Analysis of Amazon E-book Fiction Bestsellers (Week #1)

... trying to make sense of the amazon bestsellers and pricing for e-books...
E
ach hour Amazon updates its bestsellers lists. I have taken a daily snapshot of the top 20 bestsellers in the e-book fiction list for the past week. See here.
What can be learnt from these data?
1. 4 out 5 of the bestsellers are from print or traditional authors. Most are brand-named authors who dominate the print bestsellers.
2. Almost all of the authors have multiple titles to their credit. The author of The Help is a notable exception.
3. The e-book prices of indie authors are substantially lower than print authors. For the most part, their titles are priced at $0.99.
4. The books on the list fall into four categories: (i) pre-release from brand-named authors, (ii) new or recently released titles (iii) long-term bestsellers (greater than one year), (iv) backlist titles. Indie authors fall into (ii) and (iv).
5. The indie authors includes authors who previously had publishing deals with print publishers, but who are now releasing their backlist titles and new titles as e-books.
6. Pre-releases titles have the highest average price followed by new releases and the long-term bestsellers—the later being priced to reflect an inelastic demand. Backlist titles and indie authors have the lowest.
7. Print publishers are releasing e-books at the same time as the hardcover. The paperback versions are scheduled for release some 6 to 8 months later. The e-books are priced at about the same price as the paperback list price or the discounted HC price.
8. The price of e-books for backlist titles tends to be substantially lower than new release pricing.
9. For books with print versions, the average e-book price is 53% of the list price of the print version.
10. Several new releases entered the top-20 and fell out within a few days.
11. Factors affecting the purchasing decision: (i) affinity with a known author (e.g. people were hot to read the latest title from Lee Child or Nicholas Sparks), (ii) pricing, and (iii) perceived quality of the text.


The List of Amazon.com Fiction E-book Bestsellers



1 BoneMan's Daughters Ted Dekker
2 Bonnie Iris Johansen
3 Bring Me Home for Christmas (Virgin River Novels) Robyn Carr
4 Can You Keep a Secret? Sophie Kinsella
5 Carry Yourself Back to Me Deborah Reed
6 Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins
7 Chasing Amanda Melissa Foster
8 Crossing Oceans Gina Holmes
9 Deeply Devoted (The Blue Willow Brides) Maggie Brendan
10 Destined (House of Night Novels) P. C. Cast, Kristin Cast
11 Don't Say A Word Barbara Freethy
12 Fun and Games Duane Swierczynski
13 Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune Rick Riordan
14 Just Run Chris Culver
15 Last Breath Michael Prescott
16 Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins
17 Only Us: A Fool's Gold Holiday Susan Mallery
18 Robert Ludlum's (TM) The Bourne Betrayal Eric Van Lustbader
19 Shock Wave John Sandford
20 The Abbey Chris Culver
21 The Affair: A Reacher Novel (Jack Reacher Novels) Lee Child
22 The Best of Me Nicholas Sparks
23 The End of Normal Stephanie Madoff Mack
24 The Help Kathryn Stockett
25 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins
26 The Intruders: A Jake Grafton Novel Stephen Coonts
27 The Litigators John Grisham
28 The Mill River Recluse Darcie Chan
29 The Next Always: Book One of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy Nora Roberts
30 The Phoenix Apostles (A Seneca Hunt Mystery) Lynn Sholes, Joe Moore
31 Treading Water (Treading Water Trilogy) Marie Force
32 Unfinished Business Nora Roberts
33 WIRED Douglas E. Richards
34 Zero Day David Baldacci



Posted 2011/10/30 at 01h47ET in Amazon, Bestsellers, E-books, Publishing.

The List Grows

... the list grows and grows...
H
ere are some thrillers people bought in addition to my novel.


The Confession by John Grisham
American Assassin by Vince Flynn
Capital Offense by Kathleen Antrim
Permanent Interests by James Bruno
The Elect by James Gilbert
The Detachment (John Rain) by Barry Eisler
Line of Succession A Thriller by William Tyree
My King The President by Tom Lewis
The Hangman's Companion (A Jim McGill Novel) by Joseph Flynn
The Next President by Joseph Flynn
House Secrets: A Joe DeMarco Thriller by Mike Lawson
The Devil Colony: A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins
Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage by David Ignatius
Early Warning by Michael Walsh
Threat Warning (Jonathan Grave) by John Gilstrap
Posted 2011/10/18 at 00h09ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

Some Similar Titles

... more sales means more book links...
H
ere are some thrillers people bought in addition to my novel.


