We’ve been talking a lot around the office lately about the Cold Poker Gang series by Dean Wesley Smith. We’ve been doing some heavy promotion for this series and it’s given these fantastic books some well-deserved attention.
Now, here’s the really fun part: These books aren’t new. Newer, yes, but the latest novel in this series was released last year. There will be more, I’m sure, but it wasn’t a new release in this eight-books series that prompted the promotion. We simply decided to experiment and see what happened. And that’s the freedom of non-traditional publishing.
Our experiment worked. We used book promotion sites like Bookbub and Freebooksy (we had already dropped the ebook price for Kill Game, the first book in the series, to free). And then we dropped the ebook price of the remaining novels to $3.99 each.
And sales for the series took off like wildfire. Now, mind you, the first book—the one we were promoting—is free. It’s the rest of the series that people are actually paying for.
Discoverability is the biggest challenge for any author or small press. But once you achieve that, you still need to back it up with substance. Bad books aren’t going to sell no matter what you do.
But good books? They just need that spark.
The Cold Poker Gang Mysteries are great series of because they combine good stories with compelling characters. And I firmly believe that it’s the characters that make it. Retired detectives solving cold cases, strong male and female protagonists—these are easily relatable and likable characters. Dean has really hit on something here.
For me, I’m pleased with the sales results (obviously, that’s my job), but I’m more pleased that these wonderful books are finding a wider audience. They deserve it.
And if you still haven’t tried this series, perhaps this will convince you to start. Kill Game is still free in ebook and the rest of the books remain at $3.99 for now.
You can read all about the series here.
So, go on, succumb to peer pressure. This is one of the few times you should.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.