April 25, 2012
Smashwords: Can Ebook Data Reveal New Viral Catalysts to Spur Reader Word-of-Mouth? This is a study by Mark Coker which attempts to answer several questions about indie book sales. He has taken statistically significant data gleaned from Smashwords sales records over several years from 2009 for over 1 million titles, and done some analysis. The results are what common sense and my own 'gut' has been saying, but with a weight of certainty only possible when you have a comparable data pool. There are several conclusions of use to me. Price and length of works that sell best are very useful items to know. Romance sells best; we knew that. $2.99 is the sweet spot pricewise, but around $0.03 per word is what sells best, which would mean ebooks of around 100,000 words. Shorter work sells, but rarely makes the top 100. I, fortunately, am content if my stuff sells steadily in the midrange. Perhaps I should try Eland Dances free for a while, and see what happens. He also says free books 'outsell' by 100X their pace when they have a pricetag. I know 'Pink Jewel' gets over 1,000 downloads a month while free, and should sell around 10 a month at 99c. If I can sell 10 a month of Eland, I will be far ahead of where it is presently, so watch this space. I dont think Amazon Prime is where that one is going. I shall simply put it free on Smashwords around the time the print edition comes out.