1. The Confession by John Grisham
“The secrets of Grisham’s success are no secret at all. There are two of them: his pacing, which ranges from fast to breakneck, and his Theme—little guy takes on big conspiracy with the little guy getting the win in the end.” —Time magazine




2. Capital Offense by Kathleen Antrim
"'24' meets 'The West Wing' . . . pulse-pounding thriller has it all, riveting characters, spellbinding plot, and a shocking conclusion. Plan to stay up late. Highly recommended." --VINCE FLYNN, New York Times Bestselling Author



3. The Devil Colony : A Sigma Force Novel by James Rollins
“Terrible secrets, the sweep of history, an epic canvas, breathless action...nobody—and I mean nobody—does this stuff better than Rollins.”





4. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
With this 11th Mitch Rapp adventure, Flynn does something a little different. Taking a step back in time, he tells the story of how Rapp initially came to work for the CIA.–PW





5. The President's Henchman Joseph Flynn
"Flynn [is] a master of high-octane plotting." --Chicago Tribune






6. My King The President by Tom Lewis
"Investigative journalist, Jeb Willard, learns that his old college friend, a Secret Service agent, fatally shot the controversial President of the United States and then killed himself."





7. Line of Succession A Thriller by William Tyree
"A shining example of mass market fiction done right." --BestThrillers.com







8. The Elect by James Gilbert
"Reed Thompson is the country's leading conservative talk radio host. His wife Sandy is a successful public relations executive. Together, they enjoy the rarified life of wealth and comfort in their urbane Chicago social circles. Yet that uncomplicated existence is turned upside down when the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President is killed in a helicopter crash on the eve of the New Hampshire primary."

9. The Protectors (A Thriller) by James Piper
“James Piper has written a story of the attempted assassination of the president. It deals with high finance and corporate intrigue with exceptional insight. It is fast paced and very, very well written. It is brilliant—lucid and intellectually insightful, and of its kind, it is in the first rank.”—David Adams Richards (2000 Giller Prize Award)



Posted 2011/10/18 at 08h00ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

The President's Henchman by Joseph Flynn

... there doesn't seem to be a shortage of novels for people to read...
I
Here are some links to The President's Henchman and The Protectors.
And a blurb on his novel.
As we've just seen, it's only a matter of time—and not that long a time—before the United States elects its first female president. Which will make her husband—what?
Well, if he's the ex-cop who solved the murder of the president's first husband and brought the killers to justice…and if he's not the kind of guy to stand on formality…and if he doesn't want to be the head of the FBI…and if he takes out a license and becomes the first private eye to live in the White House…
That would make him The President's Henchman.
Jim McGill's first case is to find out who is stalking a member of the White House press corps, before that stalker turns the tables on McGill and maybe even threatens the president herself. He also has to be a shadow adviser to a young Air Force investigator who is looking into a he-said-she-said charge of adultery leveled against a female colonel working at the Pentagon, a case with the potential to derail the new president's administration before it has a chance to begin.
Posted 2011/10/16 at 18h01ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

The Elect by James Gilbert

... do you like the cover of this novel...
T
here’s James Gilbert, author of The Elect, and me, James Piper, author of The Protectors. The two of us have three great things in common. We’re both authors, that’s clear, but we’re also males and alive. But that’s not the entire point. The point is we have the best first name. No that’s not it either. No. We have readers in common.
Here are some links to The Elect and The Protectors.
And a blurb on his novel.
Reed Thompson is the country's leading conservative talk radio host. His wife Sandy is a successful public relations executive. Together, they enjoy the rarified (sic) life of wealth and comfort in their urbane Chicago social circles. Yet that uncomplicated existence is turned upside down when the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President is killed in a helicopter crash on the eve of the New Hampshire primary and Reed is cast into the unlikely role as the heir apparent for the Republican nomination for President. Rapidly drawn into a high stakes battle for the Republican nomination, the couple remain unaware that Reed is the intended victim in a complex web of blackmail, murder, and religious extremism that threatens to destroy any remaining wall of separation between church and state. Reed is faced with the impossible choice to divulge the secret that threatens to destroy him, or become the next victim in an out of control religious crusade that might just be too powerful to stop.
Posted 2011/10/15 at 18h14ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

