Monday, October 28, 2019

A Halloween Bonanza!

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!
Hey everybody!  Whoo, I have been swamped this year for Horror Christmas.  But don't worry!  I didn't forget about any of you.

That's not entirely true.  What I should say is that my publishers didn't forget about any of you.  So let's talk briefly about some of the important elements of sales and what's going on with mine.

1.)  Scheduling

As with sales at brick-and-mortar stores, people shop for different things at different times.  People seem to shop for cars, mattresses and big-ticket items on Presidents Day, Labor Day, and the like, i.e. a day when more people than usually have of but there are no pressing familial obligations.  Black Friday and Christmas shopping in general are cutthroat events where everybody has to shop so vendors need to make sure you get in their shop.

So how does this help authors, largely pushing electronic merchandise?  Well, one good example is me today.  Horror books should go on sale for Halloween.  You can make similar pushes to a brick-and-mortar store for the winter holiday season and beach reading season.

The Ghoul Archipelago audiobook cover art Braineater Jones audiobook cover art Billy and the Cloneasaurus audiobook cover art

From what I can tell, Audible has decided to put their entire horror stock on sale for Halloween this year.  So you can get all three of my audiobooks for half price.  Check it out if you like!

2.)  All or Some?

Brick-and-mortars have stock known as "loss leaders."  When McDonald's sells a hundred chicken nuggets for $0.99, they're not planning to make money from the chicken nuggets.  They're planning to have a bunch of people who wouldn't normally come in, stop by and get nuggets.  But then they'll also get french fries for regular price, $0.03 worth of sugar water for $1.85, and a couple of burgers for little Suzie who doesn't like nuggets.

For the most part, authors don't have that luxury.  People either like you and like your books or...they don't.  Stephen King's not exactly giving away copies of MISERY so that people will haul off BLOCKADE BILLY.  Books don't really work that way.

What you should think about, though, is cycling through putting your books on sale.  Maybe you do a sale twice a year, or once a quarter.  Maybe you only put one book on sale at a time, or only two or three, depending on the size of your back catalog.  Or do you want to take a gamble and put everything on sale at once, hoping sales for some will translate into sales for all?

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Harkening back to point one, Sinister Grin Press has opted to put their entire catalog, including several of my books, on sale for Halloween.  So in this case I may be the sugar water people are picking up with the "nuggets" of their Wrath James White books. 

3.)  Discount Size

Here's one of the trickier points of today's discussion, and one with no real clear cut answers.  What constitutes a good sale?  For that matter, what constitutes a good price for a book in the first place?

Your George R.R. Martins of the world can get away with a $15.99 price point for an e-book.  Your Stephen Kozeniewskis?  Not so much.

I've heard the argument that indie authors should just generally price their products a bit exorbitantly, and then plan to make all their money in sales, because people will be drawn in by the size of the discount.  A $10 book on sale for $1 is a 90% discount!  Sort of like when Macy's slowly raises their prices through Autumn so that Black Friday sales seem amaaaazing.

If you price your products more reasonably year-round, you can never really compete with that size of a discount, but maybe you'll make it up with more regular sales during the course of the year. 

Sinister Grin normally prices my books at $2.99, and brought them down this week to $0.99, which is a solid two thirds off.  But you should also bear in mind that when books sell on Amazon for less than $2.99, the author is getting 35% of profits, as opposed to 70% for those over $2.99.  Also something to bear in mind if you're a self publisher.

What about you?  How do you plan your sales and what considerations do you keep in mind?  Let me know in the comments below!

1 comment:

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Great post. I missed the boat on this with my ghost stories. Dammit.
Happy Horror Christmas!

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