Yesterday's talk about supporting others, hit counters, and the author ego led me to today's post. (And thanks for all the comments).
A note – it's not a particularly 'fun' post today, although I don't mean it to come across as whining, but if you'd rather go off and play, here's a book cover challenge someone posted on Twitter. Enjoy (and if you play, feel free to post your results in the comments.)
Author egos tend to be fragile things. Every time we release something to the public, we fear it's going to crash and burn. So, here are some ego-wrinklers.
Author J.A. Konrath swears that giving books or short stories away, including via piracy, is still good for the author. He cites his Kindle sales figures, saying he's now making more money than he ever did via his traditional publisher's advances and royalties.
However, he had a strong-selling series of mass market books, and a hefty list of offerings. He's also the consummate promoter. I don't think he can generalize and say his route is the one to follow, because there are too many variables in the mix.
For example, I was looking at my Smashwords stats. I have three offerings there. Two are free, one costs 99 cents, which is the lowest possible price they permit. What surprised me was not that the number of free downloads far outweighed the ones for the 99 cent story, but that the number of people who actually downloaded the free sample of the 99 cent story was so low, even when I offered a contest prize for doing so (more on that later).
And I'm talking significant differences. Over 500 downloads of Words, and over 100 of A Winter's Day (which has only been up for a few days). Compare those numbers to those who viewed a FREE sample of Coping Mechanisms. 38. Now, I don't expect everyone who looks at the sample to pay for the whole thing (and trust me, most don't) but I was surprised that it's only about 7%.
Ego wrinkler: Either they thought my other writing sucked, so didn't want to click over, or they'd come into the game already deciding they were only interested in the free stuff. (My ego hopes the latter is the case). Or that I have to spend more time and find more avenues for promotion. That's not something I care to deal with. It's enough of an ego wrinkle to know that if I don't mention my blog on the various Yahoo groups I belong to, my hits here are vastly reduced.
I'll be curious to see whether adding A Winter's Day, which is a prologue to Finding Sarah does anything to sales for that one. I won't get those stats for some time, though, because publisher royalty statements lag well behind the actual sales.
I have books of mine that I sell at a discount. New copies. One I sell at under half price through Amazon, but I know when people order them because the orders come to me to mail.
Ego-wrinkler: when even a hefty discount doesn't motivate someone to buy the book. A related issue—I get emails from people who say they want to order my book. I send them the ordering information and never hear from them again.
Contest stats. I run contests about once a month. (Note tab above). This month, there are two running side by side; author Cleo Coyle who was a guest here, was having a big release party and she invited anyone with a blog to share her contest. So I did. In order to enter her contest, you have to read through my contest first.
Ego wrinkler: She has a lot more entries. To my logic, as long as you're on the page, why not enter both? Is it because my prizes aren't a cool as hers? (true enough). Or because I require entrants to answer a question, which means a little more work? Your thoughts? What entices you to enter a drawing? Because I'm getting ready for my next contest, and would like to know whether it's worth the trouble.
Do any of the above stop me from writing? Nope. I just iron the creases out of my ego and plunge on.