After much deliberation, I have now reached my decisions regarding the questions I posted on Sunday. First of all, let me repeat how grateful I am to all of you for your feedback! I could hardly believe my eyes when only minutes after I had posted my questions, I started receiving well-thought, well-constructed arguments. In total, thirty-seven people have shared their thoughts so far. Thank you, all! You guys really are the best friends I could have on this journey!
Now, on to the decisions.
This was relatively easy, although you were almost evenly split on whether I should rebrand or not. I’ve decided to follow the suggestion to brand Schism as book number zero. Schism is a great little novelette, but this will make it clearer to readers that the series really starts with Rise of Prince, and that Schism is a prequel.
In the future, I’d like to revisit Schism in order to add several more subplots that have been in my head, thus turning it into a full-sized novel. Right now, however, I need to write the final book first. 🙂
As for the name, I really liked the suggestion of adding an adjective. However, I prefer short names, which is why I changed “Pearseus: Year 18, The Schism” to “Pearseus: Schism.” So, I’ll stick with “Pearseus: Vigil”, since no one actually said they dislike the word. Vigil, incidentally, really ties in with the story, as one of the defining lines is, “Holding lonely vigil over a world long gone.”
The toughest question concerned Runaway Smile. Should I continue to give it away for free in its entirety?
A lot of you made the point that it’s too good a book to share online for free. As authors, we deserve to be paid for our work, and I completely agree with that.
Several also made the point that it depends on what I get out of the free copies. My ethical bribe, as it is, is reviews. Runaway Smile now has eleven reviews – four more than when I asked you the question, a mere four days ago.
So, the question is, which is more important: reviews, or sales. Both are crucial to an author. This is like Sophie’s choice!
What tipped the scale in my mind was another point some of you made: that my Amazon audience and my blog one is not the same. I really appreciate you guys. You’re my community, and I have more in common with you than with most members of my own family! So, I’ve decided to leave the book available for free on my blog, and my blog alone, in order to share it with you.
I will, however, indicate that this is not something I can do forever. So, I have now added a sentence that makes it clear that my blog visitors can read it for free – for the moment.
Another point several of you made, concerned my future writing. I have already written six children’s books in total, and Dimitris is illustrating Musiville; the second in line.
Will the extra reviews generate sales? That remains to be seen. You see, I can’t use my normal marketing tricks with Runaway Smile. Amazon won’t let me drop the price under $2.99, because of the large file size (due to the illustrations). Also, it claims it won’t display properly on Paperwhite or older Kindles – only on Fire (I’ve tested it on Paperwhite, however, and it displays just fine, so I assume it has to do with the file size again). All this makes marketing a tricky affair. I hope that people will still buy the paperback edition, as one of the particularities of the children’s book genre is that paper sells better than digital.
You have, however, convinced me that removing the final pages would be a mistake, so I will either offer a couple of chapters in the future, or keep it here in its entirety.
Let me close by thanking once again each and every one of you! I read your comments with great interest, and they were instrumental in reaching my decisions. You are the best community I could ask for!
I came to the party rather late! The dilemmas you’ve written are ones we Indie Writers face. Ultimately we want our books read and reviewed but we also need to try and make a living out of it. Nothing wrong with giving books for free but I think it has been taken for granted and expected.
I wish you all the best and great success Nicholas 😀
Thank you! You’re right, it’s dilemmas we all share, which is why it’s so great to hear what other have to say.
You too! 🙂
So glad to hear the community gave you plenty to think about as you made your decisions. Proof positive that those of us who blog have deep connections to one another. I think we recently talked about how wonderful it would be if we could all meet over coffee,
I am glad we could help!! Those were some tough questions!! I think you made the right decisions. Good luck Nicholas!!
Thanks, Patrick! I do appreciate the help 🙂
I appreciate you sharing your decisions in a post. It makes me feel like I was part of the process regardless of what you decided.
I agree with you about short titles and continue to like Vigil.
I love the zero solution! Will Amazon allow you to say “#0” in parenthesis where you identify the series? For example, for my series it says Unelmoija: The Mindshifter (Weeia, #2).
Regarding Runaway Smile, $2.99 for a book is more than good value! If you remain determined to offer a special price, perhaps you can offer a package of children’s titles when your other books are out, which by the way, congratulations on your soon to be released new children’s books! Wow!
Thanks, Elle! Your feedback was instrumental in helping me make up my mind about the various issues I’ve encountered. 🙂
I don’t think Amazon will give me an #0 option, so I’ll just have to describe it as a prequel in the description and the title/book cover.
