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Writing and Publishing > Ratio of sales to samples on Smashwords

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message 1: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Hi all. I'd like to get an idea on how some of you are doing converting sample downloads into sales on Smashwords. For example, my novel Hollow Moon (science-fiction), priced $2.99, is averaging a sale per 60 downloads. I'd be lying if I said sales were spectacular. How are others doing? Does the retail price make a difference? Thanks! x Steph x


message 2: by Barbara (last edited Sep 14, 2012 12:26PM) (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Oh, boy! I'm bad at maths... and I have too many books out, LOL! The free ones are in the hundreds downloads, the ones with a price - average varies a lot.
My bestseller has sold 19 copies out of 169 downloads (except more than half were free downloads for reviewers, as it was my first novel out...) since April 2011.
My other pen-name bestseller sold 7 copies out of 37 downloads (since May 2012) - and most were paid, as I didn't really give away copies to reviewers (although it was free during the Smashwords sale) AND I didn't market it at all...
I base the price on lenght - first book is 90k - 4.99$, second book is 28k at 2.99$, but it probably has a better blurb... or more popular genre...
Not sure this helps, sorry! :(


message 3: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Seven in 37 is a lot better than I'm getting! Your pricing is interesting - Hollow Moon is 110,000 words for $2.99 and I was starting to think I'd priced it too high for a debut.


message 4: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Genre is important. Some genres outperform others. Same with prices. Most popular price range on Smashwords is 2 dollars to 2.99 according to Mark and the data he assembled a few months back... Smashwords data sets


message 5: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Steph wrote: "Seven in 37 is a lot better than I'm getting! Your pricing is interesting - Hollow Moon is 110,000 words for $2.99 and I was starting to think I'd priced it too high for a debut."

I don't think you should give away for free the first book of a series, even to lure in readers. You could do discounts or free offers for limited time, but then price it according to length!
Or you can wait until book 2 is out and lower the price, although now is too late to raise the price on the first book, so, keep it in mind for future series! :)
- see Dean Wesley Smith's pricing post: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=7891
(oh, look, it's the 2013 version! Will have to check that too, LOL!)


message 6: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Barbara wrote: "...see Dean Wesley Smith's pricing post: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/..."

Did you notice that his own ebooks are mostly advertised on his site for $2.99? However, he is rather vague as to whether they are novels, short stories or whatever.


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1185 comments Steph wrote: "Barbara wrote: "...see Dean Wesley Smith's pricing post: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/..."

Did you notice that his own ebooks are mostly advertised on his site for $2.99? However, he is rather v..."


I went to his publisher's workshop. He has a lot of titles, so he needs time to adjust his own pricing! Anyway, the 2.99 are usually 2 short stories (doubles) - i.e. 1 short story + 1 free. He's against the 99cent price point and always has been...
As for me, I keep pricing according to length. I'm not lowering the prices of the books that came out last year, as they're longer than the ones that came out this year anyway!


message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments All my stuff is $2.99 erotica, ranging in the 19k-26k word range.

Progenitor has 11 sales, 28 downloads.

Merlin's Magic Wang has 8 sales, 19 downloads.

Morgan's Curse has 1 sale, 6 downloads (but hasn't finished review yet for Premium); I uploaded it just this weekend.

I'll be honest, I like Smashwords' philosophy and list there out of principle. But, my money comes from Amazon, where I've sold 139 copies of Progenitor since listing it back in mid-Nov. I've also recently started listing on allromanceebooks.com, where I've found a pleasant tempo of sales for little effort. They basically don't have a review process; you post your stuff, they even trust you to manage review blurbs (so I listed some comments which had applied to the free versions of the stories on story sites), and it's live the instant you click "live".


message 9: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments I do the math occasionally on this; on average, it's about 50 percent purchase to sample, with some a little more and some a little less. I have several titles out there, across fiction and non-fiction.


message 10: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 350 comments I'm not doing well on Smashwords, unfortunately. Although, I did just go on to look for the numbers, and found that someone has bought the book since yesterday :)

I have 3 books on there:

The one put up on 16th Aug. has 9 sold and 54 downloads.

The one put up on 2nd Oct. has 3 sales and 8 downloads.

The one just published (13th Dec.) has 3 sales and 9 downloads.

Now, 7 or 8 of those were actually vouchers for reviewers.

