Checking your sales daily is a dangerous thing to do. It encourages short term thinking.
Extremely short term.
I am assuming that you want to be a writer for the longer haul.
Checking sales daily then would damage your day in many ways. It may stall your existing projects. You may start asking what the point is! Nobody buys my existing work; so why should I write more?
You may do really stupid things like reducing the price of your book from $3.99 to $2.99 and even lower in the hope that readers may now pick up your books. What you may not realise is that the readers you would now attract would mostly be discount buyers—the ones who only buy when a book is at a discount and not otherwise.
Trust me. I’ve seen many authors doing very silly things.
One author on Kindle boards posted that she wasn’t earning enough on Amazon but Google Play came to her as a saviour. Well and good.
A few months later I noticed she had unpublished a few of her books from Google Play and made the remaining others perma-free. The what????
From a reader’s perspective, it didn’t make any sense. If I was a reader who read on my android device using the Play Store app and I happened to like this author, I could not buy any more from her. The author left me with no choice. Because she stupidly put the remaining of her books on KDP Select hoping to make more money.
But worse was yet to come. When I checked this author’s Amazon sales page, I noticed that she had made three out of five of her books perma-free.
Now that is NOT a very clever strategy if you have read Kristine Rusch’s blog post on why perma-free doesn’t work.
There are many reasons why perma-free may not work. Firstly, you are targeting readers who are freebie seekers. They move from one free book to the other and even if they like a book, they may not buy the rest of the series, because they hate paying for anything.
The next reason is even more disturbing. Many such “readers” are just hoarders! So they keep on acquiring whatever they can get for free, and never even look at it. It is not that your readers are villains of some sort, but that is how the human mind works. Do we really value anything if we get it for free?
A perma-free book may be quite like an exotic apple growing in the wild. People would be willing to spend quite a sum to buy such apples from the supermarket but when they see the same apples growing in the wild, they are very unlikely to try tasting it.
There is only one condition in which perma-free may work. And that is when you have at least 10 books in a series.
So why did this author desperately make three out of her five books perma-free?
I can only think of one reason: checking sales daily. That’s the culprit. When I used to check my sales daily, I had this irrational urge to make all of my books perma-free. The reason—you think you are better off—if readers read your book even if it was for free. Only when I read Dean Wesley Smith’s blog on this topic, did my eyes open up.
The advice is that you check your sales only once in a month. And when you do so, check all platforms—including Kindle (all platforms), CreateSpace, Draft2digital, Smashwords, and whatever. Most importantly track the amount than the number of sales.
When you price a book at $0.99, it may sell more (two to three times more in my experience) but you would earn you much less in revenue. So keep that in mind. Always remember that you need to sell six times more at $0.99 to make the same amount of money as you would if the book were priced at $2.99. It’d be eight times more if your book be priced at $3.99 and ten times more at $4.99.
Do also take in account the lag in sales reporting from all platforms including Amazon. So you must give at least a month to any retailer to let them accurately report your sales. Otherwise you would be acting on insufficient data.
Believe me—when I stopped checking my sales every day, it was very liberating. My mind focussed on writing more stories. I enjoyed myself more. I was happier. And surprisingly my revenue, the amount that was getting credited to my bank account, had also gone up.
How many authors I’ve heard saying that—indie publishing has sucked all the joy they once had for writing. I’m afraid that most of the time it is they who are to be blamed.
(For more such advice, please refer to my book “How to Market Your Books WITHOUT SPENDING A DIME” where I go into considerable details discussing the pros and cons of every marketing and promotion strategy and what’s best for you.)
I started this blog to help newbie authors, to share my experiences so that you don’t waste time travelling old paths that lead nowhere. My motto has always been to use your time focusing on what you love doing, which is writing.
However, I am a professional writer myself and earn through my books and NOT through this blog, which incidentally doesn’t carry any advertisements. So if I am not able to sustain this blog, I’ll be forced to abandon it.
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