PD Martin's Blog

June 22, 2012

Where’s the sweet spot?

Filed under: ebooks — Tags: , — PD Martin @ 4:24 am

One ebook tip is to experiment with pricing and that’s what I’m doing at the moment. There seems to be a few common price points for self-published ebooks, namely:

  • Free (ahhh!!!)
  • $0.99
  • $2.99
  • $3.99
  • $5.99

A friend recently forwarded me a great graph that was presented by Smashwords founder Mark Coker. Admittedly, for most authors sales from Smashwords make up an incredibly small percentage compared to Amazon sales, but it’s still interesting to look at this data.


So it seems the sweet spots are hitting at $0.99, $2.99 and another small spike at $5.99. Interesting, huh?

I noticed from Brett Battle’s post that my pricing points seem to be in sync with his for the most part, with shorts at $0.99, my one novella at $2.99 and my full thriller novel at $3.99. But, when I released my Pippa Dee books (YA and much shorter than my thriller novel at 50,000 words) I priced them at $2.99. I thought this seemed fair. Reasonable. Attractive but without de-valuing my work.

However, these books simply haven’t been moving. Was it the new name? Establishing a new brand? Possibly. Or the genre? While they’re books I believe most adults would read and enjoy (and they have), they have teen protagonists and so that ‘officially’ makes them targeted to the middle grade and YA market. Maybe not a good market for ebooks? So as part of my experimentation I’ve lowered the price to $0.99. I should say, this move to the $0.99 was partly because of the above graph, and partly because I have a friend who’s doing well in the ebook business and has priced ALL her books at $0.99. She felt that low price point was a key part of her strategy to build her brand and name. I only reduced the prices a few days ago so it’s too early to tell if this strategy will work or not. But it means I have been thinking of ebook pricing a lot recently and wanted to post about it here, too. Here are the two for $0.99, by the way.

TheWanderer-FINAL-small The Wanderer on Amazon


Grounded Spirits on Amazon

So, what do you like to pay for your ebooks? Maybe the graph above reflects your buying patterns too.  Note: I actually asked what people like to pay for ebooks on Facebook and, incredibly, got answers around the $5-10 mark. Then again, I posted during Aussie daytime and so I think all the respondents were Aussies—who are used to paying a fortune for books!

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June 7, 2012

Dialogue woes

Filed under: Pippa Dee,Writing — Tags: , , , , — PD Martin @ 3:12 am

I’m currently working on a novel set in Ireland. I’d like to give the reader an idea of the Irish accent without confusing them.

Now, here’s the thing. I know most books on writing say NOT to actually write in a character’s slang or accents (or to do so very sparingly). And when I’m teaching dialogue, this is the guideline I suggest budding writers follow. But now I’m going against that advice and actually writing the accent. So I need your help :)

Below is an excerpt from chapter 3 of Grounded Spirits, my next Pippa Dee novel, and I’m keen to get your thoughts. I have flagged the main pronunciation difference in the actual book (as it’s written below) and am wondering if this is enough. I should also say it’s a young adult novel so it needs to be clear for younger readers, too. This is the main character’s first encounter with an Irish person – an Irish woman in her 50s who works at the hotel where she’s staying.

From Grounded Spirits © Pippa Dee 2012

Suddenly Fiona felt a warm breath near her ear. She jumped, letting out a little yelp, and then spun around to face the breath’s source. No ghost, just the waitress. In stealth mode, obviously.

“So you’ve seen her, den,” the waitress said.

Fiona noticed her thick Irish accent, including the “d” instead of a “th”—“den” instead of “then”.

“’Tis one of our resident ghosts, so dey say,” the woman continued.

“A ghost?” But not the one Fiona had seen yesterday … if it had even been a ghost, of course.

“Dey had a scientist in and all. See de face … doesn’t even exist in terms of paint. Like actual paint,” she whispered, leaning in toward the painting with Fiona. “According to de expert, ’tis de same pigment dere, as dere.” The woman pointed to the different shades that formed the face, careful not to touch the surface of the painting. “But ’tisn’t de same color, ’tis it?”

“No.” Fiona’s excitement was building. “A scientist examined it? Really?”

“So dey say. Wasn’t here myself.” She paused and looked up. “I’m Maggie, love.” She held out her hand.

“Hi. I’m Fiona.” Fiona shook Maggie’s hand. Maggie’s accent was a little difficult to follow, but Fiona had tuned into it enough that she could understand. And obviously every word that started with “th” was replaced with a “d” sound.

“Fiona…” Maggie smiled at her. “Dat’s a grand Irish name. Do you have Irish folk in yer family, den?”

“Yes, three generations ago.”

Maggie nodded, and then they both stared silently at the painting.

Maggie broke the silence. “Do you like ghost stories?”

“I’m getting a bit old for them now, really.” Fiona knew that she looked a lot younger than she was, and she hated it.

“Ah, yer never too old.”

“But you don’t actually believe in them, do you?” Fiona asked.

“Believe in ’em? I seen ’em wit me own eyes.”


“Of course.” Maggie raised her eyebrows. “Dis hotel late at night…dere’s nothing else to explain what goes on. ’Tis ghosts all right. And more dan one, I’d say.”

First the boy in the window, and now this face? Could it really be that the Old Ground hotel was haunted? The building was old, ancient even, that’s for sure.


I posted this on Murderati and got some great response to these questions: So,  did you find the dialogue confusing or clear? Did the written-in accent add value or distract you? Finally, was it good that I pointed out the “th”/”d” thing twice or overkill?  I’m looking forward to everyone’s thoughts.

FaceFINALBy the way, this is a closeup of the face from the painting the characters are talking about. It’s a real painting! Spooky, huh?

Note: In case you’re interested, the Irish language (Gaelic) doesn’t have a “th” sound and this characteristic transferred when the Irish started speaking English— and it’s still part of their pronunciation today. My husband is Irish and “th” becomes either just “t” or “d” depending on the context. So it’s dis instead of this, dere instead of there, Tursday instead of Thursday, etc.

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