Sunday, 24 February 2013

Is Bigger Better?

I’m talking about numbers. More specifically, regarding smutty books. At this point in the game, what should the objective be?

I’ve got eight titles out there available at Amazon and Smashwords. That pretty much covers the main e-book distribution channels. Now, having listened to what the best in the business have to say, coupled with my own instincts as a professional marketer, I’m in a bit of a quandary.

Several smut writers have affirmed that for every ten books released there is a noticeable increase in overall sales. So should I be frantically typing out new material like there’s no tomorrow, to reach ten then twenty titles available? Listening to the voices of experience is never a bad thing.

But wait a moment.

Think of the erotica reading fraternity in quantity terms. If Fifty Shades of Grey and the e-reading factors have had the impact that we’re led to believe they have, that equates to one hell of a large potential readership out there.

So even if only a relatively small proportion of the total smut-buying market downloaded my stories, I’d certainly notice. In fact I’d be cock-a-hoop with the soaring sales figures.

So, the main question is this. With eight titles already on the virtual bookshop shelves, surely the focus should be on raising awareness and driving sales of the products already available rather than developing new ones? If readers do want to go on a mini splurge and download my other books, there’s seven of them. That’s good potential revenue in anyone’s eyes, considering the size of the market.

Interim data from the Erotica Reader Survey (not taken part yet, and love reading erotica? Please do the survey!) strongly suggests that once readers find an author they like, they’ll buy more of their stories. That’s reassuring to all writers. But readers aren’t going crazy and downloading EVERYTHING immediately. There’s a recession happening, remember. I compare it with a bricks and mortar shop, with the stock visible in the window and ready to be bought. It’s just that not enough people are looking at the shop window and coming inside.

What’s the point in writing another twenty books, if there’s still not enough (to my liking, anyway) people sniffing around and buying the first eight?

That’s not a product problem: it’s an awareness and communications issue.

That however, is for another blog post.

1 comment:

  1. I think it depends; new writers (especially self-published ones) definitely need to actively promote themselves - they're an unknown quantity, and with the amount of erotica on Amazon and the like it's highly unlikely that customers will just stumble upon their work. Once you have sales under your belt and you start appearing as a "similar title" then sure, but initially not so much.

    That said, constant promo doesn't seem to have a vast amount of difference on sales. Some of the most Tweet-heavy erotica writers actually have pretty poor sales figures when you look at them. Promotion makes a difference, but not a huge amount.

    As for writing more, sure, that's the end game. I don't know about this "10 books = big sales" thing (I only have 1 book out right now!) but personally I think quality is way more important than quantity. I'd rather read 3 good books from a good author than 30 crappy books from someone looking to make some quick cash.

    Sales can take a while to come, but I think patience and persistance is more important than trying to force it. All it takes is one book to explode for whatever reason and you're set.