More than three years ago, on February 29, 2008, I held my first author event at Clayton Books, an independent bookstore in California near San Francisco that has since closed its doors but not because of economic hardships.
Clayton Books was still earning enough to stay open when it lost its lease and Clayton, California lost its only bookstore.
After buying an Amazon Kindle, the property's owner felt e-books were going to dominate the publishing industry and an independent bookstore that was still paying its rent on time was a risky client to depend on so he pulled the plug when the lease ended.
However, that is not what this post is about. This post is about The Concubine Saga, which I started researching, writing, revising and editing in 1999. The first novel in the two book series was "My Splendid Concubine", which came out in December 2007. Three Clover Press released the second edition February 2009, more than a year later. The second novel in the two book series, "Our Hart", was released January 2010.
Back at that first author event (click on the link and see the photos my wife took), the owner of Clayton Books, Joel Harris, asked the crowd if anyone read the novel and if they enjoyed it.
Several hands went up and I held my breath. After all, I had no idea if the woman Joel selected liked the book. It was a relief to hear her say that she enjoyed reading the story and wanted more because she felt the conclusion wasn't the end of the story.
I told her I was working on the sequel, and that seemed to satisfy her.
After eight awards, thousands of books sold and many positive reviews of the two novels, on June 5, 2011, fifteen days before the release of The Concubine Saga on June 20, a two star Amazon review of "My Splendid Concubine" written by Evern "Avid reader" appeared asking, "Where's the rest????."
'Avid reader' wrote, "It was a great story of a concubine but the story ended so abruptly there was NO connection between the beginning and the end!
"What happened to everyone?
"It just ended. BANG …
"I won't buy the next one in the series just to find out what happens.
'Avid reader' ended with, "That is a cheap marketing ploy."
I left a comment on Amazon for 'Avid reader' and pointed out that the Amazon Kindles for the concubine saga prequel and sequel were priced at $3.99 each and most traditional publishers priced books much higher.
I said (in more detail) that the first novel in the two book series, "My Splendid Concubine", first came out December 2007 and the sequel, "Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine" was released two years later after I finished writing, revising and editing it.
In addition, I wrote there have been many well-known and unknown authors that have written books as a series. One example was J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Another example was J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings", while Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" three book series was released June 2009, March 2010 with the third book published May 2010.
For this piece, I checked all seven of Rowling's Harry Potter books and not one was published as a Kindle e-book!
However, the Kindle edition for the combined "Lord of the Rings" was listed on Amazon for $18.99, and the Kindle of "The Hobbit" was listed at $9.99.
Stieg Larsson's series was listed for a reasonable total of $32.97 for all three Kindles.
I recall that in the second Stieg Larsson book, readers (including me) were left with Lisbeth, the main character, in the hospital in a coma and fans had to wait a few months for the third book to find out what happened.
I confess. The Amazon 'Avid reader' was right. The Kindle for each of my first two novels was listed at $3.99 as "a cheap marketing ploy" that totaled $7.98.
Of the three authors I've mentioned, I learned something from J. R. R. Tolkien's publisher since they issued the three volumes of "The Lord of The Rings" series as one edition along with the "The Hobbit".
In fact, that publisher still offered the three separate editions of "The Lord of the Rings" so a reader could buy the Amazon Kindle versions for $9.99 of "The Fellowship of the Ring", another $9.99 for the "Two Towers" and another $9.99 for the last of the three book series.
That way, readers with a Kindle may buy "The Lord of the Rings" as one book for $18.99 or separately as three books for $29.97. Definitely not a "cheap marketing ploy".
With that said, I'm announcing that on June 20, 2011, an edited and revised version of The Concubine Saga was released as a Kindle e-book priced at a "cheap marketing ploy" of $5.99, but interested readers may still buy the two original book series individually for a price gouging $7.98.
The hardcover and paperback of The Concubine Saga will be out in a few weeks priced much higher.
In conclusion, I wasn't devastated by 'avid readers' two star Amazon review, since a few months earlier in December 2010, I received news that "Our Hart", the sequel in the two book series, was a finalist in Fiction and Literature for The National "Best Books 2010" Awards.
However, I must admit I was crushed when 'Avid Reader' revealed my "cheap marketing ploy" to the world. I wanted to keep that a secret.