My Next Novel is for Amazon Books

300px-Clarke-dodgerI am currently working on a new book.  It is entitled ARTFUL: Being the Heretofore Secret History of that Unique Individual, The Artful Dodger, Hunter of Vampyres (Amongst Other Things.) It is exactly what it sounds like:  a continuation of the story of one of the most memorable supporting characters from Oliver Twist and casting him into an unaccustomed role.

It is not being published by Crazy 8 Press.  It’s being published by Amazon Books.

Why am I going through a publisher rather than providing it to the readers myself?  It’s time to be honest, guys:  It’s because they pay me.  Amazon forks over money in advance.  And not only does that not happen with Crazy 8, but even when the books get out there, my readers are slow to pick them up.

I don’t blame you guys.  A lot of you have never even heard of Fearless, Pulling up Stakes, The Camelot Papers, or other Crazy 8 offerings.  Or else people will say helpful and supportive things like, “It’s on my wish list!”  Because apparently $4.99 is out of your price range.

But the bottom line is that sales are simply not where I want them to be.  I’m not selling books through Crazy 8 in the thousands.  I sell them in the hundreds.  Sometimes in the dozens.  I’ll get monthly royalty statements that wouldn’t buy a bag of groceries.  You cannot understand how frustrating it is to put months of work into a novel and the response of fans is indifference.  Or they’ll get around to it someday.  Or they’ll wait for someone to buy it for them.

Believe me, I would love to devote my full time attention to Crazy 8.  Thus far, though, that is simply not possible.  If you want to make it possible, then buy Crazy 8 books.  Not just mine:  Bob’s and Mike’s and Aaron’s and all the rest.  So that we can be there month in, month out giving you our best endeavors and actually earning a living wage.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work.

32 thoughts on “My Next Novel is for Amazon Books”

  1. I’ll preface this by saying you’re one of my favorite comics writers; I’ve enjoyed the hell out of X-Factor and your Hulk runs. Now that X-Factor’s over, I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next for you.

    But you’ve hit your problem on the head. For an independently published eBook, most people may feel $4.99 is out of range. (which is ironic, given how much content you get for an ebook versus a comic book at a similar price, but I digress).

    It may be that you’ve settled on an operating budget that is best served by a $4.99 price point, but it won’t do you much good if you’ve priced yourself out of the market. If people are complaining about the price, then listen to your customers. Try to bring it down to $3.99 across the board, or even $2.99.

    I would strongly urge you to at least give it a shot, assuming you’ve earned out production costs. I’m no professional when it comes to self-publishing, but I’ve had become an apt student, ahead of putting out my own fantasy novel early next year.

    I wish you the best of luck, Mr. David. Congrats on the deal with Amazon, and I hope the book’s excellent.

    1. Brian,

      Pulling Up Stakes – $0.99
      Pulling Up Stakes 2 – $2.99
      Darkness Of The Light (The Hidden Earth Chronicles) – $2.99
      A Matter of Faith – $0.99
      Aztlan: The Courts Of Heaven – $2.99

      They’ve a fair number of titles under $4.99. And even $4.99 looks reasonable for an e-book when the average big publisher is selling e-books for just shy of the full paperback price (or for even more than the paperback price) and selling quite a few units. Three of the top five best selling Amazon Kindle books right now are all over $4.99. Hell, two of them are $11.99.

      I can see being gun shy about higher prices (if you can really call $4.99 a higher price) for guys like you and me, but not so much for established authors. A few short years ago I would have been pulling Pulling Up Stakes (The Complete Edition) off the shelves and dropping $5.99 or $6.99 on it at a bookstore. Getting it for $3.98 total for the two parts was a deal if not a steal. And I’ve got it on both my Kindle and my Laptop.

      Not really arguing with you here since I’ll likely not sway your opinion, but I think that the talking point to push here is that $4.99 is a deal and then some. People are buying Clancy’s latest for $11.99 on Kindle. They’re buying his older books for $6.00 to $7.49 on Kindle. In both cases you’re dealing with established authors with established careers. The publisher shouldn’t factor into it. Peter David, Robert Greenberger, Michael Jan Friedman, and Aaron Rosenberg are established names with track records in the form of prior works on my shelf.