I Won’t Write Sex Scenes

... don't expect to read sex scenes in my novels...
H
ere’s the first indie-book linked with my novel. The link? Someone bought my book and the novel Fifth Avenue by Christopher Smith. I read some of the reviews because I wasn’t familiar with either the book or author. No surprise with a self-published author.
It’s hard to know what to think about a book when I see such wide variety in opinion, but one theme of the criticism centred on the author’s sex scenes. It disturbed some. I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on the content, but I can make a general statement on sex scenes in novels and specifically thrillers. As a reader, it’s not why I read and don’t want to read them. I will skip over them. Call me a prig, fine, but I’m not interested.
Since I don’t want to read such scenes, I don’t write them. You won’t find any sex scenes in The Protectors. None. Nor is there any coy romance going on between our hero Baird Carr and his sidekick Sarah Bishop. Why? Because they are professionals. Because they are wrapped up in dealing with the crisis they face. Because The Protectors is a thriller not an action-adventure story.
Here are some links to Fifth Avenue and The Protectors.
And a blurb on his novel.
Look beneath all the power and all the wealth that represents New York City's Fifth Avenue, and you'll find greed, blood, revenge. In the international best-selling thriller "Fifth Avenue," each intermingles within a revered society that is unprepared for what's in store for it when one man finally strikes in an effort to destroy another man for murdering his wife thirty-one years ago.
Louis Ryan is that man. George Redman, his wife, two daughters and their close friends are his targets. Both men are self-made billionaires who came from nothing to stake their claim to Fifth Avenue. But when Louis Ryan hires an international assassin to literally rip the Redman family apart, a series of events that can't be stopped catapults them all through a fast-paced, hard-edged thriller in which nobody is safe.
Secrets are revealed. Sex lives are exposed. The Mafia get involved. And George's two daughters, Celina and Leana Redman, come to the forefront. More than anyone, it's they who are caught in the throes of their father's past as Louis Ryan's blind desire to kill them all takes surprising turns in his all-out effort to see them dead.
Posted 2011/10/13 at 20h58ET in Writing, The Protectors (A Thriller).

Gossamer or Rhino Skin? And all mothers, well, they lie.

