Okay. After thinking about it a lot and discussing things with some other people, I think I need to refine my plan. Because of what I already have out, and my writing schedule for the rest of the year, there’s really no way to pull off my dueling genres experiment in anything resembling scientific fashion.
So I’m morphing the plan. One of the things people constantly try to bring up as a point against putting up ebooks is that there will soon be too many on the market and no one but people with huge marketing dollars behind them will be read. I have a few things to say about this.
One: Soon? Really? There are hundreds of thousands of ebooks available for Kindle. There are millions of paperback books available as well through Amazon and other retailers. Soon has happened. I think it happened a while ago (maybe before I was born in the paperback world).
Two: How do readers find books now? Word of mouth. Reviews. Search terms and product tags. Etc. Advertisements aren’t very high on the lists I’ve seen about how readers find things to read. Putting up a shit load of good books will probably also help, since each one becomes a gateway, a chance for a reader to find you and like your stuff enough to go looking for more.
I tested the waters in ebooks with a few short stories in a genre I don’t write much in (literary) under a name that I don’t use except on legal documents (and now that I’m married, not even those). No promotion, no history, nothing. Those stories still outsell my SF/F stories every single freaking month. Seriously.
But still, anyone following this blog will know that my numbers aren’t exactly buying me more than groceries. They aren’t covering the rent yet. SF/F isn’t a popular genre (especially not science fiction, sorry guys. We’ve got like what, 7% of the fiction market?).
So I’m morphing my experiment. I’m going to try to test two things with one stone, so to speak. I’m going to write three pulp-era length novels (60-70k words each) and put them up under a pen name that I’m not going to tell anyone about (well, other than my editor and my cover guy- for obvious reasons). I will let them sit until Jan. 2013 and then report the results. The reason I’m waiting until 2013 to report is that I don’t think I’ll have time to write the three books until Jan or Feb 2012, so I’d like to give them at least 6-8 months on the market. So the experiment is put off a little, sorry.
But the good? news is that I’ll still be writing and releasing novellas in the SF/F genres and in Romance, just on a slightly different timetable than my previous experiment.
In other news- one week until Clarion. Maybe I should think about packing?