Adventures in Marketing — Week 429

Sold one “Best Ride” and four “Bob on Bob”s.
Frequent readers may recall the physics professor who bought a “Best Ride” from me a few weeks ago. Well, she bought another. These readers may also recall the difficulty she has communicating, either in speech or writing. So they may understand why I did not inquire further. I would have sat there smiling while she repeated, “Exactly. Exactly.”
Frequent readers – the three anyway who acknowledged reading my “Adventure” of a few days ago – may recall the Dylan fan to whom I sent a copy of my book. He loved it and ordered four to give to friends who are Dylan fans. These friends, I quickly saw, may have their own friends who are Dylan fans. So since my stock was now depleted, I had better replenish in order to satisfy the demand.
This has led to much brainstorming.

Originally I’d had 100 copies printed. I gave away half and sold the others. Half these sales were to friends and half to strangers. It took about a year and a half to sell that 50, and none of these folk can be expected to buy another copy.
Based on the new price quotes from my printer, if I order 25 copies and sell them all, I will lose $140. If I order 50 copies and sell them all, I will make a $100 profit. (If I sell 40 copies, I break even.) If I order 100 copies, and sell all, I will make $500+. (If I sell 48 copies, I break even.) As my Outside Business Consultant Fran points out, since 100 copies only costs 20% more than the 50 copies, I should go big, because the upside is much larger. On the other hand, I will have a lot more copies sitting on my floor while I wait for the demand to build.
Also, with my friends exhausted as customers, if I sell the strangers at the same rate as in the past, it will take me three years to get into the black with either quantity of stock on hand. At this point in life, I have actuarial tables to consider.
Milo, the IT brains behind my operation, offers one solution. “It will only take a quick black marker sweep, “he says to change the cover price from $10 to $20. I blanch at this suggestion. “Bob” seems a slim (64 pp.) volume to command this price. On the other hand, anyone walking around with cash, which, these days, fewer and fewer people are, is likely to be packing a $20 since that is what the ATMs tend to spit out, and handing over one of those is as easy as handing a $10.
Or maybe I should take a page out of the old comic “collectibles” game and stick each “Bob” in a plastic bag – free from the supermarket – to keep them “pristine mint” as an investment. Meaning the customer would need to buy a second copy if he wants to read it.
On the other hand, my Buddhist lesson of the morning said “No striving.”
And isn’t that what my business model has been?
Sit in the café and let it happen.