I have been asked many times in the past two months if I’ll be putting out new multi-story volumes in the PETER AND THE MONSTERS series.
(Funny story I’ll tell you about all this at the end of the post.)
The answer is ‘yes’ – buuuuut…
The new volumes will only be 3 stories long and will cost $9.99. If you have a Kindle or a Nook, it will actually be cheaper to buy the stories individually ($2.99 x 3 = $8.97 instead of $9.99), and you can get them as soon as they come out. (Right now I’m putting out a new story every month, although that might change in the near future.) Here are the titles after Volumes 1, 2, and 3:
Peter And The Helpers – Story #14
Peter And The Mummy – Story #15
Peter And The Grownups – Story #16
Peter And The Boogeymen – Story #17
Peter And The Crazies – Story #18
Peter And The Witches – Story #19
Peter And The Demon – Story #20 (coming out August 1st)
PETER AND THE MUMMY (Volume Four) will have Helpers thru Grownups (14-16), and PETER AND THE WITCHES (Volume Five) will have Boogeymen thru Witches (17-19).
If you’re reading through another source – iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords.com, etc. – I’m sorry it’s taken so long. Bad, bad stupidity on my part. I should not only have Volume Four and Five out in the next two months, but I’ll also start posting the individual stories on those other services, as well, so you can buy them as they are published.
Hey man, why are you charging so much for three stories when the old ones had four or five stories and were way cheaper?
Short answer: economics. I can’t make a living (not even a poverty-level living) at selling four or five stories for $2.99. Not at the number I sell every month (currently around 100 each of Volume Two and Three per month).
At $2.99 per new story (Helpers, Mummy, Grownups, Witches, etc.), I’m making a poverty-level living, which has allowed me to write more and put out new stories faster.
To put it in perspective: I wrote the first 13 stories in the series from 2007 through 2010. So, about four years to do all 13. That was with a full-time job.
In the last four months writing full-time, I’ve written three stories – and one of them (WITCHES) was longer than anything else in the entire series. For me, that’s fast.
I realize that nobody likes paying higher prices, but just know that every slightly-more-expensive purchase you make helps me keep writing full-time…and that as a result, you’re getting new PETER stories twice or three times faster than you would have ordinarily! Maybe even four or five times faster!
The History Of The Three Multi-Story Volumes
Okay…so here’s the funny story. Actually, it’s more ‘funny interesting’ rather than ‘funny ha-ha.’
In The Beginning, there were only the three multi-story volumes. I was contacting agents, so I was stuck in the print mindset that a book had to be at least 300 pages because of printing and paper costs. No Big 6 New York Publisher wanted anything less than 300 pages, fo’ sho’ (unless it was written by Snooki or somebody equally famous). I was figuring I would get published on paper, and that’s why the books had 4-5 stories apiece.
Turns out I didn’t get published on paper (well, not entirely true…you can buy the first four stories in paper here, here, here, and here if you want them that way, though you can get them for free as one big ebook on Amazon or Nook or Smashwords.com).
But lo and behold, I didn’t sell any copies in ebook format, either. Not many, anyway. After all my friends and family bought copies in May 2011, sales pretty much sucked. $50 a month at most.
I had almost enough stories for a Volume 4 by November 2011, but not quite. I realized that it was waaaaay tougher to write four stories to be published together, sometime in ‘the far-off future,’ than it was to publish the same stories one at a time. Psychologically, it’s like climbing a series of hills versus a giant mountain.
I wanted to put out a new story every month or so, not a new book every six months. (In reality, if I had to climb Mt. Everest instead of a series of hills, it was going to be more like a new book every eight or ten months. Or twelve.)
So I decided to start publishing individual stories with PETER AND THE HELPERS – Story #14.
However, I needed to charge $2.99 for it to be worth it.
But the old multi-volume stories were $2.99 for four stories.
THAT didn’t make any sense.
So I decided to relaunch the entire series and get rid of the multi-volume books. I started designing covers, and right around the time I finished with #14 and was ready to delete the multi-story books forever…
…Amazon suddenly made PETER AND THE VAMPIRES (Volume One) free forever. (I hope forever, anyway.)
Now, this is a big deal. I had to jump through a lot of hoops for them to do it, and it had been in the works for months. In fact, I didn’t think Amazon was ever going to make the first book free. I had given up all hope.
But as soon as they did, BAM, sales of the other two volumes started going up by huge amounts.
I probably sold more in January than I had in all the other months combined…although that’s not saying much.
Anyway, now I couldn’t just get rid of Volume One – the free book was introducing new readers to the series!
So I was stuck with the multi-story volumes.
I tried monkeying with the price, but to go from free to $9.99 (Volume One to Volume Two) seemed extreme. So I decided to give people a taste for free…then give them more for cheap…and then, if they really loved the stories, I would ask them to contribute more so that I could produce more for them, and on a more consistent basis by doing it full-time.
BUT I wasn’t going to do any more multi-story volumes. Unh-unh. Nope. Not gonna happen.
And then ALL THESE PEOPLE kept emailing me, asking, “When’s the next volume coming out?”
And I’d say, “You can get the individual stories for $2.99 every month!”
And quite a few said, “I want one big book, not four little ones.”
And I was like, CRAP.
Because I didn’t want to screw over readers who buy the $2.99 single stories. I would prefer people buy the new stories every month, because it really helps me financially to be able to count on a certain number of new sales per month. (Don’t get mad at me for price-gouging – I still can’t afford new shoes, yo. Or Starbucks coffee, or anything like that. Well, not if I don’t want to go into debt.)
For the longest time I was like, “The multi-story books HAVE to have four or five stories, but the people who buy the single stories are gonna be MAAAAAAD! And they’ll stop buying the single stories, and then I’ll be back in the same position of publishing a new book every eight (or ten, or twelve) months and not making any money WAAAAAAAH!”
And then I realized I was stuck in the same sort of mindset that had limited me in the beginning – the print versus ebook mindset.
There’s no reason the new books can’t be three stories instead of four. No reason at all.
So that’s why the new multi-story volumes will be 3 stories for $9.99.
The single stories are actually a bit cheaper to reward folks who buy them individually…
…but now the folks who want one BIG book can have what they want, too. They just have to pay a little extra for it.
So, there you have it. That’s why there are multi-story volumes at all, and why they’re still around and priced so differently from the single stories.
Yeah, believe me, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. I’m a much better writer than I am a publisher.