... reading anonymous reviews of my writing is something new to me...
I
Ten years ago when I told my mother I was writing a novel, she scoffed. “Oh, please. You can’t write a novel. You haven’t read enough!” That was before she read the draft. When she finished reading it, her face was filled with shock and joy. Stunned, I suppose. She was saying: that was good, better than so-and-so, you can write, I take it back.
Having read all her life, she’s a good judge of what works and doesn’t work, but it’s my mother. All mothers, well, they lie. They give you that pleasant, warm smile and lie straight to your face. Unless they are particularly angry in the moment. Then you’re likely to hear a multitude of truths.
Not much help in gauging where I’m at as writer with this novel. I certainly couldn’t put that in a query letter. Guess what, dear agent, my mother loved it. Yawn. Burn the letter. Pass me the disinfectant.
From there, I allowed some friends and family to read the draft. All right, I promised free booze and a trip to the Bahamas if they’d read it, and they did. And they dutifully told me they liked it.
“James, it was great.”
“Best thing I’ve read in a long time.”
Did anyone of them point out a typo? Suggest a problem with subject-verb agreement? Nope. Not one. It was a work inspired by all the forces of the universe. I know why now they didn’t. The booze and the sunny weather in the Caribbean.
Okay. I have some reviews in and they’re brilliant. I can proceed. Let’s find an agent. Please, please, please, dear wise and all-knowing agent would you read my novel because I want to be a paperback writer. From there you know the drill. A few never replied. Many said, ah, sorry, I can smell you from here. And then bingo.
“Can you send me your manuscript?”
“Who’s calling?”
“I’m so-and-so from so-and-so in New York. I’d like to read your manuscript.”
“You want me to what?”
I didn’t say that last line. I was too stunned. My brain seized. Lack of oil or something.
That call lead to others. And another. I’m onto something here. At least I thought I was onto something. I had mailing-the-manuscript down. They received the package. Not sure about waiting for the ice age to pass.
It’s absolutely exciting when an agent says: send me your manuscript, I want to read it. And, after a mountain of ice melts, it’s absolutely deflating to read their one page reply.
The best cryptanalysts in the world can’t decipher these letters. You liked it but you’re not the right person to…or there’s… Hmm. There’s no subtext here. No reading between the lines. They are afraid to piss you off. They are afraid you’re computer-like memory will recall this slight and they’ll lose an opportunity in the future when you get it right. I suppose, but in the meantime I have nothing to work with except, well, nothing.
Unless an agent is your agent, you’re not going to get any critical advise on how to improve your manuscript. Miss Snark’s blog provided some advice while she was blogging. Others have followed. But, who is Miss Snark?
I know now what was wrong. Editing. I was too anxious. Too green to recognize and understand the time consuming process of editing—including copyediting.
So at this point, I’m not much farther ahead in getting an honest critique of my novel.
That changed in 2007 when I enrolled in Humber’s School for Writers. My mentor was the well-respected, multi-award winning author David Adams Richards. It was a coup to be accepted into the program and a coup to have him as my mentor. Then reality set in. He read the first couple of chapters of my literary novel My Dearborn. Let’s just say he was rather snarky, but I know he’s not behind the Miss Snark blog.
Ah, this is not good. This is so not good. He hates it. I delayed and wondered what to do. It will take too long to rewrite that novel. I’ll switch gears. I’ll send him my first novel. The one I mentioned above. The Protectors. I knew what sort of reply I’d get from this snooty, highbrow author. A big kick in the ass.
Boy was I wrong.
“It’s good.”
“It’s what? Did I hear you right?”
“It’s good.”
That line of dialogue continued week after week.
But I wrote a thriller. It’s genre fiction. There’s nothing highbrow or literary about it.
“Stop your whining. It’s good.”
Okay. It’s good. But you know writers. Doubt easily creeps in. Well, it does for this writer. Beside who the hell is David Adams Richards? You’ve never heard of him. And these writing schools are shams. Right? You can’t teach writing. Right?
Time passes and it’s October 2011. My novel was published on September 6th. Five weeks have gone by. The doubts linger. They oscillate. One minute I know precisely why I am a writer then a siren pierces the air. Who are you trying to kid? The vagaries of being a writer.
All the while, I see sales of my first novel, but no reviews. No comments. I try to put it out of my mind. I prepare myself for them even though I’m not sure I or anyone can. What will they say? How will they respond? I try to tell myself, it’s a good novel. It does what it’s supposed to do. Not everyone will love it or even like. Some will hate it. It happens.
Then on the 11th, yesterday, my first review. I first saw it on goodreads.com and it was also posted on amazon.com. I had become so used to not seeing a review I had to check my eyes. Eyes are you working? I think so. My first review from someone who bought my book and read it. A review from someone I’ve never met. Someone I don’t know. No ringer. No slight of hand. No bribes. No exchanges. An honest, independent review. Well, he could be duping me, but I doubt it and I sure hope not.
Here’s what he wrote:
I read several novels per month, and this ranks in my top 10 for this year. A thriller revolving around a former CIA agent, Baird Carr, now a security consultant, whose company assets simply disappear from his bank account. His company partner, a former Secret Service agent, disappears at the same time. Carr "follows the money," and discovers mysterious deaths linked to the same source. Then, he finds assassins on his own trail, and he must rely on his training to survive. The action is fast-paced and believable. The ending was a bit abrupt (the final chapters that closed out the story were far-less-detailed than the rest of the novel, which imposed an "abrupt" feeling to the book's ending), but otherwise a great story. I truly enjoyed reading this one.
Thanks to the reviewer for taking time to post his thoughts. It’s not an easy assignment. I encourage others to do likewise.
So will the next review throw me for a loop. You know the vagaries of being a writer. Probably. And what’s the condition of my skin? Gossamer thin or rhino tough? I guess I’ll find out.
Posted 2011/10/12 at 19h29ET in Publishing, The Protectors (A Thriller), Writing.

Please, Please, Please, No More

... what is the best way to start your novel...
C
ount them. One. Two. I downloaded two thriller e-books from amazon.com, both published by the author, and they both started the same way: the character waking up and going about some morning ritual.
Both books were in the top 100 bestsellers of Mystery & Thrillers Fiction. Both had many positive reviews. Those facts seemed encouraging, but once I read the opening scene, I stopped. I did not continue.
But James that seems harsh? Perhaps, yes, but the writer is sending a signal with such an opening. It says, I have more to learn about writing thrillers for today’s audience. Why do I say that? Because a waking-up scene is mundane. It’s ordinary. It happens to us everyday. We don’t read thrillers for the mundane and ordinary. We read them for the extraordinary. We read them to live vicariously through the characters. We read them to be entertained. There is nothing in those waking-up scenes that fits those criteria.
But James, once you get through the first few pages, it really gets going. Perhaps, but I never got there and won’t. The author should have started later and cut out the bit about waking up. As Alfred Hitchcock said: drama is life with the boring bits cut out. That’s what readers expect and if you don’t believe me, pick up any ten or twenty thrillers published in the last decade that were bestsellers. See if any of them started with some type of waking-up scene. My bet is the answer is none. Nil. Zilch. Why? Because the writers know it’s not what makes for a good thriller.
And does it get better later? I’ll never know. My assumption, based on such an opening, is if the writer made that mistake, I’m going to find it and others repeated in the rest of the book. I have no reason to believe otherwise. Harsh, but reasonable.
The opening chapter is you wearing your best outfit with your best haircut. Not a pair of tattered pyjamas and smelly breath.
A story, a scene should start as late as possible. No warming up your engine. No flowery description of the weather. No elongated description of the quant town. No list of the schools the character attended. Nor a list of his past lovers. Start the story with action. Get things moving. But most of all, create suspense and intrigue. Raise unanswered questions.
But James, so-and-so wrote that way. Years ago, perhaps, when there wasn’t the avalanche of stimulus people face today. It’s a different world, but some things don’t change. The Greeks knew about this concept centuries ago and it’s referred to by the Latin phrase: In medias res. Check it out and in the meantime, save the waking-up scenes for your journal.
___________
For some reason I am not able to post a comment. Here it is.
I wanted to mention The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) a novella by Franz Kafka because there are exceptions. Not a mundane morning for his character.
Posted 2011/10/08 at 05h38ET in Fiction, Writing.

