I’ve been reading The Four Hour Workweek – recommended, with cautions, by an old friend of mine. Some bits of it resonate more than others, but those bits that do…
For example, the Pareto Rule, or the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of outputs come from twenty percent of inputs. This goes for profits, for aggravation, and so on.
I’d heard about this back in my economics classes as well, but hadn’t paid much attention to it. But now with the rise of eBooks, there’s a perfect way that the Pareto Rule comes into play.
The Pareto Rule explains sales in the digital marketplace.
A while back, a small publisher was looking for an (unpaid) intern to find new marketplaces to sell eBooks through. I knew this was a bad idea at the time (I didn’t take the position), but really couldn’t explain why. I’ve had this reaction to Smashwords as well – their big shtick is distributing to lots of places at once.
But now I can tell you why I had such a strong reaction to both. The Pareto Rule explains why this point of view is crap.
The Crimson Pact (as well as my own short stories and “So You Want to Make an eBook?“), have all mostly sold through Amazon, secondly through my own store, then Barnes & Noble, and then everyone else. The 80/20 rule is definitely in effect.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with distributing to those other stores – not at all. The question is “How much energy do you really want to put into it?”.
The answer to that damn well better be less than the amount of payout you’re getting back from it. Otherwise you’re totally wasting your time – and in this digital economy, time is the only scarce resource.