If you visit my Amazon author page, home of Bafflegab Books, you’ll see some pretty crazy titles in my indy-pub product line. Decide to Play Drunk Poker… A Million Random Words… I’ve gone to some lengths to extend the whimsical end of my brand, because there’s no telling what nonsense I might like to publish later, and I want there to be an established place for it in my oeuvre. The silly books sell almost not at all, but that’s okay because they defend that end of my brand and, more crucially, my precedent right to throw anything out the window and see if it lands.
My writing books sell best. Always have, always will. We’ll get to why that breaks my heart in a minute, but first let’s look at which ones are my workhorses and why. The two strongest sellers in the Bafflegab line are, far and away, the little book of SITCOM and Comedy Writing 4 Life. Like their granddaddy, The Comic Toolbox, they’re the right book at the right time for comedy writers (or any writers) at a certain stage of their development. Since there are always writers passing through stages, there’s an ongoing market for those books.
These are not big books, nor are they expensive. I make them short and I price them attractively for three reasons. First, I want to make it easy for any reader to discover my brand. Second, writers don’t often have a ton of money, and I don’t want to price-gouge. Third, it fulfills my deep purpose to be read by readers all around the world; more readers buying more books for less money is of greater value to me than fewer readers buying fewer books, even for more money.
To tell you the truth, I have no way of knowing if I’m maximizing my earn on these earners. Probably not. I sell through Amazon and Amazon only, and I know I can do better than that. But my hustle – getting the books where people can see them – well, that’s not a strength of my game. I need readers to find their way to my books because I’m just never going to be their broadcasting agent as I should be.
So I don’t price my products scientifically and I don’t market them strategically. Yet I seem to be doing okay. Every month, Amazon sends me money – some hundreds of dollars if I may be frank – and it’s money I don’t have to work for: The writing is long done, and the bookkeeping is Amazon’s hassle. The key to my (modest) success has been building a (modest) catalog in which no one title is more than a revenue trickle, but taken all together they add up to a revenue stream. That’s why I keep writing new books. That’s why I keep throwing them out the window to see if they land. Because one under-performing book isn’t such a much, but ten under-performing books is a product line. Continue Reading »