The Psychology of Winning (aka Selling)
August started out horrible for me, sales-wise. 0 Books for the first two weeks. Nada. Zero. Zilch. It was humbling and demoralizing. I hear that August is a rough month in general for book sales but come on. So I dropped my two best selling books (note: they are not “bestsellers”), Wanted and Voidhawk, to $.99 each and started tweeting the bejeezs out of them. In the last two weeks of august I boosted my sales from zero to 50 in the United States alone. 50 books, by the way, is a personal record for me. Almost as exciting as setting a new personal best in power-lifting. I’m weird – it’s okay, you can say it. The point is sales feel good, damn good. Even when they’re not bringing in the FU money it’s still a psychological boost.
So then September rolls around and my two books come off sale back to original pricing. I modify my tweets to reflect this and sit back, hoping that I can use August’s momentum. The first went by with nothing. The second went by and still the BBOS taunted me (Brown Bar of Shame – it’s the displayed image on the Kindle publishing page when there are no sales). So I caved and decided it was time for a new experiment. I dropped almost all of my books to that $.99 price point to see what would happen. This time tough no tweeting about it (well, other than this documentary blog post – but this is for posterity and to help myself and other writers out).
The results so far, after a day of the new pricing? Two sales already. Would they have happened if I’d have stayed the course and left the book at $2.99? I’ll never know. I’ve done research and concocted a few theories about the topic, but until I get results I won’t confuse myself or any readers with them.
When I see books ranked far within the top 2500 on Amazon that have pathetic covers and horribly written blurbs rife with typos and worse I start to get downright angry. Of course that doesn’t get me anywhere, but it does make me wonder what the heck the trick is. There must be a secret, some way to game the system to get a book that high in the rankings. Of course at that ranking does it mean anything? Being on a bestseller list is a bragging right and a way to not only market more books but it’s also easier for people to find and buy the book. Ranks 1000 and beyond are not bestsellers though, as far as I’m aware, but that does mean they are being purchased regularly. I’d wager somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 – 20 books a day, but that’s purely a guess.
So to myself and to other writers I suggest patience, even if it’s an unwelcome bit of advice. There doesn’t appear to be a secret trick or recipe to sales, or at least not one I’ve found yet. My current guess is that by offering my stuff at a lower price I can generate more sales and inch my way up the rankings. After a while they’ll have reached a point where the interest outweighs the cost and I can inch the price-point up.
It’s an interesting challenge thus far. I’ll be sure to document it as it unfolds!
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