CAROLINE SMAILES

Why I spent most of today refreshing an Amazon page

If you follow me on twitter then you’ll know that I’ve been slightly over-excited today refreshing the Amazon Kindle chart and seeing the Kindle version of In Search of Adam fly up their charts. It currently stands at number 8 in the Kindle bestsellers chart (paid) and also at number 8 in the Kindle bestsellers in fiction (paid) chart which makes it number 92 in bestsellers in ALL contemporary fiction books.

This means that when people browse the Kindle chart they will see In Search of Adam (a novel that has been out for 3 years now) and MY name alongside the very BIG names of Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown, David Nicholls, Stephen King and Peter James. This to me, at this very moment, is HUGE (as the chart is updated every hour, I may be at a lower number when you read this but bear with me).

And the reason why I am there, why I am flying with the big boys? It’s simple. My debut novel that is 3 years old costs a mere and very perfect 36p! Bargain! (It was 26p earlier but has gone up slightly. Amazon have discounted it down from 97p)

The logic behind my publisher’s pricing I think is both genius and simple. Let’s not forget that this is my backlist we are talking about, not my latest novel and that this is a novel that was very much lost during a liquidation. The idea is that more readers = more exposure = more chance of word or mouth and repeat buys. In my opinion, in these still early days of eBooks, being visible is everything. It is quite simply that the online browsing readers are now seeing me.

Last time I mentioned eBook pricing and the low cost of my books I know that it was suggested by some that I was undervaluing my writing. This time my being excited about it and twittering about it led to me seeing a seriously nasty comment about me on twitter. It made me not want to publish this blog post.

I strongly disagree with the undervaluing. I am fully aware that I will not make much money from each eBook sale and this was a discussion that I had with my publisher before the price was agreed. This may shock some, but this for me is very much not about the money! This is a rare opportunity for my name and my early fiction to be read. This is about reaching real readers, ones who may just go on to look at my other books too.

I’ve been cheap over at Waterstone’s online for a few weeks now. Both of the eBook versions of In Search of Adam and Black Boxes are priced at £1.10 and both have been in the bestselling top 20 (out of 30,000 eBooks) for a few weeks now (Black Boxes is currently at number 10 and has been out 2 years, In Search of Adam is at number 15).

I now very much know that some people say nasty things about me behind my back. That’s hard for me to deal with BUT I don’t think I can stop being the way I am. This is me, this is how I am and when things like being number 8 (squee!) stop being a big deal to me then I’ll be expecting a few of my good friends to give me a slap. I love that I’ve been so excited about an Amazon chart today and I especially love that since the publication of Like Bees to Honey I’ve realised just how many very fabulous people out there are wishing me well. The others, well, bah humbug!

A HUGE thank you to all the people who think I’m worth a punt and have bought one of my books.


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38 Comments

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I would venture that you’re stronger against the naysayers than you used to be. Please don’t be anything other than yourself. x

    • Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Just a little bit. A few years ago it would have been the end of the world. Oh how I have grown :)

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I think you continue to set a good example to all with your professional conduct and your genuine fondness for your readers!

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    What Trousers said. We love you as you are. And of course this is huge and a really good investment for the future.

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    HUGE congratulations!! This is a BIG deal and I hope you’ll celebrate accordingly. And ignore the negative ninnies – I’m sure they’re only jealous and I’ll bet they weren’t on the list!

    Nik x

  • Kelly Railton
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Hmmph! The negative fools probably don’t recognise a clever marketing strategy when they see one which is what this is!

    I never ever understand negativity like this. Never. You are a talented writer – fact. You are excitable and genuinely passionate about writing and your work – fact. You are doing really very well – fact.

    That is the end of my comment as I think there is nothing more to say!!!!

    xxx

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Right now the new Kindle is selling out on a regular basis. Many, who like me are venturing into the e-book market for the first time, are browsing Amazon whilst impatiently waiting for their reader to arrive. Visibility in the chart can only be a good thing and a low price will lead to impulse buys.

    I’ll be buying your backlist for my Kindle, even though signed hardbacks sit proudly on my bookshelves. And I think becoming excited about being near the top of the Amazon chart is a good thing. It just shows that you still take pleasure in your writing and its success.

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Caroline – my dear it’s entirely up to you what you and your publisher decide to do with your work and I can totally see and endorse your point about using the ebook as a marketing tool – I give away loads of my stuff for purely that reason – there’s absolutely no need for anyone who disagrees with you to post nasty comments about you – everyone can choose their own path – you must most definitely NOT allow anyone to dictate how you choose to advance your own career – I’ve got my boxing gloves on so let me at ‘em!!!! ((huggle)) :0)*

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Girl, don’t let those miserable, negative people get you down. Just keep doing your thing in a positive way and let the rest of the armchair critics fall away into the dust.
    Go you!
    :)
    -Brandy

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to you, that’s brilliant news.

    You carry on just as you are and don’t take any notice of negative people. x

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    That’s fantastic. All of it . Except for the nastiness. But , as Trousers said, you can hold your own , and good on you.