I agree that $2.99 is a good price for a book like Runaway Smile, but I’d like to be able to offer it for, say, 99c for a month in order to more effectively promote it. The bundle is a good idea; it’s worked beautifully for Pearseus.
It appears that you have made some sound decisions, Nicholas. I thought I’d give you my two cents on Runaway Smile. Being a Kids Book Manager in my previous life, I can tell you that kids prefer real books to e-books. They are sensory creatures and your book will surely touch many of them. I understand why you are leaving it free on your blog and it’s a good decision. 🙂 I love being a part of your community! 🙂
Thank you so much for your valuable input and the kind words! 🙂
I had forgotten about your previous life, so it’s very encouraging to me that someone with your expertise likes my decision. 🙂
I actually don’t talk much about my previous life but every now and again, I reveal a tidbit or two. 🙂
Decision, decisions. Nice to have a community of people to bounce ideas off before you go it alone. Good luck. Sounds you’ve made the right ones. 🙂
I hadn’t read Runaway Smile until now. It is SO cute! What age group are you targeting? I think it might still be a little too old for my granddaughter, but I will be buying this for her when she gets a little older. She’s only 18 months. You don’t have a girl version, do you? I doubt it matters, just thought I’d ask.
Lol – yes, with 18 months she might be a bit too young for it 🙂
Thank you so much for your kind words! I was thinking 6-12, but I agree with a friend who said that it defies age.
Sadly, no, I haven’t made a girl version. It would be easy enough to write up, but I can’t stand the thought of spending another two years illustrating! 😀
Ha! I don’t blame you. Oh, I definitely believe kids can relate to it regardless of age. I can’t wait that long. It’s too cute! And it fits her because she is always smiling, always happy. Perhaps next year. Mommy or Daddy can read it to her. Will you sign it for me?
Of course – I’d be thrilled!! 🙂
I’ve only got the Greek version at home, so I’ll need to order a copy from Amazon and mail it to you. If you contact me through https://nicholasrossis.me/contact/ I’ll email you to arrange it 🙂
Super! When I get ready to buy I’ll go through you. I’ll bookmark this page so I don’t have to go searching for it. Thanks so much!!
Thank *you*! 🙂
Children books definitely benefit a lot from having paperbacks. At least with my son, he likes the physical ones he can turn the pages of and stack next to him. The Kindle doesn’t have that tactile sensation he enjoys. Good luck with everything.
I know Amazon has the series number section when you’re putting the book together for Kindle. Does it like you do zero?
Judging from MT’s experience, no. 🙂
I’ll probably call it “zero” on the cover and title, but won’t list it as part of the series. I could call it “a prequel from the universe of Pearseus,” I guess.
That definitely works. Though I know around here, the term ‘prequel’ makes people edgy. At least it has ever since Star Wars Episodes 1-3 came out.
Lol – darn it, Lucas! 😀
LOL! That;s true, Charles! 🙂
Sometimes, you just need others discussing something to know what to do. A caveat about making Schism Book 0, though, from someone who has encountered exactly the same problem. In the Amazon series thingummy, you can’t have a book zero. You have to start at one. It doesn’t seem to make any difference with the way they are presented but if you already have a book 1 and suddenly you’re trying to add a book 0 it can do your head in a little.
Glad it’s all sorted.
Ah, I see what you mean – thanks for that. So, Amazon will still list it as book 1, even if I say on the cover/title “prequel.” Huh.
I think so.
Kids want to hold books.
Adults reading to kids do better with books than ereaders with a kid in the lap.
Keep Runaway in print; don’t worry about the ebook version of children’s books. They’ll never really take off (the ones for young kids, I mean).
Best to you,
That’s a great point. Yes, it does look like children’s books turn everything I’ve figured out about marketing on its head. 🙂
I think these are all great and generous decicisons, Nicholas. Most of all they fit my picture of you, which feels so good ☺
Thanks, that’s sweet of you! 🙂
I’m no expert on promoting books, but I do know what I believe can sell. Your book, ‘Runaway Smile’ is definitely one of them. Children love handling a book and if they love it, will go to bed with it under their pillow. In my opinion ‘Runaway Smile’ is a masterpiece to be treasured for life. Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. When I’m unhappy about something, I refer to one of these books. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.
My youngest grandson, who has just begun to read Hebrew, told me many times that he can’t wait to read your book by himself. He understands English, but only starts learning how to read and write English in two years time (in the third grade). I know that your book will be treasured by him and that he’ll continue reading it as he matures.
You have a gem in ‘Runaway Smile’.
I can’t thank you enough for your kind words – your comment made my day. Thank you!!! 🙂