It’s time for another survey! I’m seeking opinions from current members, past members, or anyone who’s considered a membership but chosen not to buy. The survey is anonymous, and powered by Survey Monkey.
Okay, want to hear the story? Read on.
As you may be aware, the Premium Membership is currently an amazing bargain. It costs $20 USD a month, it doesn’t auto-renew, and you get access to over $100 in e-books (yours to keep), PLUS a story request, PLUS the Arth-Keros and Reality Check content, PLUS Early Access.
There’s nothing to stop you paying for a month, downloading the content, and walking away at the end of the month. Many purchasers do that, and I don’t begrudge anyone for that – I was well aware it was an option.
Unfortunately, it’s not sustainable, particularly as I release more e-books which, under the current structure, will be included in that giant bundle of content.
The income from memberships as a proportion of total site revenue has steadily dropped since I launched the site. Obviously back in the Patreon days they were the only way to give me money. When I launched the site in August last year they formed about 70% of the site’s take. Over the last two months they’ve dropped to about 30%.
That’s not because I have less members. It’s because the growth has been in e-books, presumably in part because of the larger number of titles available in the shop, and the improvement in production values since the early days.
Direct e-book purchases sell better, they take zero work for me once they’re first published, and the site delivers the content to the customer immediately upon purchase. The only downside of them is that PayPal gets a proportionally higher percentage of small-ticket purchases, and I’d prefer a few large transactions over many small ones.
I really value my members. It’s the memberships that make me feel supported and valued. I’m not planning to discontinue memberships.
But I do need to look at that Premium Tier, and work out how to make that attractive and worthwhile, without selling the entire site contents for a single $20 purchase.
The three key options that I’ve come up with for reforming it are:
* Increase the price per month to $35 USD or higher; or
* Keep the per-month price the same, but make subscriptions run on a three-monthly basis, so you pay $60 up front for a three-month subscription and renew at the end of those three months; or
* Limit the included e-books to the last 12 titles released, plus any new titles released during the period of membership.
There’s some issues with all of those. I’m also open to other ideas.
The ideal solution would be to have subscriptions auto-renew, but (a) there are difficulties in getting PayPal to enable that for adult sites, and (b) part of the logic of why that’s profitable is that you’re taking money from people who don’t actually want to renew but are too lazy to cancel, and I’m not super comfortable with that. So let’s assume auto-renewal is off the table.
Lastly, while I’m surveying anyway, I never got any responses to my question a while back about Google Drive versus Dropbox versus other content delivery platforms, so I’ve put it in the survey.