Monday, September 28, 2015

The Chicken Little Effect

Okay, so the Author Earnings report came out.  From what I read, it's good news on the indie author side and bad news on the traditional published side.  Which, of course, led to arm-waving, and snottiness, and misinformation being bandied about.  Which led, of course, to my posting the following on FB:

Ebook sales are falling! Ebook sales are falling! - Chicken Little 2015

:shrug: It amused me. Think about it.  One chicken getting hit on the head by a falling acorn does not mean we're all going to die.  In fact, 1200 chickens getting hit by a semi-load of acorns still doesn't mean we're all going to die.  It basically means those chickens should probably stop standing under oak trees.

As far as I can tell, ebook sales overall are increasing - not declining.  Please pay special attention to the word 'overall'.  It's the word that really matters.  Because, yeah, ebook sales are falling at the traditional publishing houses.  When they price their ebooks so freaking high even the secondary characters are getting nosebleeds, it really isn't any wonder sales are falling.

People are being careful with their dollars and, as such, they're being incredibly choosy about what books get to make it onto their shelves (or ereaders as the case may be nowadays).  And sales of high-dollar books are taking a hit because of it.  It's the market, man.  A reader is offered a choice - an ebook for $13.99 or an ebook for $3.99.  They both have nice covers.  They both have interesting blurbs.  They both have good reviews.  You do the 'look inside' and see both are edited well and either would hold your interest.  Unless you're already in love with the writings of the $13.99 author, which one are you going to buy?

For September, my sales were off.  And I still don't think that bit of information means the industry as a whole is crapping out.  It means I haven't done much in the way of advertising recently, maybe people aren't grooving on Wish in One Hand the way I expected them to, and perhaps I'm reaching a saturation point with the readers I have managed to connect with.  What's to do about all that?  Write the next book.  Reach into my tightwad wallet and spend some more advertising dollars, and continue to be my sporadically witty self on social media.

The thing to do is not to run around shouting about the sky falling.  It just gets others whipped into an unnecessary frenzy and none of us needs extra frenzy right now.

And if Chicken Little staggers by, hyperventilating over prophecies of gloom and doom?  Consider the source, look at the facts, and settle back with your ereader and a cup of joe.  It's all good, baby.

(To underscore my point - after I'd already written this, I saw this article from Forbes yesterday.)


  1. This "report" ranks right up there with THIS GENRE IS DEAD! THIS GENRE IS DEAD! No. It's not. It means that bookstores have decided to devote precious shelf space to THAT OTHER GENRE so traditional publishers, who depend on that whole dead-tree model decree the genre is dead, and agents--who can't sell that genre--jump on the bandwagon. Hrm...Vampires are dead. Shifters are dead. Paranormal is dead. Really? My self-published sales, while modest compared to many, remain steady, put money in my bank account each year and I hear from readers who want more. Like NOW PLEASE! I can't write fast enough to keep up with the demand.

    And yes, B.E. Very valid point on the price point. *nods* Have a great week! I'm going back to work on my WIP that has vampires, and werewolves, and gargoyles, and fae, and demons. Oh. My!

    1. Ugh, the old publishing model stinks, but they're hanging onto it with clawed hands like it's the Necronomicon. (Btw, spellcheck wants to make that word 'microeconomics'. ROFL) Ain't it great when a reader wants your next book like NOW? Yeah, I wish I could edit faster - and afford to pay lots of editors at once so all my books would be out faster.

      Have fun with your beasties!

  2. I can't imagine wanting a book enough to spend $14 on it. Well... I spent far more for technical books, back when my income was higher, but that was for research. And I got a lovely hardcover to keep and drool over. :-)

    1. Exactly, Deb! I haven't spent that much on a book in YEARS. Yeah, I could see spending it on a research book that you'll look to often, but for simple fiction? Nah. I can wait until the price drops and if it never drops, I'll lose interest and find something else to read. =o)