Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Business of Writing Part 2: The Elusive Magic Formula?

Is there a magic formula for selling books?  We all hope so, and many articles and how to books might claim there is.  But, deep down, we know it isn't true.

Publishing is full of surprises - what sells, what doesn't - and despite following certain "rules" that make perfect sense, as writers, we are at the mercy of a reader's personal tastes.  There is no magic formula – either for writing or promoting books - that will work for everyone.

However, statistics can at least inform our marketing decisions.

I'm grateful to fellow writer and blogger Deborah Jay for responding to one of my recent posts called Readers: Does size matter? by sending me the link to the results of a recent Smashwords survey which analysed the common characteristics of bestselling (and poor-selling) Smashwords ebooks.  Some of the questions they posed were:
  • Do frequent price changes help authors sell more books?
  • Do longer or shorter books sell better?
  • What's the average word count for the 60 bestselling Smashwords romance books?
  • What does the sales distribution curve look like, and how many books sell well?
  • How many words are the bestselling authors selling for a penny?
These are all questions I've recently been wrestling with and blogging about and after reading this, I have had a major overhaul of my e-book pricing structure, curious to see how this might affect sales.

Click on the link to read the full list of questions and survey findings.

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  1. Hi Jane,
    Thanks for the mention, it was a good coincidence I'd seen that post so recently.
    The survey makes for very interesting reading, doesn't it?
    Good luck with your price restructuring - look forward to hearing the outcome.

    1. Hi Deborah - yes, the survey was very interesting and thanks so much for sending me the link! I will be monitoring the pricing strategy over the next few months to see what difference it makes.