On Business: Generating Sales Bumps

By | Monday, June 22, 2015 Leave a Comment
You ever read up on how Girl Genius became a webcomic? Phil and Kaja Foglio started it as a traditional pamphlet comic in 2001. After several issues, they began putting pages up online as an incentive to get new readers. They ran both in concert for several years and noticed that they were selling just enough pamphlet issues so that they broke even on their publication, but online sales of their other stuff (t-shirts, pins, coffee mugs, etc.) always spiked when a new issue came out. So, they, thought, why not remove the pamphlet comic out of the equation -- since they weren't making money on it anyway -- and just issue the comic online? It worked, and Girl Genius soon became one of the first self-sustaining webcomics.

Girl Genius #1
In a recent piece, Andy Oliver looked at the significance of online sales for self-publishers. It's mostly anecdotal in its approach, but I've heard a similar refrain elsewhere, including the Foglio example above -- online sales have a tendency to spike after there's a new print release of some sort. That has a common sense logic to it. If you put out a new thing, it's going to generate more interest than your old thing, and that will drive more people to your site just to check out the new thing. And in checking out the new thing, they stumble across your old thing. Then you get online sales. Maybe for the new thing, maybe for the old thing, maybe both.

I think the same holds true for web-based pieces as well. Sales are generally higher on days when you release a new installment, whether that's three tiems a week, once a week, or once a month. The premise is the same -- you're doing something that, for a brief period at least, puts your work at the forefront of readers' attentions and that gets them to thinking about seeing (i.e. purchasing) more of your work.

The trick, then, is figuring out a balance between creating free work in what frequency relative to things that need to be for. Do you need to post every day if you can sell the same number of books by only posting once a week? Do you need to come out with a new print comic every month to boost online sales? I'm sure the precise formula for every creator is different, but one worth exploring, at least periodically, so you're not doing a heck of a lot more work than you need to in order to sell a few more books.
Newer Post Older Post Home