Saturday, 21 September 2013
How to Throw Money Down the Toilet
I have a lot of ideas about a lot of things. Some good, some bad. When it comes to marketing my books I decided to go through as many channels as possible. Amazon is a no-brainer so all my titles went up there straight away. Then there was Smashwords, acting as a distribution hub for Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Sony et al. The problem with Smashwords was the reaction time to changes in content, blurb and price. Apple and Kobo opened their doors to independent authors so I was able to put my titles directly on those channels (thanks to neighbour Noel for letting me use his Mac to get the titles up on Apple - they can then be managed via the web platform). Barnes & Noble were open to a direct approach and refreshed their offering with NookPress but it remained closed to authors outside of the US and I'm in Ireland. So I replaced Smashwords with Draft2Digital as my route into B&N giving near real-time sales figures and price control.
But this wasn't enough complexity. I wanted to get my titles into other outlets. XinXii turned out to be a nice little route into german-speaking marketplaces. Then, as part of Marble City Publishing, my titles gained entry to the digital warehouse of UK distributor Gardners, resulting in listings on Hive, Kalahari, Dito, Bokkilden, Blackwell's, Foyle's, txtr and goodness knows where else.
So now my tendrils were out it was time to get into advertising. The Baptist had a nice little outing on Ereader News Today and achieved just under 400 sales at 99c sale price. I was fairly delighted and, after the two day promo period, adjusted back to $3.99 and started to rub my hands at the anticipated follow-on. Sales continued nicely but Amazon didn't re-adjust the price. I started to check my channels. Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony, Barnes & Noble, who was the culprit? I had entered the full price on all the platforms, everything seemed to be under control, but Amazon were sticking to that 99c. Then I found it. Kobo were taking days to adjust the sales price on their web store, even though the Kobo Writing Life platform looked like it had adjusted immediately. The result? After five days Kobo had adjusted and Amazon were quick to put The Baptist back to $3.99. More than $150 thrown down the toilet through price comparison to the tardy Kobo pricing. Live and learn.