The Novice Master returns…

Today I’m re-launching the well-reviewed but sales-deficient Novice Master, with a new monk-less cover, and priced at 99 cents (!) This is an experiment in ultra-low pricing and the Wives may soon follow. And here’s the rationale behind that thinking, which will cut my earnings considerably, but may earn me that legion of readers I’ve been seeking all these years.

I think my books deserve to be priced fairly, and I should earn a decent wage for all I put into a novel, but…the marketplace is a cruel and capricious place, especially in these times. As the slogan for the Christmas Tree Shoppe chain goes,  everyone loves a bargain. Even when the most erudite reader is perusing the Kindle catalog for something to read, that 99-cent price tag can be quite persuasive. It used to be the tackiest kind of promotion, a way for bad genre novels to get a toe-hold in the market. But nobody’s really doing it anymore, so…why not revive the practice while the competition lays low?  I really became aware of the importance of price over the weekend, with my cut-rate promotion for Wives, which did quite well, the best it’s done to date, saleswise. I actually managed to squeeze (briefly) into the top 1% of the Kindle market (ranking 31,000 out of 4.5 million books), and it occurred to me that most of my demographic, the over-40 set, is strapped for cash. Including myself! And marketing studies on ebooks show that the lower you price your book, the likelier it is to move. And since my real goal is to find readers (I gave up on $$$ years ago!), I decided to give it a go.

Novice Master is my guinea pig, but I have nothing to lose: It’s no longer selling and has dropped into the rankings basement, despite all those lovely stars of approval on my Amazon and Goodreads pages. I’m pretty sure it’s because of that damned monk on the cover! A lot of readers probably thought it was a religious novel, and those who thought it was a religious novel were shocked and horrified (yeah, I heard from some of those) that it wasn’t. So it has a new cover now—not posting here, you must go to my Amazon page and view it there! And while you’re at it…Got 99 cents to spare? The paperback will change as well, but that’s still in progress, so it’s been temporarily taken down by Createspace.

Now the story behind the new cover. Yes, it’s pink. Well, it’s a foggy sunset over a lake.  I tried various color filters on it, including moody blue, but it just seemed best to go with the photo in its original form. Yes, I bought the photo, legally, from one of those photostock companies. As I was going through their catalog, it just reached out and grabbed me. I needed something that shouted, “Serious novel!” I wanted something evocative, that hinted at the spirituality, emotion and compassion within. And there is a lake in my novel, and even a little wooden deck, which my character Evan sits on, and even makes out with a certain lady with on…But mostly it’s symbolic to me of Evan’s search for emotional and spiritual guidance, as well as his search for the divine. It pressed all the right buttons for me.  We’ll see if readers agree. I started one of those nifty keyword ad campaigns  to kickstart it again.  I’m not quite ready to let Wives drop down to bargain-basement prices just yet, so we’ll give it a rest, and let it sink slowly downward for awhile, before I try to resuscitate it…

Please note that I revamped the ‘About Me and My Work” tab on this blog, since it was being swamped with views (I should charge 99 cents for that!), and I thought it needed more  information, so take a peek. And watch for my upcoming Irish-themed blogs ahead of St. Padraig’s Day. Also have a terrific guest blogger lined up for March 1st, so good things ahead—hang in there!

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