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).

sales spike

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 Β – 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.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “On Cons, Sales, and Destruction

  1. Cedar, what is a SMOD? I even googled it, and the definitions ranged from the exceedingly vulgar to games items, but nothing I can relate to your post. Enlighten me, oh please, source of esoteric knowledge and moose sightings!
    And, just so you know, the chance of getting a book review out of me today is small. I promised I’d do taxes, and the only reason I’m even doing a drop-by of the Club is that I haven’t finished my second cup of coffee yet, so technically I’m still eating breakfast. I DID explain further, in my blog post entitled No review, just bread, gold, the missing knife, and Texas.
    Enjoy yourselves, and if I don’t finish “Deadly Farce” in time to review it on Sunday, I’ll pull up one of my earlier reviews (pre-February) and post that.
    Love and kisses, Pat

  2. Uncle Lar

    Cedar,
    What ever happened to that western mystery romance I beta read for you a while back? As I recall, it was very well done. I know novella length works can be difficult to place, but it was certainly worth exposure to the public.

  3. I’m doing the second draft of my sequel to Blood Eden and have thought about doing some kind of sale with the first two books. Honestly, this looks like a hell of an idea in light of what you’ve encountered.

    • I’m trying it this week, timing a sale on the first book in the series with the PR push for the new book in the series (_Circuits and Crises_). I’m curious to see what comes of it, if anything.

      • Cool. Please let me know how it goes. πŸ˜€

        • Well,I fluffed up by not reading the fine print and by not changing the countdown when the book release date got changed. So the Countdown has been running for three days now with four sales (which is better than the 0 I’ve had for the past 14 days, but not what I’d hoped for.) So any data I have won’t be of use, I fear. I may try later this spring, when _Blackbird_ comes out while _C&C_ is still in K-Select.

  4. I’m interested by your rise in sales before promotion. While there is a kindle countdown page on Amazon that promotes all Kindle Countdown Deals, I hadn’t heard of it being effective on its own. I wonder if it actually does have its own attraction and visibility with a market segment we haven’t heard from?

  5. John in Philly

    Reader’s viewpoint. I am one of the Pixie Noir 99 cent graph points. I read Peter Grant’s blog and started reading Pixie Noir soon after. When I am reading an author new to me, I always start with the hope I will like the author. I was enjoying the trip and I was liking the novel more and more when the feeling changed from liking the novel to really, really, really liking the novel. Just before the Goblin battle the statement, and I will paraphrase because I am not going to go back and find the exact quote, I am having some crew served weapons sent down, made me stop reading, go to the wife, tell her a very simple storyline and then with great drama, tell her “crew served weapons.” The author that gets all of the story right, plot, characters both likable and unlikable, dialog, and then gets the gun stuff right is rare indeed.

    Thank you,

    John in Philly

    • I grew up hunting and fishing and trapping. I know a little about weaponry, but I have access to a really great group of gun-nuts who are always happy to help me with research. I am tickled you liked the book!

  6. overgrownhobbit

    Love to read a follow up of your librarians in SF