Monday, 21 July 2014

Throwing down the gauntlet

“Let’s see who can sell the most books.”

As soon as those words were out of my mouth, I couldn’t believe I’d said them. Least of all to my mate Peter Flannery, whose first novel, First and Only, has had over 60,000 downloads since 2011, received ecstatic reviews worldwide and is now in the process of being turned into a film. But when I discovered we were both planning a Kindle Countdown Deal at the same time, a bit of healthy competition – as if there isn’t enough from all the other books out there – seemed like a good idea. And so, from 21st to 27th July, Peter’s novel and No Stranger to Death will be slugging it out to see which can sell the most copies at 99c on Amazon USA and 99p on Amazon UK. The loser will buy the winner a decent bottle of champagne.

Why are we doing this? Peter has nothing to prove with First and Only, but he’s just given it a lovely new cover and there are still plenty of people out there who haven’t read his novel, although it did hold the Number 1 position in Kindle Psychological Thrillers for nearly two months during 2012. I’m very pleased with how well No Stranger to Death has been received in the UK, but it has yet to get off the ground in the USA. I’m also curious to test the theory which is now being bandied about that “99p is the new free”.

Unlike most of my writer friends, Peter lives in the Scottish Borders as I do, so we regularly meet up in real life. He was very generous with his time and advice when I decided to self-publish, and we have pooled our knowledge when planning our Countdown Deals. However, our starting points and approaches are very different, and this is where the results will be interesting. Will Peter’s investment in book promotion sites like BookBub trump my heavy reliance on Twitter and Facebook to publicise my book’s temporary reduction in price? Will more readers be willing to risk 99c or 99p on a relatively new and unproven novel which is clearly in the mystery genre than on one that has lots of reviews yet is harder to classify?

Like the entire self-publishing experience, the next week is going to be exciting and a bit scary as Peter and I try not to look at our sales and Amazon rankings too often. We’ll let you know how we get on. Peter is blogging about the experience over on his website too. You'll notice that the bubbly he's pictured there is Bollinger*. I look forward to holding him to that!

In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about our books, here are the links.

No Stranger to Death: Amazon UK or Amazon USA 

First and Only: Amazon UK or Amazon USA 

*My champagne photo is courtesy of