Its been a while since I've written a "business" blog, but for those that like that aspect of it, I figured I'd throw it out there.
About three months ago I hunkered down with the huge book on how to format your work for Smashwords, took a day, and uploaded a book. Then a few days later I uploaded another, and another until today I have just about 20 books up at Smashwords, and all of them are in the premium category save one which is still pending review.
In those three months I have brought in a good chunk of income. In fact that income is close to what I make on B&N with 50+ books out. I have found that I have many returning readers in Canada, a few in Australia, and that my books on Kobo are selling beautifully, and picking up on Sony.
There are a few things about SW that I am not in love with one is the reports on book sales. That's a bear all the way through, and I really don't know if my current payment is 3 months, 2 months, or 3 months, but SW only haha. I still will need time to figure out the timing and how things flow. The other thing that's difficult is there is no "set payout per book." For example:
Deep: A Rape Fantasy - Kobo Sale - 1.69
Deep: A Rape Fantasy - SW Sale - 2.43
Deep: A Rape Fantasy - SW Sale - 2.46
Deep: A Rape Fantasy - B&N Sale = 1.80
It makes for a bear putting it into my spreadsheets and attempting to check and balance my paychecks. But would I give up this massive increase to sales because of it? HELL NO!!!!
The other thing - oddly enough, is that SW doesn't scream professional to me. The website is. . . too simple? I sent my mother there to buy a book (she likes buying them to support me even if she doesn't read them), and her first question to me was "can I trust this site?" Its a shame, because the database and searching seems to be one of the best out there, but the simplicity of the design looks almost like a quickly thrown together blog. Again - totally not worth abandoning them for.
With the fact that the formatting has become so easy to me, broken down in simple easy to remember steps, the big boost in sales, the distribution to other major retailers, the knowledge that Mark Coker fought for Indie Authors against censorship with Paypal . . . I won't be going away anytime soon,
Expanding Your Business
With the latest 50 Shades' announcement: Kelly Marcel has been assigned to adapt the books for film I thought I would discuss the idea of Expanding Your Business.
The idea that you have to spend money to make money has been around since business was created, and while writing and indie publishing erotica has cut a good portion of our costs down, there are still certain things that will tap our account. I've already discussed my desire to keep close to the black. I didn't want to go into debt with this business until I could ensure that I would bring in enough to break even soon enough. Frankly I am a risk averse person and we were not in a place we could risk funds like that.
Its been almost a year and while I'm not touring Europe on my paycheck I have completely reimbursed my initial start up fees for my lap top, editor, covers, fonts, the few pieces of advertising I have set up. I am currently looking into hiring a web-assistant. Someone to check through my links and ensure they're active and correct, to give me feedback, and to help me with some extra advertising here and there around the web. But again the risk averse person within me is saying "this is stuff you do!" But it takes away from my writing, reducing my output and creativity with more analytic type work.
With each business decision there are pros and cons, and a level of risk, taking time to think them through before diving in and possibly wasting a bunch of money. When I'm faced with a decision I set up a goal, a cancellation deadline, and a baseline.
For example - another avenue I'm looking into is web ads on a popular website. The pros are that it is relatively cheap, has no cancellation fees if it doesn't work, the trial period could be as long or as short as I like. The cons are that while it would advertise to my web presence and help me expand my blog and my site I don't know if it will directly influence sales, plus all my advertising thus far has been free, and stepping into the world of paid advertising means that I will have more money I need to make to stay in the black. I have decided that I will set up a 2 month trial, with the goal of reaching 500 "new" views on my pages.
In the end my decisions are based on my overall goals for my business. Views may not instantly translate to sales, but without views people won't know about my works.
Sales Discouragement = Excuses
I went on Barnes and Noble forums the other day and was reading a post about sales.
One "gentleman" was freaking out because he'd only made 5 sales that month. He was talking about removing his many titles from B&N because he wasn't making any sells.
Someone had made a comment that if he removed it he wouldn't make any money, and it really started a snowball effect. Since there isn't any cost in having them posted the idea of simply "leaving them to be discovered" is a good one.
I read a post on One Handed Writers that brought up that each book is an investment. You invest time and creativity. I truly agree with that.
Someone else posted that he should remove them to let the rest of us have a better chance, but that is the surest way to never make any money off them.
I have a lot of "hobby" writer friends, and when they ask me how I'm making it I am happy to give them all my feedback, notes on how I am doing it, how much I am expect and hoping for, etc. But they continually say things like "Oh, well, I guess I don't really have the time." or "I don't think I want to hire an editor" or "I need my muse to help me" or "well maybe I will look into it after my big project is finished" or "I don't know how to make a cover". In the end they have given me excuse after excuse and you know what? I'm not breaking any arms. I am only telling them how I did it when they ask! But they aren't willing to put in the investment, they only want to reap the rewards.
I think the idea of success and failure is holding a lot of them back, the dream is only a dream until you start making it a goal.
One of my friends said "what if I only make a few sales?" I said "How many is it making in your closet?" She laughed, but I hope she got my point.
Sales discouragement comes with many faces. The "I haven't made much I'm pulling them." The "I made double last month why can't I get any sales this month?" The "Its been so many months and I'm barely bringing in $500, but others are saying they're bringing in $3,000, what am I doing wrong?" But in the end its just excuses, and fears.
Watch out for this monster in your own life, if you are a writer beware comparing your sales to someone else's. Beware of letting "well sales are down this month" become "I should stop wasting my time writing."
Remember to look at the big picture, each book can have a lifetime online. It can sell forever. My "worst seller" - one that had never made a sell before in fact - has been bought four times this month. True, four times doesn't even compare to my best sellers, but four times is giving me money in my pocket, and it could very easily turn into more sales. It will be up there for the rest of my life (or as long as eBooks last!) and longer.
So I did it. I did the exact thing that at least 3 different blogs warned me against doing! I checked my sales daily.
Sales have been steady - though slow. Then this weekend they just boomed. I felt like I was on top of the world, I was selling and I was selling well... Now nothing. For two days NOTHING. Which is only two days, and quite honestly my stats really aren't messed up at all by this because of the weekend sales being so good.
My lover warned me against the feelings of failure that I may feel if I checked daily - but honestly I was so darn excited I just couldn't NOT look!
It's true that I've done a fairly good job focusing on writing and production this week, I have two covers completed, I have finished two blogs, I have finished two stories - both are in editing. I have been productive, and as my lover has told me every sale just makes my hourly wage go up, it doesn't matter if my numbers are small on occasion because I have already stopped the "production" of these pieces. I just wonder if my stories will simply fall off the radar completely when they drop off the "New" category, or if I will be able to still reap the rewards when I take a few weeks of vacation time and they are simply setting on the bookshelf hoping someone will bump into them.
***The content on this page contains sexually explicit content
- not intended for people
Thoughts that tickle her fancy!