When it comes to book sales–and several other things, like calories and weight loss–I try to look at everything in terms of numbers. Numbers are not emotional; they’re not about feelings. They’re just numbers. Facts.
If I normally eat a 2,000 calorie diet and switch to a 1,500 calorie diet, I will decrease my weight by 1 pound per week. Looking at diet in terms of numbers takes out the emotional factor for me. It’s just mathematics.
I try to look at book sales the same way. If I sell 100 books at Store X and 1 at Store Y, I have reached more readers and earned more money at Store X. Therefore, Store X provides me both greater readership and more profit. As a result, I can either focus my attention on the profitable store or I can try to increase my visibility at Store Y.
Logic tells me that the best thing to do would be to try to increase sales at Store Y in order to maximize my exposure, thereby earning more money and pleasing more readers. However, not all stores are created equal in that the internal marketing–customers who bought also bought lists and other tools–are just flat out better at one location than another. And I have also found that there are varying options available for external marketing with a focus on a particular store. So what I’m basically trying to say here is that not all stores are created equal.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m speaking about the Select program at Amazon versus selling at all other venues. Since entering all my books in Select, they have consistently earned more on lends alone than they did at all other sales venues combined. In addition, my book sales at Amazon also improved. So that’s more sales, plus the lends. Therefore, I not only earned more money but also reached more readers at this price point on Select than I did at all other sales venues combined.
Let me restate that. If I loan more books at Amazon than I sold at all other retailers combined, then I reached more readers. And that seems totally counter-intuitive. More venues should equal more exposure. Only sometimes it doesn’t.
Here’s my quandary: I want to please ALL readers and be certain that my books are available at all possible venues and in all formats (and that’s why I don’t use DRM), but it doesn’t always make sense, not only from a financial standpoint but from a reader base standpoint. My readership at this price point expanded on Select.
Frankly, I hate that the choice exists, but it does, and there’s nothing I can do about it now. So my plan is to rotate my books on and off the Select program, making them available for a certain time period at all retailers. If something changes, and the books take off at other retailers, great! They stay. If not, math tells me to rotate them back on Select.
So my first book has rotated off Select. Death Benefits is now available again on Nook and will soon be on Smashwords too.
Edited to clarify that price has an effect on sales numbers. AL sold significantly more books at $.99 while not on Select than it did at $2.99 while on Select. So my reach was better at $.99 in comparison to $2.99 whether on Select or not.