Do E-books Have Lifespans?


This is a serious question since my 1st release seems to have hit the end of it’s life…or I have found the true depth of my platform as a writer.

This isn’t a whine – I’m thinking with my fingers.

Reviews, new covers, ads on Nookboards, participation in more forums than I can name off hand. Hand selling to friends and aquaintences, promotion, $.99 pricing, $3.25 pricing, changes to the cover, Goodreads, Library Thing – I’ve done everything I can think to do.

It’s been more than 60 days since my last sale. There are 150 odd samples out – that I know of – yet the book is stalled.

Is the problem that the book sold cheap and was snapped up by book hoarders who have hundreds or thousands of titles on their e-readers? Possibly – most likely is the book has hit the saturation point for my little bitty niche.

My regret is the bottoming out on the ratings charts for Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book has vanished, never to return. Both sites ‘also bought’ feature shows free and $.99 books – Nookbook click-through rate is 11% – though this may pick up after 3 months.

Realistically, what are my options? Drop the price? It didn’t help the last time, or the time before – the book sold the best at $3.25 it died as a $.99 book (for 8 weeks.) The ad may revive it – miracles can happen.

What I need is a plan.

There is a short story I wrote a long time ago. I think that I can use it as a ‘loss leader’ to market my writing. The story itself need some polishing. But I know where I can market it.

So – I’m back to work on something short – to refresh my imagination that has gone stagnant. Keep an eye out for more.

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5 thoughts on “Do E-books Have Lifespans?

  1. Mark says:

    You simply need to write more and get more products up for sale. That gives you more visibility and one sale can lead to more sales.

    To give you an example, I put up an erotic short story late last year and had nothing else up for sale. It hardly sold — maybe 5 copies a month. In March I got serious and wrote another four pieces and got them up as well. That short story that wasn’t selling is now selling 30 copies a month. That’s still not much but it shows how having other works up allows them to promote one another.

    If you can make yourself write 2000 words a day, you have a novel in one month or several short novellas. Easier said than done, but some people are doing it.

    That said, I do think some works will have a sales arc where they rise, plateau, and then fall. I don’t think it’s because a niche has been exhausted as much as it’s Amazon and B&N starting to display the book less often due to some strange algorithms we will never understand. The better it sells, the longer your plateau lasts, but at some point I believe Amazon and B&N will want to give preference to newer books.

    • K. A. Jordan says:

      Thanks Mark –

      I’ve been editing on my second novel for the last few months. I’m very close to being finished.

      As I wrote in the above post – I have a short story “Impressive Bravado” that I put out as a freebie on Smashwords – 5/17 – to date there have been 79 copies downloaded.

      I had to give this a try – even though it put the novel another week behind schedule. I saw for myself that you are exactly right – the more work you have out the better your chances for being found. I sold 1 copy of my stalled novel – the first sale in nearly 3 months.

      Also I deliberately put the blurbs for both novels in the back of the short story. On June 1st, when I release the short story via Smashwords – I hope to see a revival of the first novel.

      PLUS – when the second novel comes out – I will have a few customers looking for it. (I hope.)

  2. K. A. Jordan says:

    I have sold a copy of ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ on Amazon (May) and B&N (June).

    I’ve blown my ad budget on two different sites and can’t imagine continuing on like this.

    • Mark says:

      Don’t advertise anymore. Get new work up. If you are reluctant to put up a short story for $0.99, which I can understand, write a second one and bundle them together. Then write two more and bundle them together.

      Or else get to work on the next novel.

      Regardless of how you proceed, you need more work up for sale. If you have four books up, one may catch a reader’s eye and lead to that reader looking at all four.

      Then again, there are no guarantees. It’s mysterious why some books sell and other don’t. If you love writing, though, and you want this as a sideline or maybe a career, you need to give it a better shot by getting more books up.

      • K. A. Jordan says:

        You’re right. I need to keep working.

        ‘Impressive Bravado’ is up for $.99. It is my latest work.

        I’m still working on the second novel. Hope to have it finished in a few weeks.

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