99 Cent Sale!

by wjw on October 4, 2013

KnightMovesMy novel Knight Moves, nominated for a Philip K Dick Award,  is now on sale for a mere 99 cents, or a 99-cent equivalence if your home currency doesn’t happen to be USD.

You will find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and iBooks.  Word of the price change seems not to have reached Sony, despite my best efforts.

I uploaded the Knight Moves ebook nearly two years ago, and it’s remained a consistent poor seller despite the award nomination and its generally good reception by the few who have actually read it.  Maybe the sale will give it a little juice.

When I prepared the electronic version of the novel, I read it for the first time in decades, and wrote an essay about its rediscovery.    Feel free to check it out.

But in the meantime, spread the word!  Walter Jon Williams gorgeousness available for less than a buck!

Download and enjoy!


Ralf The Dog. October 4, 2013 at 7:54 am

Downloaded and added to my list.

Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) October 4, 2013 at 10:13 am

I’ll boost the signal a bit 🙂

MikeJustMike October 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Done! I liked this one the 1st time, and now I can read it in the supermarket line. Sweet.

Lawrence Hardin October 5, 2013 at 1:57 am

Try to get news items like this on SF Signal so they can put it on their daily news roundup like this one: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/10/sffh-link-post-for-2013-10-04/#more-82833

TRX October 5, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I think I bought my copy in the late ’80s. I’ve read it maybe three times.

There are some things I could legitimately criticize as far as story flow and plotting, but the book has survived half a dozen cycles of brutal culling, which happens when books overflow the available floor space. (the shelves are, by default, full) Knight Moves has managed to stay on the shelf when other books, including some by WJW, have gone off to the used book store.

So, whatever failings it might have, the writing is good enough. I vaguely remember seeing it around for quite a while before buying it.

Generally, there are three main factors that influence my purchase of a book:

A) whether I’ve read the author’s work before, and liked it.

Selling point: since I don’t have enough money and/or time to buy all the books I want, I have a sort of virtual rating system based on the percentage of an author’s work that I liked. Some writers, all their stuff is pretty much the same. Some are very uneven. WJW is *very* uneven.

B) the blurbs on the back and the front page. I’m kind of picky about that. If I flip the book over and there’s someone’s picture taking the whole cover instead of text trying to sell me the book, it goes back on the shelf. If I open the front cover and the first page only gushing reviews by newspapers I’ve never heard of, it goes back on the shelf.

Selling point:
There’s a lot of room for fail here, particularly with the author portrait and newspaper blither being so common nowadays. That sort of thing tells me “this book is so bad, nobody at the publishing house could be bothered to tell me what it was about.”
Occasionally I’ll finish a book, look at the blurb again, and wonder if they put it on the wrong book, but since that’s both after the sale and after consumption, it’s a wash.

C) cover art. To the best of my knowledge I’ve never bought a book due to its cover art, but I can think of many instances where I’ve put one back on the shelf after seeing it. Who was it, Signet? Used to use photographs of dolls and GI Joes back in the 1970s? At least *all* of their books looked like that, “paperback trash” to most people.
Really bad cover art tells me the publisher cared so little for the title that they put forth the absolute minimum effort. Come on, people. Even a plain solid color and block letters are better than the editor’s niece’s crayon scribblings.
From discussions elsewhere, I know that some people are influenced almost entirely by cover art, which means bad art has an even higher chance of losing a sale.

I know an author usually has no control over “packaging”, ie cover art and blurbs, so a novel going into the usual sales chain is beyond his control. However, when he’s able to flog etexts on the web…

To anyone who hasn’t read Knight Moves already, it might as well have been written last week. It’s brand new. If it’s not selling and others are, the problem is marketing, not the book.

I can tell you one thing. I found the cover art hideous, and that delayed my purchased for a very long time.

Arno Ahonius October 6, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you, TRX, for your comment! At last, I have found a soul-mate.

Robert October 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm

That’s $1.99 in Canada on iTunes. (According to the Bank of Canada, a straight conversion would be a $1.02 book.)

What was the publisher thinking?

wjw October 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for the comments, TRX. Though I think you’re in a minority as to the gorgeousness of the cover art. That was a very striking book, back in the mid-1980s, and really popped when it was lined up alongside the books.

I don’t know how iTunes Canada came up with $1.99. I checked myself that it was 0.99 in the States. Maybe the $1.99 is their minimum price for anything.

Apple does what Apple does. Sigh.

Steinar Bang October 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hm… no smashwords on this one? Barnes&Noble won’t sell outside of the US, and I think this is true for Kobo as well. Amazon bumps the price when you log in from a country that doesn’t have a local branch (Germany, France and the UK have their own amazon branches in Europe). See John Scalzi’s blog for discussions on that when he released his last book as a serial.

It doesn’t happen for Scalzi’s books anymore, and possibly not for any TOR books. But it did happen for the 0.99 sale of Angel Station. Not for me, though. I bough my copy at Smashwords.

Ah well… I’ve got this book on dead trees… bought back in the eighties sometime… hm… no… published in 1985, but my copy was bought at Avalon on Karl Johan in 1992… and published by TOR…

wjw October 7, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I just forgot to mention Smashwords. It’s in the picture, it just slipped my mind to mention it.

I will correct the announcement.

Clyde Wisham October 9, 2013 at 7:52 am

One of my favorites of OGH’s oeuvre. Bought it twice already.

Steinar Bang October 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm

My Sony reader now has a 0.99 copy purchased at Smashwords. Thanks!

TRX October 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I admit I’m probably way off on the end of the bell curve for the cover art. Somewhere along the way I missed out on all those graphics cues that are so obvious to the picture-thinkers.

Thinking back, and looking at the cover art again, the combination of “digital clock” text and curly-haired centaur fairly screamed “fantasy novel: subgenre techno-fantasy.” It’s a genre I’ll read on occasion, but I’ll buy any likely-looking hard SF by preference.

There was a sign on my town’s Main Street for, oh, 20 years that I remember. It showed what was clearly the “dove” symbol, not quite as common as the “fish” symbol, which is ubiquitous here in the Bible Belt. And it was just before several churches. I didn’t really see the point since all three churches were clearly visible as you neared the sign.

One day I noticed the sign was gone, and mentioned it to someone. He said, “yeah. they moved the library, so they took the sign down.”

“So? What does a ‘churches ahead’ sign have to do with the library?”

After some confused discussion, I found out that the “dove” was supposed to be a book, laid open, with its pages curled back, indicating “library.” Even if I interpret it as a “book”, a stylized shelf of books would be a more appropriate symbol.

Apparently the dove so absolutely, clearly meant “book” that there was no need to put any text on the sign. I fail to see what the point was, since the library was visible from where the sign was, and why an illiterate would need the library anyway. It was the only public building with an icon sign.

wjw October 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

TRX, it is true that the covert art dates from the period, as Douglas Adams would have said, “when everyone thought liquid crystal displays were really cool.”

Bruce Arthurs October 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Picked this up for the Nook app on my smartphone, and added in INVESTMENTS for good measure. (Been meaning to pick up the latter for a while. Have I mentioned how much I enjoyed the Praxis books?)

Paul October 14, 2013 at 8:20 am

Got it in the UK, only £0.77! Thanks!

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