The Confession by John Grisham

... if people are reading Grisham and me, does that mean...
S
ince my debut novel, The Protectors, has been published, there has been a series of books people have bought in connection with mine. It’s interesting to see these connections. Some times for me, the connection results in an introduction to a new author, but not always. Today it’s John Grisham and his novel The Confession. As it would happen, I have read it.
I read it on my e-reader, not a physical book as I’m used to reading. I used my Kobo, although I should add I have a Kindle for reading e-books. It’s the way these days. More and more people are reading novels in the e-book format. Not a paperback, trade paper or hardcover. The world of publishing and reading novels, reading books, is changing.
Here are some links to The Confession and The Protectors.
And a blurb on his novel.
John Grisham delivers his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. Filled with the intriguing twists and turns that have become Grisham’s trademark, this newest novel will prove once again that no one keeps readers in suspense like America’s favorite storyteller. An innocent man is days from execution. Only a guilty man can save him.
For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.
Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.
Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.
But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?
Posted 2011/10/07 at 06h15ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

Capital Offense by Kathleen Antrim

... here's another book people bought along with mine...
I
like the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature on amazon.com because it exposes me to books I might not otherwise know about.
I’m not the only who uses it because people who bought my book also bought Capital Offense by Kathleen Antrim. So cool.
Here’s some links to Capital Offense and The Protectors.
And a blurb on Kathleen’s novel.
IS THE FIRST LADY PLOTTING TO OVERTHROW THE PRESIDENT? This questions seems inconceivable to journalist Jack Rudley, but so did the murder of his own father, Senator William Rudley. Now his father is dead and all roads lead to the White House. Roads Jack must take if he's ever to know the truth. Roads twisted by deceit, revenge, power and murder. Roads First Lady Carolyn Alden Lane navigates with great skill.
When she learns she's a pawn in a deadly bid for the White House, her world comes crashing down. Driven by desperation, she refuses to take the fall alone. But how far will she go to even the score? Against all odds, Jack searches for the truth, a truth that may cost him his life, while Carolyn struggles to survive in a web of savage political corruption.
Posted 2011/10/06 at 08h02ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

Line of Succession: A Thriller by William Tyree

... people who bought my book bought this book...
O
ne of the features of amazon.com is “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” and the first book linked with my book was Line of Succession: A Thriller by William Tyree. So cool.
Here’s some links to Line of Succession and The Protectors.
And a blurb on Tryee’s novel.
In William Tyree’s debut thriller, the nation is rocked by a series of high-level assassinations so devastating that the magnitude is hidden from public view. As the Pentagon begins retaliating against Islamic radicals abroad, counter-terrorism agent Blake Carver soon realizes that his job isn’t as easy as hunting down a group of foreign extremists. This war isn’t about religion, foreign policy or oil. It’s up to Carver to stop a group of powerful Washington insiders battling over control of the planet’s most precious resource: water.
Posted 2011/10/05 at 08h31ET in Novels, The Protectors (A Thriller).

Where To Download Excerpt of The Protectors (A Thriller)

... you can download excerpt of The Protectors (A Thriller)...
T
he Protectors is my debut novel. A thriller.
 This is the synopsis: A former CIA officer searches for his missing business partner only to discover a secret that leads to the White House.
You can download the full kindle e-book version of the novel from amzon.com (here) or amazon.co.uk (here) as well as an excerpt by clicking on the “Send sample now” button on the right.
The amazon version (MOBI file format) can be read on your kindle or, with a free downloadable app, on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can download an excerpt in an EPUB file format from goodreads.com by clicking here. This format works for Kobo and Nook e-readers as well with apps for your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Posted 2011/10/04 at 15h13ET in The Protectors (A Thriller).