Sanity Juxtaposed, my eBook that is now available on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo Books, Borders.com.au and the iBookStore (as well as others) has been out for a little over three months now and so I’m starting to assess how well it’s been going – or not going well, as I’m beginning to fear.
The first step in that assessment started with this piece I wrote for Alan Baxter’s series on Digital Publishing, and me looking at some of the factors for poor sales.
To date, I’ve sold 6 eBooks (4 on Smashwords and 2 through iBooks) and none on Amazon for Kindle. There may be more through iBooks and the Kobo Store since the start of December, because sales haven’t been reported since then and some people mentioned they might buy it but it will easily be less than 10. 10 books isn’t quite what I was hoping for.
I don’t want this to become a whine, but I am left wondering about what’s gone wrong after seeing that 91 people have download the sample on Smashwords and only 4 people have bought it. It could be that what they read was shit (which is I possibility I’ll come back to) or it could be the nature of people buying online. I flip out $5 (the old price) or more for a beer all the time, or $2 (the price I dropped it to) for a drink, a donation to a busker etc. and it doesn’t seem to matter but people seem to freak when it comes to purchasing stuff online as if that money is worth so much more. The Oatmeal’s comic explains this point in hilarious fashion.
I don’t want to make it available for free or for .99c because I think $2 isn’t that much and I did work on that book. It’s not worth nothing. I realise people like free content and I blog like crazy to provide that but I also believe in supporting writers and have bought a number of eBooks from friends not just because I want to read their work but because I want to support them.
A lot of those people downloading the sample though, are quite possibly strangers and so I accept that they may judge it on the sample. The start of the book features my first short stories and poems. This was a bit of a gamble because it’s not my best work, nothing like what I write now. But I put it in to be be true to the original version of the book, released in 2005, but also to show a progression of my writing style. I tried to explain the reasoning for this but either people didn’t get it, didn’t read the introductions, or it didn’t work.
I can’t really tell because as of yet, I haven’t gotten any real feedback on the book, whether the early works worked, or whether any of it was any good. So all of this is just me thinking too much and wondering aloud.
I am now thinking of starting again, as in, doing a new eBook, maybe with only a few shorts, some newer stuff and a few select pieces of flash fiction that people really liked and see how that goes.
What does that mean for Sanity Juxtaposed? I could remove it, make it free, make it cheaper or just leave it there. I’m still tossing it up but it’s useful to have others like Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Aaron Polson embarking on similar (but apparently more successful) experiments and hopefully with a few of us reporting on our progress, we can learn something. One thing Shane is doing to increase his sales and impact on the market is releasing multiple eBooks, which is an argument for leaving Sanity Juxtaposed there and releasing something new as well.
But at the moment, what I need is feedback on what people think about my eBook, the sample and the possibility of releasing something else. I have a story called ‘My Boss Sucks’ that myself and others like but can’t find a market so it could be a way of releasing it out into the wild and being done with it. What do people think?
Update: Sanity Juxtaposed is now no longer available after finally having some honest feedback from people. It is well worth reading the comments below. It has some decent advice for writers.