Infinity Loop: Sales and Pricing (Changes Coming November 1!)

This week’s loop is all about pricing, sales, and breaking even. Sales may not have been as strong as I’d like them to be, but I have sold products so I’m not going to complain! That means there’s a market out there and I’m meeting the demands of a few people, which makes me happy.

skullandmoneyYes, I’m a small publisher and I’m not in this to get rich. Maybe a little famous in a small corner of the universe, but definitely not rich. But in the interests of full disclosure, let’s see where we’re at.

At this point, I have given away 236 copies of One Spot #0 for free, sold 7 copies of One Spot #1 and sold 4 copies of One Spot #2. We’ll round each sale off to about $1.00, so that amounts to $11 so far.

My biggest expense is art at this point. I have Bill Pfaff, Jason “Banditt” Adams, and Jason Cox helping out in that department and they’ve done a great job. But I’ve paid $55 in art for #0, $80 in art for #1, and $85 in art for #2. At $1 a pop it’s going to be a long time before I recoup my art costs, not to mention my writing, editing, and layout time.

At $0.03 a word (average rate in the industry) for writing, #0 cost $45 (1500 words), #1 cost $52.50 (1750 words), and #2 cost $51 (1700 words).

Then we look at editing, which runs about $10.00 per product.

Let’s look at total costs for each. #0 is $110, #1 is $117.50, and #2 is $146. Combined that’s $373.50.

To recoup my costs at $1.00 a pop, that’s 374 copies give or take. At roughly 1.5 sales per month (my average from March 2013 to October 10, 2013), that’s 249 months. Almost 21 years. Yeah, that’s going to take a while.

So I’m going to do a few things.

First, starting November 1, I’m changing the price of the One Spot line from $1.50 to $2.99. I will be updating the format over the next several months to include additional content and re-releasing each One Spot in the series as well as adding new products. All existing customers who have purchased a copy will get the new version as an upgrade for free.

Second, I’m creating two smaller product lines that will use stock art instead of original art. Little Spaces and LPC (License Plate Creations) Names products. These will sell for $1.00 each and should recoup their costs more quickly, aiding in recouping the costs of the One Spot line.

Consider this an early warning. If you’re looking at buying the One Spot series, please grab them before November 1 at the lower price. You’ll get two products for the price of one – the original 2 page version and the grander 4 page version when it’s ready.

Hopefully nobody is put off by this process. By changing the price of the One Spot series, I should begin recouping the art costs twice as fast which will help me create more and better products going forward.

Let me know what you think of all this – I definitely want to hear!

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This article has 3 comments

  1. Mike Bourke Reply

    I’m sorry to hear that the one spot series is not a brilliant success. I hope that the revised format helps.

    No disrespect intended to your artists, but I feel that much of the art in the one-spot series (maps excepted) doesn’t add enough value to the supplements to justify the expense. The notion is that the costs are to be amortized over many sales, and if you had sold 100 copies of each of the one spot series, you would have been a lot closer to breaking even and a lot happier with the outcome.

    Compare the sales targets required to break even with what they would have been had you not had the artwork expense.

    I have three suggestions to offer that could potentially boost revenues/sales. Neither are guaranteed to succeed, so feel free to ignore them if they don’t fit your plans.

    1. Consider offering future one-spot items in two formats – a no-art no-frills abbreviated-lists two-page format at a low price and a deluxe format with everything. You can create the cut-down versions quickly by creating the ‘deluxe” versions and then editing them, then tweaking the layout.

    2. Ensure that “non-one spot” items connect with one-spot items. You don’t want dependancies ie you don’t want to force people to buy “A” in order to use “B” (unless you give away one with the other) – but if you can arrange it, each should be capable of being enhanced through the use of a related product. Think of what you are creating as a “product suite” and not isolated products, and adopt a modular concept. That enables each product to serve as an incentive to buy another one.

    3. Finally, contemplate using small kickstarter campaigns to raise the costs for a ‘series’ of items over the course of a year. These can be thought of as ‘pre-selling’ copies, but the biggest benefit is that it can generate additional publicity for the products – and the biggest problem with low-price products is to be noticed.

    Hope these suggestions are useful, or at least food for thought. Again, feel free to disregard anything that doesn’t fit into your plans.
    Mike Bourke´s last blog post ..Trivial Pursuits: Sources of oddball ideas

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