      For me, $4.99 is a steal for what I’m getting and I’m getting some of their works for even less. That’s the word of mouth talking point that should be pushed.

      1. The books above $4.99 you mentioned are all put out by major publishers.

        Indie publishers aren’t towing the line above $4.99. Look at any indie or self-published work in the top 20, and they’re pricing VERY aggressively, more in line with the works you’ve mentioned by Crazy 8, because a) they’re unknown quantities, and b) they’ve found the unofficial market prices that people are willing to pay for digital goods.

        Major publishers still stick to the higher price points because they know people will buy Tom Clancy, same way that they’ll buy James Patterson. A market demand exists for them at that level. People are willing to pay $11 for Tom Clancy on Kindle. They’re more willing to pay $6.

        What I’m saying is that if other books aren’t getting enough action at a $4.99 price point, then find one that works for them. Recognize the issue, and respond to it. If you get a dozen people buying at $4.99, but more people are saying, “Oh, I don’t think I’d pay that much”, you find out how much they’d be willing to pay. It’s the sad principle of the thing.

        If that doesn’t work, then check all the factors. Maybe it isn’t a cost thing. Maybe re-list it with a different cover, or approach marketing it in a different way. Maybe X’s fans would be more responsive to a different Y idea. The authors are the publisher now, after all, and you’re absolutely right – it’s easy to lose word of mouth with multiple releases from multiple authors on one imprint.

        I want this to be a success, to prove that indie authors can pool their resources and kick ass. I differ in opinion over price, but I agree that it’s great value with great authors, and that cracking the word of mouth puzzle will be the route to success.

        1. The only place I part ways with you is in making the distinction between an indie author VS an indie publisher. Using your comic book fan analogy for a moment –

          Image was created and was certainly an independent comic publisher. But almost every single name at the time of its launch was a major name in comics. Because of the names involved people were not only willing to buy their books but were actually willing to pay more for them than they were paying for the average DC and Marvel book. IN the meantime, other people doing (as a matter of opinion) far better work at the time as independent creators were chugging along but not setting the sales charts on fire. The difference (in most cases) was that you had name value with the creators at Image. I’d like to think that there’s pretty strong name value here. That would tend to make Crazy 8, one would think, stand apart from many other indie press ventures.

          One problem I see here is the one I mentioned below in my stand-alone comment and one that pricing won’t really address. Crazy 8 doesn’t have the advertising machine that major publishers do.

          Going back to comics for a moment… When Image launched it had wall to wall coverage. Wizard, Hero Illustrated, Comic Buyer’s Guide, Comic Shop News, and just about every other comic book related news organ were tripping over themselves to cover every single rumor, let alone every single fact. The Image creators were getting invited to major conventions and promoted as major attractions. They got so much free advertising that it wasn’t funny. They even had, for a while, Malibu and its promotional machine behind them. That continued for quite some time and by the time it started to really slack off a bit they had gotten established enough that they were able to set up to advertise just about everywhere that the Big Two did. (Somewhat oversimplified history, but accurate enough on the basics.)

          Crazy 8 didn’t get that kind of launch. Any buzz I saw was word of mouth via fan comment. If I didn’t subscribe to their blog posts and Facebook page I would almost never know about new releases. Look at the Crazy 8 Facebook page and its grand total of 391 likes. One comment under the link to this post is a guy saying that he didn’t even know that Fearless was already out. It’s not pricing. You can’t sell a book for even $0.01 if your target audience doesn’t know that the book is out. The nut to crack is buzz and advertising.

          The problem with the first is fan participation. I do my bit when I can, but between my blog, my Facebook page, and my general chatting about it I may only reach. at best, 600 or 700 people. But out of that group of people are a lot of non-readers and, in the case of some the blog’s higher hit days, people that aren’t exactly kindly disposed to my point of view. That leaves an actually rather small group of openly receptive people who may also be the target audience.

