Me on Indie Publishing

The Nail-biting Wait

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.

4 thoughts on “The Nail-biting Wait

  1. I did the opposite. I changed the price on my two novels from 1.99 to .99. (The novellas were already .99) Sales went up and continue to climb for those particular two. I’m still not sure what the best thing to do is. Right now I don’t think I’m going to make a change.

    It seems that June was a good month for everyone from what I’m hearing. And sales always seem to go up with new releases, so that’s something good to look forward to. Even Zoe is experiencing a drop right now, and I thought hers were going to stay up forever.

    I’m in the same boat as you, trying to balance a full time job, another small business, and writing. It’s hard to keep focused on your writing. And it’s REALLY hard to find time for marketing. Does it help to know that people are waiting anxiously for your next release? I know I am. :0)

    I’m wondering about Christmas. That’s the time when a lot of people get new Kindles and want to download a bunch of books. That’s when sales might go up again. I have a new project that I want to make sure to get on Kindle before then. What is your timeframe on Edge of Shadow? Are you going to have it ready by the holidays?

    1. I’m not going to have nails by the end of the day. I’ve slid into the bottom 3ks. Eep. I’ll give it until Monday, then I’ll probably change it back. I’d rather have the visibility. I don’t think my name’s big enough to support the price increase.

      I’m HOPING to have EoS ready to go sometime in November because, like you, I definitely want to take advantage of the holiday rush for new Kindle Owners.

      I’d also like to some up with some kind of short story to put out for free in other locations, though God knows what it would be.

      1. Club Blood is at 2,406, which is the lowest it’s been since the first of June. The best rank I’ve had on that book is 456. The other three have never done as well, but as the sales for Club Blood is going down, the sales of the other three are slowly going up. Can’t figure that out. But I don’t think the other three will ever get to the place Club Blood was, even though Starfane is the best of all of them. People are just so into vampires right now.

        November would be a good time to get Edge of Shadow on there. Right before Christmas.

        You know, I’ve thought about the same thing. A free short story. My problem is that it’s hard for me to tell a story in such few words. Maybe something a little longer than most short stories, but not quite a novella. You could put it on Smashwords. I don’t think Amazon will let you do free, although I’ve downloaded free books from there. I wonder how you can get Amazon to let you do that?

        Maybe you could do a short story about one of the more minor characters in FBS.

        1. Yeah only publishers are allowed to put free stuff on Amazon, though that might be coming, as it’s one of the things that was mentioned in the DTP survey they had a couple weeks ago. In any event there are oodles of places I could get something free out. The problem is mostly that I don’t THINK in short stories. I tried to write a short story and came up with a novella. That’s how my brain works! I really don’t have a good handle on short story structure or thinking about something that’s encapsulated in such a tiny package. It’s something I keep thinking about but until something occurs to me….

          I keep thinking I’d like to do something with Mick. Just don’t know what.

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