June 05, 2008

More On Giving Away Books Before They Are Available To The Public

I didn't expect a lot of feedback when I shared the results of free downloads of the book vs. paying for the actual copy. I was wrong! E-mails were flying this afternoon!

First of all, I am not grumbling. More than anything, I want to share facts, metrics that others wouldn't share with you. I want to be as transparent as possible, transparency is one of the things you tell me you appreciate about this forum. I want for folks to learn how new marketing techniques work. And I sincerely appreciate all of you who e-mailed me to say that you got a free copy and purchased a copy of the book, much appreciated!!

Let's assume that 100 units have been distributed, to-date. Here's the distribution (as of this afternoon ... the metrics changed since the last post due to incremental paperback sales):
  • Free Draft Of Pre-Published Book = 72%.
  • $7.95 Download Of Finished Product = 14%.
  • $14.95 Paperback Copy = 14%.
If my only purpose were to sell books (which it isn't), revenue per unit would be (0.72*$0 + 0.14*$7.95 + 0.14*$14.95) = $3.21. Net profit per unit would be about $1.80.

The $3.21 net revenue per unit metric is probably most compelling. Comscore's disputed statistics in the Radiohead promotion suggested 60% of the units were free downloads, and suggested that the weighted average net revenue per download was about $2.50.

So you can see that there's a level of directional similarity in the numbers. Hey, I have something in common with Radiohead!!

The books are not written for the sole purpose of selling books. They are part of what I would call a "micro-channel" strategy to running my business. There's a ton of free information available on this blog. I speak at conferences. I offer free spreadsheets. I write books for fun and to document important (and theoretically more-valuable-than-free) concepts.

I have learned that, as of today, the most effective strategy in growing my business is the combination of a transparent and informative blog, coupled with books that offer increased insights and sophistication. So if we allocated book costs and revenue across actual projects that were sourced from the blog/book, book sales are "sizzling"!

And that's what makes this whole thing so interesting. The giveaway doesn't work on a "linear" basis --- measuring sales as a function of each unique marketing strategy. A whole slurry of micro-channels work together, and at the end of the day, the whole is FAR greater than the sum of the parts. The giveaway as a sole marketing channel wasn't highly effective. The entire strategy is highly effective.

That's probably the takeaway I needed to share in the original post!

Now go buy the book!
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.