    There is plenty – as I am sure that you know : D – that I could say about people who feel the need to piddle on someone else’s parade. I would hazard a fairly safe guess that those nasty comments say everything about the people who spewed them and absolutely nothing about you , or your writing . I doubt it’s even personal. They are probably that way with everybody. I would say that you could probably afford to afford them a little pity. After all, it wouldn’t be a falsehood to say that you have a very exciting world at your feet. Not to mention those riches that only come through living your life right , surrounded by family and friends who love you.

    I agree about the pricing strategy , by the way. I think it’s a very good move. I have no problem with books being priced at 26p , e or otherwise. I don’t think that it devalues the writing , or that it indicates in any way that the writer devalues their own writing. I would suggest that the writer values it , as they want it to be out there , to be read ; that they believe in it to the extent that short term financial gain is set aside for the hope of something greater further down the line. I’d do it . And I bet a lot of other people in the same position would do it too. I find it strange to link that choice with the assumption that you must in some way undervalue your writing. I find it strange that money is so often assumed to be equated with a sense of worth, or of value.

    I like the fact that lower pricing may increase accessibility. I’d be tempted to do it just Because. You know , as a Good Karma thing. But I’m a bit funny like that .

    It’s all good. Sit back and enjoy the ride : ) xxxxx

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I saw your excited tweet earlier, and RT’d it as I loved your excitement and enthusiasm, and I was genuinely impressed by your achievement.

    Almost certainly the comments you refer to, although I don’tknow what they were, were spurred by jealousy and pettiness. Though you’re bound to be upset, you’re better than they are and it’s as simple as that.

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    it’s odd the way something like this will cause people to say nasty things, but then some people really will start the bitchiness for any reason. I’d happily pay 26p right now to see my name up there next to the big ones. Surely it’s about building brand and all that, getting your name seen and noticed, having new people read your work and decide to buy another book or pick up your newest when it comes out based on what they’ve already read? what is the good of having a book at full price burried 10 or 11 pages in where it rarely gets seen let alone clicked on and bought? This way people are reading what you write and seeing your name. It’s all good :)

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Makes perfect sense to me. In The Teen’s magazine they gave away a copy of Jo Nadin’s first novel, presumably so that new readers would enjoy it and buy her newer stuff. Same principle with you. Anyone who says differently is missing the point.

    As for the rest, congrats on playing with the big kids and do not go changing, under any circumstances. This was a brave blog post – shouldn’t have expected anything less :)

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Hey,

    F**k them! It’s just down to them being bottom feeding pond scum…. with a hint of jealousy.

    Your a fantastic author and lovely person… x x

    Elliott

  • Angela Guillaume
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Caroline,
    One of the things I love about you is that you are not cynical or bitter about your successes and experiences. I am one of those who believe that we suffer so much in life when we lose our childlike enthusiasm – it is something you still have, and it’s special. Some people just love being nasty – I’ve had a similar experience lately, and it was a rude awakening. It’s good that you can share your feelings here so those who love you can support you. Don’t stop writing, and let the bad stuff stay where it is – with the bad people.
    hugs xxxx

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I applaud the eBook pricing strategy that you and your publisher have decided upon and it is clearly paying off in downloads, which is exposure for you and, hopefully, translates into new and more loyal readers for you and your books, both present and future. Makes perfect sense to me.

    It just saddens me that where there is success, especially in an industry full of more tales of woe and poverty than of joy and riches, you shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it and celebrate because of the petty sniping of others who are jealous or simply misunderstand why you have decided upon a certain path.

    Enjoy the successes, carry on squeeing, you’re allowed to do that because you put in the slog – I’m pretty sure there are more of us cheering you on than there are snipers. We’ve got your back.

  • Dawn
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the other comments here, what makes u ever do special is that u r not in the least bit big headed,that u appreciate every miniscule of reward that u get and that people like this can still mke u feel sick to the stomach. If u were not bothered by their comments then you wudnt be as utterly adorable as a person that u are. Do not change a thing, as has been said before there will be alot of jelousy behind the nasty comments so take it as swings and roundabouts and keep being u, love u hun x

  • Posted August 16, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Caroline –

    First of all, I love hearing about all your successes because they inspire the rest of us.

    Second of all, I very much doubt the Negative Nellies have published books of their own, much less books in the bestseller lists. Isn’t jealousy a terrible thing…? ;-D

  • XS143
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Hiya.. sucky comment aside… you are wonderful and I feel blessed to have you in my life.. I love your books all of them! and totally get the squeeing.. :) why not? it is something to be totally excited about.. and on the pricing..so what! it gets your name out there, twitter and FB are great mediums, at least 10 of my friends have got your books now, one of whom is totally excited and couldn’t wait to get them after she read her first book of yours, but to be so high up on an amazon chart along with big names.. that is just wow!! so congrats to you on a wonderful day in all the ways that count!! ~hugs~ and so glad to know you coz you get me.. ;)

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    “I’ve been cheap over at Waterstone’s..” That made me laugh out loud. I tell you, lovely Caroline, you’ve never been cheap.