          The obvious problem with the second is money. The guarantee with an Amazon Books deal is that the book will get pushed and advertised by Amazon. They have both their own platform (the website itself) and money for promotion. Crazy 8 doesn’t really have that on anywhere near the same level. It’s kind of a shame that the e-book industry isn’t set up like the early 90’s comic book industry so that Crazy 8 could have something like a Malibu helping it while being hands off editorially.

  2. Brian, the $4.99 price was established by extensive audience polling on my website. I swear to God, if they think that’s too much to pay for a book of mine, I will stop writing books.

  3. I really can’t express how disappointed I am to see the tepid response that Crazy 8 is getting. When you all banded together and launched this thing, I was thrilled. It finally meant that a lot of the ideas I’d been hearing about that were being shot down by publishers as not something your fans wanted (despite fans telling all of you otherwise) would come rolling out at last. I’ve loved The Camelot Papers, No Small Bills, The Hidden Earth, Bronsky’s Dates With Death (Yeah, I grabbed the e-version for my Kindle even after getting the mag from you in 2011 at D*C), Pulling Up Stakes, and A Matter of Faith. I haven’t read Fearless yet, but it was one of my first grabs at Dragon Con this year.

    I was really hoping that this was going to take off the way it deserved to. I love the books I’m seeing so far and really hope that things start heading in the right direction for Crazy 8. Sadly, I think biggest obstacle to that is that the one thing that the big publishers have to offer, big advertising budgets, trump word of mouth these days. Word of mouth can make a hit out of a single book or author, but I think that the word of mouth starts to lose its effectiveness when it’s about multiple books from multiple authors from the same publisher or brand week after week, month after month, and year after year. Solve that little puzzle problem and you’re likely rolling.

    And, by the way, I absolutely loved Pulling Up Stakes. I’ve given the POD versions as gifts to several friends now. Cannot wait for the next story.

  4. Let me put it this way: Since I posted the message yesterday, how many copies of FEARLESS have we sold? Zero. What am I supposed to deduce from that? That $4.99 is too much? That price was derived from extended audience surveys on my website. I swear, if that’s too much for a book of mine, I’m going to stop writing books.

    1. I obviously don’t think it’s price since I just dropped $20 for a signed copy of Fearless at Dragon Con. My son loves it so far by the way.

      I think the bastard in the equation is promotion. I frequent your blog, I subscribed to Crazy 8’s blog, and I liked the Crazy 8 Facebook page so I get the updates. But that’s about the only places that I see any real Crazy 8 news. And, of course, the e-book problem is that you have no print editions on shelves to be found or discovered while strolling through a bookstore or to be placed front and center on the new arrivals display at the main door.

      I know that I’m not telling you anything that you all don’t already know and wish I was smart enough to be able to offer useful ideas here that the lot of you haven’t already brainstormed yourselves, but the only useful things I can think of cost money and/or are dependent on others. Even things at places like Dragon Con, where they already have panels on e-publishing and podcasting, would really be a crap-shoot. I’d have turned up for a panel on e-book publishing and promoting Crazy 8 hosted by a group of Crazy 8 writers, but it costs money to get everyone there and no one can say whet the actual payoff would be from just one panel at just one convention of even that size.

      It’s got to be infuriatingly maddening at times for you lot. You’re putting out great work with the freedom to write what you want to write and absence of eyes on the product (or in some cases the absence of knowledge of it) is a giant roadblock on every route of travel.

  5. Mr. David,

    Please, just try it.

    Here: Just do a short-term experiment for Fearless. When October rolls around, cut a buck off the price – two, even. Shout it from the rooftops. See how it works. Track your sales over three months, and compare the longitudinal data between group A, the old price for 3 months, vs. group B, the new price, for an equal amount of time.

