My $1.99 price point went into effect on Amazon on Wednesday. I have since watched my numbers (which have been hanging out in the 1,000s range with occasional dips into the 2000s) slip more steadily into the 2,000s. I’ve even periodically fallen off of the 3 assorted category lists I’ve been occupying steadily since June. Yesterday I nearly changed my price back to $1 three times. But I stopped myself. 48 hours in the middle of the week is not a good trial run to determine the impact of a price change. I need to give it through the weekend at least. I really need to give it a full week or two in order to better gauge the change in pattern.
Looking at my sales numbers over the last 4 weeks, I dropped by 50 sales after the last stellar week of June. The two following weeks held fairly steady. Last week was another drop by about 30 copies. Note that this was all before the price change. My numbers were naturally dropping. My conversion rate is decent (47%), so it seems not as many people have been finding me. In the past 48 hours, even though the price is higher and my ranking has dropped, my conversion rate hasn’t changed. Which would seem to indicate that what’s at play is less the price and more that fewer people are finding me.
No shock there. I’ve been offline a lot lately and not as interactive when I am online because I’m in the middle of writing a class (on lecture 9 of 12!). Plus there is a natural ebb and flow to sales and summer–the season of romance–is starting to wind down (though the mercury keeps on rising–these 100+ days are killer!), so I can expect a natural decline there. I don’t think sales will stop, but I think they’re going to slow down quite a bit before they go up again, which they inevitably will when I have something else to release. Part of this price experiment is to see if the drop in sales is made up for by the additional royalties of changing the price (earning $0.70 a copy as opposed to $0.35). I can absorb a 50% drop in total sales numbers before it becomes financially detrimental to maintain this price point. If I can stay above that point, then it seems that it would make more financial sense to keep the higher price point for now.
It’s not that I’m in this for the money, but making more money on this release means I have more money to put back into this venture, whether it be via putting out a POD copy housing both Forsaken By Shadow and Edge of Shadow (when it releases), or a more active marketing campaign, or hiring someone to do something for me…whatever. As Zoe is fond of pointing out, in small business you have to put forth some capital to make money. No idea how that will turn out, but of course I will keep you posted.
Still, it is HARD to watch the slide in rank. Now, I could freak out about it, which would hardly be productive. Or I can accept the fact that right now, as much as I want to be a professional writer, I’m not. I have other obligations and responsibilities. That doesn’t mean I stop behaving professionally as a writer, taking the craft seriously and treating it like a job so that it gets it’s place in my priorities. But it does mean I have to accept that I don’t work as a writer full time. Hell, I don’t work as a writer even quarter time. With that limited time I have to spend, I can market or I can write.
If I don’t write, I have nothing to market, so decision is made where that time is going. I’m a firm believer that the writing, if it is good enough, will sell itself. Kerry Allen is proof of that. Her fabulous novella Beyond the Darkening was at 300 something overall in the Kindle store today! And she’s been hanging out under 200 over at Barnes and Noble for a few weeks now. Congrats Kerry! You totally deserve it, chica!
Forsaken By Shadow is a pretty good story. I was happy with it for what it was. But it’s certainly not the best that I can or will do. I’ll put out more books, and they will be better. And hopefully they’ll pull in some of the people who read Forsaken By Shadow and turn them into repeat buyers. I am in the long run, building a grassroots fanbase. That was always the plan. And that’s what I have to remember while I’m plugging along working on the next book.
It’s a long haul game.