    There will always be people who say horrible things and I’m sure it’ll always upset us it is their problem. You are lovely just the way you are.

  • Mel
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Well, I got what your publisher was doing and I think it’s genious. Word of mouth is everything in these tought times – I downloaded both In Search of Adam and Black Boxes as soon as they came out, just because I could. I have all of your books in print form but that didn’t matter. I bought the ebooks to support you – obviously it was my sales that made you shoot up the charts :)

    Your books will always fascinate, warm and charm me – just as you will xx

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I love that you’re storming the charts Caroline and I love that you love it too HUGE Congratulations

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The people who say negative things are probably just jealous! I bought the e-book version of In Search of Adam which I thought was fantastic and I also bought Black Boxes at the same time which I haven’t got round to reading just yet. I think your publishers have the right idea as after loving In Search of Adam, I had no reservations about buying a full priced copy of Like Bees to Honey when I went shopping the other day and I am really looking forward to reading it!

  • Mary
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Writing is an art form. It is an ability to take emotions, experiences and reproduce them so others can absorb and experience them. That is a talent and a skill. To put your words in print, no matter what format it is, takes courage. I want to see you at Number One because you deserve it. Let the mercenaries who write for profit (and their pension fund) carry on. It is writers like you that inspire others young and old and that cannot have a price put on it, it is a priceless gift. I will enjoy you getting to Number One but I sincerely hope you enjoy it more and relish that people want to buy your work for the words you have written not the price they have paid to read them. Onwards and upwards Caroline :O)

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Shows how a backlist can be used to promote new titles – great stuff!

  • Tina Lynn
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    That is frawesome! Undervalue? Whatever, you are getting loads of exposure. You can’t put a price tag on that!

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It’s what YOU have done Caroline, no one else, it’s YOUR achievement. Can’t see why anyone would want to criticise that. Really chuffed for you, can feel the excitement through the ether(net). One thing – who the Hell is Dan Brown??

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I would just like to say that I totally understand how you must feel about people saying nasty things about you. Just remember that for each one of those petty, jealous, bullies, there are a LOT of people out here who think you are a wonderful person, as a writer and a source of unlimited inspiration.

    I was nodding as I read your blog post. (Luckily no-one can see me.) It’s a great marketing idea to sell your backlist cheaply and will lead to more sales of future books.

    I highly recommend the ‘block’ button on Twitter.

    x

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Oh Caroline, I think you are absolutely spot on and should be getting excited! All sales add up in the end…AND…if people are buying this on Kindle then it’s introducing them to your writing which means that they will buy your others. If people are saying nasty things then let them…it says way more about them than it does about you!

    C x

    (Ps. I’ve just downloaded the Kindle App for my itouch)

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    A BIG thank you to you ALL for your supportive comments and understanding.

    There is so much more that I could say about yesterday and just how upset it left me, but this isn’t the place and that isn’t how I want my blog to be.

    At this very moment In Search of Adam is at number 6 and, yes, I did just do a little squee!

    You lot are all kinds of ACE xxx

  • Kerry
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Caroline, people who say mean things on twitter are simply twerps, twazzocks and twunts with too much time on their hands..enjoy every moment I say! x

  • Posted August 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Just keep squealing, it’s part of your character and you should never change.

  • Paul
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    People who say nasty things for the sheer enjoyment of it, are usually pretty sad characters.
    Don’t let them rain on your parade. How many of them have books in the top twenty – or even Books?
    It’s a difficult world for writers nowadays and sometimes you have to do what you have to do just to get noticed in a sea of lookalike knock-offs of the last bestseller.
    You are original and unique – and people are noticing.

  • Posted August 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    i really must get a kindle – as someone who speed reads (seriously – i finished ‘her fearful symmetry’ in about 8 hours) i need a large selection of books at my fingertips and can hardly carry them around with me can i?

    i shall add it to my xmas list and add the entire works of one C. Cmailes and one D.J Kirkby =)

  • Posted August 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! Ignore the negative comments on Twitter and enjoy this time. So many people have Kindles these days. Sales of a three year old book will ultimately lead to more sales of your other work too.

  • Posted August 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    That is something to celebrate–definitely squee worthy! It’s sad there are nasty people like that, but look at the wonderful cheering section you have. :) Congratulations on climbing the charts. Just finished LBtH and LOVED it. xx

  • Posted August 22, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Kerry – I appear to be attracting a lot of it at the moment… hmmmm.

    sheepish – thank you, lovely lady!

    Paul – people are noticing something, as the nasty comments are shooting up :(

    kerry @ miss power writes… – I quite fancy an ereader, only £99 at the moment. Oooooh the excitement!

    Lovelyn – that’s the plan and THANK you for your comment :)

    Angie – I read your review. Thanks so much x

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