    Granted, you’re adding too many factors to make it a controlled experiment, (because you’re saying “sale!”, and reducing the price, vs. reducing it and viewing natural sales results), but after a time, if there’s a natural settling-in and people adjust to a new price point, you’ll have more concrete data to work with. And it will slump, yes, but the bottom of the slump will still be greater than what you have now.

    If you look at everything that Amazon publishes through their 47North imprint, their prices are in that same range – yes, they even have novels at $4.99. But ask the new editor you’re working with how that’s been doing for them. Chances are they start out at the $4.99 or $3.99 range, then cut the price to improve sales, once the initial burst of enthusiasm in the first few months has run off. They don’t think of $4.99 as the line in the sand. It’s the first line in a succession of lines.

    And if you look at all of their Kindle Worlds stuff, it’s priced at .99c to $1.99, with the exception of larger collections. But the people who enjoy the most success on Amazon are the ones with series and continuity, as opposed to single books. (which, again, might be a factor.)

    Please don’t stop writing. But please consider what I’m saying, as a fan who wants you to succeed as a publisher.

  6. I’ve read Fearless, nice book by the way. I bought it after you blogged about it.

    But it surprised me that ‘’ didn’t bother to show it in the front page and even in your blog you can’t find it in the “Help Peter’s recovery by buying his e-books!” section

    That wouldn’t have helped moving many copies, I doubt this page is visited that much, but you could do it anyway.

  7. I got a Kindle Fire for a gift a year or two back and I’ve gotten used to buying stuff through Amazon. I knew about Crazy 8 Press but it fell off my radar. I’ll admit, as a reader and user of technology I’ve gotten a bit lazy. My Kindle is an Amazon product and I can buy all sorts of stuff through Amazon via one click on my Kindle.

    The funny thing is, it’s not like it takes a Herculean effort to add Crazy 8 Press to my internet favorites and check it every now and again. I mean, I’m old enough to remember when buying a book meant getting up off your ass and walking or driving to the bookstore (or library if you were content to borrow it, or if it was out of print).

    I like the idea of Crazy 8 Press. I like knowing that if Peter David has written something he feels is worth publishing, it won’t get tangled up for the sorts of bizarre reasons that good books don’t get published by big publishers. I trust Mr. David as a writer. If he thinks what he is written is worth selling then I am predisposed to give it a try.

    Also: $4.99 is a bargain. It is NOT too much to pay for an “indie book.” What the hell do I care who publishes it? A book is what it is no matter the channel through which it is sold.

    I was reminded about Crazy 8 through some Facebook postings by my good friend Jerry Chandler (who is responsible for about 85% of my newsfeed even though I have a couple hundred FB friends). He is a big fan of Mr. David’s work in the truest sense, because he actively promotes it.

    By the way, I’m a little late to the game but sorry to hear about your recent stroke, PAD. I’m glad you’ve recovered enough to get back to work. Best of luck and wishing you good health in the future.

  8. These are just ideas. No promises that I know what I’m talking about.

    Don’t really know what to tell you about the price point. On the comics side, I can say that ComiXology is selling much of the backlog content for $1.99 (which is a pretty good deal since new books now range from $2.99 to $4.99)… and I still tend not to buy books until they go on sale for $0.99.

    You might want to look at what other authors are doing. Authors like Hugh Howey and John Scalzi built a formidable fanbase… it might be worth knowing how they did it, how they engaged people, how they promote their work, what networks they are part of, how they deal with negative feedback, etc.

    Does Crazy 8 have its own podcast? Are you a regular contributor to any podcasts? One of my favorites is Sword and Laser, which focuses on sci-fi and fantasy. (Your Hidden Earth series is one of the few that would fall into both categories.) Maybe you can get in touch with those guys and do an interview.

  9. I’m the one who posted on Facebook that I hadn’t known that Fearless was out. As I look back through the entries on this blog, I see one announcing that it’s in the works, but nothing announcing that it had actually come out.

    I’m a pretty big fan of Peter’s work, particularly his original stuff. I bought Tigerheart and Darkness of the Light in hardcover when they were originally published. I bought Heights of the Depths when Peter tweeted that it had been released, but I don’t check my twitter that often. Had I not been lucky enough to happen to see that tweet that day, I don’t know if I would have known it had been released. I certainly haven’t seen him talking about it on Facebook, or very much on this site, or anywhere else.

