued and tbought i should help your research by buying two books I did not intend to buy. I was going to look for them at the library first.

    I will check back for your results.

    • Russell Blake  –  Wed 15th Aug 2012 at 5:34 pm

      I’ll be following up on it in about a month. It takes a while for it to work through the system. So far, it seems that I am selling about 30% more books, but am losing money net net. So the cheaper price results in more units but at a lower net profit, thus the $4.97 price seems to have the edge.

      Thanks for buying my books. I hope you enjoy them.


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