Quick post today.
What’s it take for our in-preorder Don’t Read This Book to be profitable? This is going to be based on an approximation of the costs of the writing, editing, cover art, printing, and other line items.
- 400 sales through our webstore of the Don’t Read This Book softcover, or
- 1200 sales through our webstore of the Don’t Read This Book ebook package, or
- 1850 sales through DriveThruFiction, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble of the respective Don’t Read This Book ebook or ebook package, or
- 900 sales through distribution of the Don’t Read This Book softcover, or
- One of the many possible combinations of the above
At the time of this writing our webstore preorder has got 46 softcovers and 48 ebooks sold, which is a fine start; we’re seeing modest performance in our third party ebook vendors (~60 DriveThru, ~25 Amazon, ~2 B&N). In aggregate that adds up to about 20% of the revenue we need in order to make it into the black.
It’d be tempting to look at the above and think, Oh holy crap, I’d better order through Evil Hat! But that’s not necessarily the right conclusion. Sales through those other venues tend to produce more sales through those venues (as do reviews on those sites & such), whereas sales through our webstore stay largely invisible in terms of the collective perception of demand for the product. So, ideally, I’d love to see a big healthy mix of sales through all of those channels. Ultimately, buy where is convenient for you and ideologically comfortable to do so — but once you buy, if you enjoy, please turn someone else on to the book, whether it’s with a review, a blog post, a tweet, or a (gasp!) face to face conversation.
EDIT: Those eager to proclaim the uselessness of print books should take note: the print sales have the best per-sale shot of getting us into the black even in distribution, and for that matter the initial printing only represents about a third of our cost. Drop to an ebooks-only strategy here, and we’d still need 800-ish direct sales of the e-books to get in the black, or over 1200 through Amazon & the like. The whole “print books cost so much more than ebooks to produce” argument, at least with our print run strategy, is on shaky ground. I’ve elected to price the anthology in ebook format at $5 and the softcover at $15; if I was simply making the ebook the cost of the softcover, minus the proportion of the cost of a print run, it’d come out at more like $10. For Evil Hat, new to fiction, I don’t think that a $10 pricepoint for a 50k word anthology is supportable (rather: I have a gut feeling like we’d see fewer than half the sales we get at $5 if we priced it at $10, so the economics dictate the $5 pricepoint). But I’d sure understand the hell out of a publisher who decided to go that route.