    Certainly, I know that Paul Kupperberg’s Same Old Story, or Aaron Rosenberg’s Duckbob books, or the ReDeus anthologies are available, because I see periodic reminders on Facebook. I may not have bought them the day they came out, since I have a backlog of reading material, but those authors aren’t relying on me to seek them out. They’re actively working to remind me that they–authors whose work I do try to follow–have new books out that I probably should check out when I have a chance.

    Honestly, the tone of this piece, and a similar piece I remember from his blog, is a bit off-putting, if anything. Particularly sentences like, “You cannot understand how frustrating it is to put months of work into a novel and the response of fans is indifference.” I’m certainly not indifferent, but if you want me to buy your books, Peter, you have to let me know that they’re out there. And whatever you’re doing, it’s not working, because I had no idea whatsoever that Fearless was available. Believe me, I’m more than happy to pay my 4.99 for your stuff–although, again, listening to you accuse fans of being too cheap is making me feel a bit resentful–but you’ve got to meet me halfway.

    I’ve got my five bucks, but I’m not going to spend all my time checking Amazon or wherever to see if there’s suddenly something new from you for me to spend it on. The release of Fearless doesn’t seem to have been mentioned here, and it’s not on the homepage of your not-updated-since-January web site. If you choose to take a “If I build it, they will come” approach, that’s your choice, but then don’t blame the fans for not finding your stuff.

      1. I would have thought that 15 times was more than enough, except I follow you on Facebook and don’t recall seeing it ever. So I apologize; it does sound like you’re doing your part to get the message out, but for whatever reason–Facebook quirks or whatever–it wasn’t reaching me.

        1. Well, that’s part of the frustration, Andrew. Because fifteen times on Twitter means that it crossposted fifteen times on Facebook, and yet it eluded your notice. And we’ve been at this for two years. So you see where I wind up getting a bit aggravated. I have fans telling me things I should be doing which I AM doing, and blaming me for things that I’m not doing. I know I shouldn’t take these things personally, but sadly enough I kind of do.

    1. Can you clarify something please? I’m a bit confused as to what you’re referring to when you say that “it’s not on the homepage of your not-updated-since-January web site” in your last paragraph. In the context of this conversation the only two websites that would seem to make sense as his would be Crazy 8’s, which automatically updates, and his blog. Not only has his blog been updated since January, but there’s this entry from July 31, 2013.

      My Newest Book: Fearless

      The post has a quick comment from Peter as well as a front and back image of the cover.

      Also, you might want to reread some of the above. Peter’s comments about pricing are not accusations of fans being too cheap. He’s responding to the repeated assertions put forward in this thread that the problem is the pricing and that $4.99 is just way too much to expect fans to pay for a book by the involved writers if the book is coming from an indie publisher VS a corporate publisher.

      (If another post like this one appears, just ignore it. I wrote another one yesterday with an included link to Peter’s blog post. The link seems to have jammed it up in the spam folder.)

      1. After reading this, I went back to, and I see the source of my confusion. The top post has, every time I’ve checked lately, been the “How you can help Peter recover” post from last January. Each time I saw that, I figured that was the most recent post–because there wasn’t anything to tell me otherwise–so I didn’t look further. I did look down the list of ebooks down the right-hand side of, and Fearless isn’t there. So, in this case, I hope you all can understand why I had the impression that the site hadn’t been updated (what appeared at a glance to be the most recent post was dated January) and that the book wasn’t listed with his others from Crazy 8, because it isn’t.

        Having said that, I think I had a bad case of the crankies when I wrote my post, and I apologize. For what it’s worth, Peter, whenever you put out a new creator-owned book, whether in prose or comics, I buy it. I’ll buy Artful when it comes out, I bought Fearless as soon as I knew it was out, and I’ll buy the next thing you do after Artful, whether it’s from Crazy 8 or Amazon or whoever. I get that being a paying customer doesn’t buy me the right to fling attitude, and I apologize for that. You’ll still be getting my money, but with a sunnier disposition in the future.

