Buy a novel for less than the price of a cup of coffee

Three out of my four St Petersburg novels are on sale in ebook form on Amazon for just over £1.50. The Cleansing Flames and A Gentle Axe are priced at £1.52; A Vengeful Longing at £1.59. The third novel in the series, A Razor Wrapped in Silk, is being sold at £3.99.

I believe a cappuccino at Costa Coffee costs £1.79, so you can get some of my books for less than the price of a cup of coffee. Now I like coffee as much as the next man , but even the best cup of coffee only lasts – what? – ten minutes, half an hour max. When you look at the relative purchases in terms of pleasure hours, one of my novels offers far better value.

I’m not trying to diss coffee. I’m just trying to point out that those ebooks are ridiculously cheap.

The whole point of them being priced so cheaply is to encourage people to try them, people who might not otherwise take a chance on a writer who they maybe hadn’t heard of, or hadn’t tried before. They’re priced to prompt the “What have I got to lose?” response.

Now just because something’s cheap, doesn’t mean it’s any good. And obviously my books aren’t going to be to everyone’s taste. But I’m fortunate enough to have been shortlisted for two CWA Daggers (the Duncan Lawrie Dagger in 2008, which was what the Gold Dagger was called that year; and the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger this year).

The novels are set in St Petersburg, Russia, in the second half of the nineteenth century. They feature Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s masterpiece Crime and Punishment, and also the model for Columbo. I’ve been told they’re at the literary end of the crime fiction spectrum. I don’t know anything about that. I just try to tell the story as best I can, matching the style to the subject.

So if that’s sounds like it might be your cup of tea, remember, you can try one for less than the price of a cup of coffee.






4 thoughts on “Buy a novel for less than the price of a cup of coffee”

  1. I hope prices of circa £1 to £2 from traditional publishers are for shortlived deals only or invoked only at the perceived end of a book’s sales. I think it undervalues the work if long term. I believe prices comparable to MMPBs should be set (possibly a little less).

  2. I agree Rhian. I must admit I have very mixed feelings about these low prices… But I do want people to try my books and if the low pricing is going to do it, then I’m in favour of it. The prices have been held low for longer than I thought they would be. I think if you are going to try these promotional exercises you have to tell people about it (otherwise how would they find out?). Which is why I decided to tweet and blog about it. It’s all about encouraging trial.

  3. I certainly agree with the promotional exercises. It’s a great opportunity for extending the reach. (Sorry, if I overlooked being specific about that in the first comment.)

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