It’s Valentine’s Day weekend.
It’s also the one-month anniversary (“monthiversary?”) of the release of IRREGULAR CREATURES, my collection of nine short stories which features (but is not limited to): a family household that serves as ground zero for a battle of good versus evil fought by flying cats; a Bangkok dancer whose ahem nether regions are so spectacular that they surely do not belong to a mere human; a working man who learns the true cost of fighting zombies; and a boy who gets lost in an otherworldly auction where a mermaid’s innocence is put on the chopping block.
To celebrate, I’ve decided to drop the price on the collection down to the so-low-I-just-pooped-my-pants price of ninety-nine cents ($0.99)!
(This is true only for the Kindle release.)
The price will hold true until cough-cough at some point on Monday or Tuesday. Sorry — it’s hard to predict with Amazon. I’d so love it if I could change product descriptions and prices on the fly, but I can’t — Amazon puts even the teeny-tiniest of changes (“I just added a comma to my product description!”) through a review process, which takes 24-48 hours.
Go now and procure the collection for the wild-and-wacky-bargain-basement-how-will-I-be-able-to-afford-my-heart-pills-and-by-heart-pills-I-mean-Pez-and-tequila price.
Tell your friends. Hell, tell your enemies. Gift them a copy if you so desire.
Then leave a review on Amazon.
I mentioned this sale yesterday on the Twitter-Tubes and received a handful of comments (all welcome) that asked why I was doing this, or suggested that maybe it wasn’t an ideal solution, or (the nicest of them all) noting that the collection was worth more than that. Seems then like a good idea to peel back the layer a little bit. Like an onion. Or a sunburn. Or a rejected skin graft.
I am not a fan of the ninety-nine cent price point. I am especially not a fan of it as the end-all be-all price of something. I’m not knocking any author who chooses that path — I just think that a novel or collection is worth more than a song on iTunes (but maybe less than an album on iTunes). I want authors to value their content and, further, I want readers to value the content, too. Is a race to the bottom really the way to go?
Further, if you go the bottom-bitch pricing at Amazon, Amazon takes a more robust cut. One assumes that this is because they’re trying to train authors to keep their prices a little higher. Which is good for Amazon and good for the author and ultimately, I agree.
I sell the collection at $2.99, I get about two bucks. I sell it at $0.99, I get thirty cents.
And yet, other authors report surging numbers at the lower price. Some of that makes sense — you look at app-pricing, well, some apps are far lower than what I would consider to be their value. After having played Angry Birds, I’d tell you that the game is worth ten bucks, easy. But by pricing low, they got me to commit without thinking twice — and, given the humongous sales numbers, were able to hook millions of others accordingly. Price point isn’t the only factor there, but I suspect it’s a big one.
Lower your price on Amazon, you might convince uncertain buyers to take a risk because, shit, a buck is cheap. That’s “taco truck” cheap. If enough buyers bite to put the product in the higher sales rankings, then the product becomes more discoverable. Then, if the price goes back up, it does so ideally while amongst those higher rankings. One assumes that some degree of psychology is at work here. I know it’s true for me that when I check out paid apps on iTunes, I look to see what’s in the Top 10 (or at least Top 50) first — I assume, however incorrectly, that the top rankings are likelier home to a greater percentage of quality apps. So too with Amazon. I find myself skimming the top rankings periodically just to see what’s there. Getting into that echelon is not without value.
The big thing is, it will at least reveal the value — or the lack of value — in making such a move. If it doesn’t yield significant results, I’m not likely to do it again. I view this collection as something of a canary in a coal mine — I want to see how the bird behaves when I throw it into a mine tunnel filled with different gases. It’s not a perfect test, but it’ll yield me some data. And at this stage, data is just as valuable as cold hard cash.
I recognize that this isn’t purely scientific, but being a writer without a significant math brain, I don’t see any great way of turning this into an officially official experiment. I don’t have a control product. I can’t account for an unholy host of uncontrollable (or indiscernible) elements. But one thing I have at my disposal is price — by changing it, I’m throwing a pebble in the water and watching the ripples.
I think it was Jeff Tidball who noted that Gameplaywright doesn’t drop the price on their books or offer sales because it burns the early adopters. Which is true, to a point, and if anybody feels burned here — well, you have my uttermost apologies. My assumption, however, is that we as consumers are not that sensitive. I bought World of Goo for fifteen bucks on the PC, then it came onto the iPad for ten bucks. I waited, and it dropped to five bucks on a sale, and I picked it up. This weekend, it’s ninety-nine cents. I’m not pissed. Hell, I bought it twice because I loved it and was happy to support the creators of the game.
The television I bought was more expensive the week before I bought it, and cheaper the month after I bought it. As a consumer, price wobbles like that occur. Sales or discounts are common. Still, if anybody feels stung over it, you have my apologies, and the next time I see you, I’ll buy you a beer. Or give you a hug. Or hire a hobo to caress your junk with tickling calluses.
Quick Sales Update
Sales continue to be slow and steady. Three to five sales a day, with 280 sales after a month of being “out there.” About 65% of my sales are through Amazon, and 35% of my sales are through here, via PDF/ePub.
Not bad, ultimately. We’ll see what happens from here.
The flimsy self-publishing experiment continues.
Contain your mirth; this is a new carpet.
What Can You Do?
If you read the collection and liked it, definitely leave a review on Amazon. Further, please tell others — word of mouth is the best vector any author has of getting readership.
Otherwise, you just keep doing what you do best. Sit there, looking pretty, you handsome blog audience, you. With your lovely eyelashes and your lashing whip-like tail.