Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!
Friday, September 13, 2019
Still, this year I've finally gotten good at it. I used to rely too much on my memory of what books I had in stock, and my hunches as to what books were likely to sell at upcoming cons. Too often, this would result in my packing up for a con the following day and discovering, oops, I only have two copies of Nobody Gets the Girl, or just a single Bad Wizard. My two biggest sellers, the Dragon Apocalypse and Bitterwood collections, were relatively easy to keep track of. Nine times out of ten, I'll sell most of what I take, so it was easy to keep track of my stock levels and anticipate when I needed to reorder. Where it got tricky was my superhero novels. It's not unusual for me to do an event and not sell a single superhero novel. So, I generally didn't bother keeping a lot of them in stock. But, almost at random, I do have events where I sell superhero books to just about everyone who looks at them. Probably the most I've sold at an event is 30. So, 0-30 is a big range to keep track of.
Complicating matters further, I often sell books in bundles. So, a single superhero novel is $10, but a full trilogy is $25. So, I'd have multiple line items for selling the same items.
But, all along, the tools to manage sales were built into Square. Each item in Square can has an inventory field. Today, unpacking five cases of books, I stopped and input every book I received into the inventory. Square also lets you set up alerts when stock levels fall below a certain level. So, I now if I fall below having ten in stock of any superhero title, I get an alert and know to reorder. And, the final trick was to get rid of all my bundle entries in square. Now, I ring up each book of a trilogy as it's own item, but then add a fourth item, a $5 discount. Square lets you create discounts as negative value items that you just add to the transaction. Now, I not only keep an accurate count of what I'm selling, I can also look at the end of each month and see how much I'm relying on discounts to move books. It helps find the balance between cutting a deal to move books, and holding firm on price to maximize profit.
In retrospect, I wish I'd been doing this years ago. I'm sure I've lost sales by not having enough inventory. And, while you don't get a volume discount from Amazon by ordering a lot of titles at once, you do save on shipping costs, so being able to quickly know every possible title I can add to an order helps cut that cost, at least.