On Cons, Sales, and Destruction
I didn’t forget about you all. It’s just that I was at a convention until midnight (and for those of you that know me, and know that by 10 I’m usually passing out…) and that was after a full day of classes. I’m staring at the world with bleary eyes this morning. Millennicon is a tiny local convention, with a couple hundred congoers, but some nifty guests this year. Laura Resnick is GOH, but David Drake, and Chris Stasheff, and Mike Resnick (of course) are other luminaries.
Not that I saw any of them last night. Because of my school schedule, we showed up to register a bare hour before my reading. Fortunately, we met a friend at the door, and were able to spend some time in pleasant conversation and perusal of the Dealer’s room before I had to read my own stuff. It’s not that I think my work is bad. And I’m a trained performer, for goodness sake, but reading my own words… It’s just weird. (for those of you wondering, I read One-Eyed Dragon in whole).
After the reading I was supposed to moderate a panel on Making Money as an Artist, but one of the beauties of a very small con, I am learning, is that sometimes you have so few people in the room that it becomes a free-flowing conversation between funny folks who have done things for their art they are only willing to admit in a room… stops and looks around. Well, since there are no children here… (As I’m sure you can now imagine, that was a funny 45 minutes).
Finally, the long panel into the night… Creative Destruction. I’d been asked to be on this and told my topic was biology and could I please prepare a 10-15 minute presentation? Having decided that all of biology was perhaps too broad, I focused on the effects of epidemics and war on the human psyche, and how mass dying makes us grow as a whole. It’s fascinating, the links between plagues, famines, the Red Horseman of War, and the burgeoning of civilization as we know it. Maybe when I have a half-a-brain, I’ll write it up. I delivered it off visual slides and the top of my head, because with exams all this week, I couldn’t do more prep. The other speakers talked on Mass Extinctions and the SMOD which was fascinating – I had no idea that’s where gold came from – and the myths of the death-rebirth cycle.
Today I’m only at the con for a brief time for a signing at 2 pm in the lobby, because I have a gig elsewhere in the afternoon. But on Sunday I am on a panel about Libraries and Librarians in SFF, which I am looking forward to greatly. Then, I shall get some sleep before working on the final edits of Dragon Noir. Because that’s what a writer does on Spring Break.
I’d promised a report on the sales arc of Pixie Noir from last week. In brief, the Countdown sale with Amazon, which I had set to run for four days, from 3/12-3/15, went from 0.99 to 2.99 midway through the sale. I had advertised it through EbookHounds on 3/13 (both email list and Daily Deal), and the Fussy Librarian on 3/14. Peter Grant was good enough to give me a plug on his site on 3/13, and Dorothy told me what the click-through and buy was from his site, so I could separate the data from the promotions. The interesting part is that on 3/12, before I started to promote the book as being on sale, the climb started early.
Looking at just Pixie Noir, not all of my properties, I see the spike for the sale start to slide immediately after the countdown price went to 2.99, and then stop altogether when the price went back to normal. For a two-year-old release, though, it doesn’t do badly. Trickster Noir, the sequel, has indeed seen a pick-up in sales starting two days after the initiation of the sale, and a much smaller but still measurable pick-up in other titles, especially Vulcan’s Kittens. Hopefully I have seeded the ground well for the release of Dragon Noir a week from today (fingers crossed and final edits go well).
I spent a total of $36 on that campaign. Even at the $0.99 price, I more than returned my investment, and we will see what the long-term brings. I do think that on occasion it will be a useful tool. I’m sure there is a saturation point however. Because Trickster Noir is not in the KU program, putting it on sale is trickier, and I’m not as inclined to try the 0.99 price-point. I have contemplated dropping the series price when I release Dragon – PN to 2.99 and TN to 3.99, with Dragon launching at 4.99. I don’t want to go higher than that, even for a fairly hefty novel, that seems to be the break-point with pricing under impulse-buy levels.