If you're just joining us, we're halfway through the best little book on marketing ever written: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by the same guys who coined the phrase: Perception is everything. We examined the Law of Perception here. Now we're looking at perspective--related but not the same even if you misspell it (grin)
Short-term gratification can be nice, and Indie Authors tend to use a 99-cent "sale" (limited time only!) as a method of getting short bursts of high numbers of sales. The problem pointed out by the Law of Perspective is that, to maintain volume over the long term, you would need to have one long, continuous sale. Why? Because having had one "sale," your prospective customers are now trained. They'll hold out for the next sale, instead of buying on impulse at the moment when you would otherwise have captured them. In other words, short-term gratification will produce long-term failure more often than not.
I've seen this problem already with Dicky's Story. I use Dicky's Story as a vehicle for experimentation, a learning process, and I've learned a lot since releasing it in March, 2011, so I don't mind, but it does illustrate the point nicely with cold, hard numbers. Click through the jump-break to find out what the Law of Perspective advises to do instead of going for the "limited time only sale!" tactic.
My numbers: I dislike the whole idea of "devaluing" a book by lowering its price and I would rather just give it away free, but even doing this has kicked in the negative effect noted in the Law of Perspective. Despite having had nearly 1000 downloads since its relesae in March, 2011, I've had less than 50 actual, paid-in-full sales, so those 1000 downloads are definitely not part of my 1000 True Fans. Of course, part of the problem is that I haven't advertised or promoted the book anywhere but on this blog and Twitter. If no one knows about the book, they cannot buy it (grin). Then again, I've successfully gotten nearly 1000 free downloads so something I'm doing is working.
The reason the paid sales are so low, however, is purely Law of Perspective at work. I keep telling my prospects not to buy right now (at full price) and instead, to hold out for the next freebie giveaway. I'm practically applying the Law of Perspective to prevent sales rather than to generate them. Of course, I am getting the predicted behavior, even if I have it reversed, so I've applied the principle correctly, just upsidedown. I would claim my dyslexia as an excuse but I did kind of do this on purpose. ^_^ I wanted to learn more than I wanted to make money off Dicky's Story since it's not really like anything else I've ever written--or will write again. I won't reverse things for my first "real" release in December! I've now learned how the principle works and can apply it--or rather, prevent it from applying.
Perspective Changes Paradigms
Back in the 80s, when self-help guru, Stephen Covey, first gained popularity, everyone started talking about changing your paradigms (Covey called it changing the lens on the camera through which you see the world). In casual speech, we all know what it means to get a little perspective on a situation--it's synonymous with getting more realistic about things.
Sometimes numbers help more than words. Here's a great example Ries and Trout offer. A criminal robs a bank and gets $100,000 in just a few scant minutes of easy labor. Then he gets caught, tried and incarcerated for ten years where he struggles daily just to survive. They never find his money and assuming he survives his prison term, he can and will recover it.
As yourself this: Will he have made $100k for one day's easy work or $10k a year for ten years of hard labor? Depends on your perspective, doesn't it? He may not even survive the ten, long years. Will your book still be selling ten years from now?
I know your book is not the same as a bank robber, but I think the example illustrates how being a flash-in-the-pan success isn't always the best answer. In fact, the Law of Perspective states that more often than not, the long-term effects are the exact opposite of the short-term effects. Remember what we discovered in Law 8: Law of Duality?
If you want to find long-term success, apply the Law of Focus and the Law of the Mind or the Law of the Ladder, not the "law of the land," where you do whatever everyone else is doing. Be your own unique and special snowflake. That's the key to making your blizzard a whiteout.
The next entry in this series will be Law 12: Law of Line-Extension which may or may not apply to some Indie Authors, as in our terms, a "line" is a genre and many authors only write in one particular style or genre. For those of you who do or want to try a cross-over genre piece, tune in next week. Tomorrow's Tuesday Tip will be a #nanowrimo inspirational one, I hope. Tune in for plotting tips.
Veterans Day Freebie Friday (11-11-11)
Remember, if you have a Military Fiction or MilSF book and would like offer it free-for-a-day in honor of our military veterans, this week's Freebie Friday is (hopefully) going to be a Veterans Day special feature. Please submit your book to the comment thread here (and share this link with your friends if they have a milfic or milSF eBook to offer).