Did I Miss Something?

On May 17th I released ‘Impressive Bravado’ as a free story on Smashwords. In the back I had an ad for ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ with the websites. The story was free until June 1st.

I expected to see some sales of LDL because of ‘Bravado.’ So I also ran a banner ad and dropped the price to $.99. I was ready for something to happen – but as the days ticked by nothing did. Ninty copies of “Impressive Bravado” went out – before the end of the month. A MONTH later my sales picked up – I’ve sold several e-books.

The reason I feel so stupid is that I just thought of this 20 minutes ago. The lag from ‘action’ to ‘reaction’ was so long and the numbers so small that I didn’t get the connection.

Which brings me to another problem I’ve got – inability to think in the right scale. I think in hundreds – hundreds of hits, hundred copies, hundred dollars. I have to stop thinking of ‘copies’ sold, or given away, instead I need to adopt ‘units’ as my measure.

I’ve got the right strategy – ‘Bravado’ free, blurbs in back, ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ priced at $.99, banner ads up – then leave it alone until…end of the week, end of the month, end of the year?

John Locke sold 1 million ebooks @$.99 each in 5 months. Some people say he shot himself in the foot by not charging $.299.

This is a completely different business model. Not units of food sold, not drinks sold, not cabinet’s sold. This is hours of time…

Time is the second scale that I need to expand. Thinking in hours or days isn’t getting me where I want to go. Time is the one scale that I’m not sure of yet.

How do I measure time to my best advantage?

Hours of time spent writing vs hours spent marketing?

Product in units * markets – advertising/marketing = units sold?

Weeks of time on sale vs units/month of sales?

Months of time on sale vs units/year of sales?

Four years of self-study and the learning curve is still kicking my ass.

Publish your book or play the lottery? (via Bob Mayer’s Blog)

Bob makes a good point today with this post.

I don’t see DIY publishing as a lottery ticket. I see it more as a venue – kinda like standup comedy mike nights. I write because I love to do it – I publish because I want to.

All my other hobbies pay for themselves. This one should to.

His point about backlist is very well taken. Because now that more and more backlist is hitting the e-book shelves there are fewer and fewer indie books being sold.

What a pity – if I had only been ready a year sooner – I might have made big bucks.

Right – and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

One thing I see among many writers in these digital days is an overwhelming sense of wanting instant gratification.  Especially in this time of electronic wizardry where you can publish your eBook relatively quickly and then check your sales numbers the next day.  People are thinking in terms of days, weeks and months instead of years. While the technology has changed, I don’t think writing has, nor have the fundamentals required for success in p … Read More

via Bob Mayer's Blog

They Call It YA

Finally someone is taking the hyper-sensationalist to task.

I detest anything that dwells in the darkest pits of human experience. So I don’t read Young Adult literature – haven’t since “Go Ask Alice” way back when.

I saw yesterday a couple of posts about the subject “Darkness Too Visible” by Meghan Cox Gurdon that was referenced in another post “YA Under Attack Heaven Forbid We Address Reality” by Stephanie Lawton.

Gurdon expresses her concerns about the dark and violent tone of YA books, while Lawton scoffs that Gurdon is a censor of the foulest kind.

The other side of the coin is given very little attention – YA is NOT as widely read by the age group it is targeted towards but by women in their 20’s and older. I see it posted in many forums – adults are flocking to the YA sections, buying up books right and left.

This is a quote from Gurdon’s post – one I find is the most telling.

“…she notes that many teenagers do not read young-adult books at all. Near the end of the school year, when she and a colleague entertained students from a nearby private school, only three of the visiting 18 juniors said that they read YA books.”

I don’t find that surprising – because when I scroll through the forums I see the same things over and over – writers are touting their YA books to other writers of the same age – over 20. They are writing what they like to read.

They are writing for each other.

Back when I was in school – there wasn’t a YA section. There was science fiction as written by Heinlein, Norton and Asimov. Then there was ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and the like. It wasn’t targeted at an age group. They were stories that appealed to a certain mind-set.

I believe the creation of YA as a special section of the bookstore (and the industry) was a mistake. These books aren’t really FOR the young adult as much as they are ABOUT the young adult.

That makes the appeal completely different – so teens aren’t  going to read them. They already know what it’s like to be a teen. They are going to read what appeals to them – whatever that may be. My guess is steam punk, romance, fantasy stories, urban fantasy and literature.

I’m not sure that everyone can appreciate the irony of the situation.

I do.