  10. Uhm… Can the admin check to see if my last post got jammed up in your filter. It contained a link and may have triggered it.


  11. Okay, simple solution for anyone saying that they didn’t know about various projects from Crazy 8.

    This link –

    Follow that link, fill out the appropriate boxes and you will have then subscribed to the Crazy 8 mailing list and will then be able to read about new projects from Crazy 8 Press. And if you know someone who is a fan of any of the Crazy 8 stable of authors, send them the link via their Facebook page, Twitter account, Live Journal, MySpace, or even old fashioned email. You’ll know, they’ll know and if anyone misses an update the others will hopefully be talking about a new project coming out that they’re excited about or they’ll be talking about the cool new book that they’re reading or that they just finished reading.

    Easy way to get informed, easy way to inform others and it costs nothing but a few seconds of time.

  12. I’m here via Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog (, curious to know your side of her argument. However, I’m never going to find out why you’ve decided to go with Amazon for your next book, because in order to do so, I would have to share or “like” your piece before I know whether I think it’s worth sharing.

    I don’t know about the rest of your readers, but I prefer to know what I’m sharing before I share it.


    1. Geoff,

      Not sure what that deal is because the entire blog was visible without any need to do that before. If you want to read it without liking or sharing it first, go here –

      Scroll down a post or two and you can see the complete blog without having to like or share it.

      1. Not a big deal, but I thought Peter would be interested in the feedback; I know I would be, if I was turning potential readers away at the door.

        Anyway, thanks for your reply, I’ll give it a look-see.

  13. Hi! I also wouldn’t have clicked to read more if I hadn’t had this article recommended to me. I’ve never heard of your press, and I don’t know, maybe I’m not the target audience. But I just thought I’d say that I went to your home page and then went to find your books, and there’s no one page (that I could find) that lists all the books. You have to pick through the titles without seeing the covers. I hate that! I love having the feeling of browsing when I visit a publisher’s website, like the books are there on a shelf for me to stare at the pretty covers and glance at the descriptions to see if there’s something I’d like. I really think that would help you for new / casual browsers and people who’ve not heard of your store before. Best wishes for this new release. It sounds interesting!

  14. While I recognize that I’ve been a “contributor” to the poor sales, that’s been – for the most part – because the books haven’t twigged my interest. (I did pick up the second Hidden Earth book, though.)

    While I realize that you probably can’t afford to “burn” an Arthur or Apropos book with those sales numbers, I wonder if those would do any better than a vampire book or a spinoff of Tigerheart.

  15. Well I have a good idea why sales have floundered.

    I’m a first time visitor so I don’t know anything about you. Unfortunately, being held click-hostage, I can’t read the full post, much less find anything out about you unless I agree to lend my influence and promote you to my friends and associates via google circles, linkedin, like you on FB, twitter etc. Contrary to what you planned, this can indirectly negatively impact you.

    Consider: If I were the type to habitually recommend things of which I cannot or do not ascertain the value, I wouldn’t be influential or worse, may actually have a bad reputation thus degrading your own. Ditto for the crazy 8 page; I can’t read full entries there either without being held click hostage. So yeah, maybe you’ll do better with Amazon. As of this morning, Amazon wasn’t forcing me to “like” the page just to read it, before I could know whether I did indeed, like it.

    And not that the above in its entirety is the singular contributing factor to lagging sales but it speaks to a general posture and could be indicative.

    Ever read that book called “Some writers deserve to starve”? It’s hard to muster any sympathy for one’s lagging sales when they can’t get out of their own way.

    1. I appreciate you and others attributing the “general posture” to me. I was actually unaware of it. In any event, Glenn has been kind enough to remove it.

      1. Where did it come from anyhow? It wasn’t there before (that I ever saw) and then suddenly all the individual blog posts had it.

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