Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Tie-Ins

It's 10am, Central time, on March 5th.

I've sold over 6000 ebooks, and had over 1300 borrows, on Kindle this month.

Considering the month has only encompassed four days and ten hours, I'm pretty blown away by these numbers. I'm making about $120 an hour, 24 hours a day, on ebooks I wrote years ago.

Someone call Ponzi and tell him there's a better system.

I've currently gone all in with KDP Select for the next three months, to see if I can't boost these sales up even more. With free giveaways, borrows, and judicious use of www.bookbub.com and www.ebookbooster.com, I'll always have at least three ebooks on the freebie list.

I now have more than 50 ebook titles to play with, plus four with Amazon Publishing, plus two available for pre-order.

Speaking of, I get a lot of email from folks wondering when the next Jack Kilborn is coming out. It will be available April 22, and Amazon was gracious enough to try an experiment with me and create a pre-order page.
HAUNTED HOUSE by Jack Kilborn
Available on April 22
$3.99 on Amazon Kindle
 
Amazon has been terrific to work with. Currently, my two Chandler ebooks, FLEE and SPREE, are on sale for just $1.99 and $2.99, and they are two of the most action-packed books ever written. By anyone. If you aren't out of breath reading those books, you don't have a pulse.

FLEE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
$1.99 on Amazon Kindle
SPREE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
$2.99 on Amazon Kindle
Chandler was an idea I had years ago. I wanted to do an American, female James Bond, and I wanted her to be the best assassin in the world. Then I wanted to see how much she could take before she broke, so my collaborator Ann Voss Peterson and I threw everything at her. The books literally never let up. Action, violence, sex, humor, super villains, plots to destroy the world, Presidential assassinations, gadgets, exotic locations, and more action. There have never been books like these before.

Free for the next few days on Amazon is BIRDS OF PREY, which I wrote with another collaborator, Blake Crouch.
BIRDS OF PREY by Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn
Free on Amazon Kindle
"But Joe, what does any of this have to do with tie-ins?" some of you might be saying, considering that is the title of this blog entry. "All you seem to be doing is pimping your titles."

How astute of you. Allow me to elucidate.

HAUNTED HOUSE is a sequel to my novels AFRAID, TRAPPED, and ENDURANCE. I took the survivors from those thrillers, brought them all together, and put them through a new kind of hell. I also included Dr. Frank Belgium, from ORIGIN.

All characters have back stories. In the case of HAUNTED HOUSE, these back stories exist in other books.

While HAUNTED HOUSE can be read as a stand alone, and may be the first Kilborn book read by a lot of people, if a reader enjoys it, she can read more about these characters in different novels. And fans of these other novels will enjoy seeing familiar characters show up again in a new novel.

In FLEE, Chandler needs some help during some key moments in the story. That help is given by my characters Jack Daniels and Harry McGlade, from my Jack Daniels series.

In SPREE, Chandler falls for David Lund, who was male lead in Ann's terrific thriller PUSHED TOO FAR. Val Ryker from that book also makes an appearance. BTW, Jack Daniels also makes an appearance in PUSHED TOO FAR.

SPREE also features my character Tequila from SHOT OF TEQUILA, more Jack and Harry, and two villains, Javier and Isaiah, from Blake Crouch's novels SNOWBOUND and ABANDON.

BIRDS OF PREY features so many characters from my and Blake's past work it is a who's who of villainy. Bad guys from every one of our books appear and interact with each other. Want to see how the Gingerbread Man from WHISKEY SOUR holds his own against Luther Kite from LOCKED DOORS? Want to see Donaldson from SERIAL run into Orson Thomas from DESERT PLACES? There's that and more.

If a reader is new to our work, this introduces them to characters that appear elsewhere. Which, hopefully, they will seek out. If they are already fans, this is a fun reunion/mash-up.

Superhero comics have been doing this for decades. So why not do it with books? Not only with your own characters, but with your peers' characters as well?

TIMECASTER features Jack Daniels's grandson as the hero, and she also makes an appearance, along with the ubiquitous Harry McGlade. Blake and I are working on another Jack Daniels/Luther Kite thriller, LAST CALL, and we bring in Letty Dobesh from GRAB and PAIN OF OTHERS, along with many familiar faces from SERIAL KILLERS UNCUT, plus Chandler and Tequila.

Blake and I call this the Crouch/Konrath Expanded Universe. It's over 2 million words of interconnected stories and characters.

Right now, on KDP Select, I'm looking for readers like that. I'm also working with Amazon Publishing to lower prices on backlist titles. Like STIRRED, which is now $1.99.

STIRRED by Blake Crouch and JA Konrath
$1.99 on Amazon Kindle
With low prices and freebies on over fifty ebooks, I'm hoping to find some casual readers. But I'm also hoping to find new fans who then want to read everything. I'm happy to give them ten ebooks for free if they go on to buy the other forty. Hell, I'm happy to give them all fifty free, because people who like the books may talk about them.

"But Joe," you might be thinking, "with everything low priced or free, won't readers start expecting that? How will writers make a living if readers want cheap and free?"

The worry shouldn't be cheap and free ebooks. The worry should be not getting read.

Show me a famous artist who doesn't make money (and exclude all the famous artist who are getting screwed because of bad deals they've signed). If you get enough fans, and you control your IPs, the money will come. That's just how it works.

"But Joe," you might insist in a grating way, "with so much out there that's free and cheap, won't all books get lost in a tsunami of crap?"

I've already debunked the tsunami of crap argument. Bottom line: if you are writing lots and lots of good books, and making them cheap or free, people will eventually find you, and that will eventually translate into money.

Interconnecting your backlist and frontlist titles and having your characters appear in multiple works is one more thing you can be doing to interest readers and reward fans. It's one more arrow in your quiver, to go along with writing great books, having great covers, using great descriptions, experimenting with price and freebies, and careful use of advertising.

Yep, I've changed my mind on my long-held "never advertise" philosophy. If used correctly, free ebook websites can drive sales. But that's a blog for another day...