Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dean Koontz 2 New Releases: Novel Idea to Promote A Novel--Sell a Novella Introducing the Villain

Bestselling author Dean Koontz emailed fans yesterday, highlighting his “first ever ebook original novella,” Darkness Under the Sun. It's $1.59 in the Kindle Store, and is currently sitting high on the Kindle Store paid bestseller list at 30.

The ebook introduces the evil villain who will appear in the December release of What The Night Knows,  now available for pre-order with a price tag of $15.12. Veteran Amazon ebook buyers know the latter price may well go down before the book delivers on Dec. 28, and they will be charged the lower price.

The“first-ever” Koontz novella is carrying water for the upcoming full book is timed for Halloween, and is a treat for the author's fans languishing for their next fix from the bestselling writer.  Writers call Koontz “a writer's writer” and readers just love him—by the millions. So what if the novella's timing is also a marketing “trick?”

Authors and publishers continue to tinker with and fine tune marketing strategies, and Darkness is a fine illustration of one method to pump up book sales. This novella introduces the evil character of, Alton Turner Blackwood, “the killer at the dark heart of What The Night Knows.”

The promotional text beneath Darkness points out it is “the perfect read for Halloween” and reveals the “secret, fatal turning point in the career of” Blackwood. So, meet the killer for Halloween, then greet him again during Christmas break.

Other vital signs for Darkness, which presage success for What the Night Knows: The book rose to No. 18 on Amazon's volatile Movers & Shakers list And it was No. 20 on Amazon's Hot New Releases list.

All of those numbers indicate both the author's strong following and the odds that the novella is leading to a successful December kick-off for What the Night Knows.

The novella released exclusively as an ebook yesterday. It gives new readers a fine—and inexpensive—chance to discover Koontz. It gives his dedicated fans—of which I am one--a treat to keep us going during the necessary dry spells between books. The author's hopes, no doubt, are that new readers will enjoy Darkness so much they will visit the author's extensive backlist of some 54 Kindle Store books while waiting for What the Night Knows to emerge at the end of the year.

Another part of the strategy:  If readers like the novella, they'll pre-order the book.  When Dec. 28 rolls around, those pre-orders join first day sales to rocket the book as high as it can go on bestseller lists.  The higher on the list, the more visible to all book buying visitors, the more likely it capture more sales and rise higher still.

For Planet iPad readers who go into the Koontz archives, I especially recommend what many faithful fans consider to be his best book ever: Watchers.

On his web site, Koontz explained last year that he works on his novels one page at a time, not leaving a  page until it is as perfect as he can make it. He blames a huge dose of “self-doubt” for the process, but adds that he rarely has to revisit the page in the future. When it's done, it's done.

Koontz has an army of ardent followers, swollen to large numbers back in the Eighties with the success of Watchers. Published in 1987, it was one of the first bestsellers to pair up a genetically altered and thereby amazingly intelligent and supernaturally gifted dog with its likewise-escaped lab mate from the cages, an enraged and envious creature.

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