Interestingly, my 99c/77p short story is the worst selling on there and Kindle. I thought it would be the best, being cheap and short.


message 11: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Andrassy (stephanie_andrassy) | 12 comments I have one book listed (since Sep'12) - I have "sold" 44 copies with a total of 58 downloads. Mind you, a lot of the "sold" copies were purchased during a free promo. The novel is 280,000 words and I've lowered the price from 5.99 to 3.99 since I am an unknown author (despite the length). This has resulted in a few more sales at the retailers. When the sequel is released in the spring (fairly comparable in length), I'll likely experiment further with pricing, but until I've established a platform, I can't imagine pricing much higher than that.


message 12: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Remember, your majority sales from Smashwords come via the Premium Catalog distribution network. :-D


message 13: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 350 comments Sharon wrote: "Remember, your majority sales from Smashwords come via the Premium Catalog distribution network. :-D"

Most of mine seem to have been from Apple.


message 14: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 350 comments Ross wrote: "Sharon wrote: "Remember, your majority sales from Smashwords come via the Premium Catalog distribution network. :-D"

Most of mine seem to have been from Apple."


Actually I'm wrong. I have 2 from Apple, and the rest from Smashwords direct.


message 15: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments Ya know, I have yet to see a single sale from a network affiliate. I've looked at my books on Kobo and a few other places, and I see the "People who bought this also bought..." stuff, and I keep wondering, "If they have enough data to drive 'also bought', then why do I have zero sales listed? from those affiliates" Then again, I only started in mid-November.


message 16: by Steph, Space Opera Diva (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 807 comments Ken wrote: "Ya know, I have yet to see a single sale from a network affiliate..."

Me neither. The free short stories are going well at Sony and B&N, but I've had no sales at all of my novel Hollow Moon through a third-party retailer since it was published in May.


message 17: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Ken wrote: "Ya know, I have yet to see a single sale from a network affiliate. I've looked at my books on Kobo and a few other places, and I see the "People who bought this also bought..." stuff, and I keep w..."

If you only started in November, you should know that there is a lag between affiliate reporting and Smashwords direct. The majority of my sales are on B&N and Sony.


message 18: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments Sorry, I was horrifically unclear. I first published in mid-Oct, and started seeing "readers who bought this also bought..." stuff in mid-November.


message 19: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments Excluding direct referrals (eg from my blog), I have had 37 downloads and just two sales from Smashwords direct. I've also sold three copies via Apple and one via Kobo.

This is for a $0.99 short story collection published at the end of March 2012. Is it the price, is it the cover, or is it just that short story collections don't sell very well? Not sure.


message 20: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Andrew wrote: "Excluding direct referrals (eg from my blog), I have had 37 downloads and just two sales from Smashwords direct. I've also sold three copies via Apple and one via Kobo.

This is for a $0.99 short s..."


Hard to know. It can sometimes just be a matter of awareness.


message 21: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments Andrew: What's the work in question? We can't look at the cover unless we know what to look for. :) But depending on how big the collection is, I'd consider bumping it to $2.99. For some reason that price point is considered to be magical.


message 22: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 350 comments Ken wrote: "Andrew: What's the work in question? We can't look at the cover unless we know what to look for. :) But depending on how big the collection is, I'd consider bumping it to $2.99. For some reason..."

Also, it is a collection. 99c is surely more of a single short story kind of price, isn't it? It's what my short story is priced at, anyway (althought it's really more of a novella, I think).


message 23: by Ardy (new)

Ardy Ardy (ardybooks) | 37 comments While they tell you when you join that most of your sales will come from affiliate stores, it is nice to see your sales go up in your dashboard. I have 78 total downloads for my vampire novel and 38 sales. Many of them were either gifts or coupon sales, but they were still sales. However, I have sold about twenty copies of the same novel at BN.com and a few at Apple. Most people who go to smashwords do so to find free books. When I post a new "pay" book I get about forty or fifty page views that first day and a few sample downloads. When I publish one of my free short stories I sometimes get as many as two hundred and fifty page views that first day and my last story had over a hundred downloads in three days.
I tend to look at smashwords as a tool to get my stuff out there, but there are so many authors publishing and so many books posted every day that you can tend to get lost in the crowd.
Note: After trying many different promotion ideas for my novel, I finally just wrote two short prequels and published them for free. I got people interested and my sales tripled.


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