Friday, July 11, 2008

Blogging in a time-warp

You might not believe this, but it's been six months since the MK books were uploaded to Lulu (how time flies), and with half a year gone we can start to wragle numbers. I can give you the top-sellers for a start.

No surprise, I guess, if I tell you APHELION is miles ahead of every other title, with the other NARC books right behind it. DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT and WINDRAGE are the next in line ... and the hardcovers are unexpectedly popular. I'd originally thought they would be too expensive, people would leave them alone for no other reason than the sheer cost. They're ten bucks more expensive to produce than the paperbacks, and what can we do but pass most of this right along?

Sales are actually pretty good ... and damnit it, the advertising hasn't actually started yet. The campaign has been designed, it's on the launchpad, but there's always something which comes along to bump it to tomorrow, and next week. No one's fault, incidentally. It's just a bunch of STUFF that keeps happening.

The most popular format for ebooks turns out to be the screenreader format. Feedback from readers indicates our books are perfect for the purpose. Top sellers are the NARC books, with SCORPIO and APHELION running neck and neck, and DANGEROUS MOONLIGHT right behind.

Traffic going through to the website has been above average, with visitors from most corners of the globe, from Korea to Russia. It's also fascinating to see how people find us -- the tracking service we use gives a wealth of info, including the referring links, showing the pathways by which people arrived on the site. Visitors are arriving from Google, Yahoo and some search engines I never even heard of; other folks seem to get the URL in emails from friends; and the link is apparently on a number of websites out there.

To all who're linking to us: THANK YOU KINDLY. It's much appreciated.

Now, to a reader's question. When are the books going to be available in Australia? Well, in fact, they already are. has recruited an Australian digital printshop, and the books are now produced in this country and mailed locally, rather than being manufactured in the US or EU and airmailed in. You can order from direct or from the MK OnLine website, and your books will be on your doorstep in 5 days flat.

Now, the question could also have been read as, 'When will the books be available in stores in Australia?' This one is a toughie -- not because it's difficult to answer but because the details of the answer are hard to choke down! Nope, I don't see any way to get the books into stores, here or in the States. The problem is that bookstores prefer to acquire stock via a distributor, and when a title enters the distribution chain, it's subject to the markup system. The distributor takes the book from us and doubles the price ... gives it to the bookstore, and they double the price again, then add on the 10% GST. Let's say it costs us $25 for us to get the book into the hands of the distributor (which includes manufacture and freight costs, and a small royalty for yours truly and DreamCraft). The book hits the shelf at $110. [barfing sound] At that price, it'd sit there for three months and then be sent back to us as a return!

Sorry, guys, that's how the bookstore industry works, and so long as books start out at $2 or $5 as they leave the printshop, it works fine. Print on Demand is very new, and still a law unto itself. The Internet is its natural environment, and physical bookstores are alien territory.

But POD also gives us fantastic flexibility and control, and so long as readers -- like yourself -- don't mind ordering on the web, the books are about the same price as they'd be in stores. Gay books were almost always a bit more expensive because the printruns are usually smaller. Can't help wondering why printruns would be smaller, mind you. What, gay folks don't read?? I beg to differ, and so do you!

In fact, I'm trying to remember the last time I bought a book in a store. I tend to get books, music, movies, on the web exclusively these days, as do a lot of other folks. Turns out, eBay is a great place to pick up the old GMP titles, and prices are a lot better than they used to be, since they went back into print witj DreamCraft.

(I couldn't believe the US$400 price for an original DEATH'S HEAD, a few years ago. Chin hit knees for a minute there. Much as I love Jarrat and Stone, I couldn't rationalize paying so much. You can get DH and EQUINOX for about a tenth of that now -- which is fair.)

Speaking of eBay, we got the code to put a shopping link on the blog, here: you click through from this page right to eBay and search on EQUINOX or whatever. The sweet thing about it is, having the code on this page means I earn a royalty off the used-book sale ... puts the smile back on any writer's face, I'll tell you. The problem is, the code won't plug-in to the Blogger template for some reason. We still need to get this figured out, and I'll give you an update when we do. I know some readers are trying to hunt down the original GMP editions, and unfortunately, there's nothing left here. Or, if there is, it's packed, like most of my library ... and I don't recall there being much of anything left, GMP-edition-wise.

Otherwise, life and work are same-old, same-old, with the high point of the day being the moment I did NOT drop the boiling tea kettle and did NOT get rushed to the emergency room with third-degree burns to 70% of my body! Thank gods for tender mercies, or I'd have been finishing the edit of AQUAMARINE from the hospital!

I have to work now, guys ... I just noticed the time.

Cheers to all,

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