Sorry I’m late today. I was delayed, trying to choose an ‘ebook of the week’ to discount by 50%, so I could then publicise it here.
I’m sort-of between systems, so things are a bit of a mess, and therefore take longer than usual. And because of Roomie occupying big chunks of what would otherwise be my working day, I’m always behind.
Sunday morning was bright and sunny, if still chilly at the crack of dawn when she likes to get out and about. So we put on our gloves and headed for the most distant of our local supermarkets, to stock up on beer and other essentials, while exercising my heart and ageing bones.
En route the wheels of the stroller/pushchair started to drag. I assumed Roomie had jammed a stick in somewhere (she likes sticks – ‘bastoni’, in Italian), so pushed harder.
But we got no more than a few steps further towards the beer restock before a wheel seized up completely.
Of course gloves hadn’t stayed on paws, and had been discarded overboard, where the long knitted cord intended to ensure they remained a pair had wound itself tightly around the axle, this evidenced by a now-oily pink glove peeking out on either side of the wheel.
Oh how I did curse when it wouldn’t untangle and I had to upturn the stroller and get down on my knees in the mud to pull apart wheel and axle sufficiently to eventually release the cord.
Once underway again, we bumped into a former neighbour of mine, a stocky man, well wrapped up in overcoat and wooly hat, who was standing in the sun on the grassy verge beside the main road, reading something on his smartphone, while his dog ran around him and us in circles on the end of one of those extendable leads.
But anyway, I got held up this morning trying to choose a ‘-50% Ebook of the Week’, the problem being my embrionic admin system (I can’t see easily what I’ve done before, or how successful it was) and also the issue of LEVEL.
Ah, level! That’s been the bane of my life ever since I moved across from being a language teacher to running an actual language school, and so having to organise classes that would generate enough revenue to meet the payroll.
Now a layman might think this wouldn’t be so much of a worry. Simple, you organise different groups at different levels, then use a ‘level test’ to advise students which group will be most suitable, and hey presto, you’re off to the bank, loaded down with those pretty, green, hundred euro notes.
But of course, it’s not that simple. For one thing, the marketing efforts might generate such little interest that, once potential students have been tested and advised, you end up with fewer than the minimum number of people in each group. Or more than the maximum in one, and none in the others. There are endless ways this can not work well…
IF the teacher knows her stuff (that’s not a given) you could perhaps get away with a group including students at two adjacent levels (never if there are beginners, though.) But less-experienced staff can mess things up so quickly that reputational damage is almost guaranteed. It can be better to send people (and their money) away, than mess with mixing levels.
E poi, even if you have enough students at each level to form groups that are both coherent in terms of the students’ needs and sufficiently numerous to pay both the teacher and the rent, there’s always going to be someone who will only enrol if they can be ‘in the same class as their friend’. Who, of course, has a wildly different level, and so will upset everyone else in the class.
Or someone who’s a good intermediate, but can only come on Tuesdays, which is the advanced group’s day.
And so on.
When it comes to selling ‘easy reader’ ebooks, I put the level on the cover. How’s the level decided? It’s a combination of what the writer thinks, and what my wife and I think (she does the audio recordings). We use half-levels, too, which helps nail things down.
It’s not exactly scientific, but there’s a free sample chapter, so those who care to can take a look and decide if the material is suitable for them. Though many people don’t do this, which I can never figure… Why would you NOT look at the FREE sample chapter before buying? Boh.
Of course, many people have no idea how the CEFR level system works (it’s six levels, from easiest to hardest, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) and don’t think of Googling it.
But hey, the real problem is on the other side, with the marketer (me, in this case).
If I’m going to discount one ebook by 50% this week, not only do I have to decide whether to promote something that has previously sold poorly (perhaps no one will want it this time either), or a title has sold lots of copies (the regulars will already have it, then), but I’m back with the problem of level.
Discount an A1 ‘easy reader’ and that might please the beginners. But the beginners haven’t been around long enough to know the value of reading/listening, so may not buy anyway, even if the price is halved and the material is perfect for them.
What about a B1 (intermediate) title, then? The beginners won’t buy that either, or if they do, they’ll complain it’s too hard. And our most loyal clients will look down their snoots at it, as it’s now way too easy.
OK, so lets go for something advanced, and keep the keen kids happy! But no, that might not work either, as the swots will have already downloaded it last sale at a twenty percent discount, so might get riled if I’m now selling it for less.
And then I had, as Italians would put it, a genial idea! (It’s a bit of a false friend, that one.)
How about if I do a coupon that’s equivalent to a 50% reduction in price on an ‘easy reader’ ebook, and let the customers pick one out for themselves??
That should save me a lot of agonising!
‘Pet Walking for Dummies’ normally sells at £7.99, so half-price it would be £3.99. The difference is £4, so I need to create a ‘one use’ coupon for that amount, e via!
Problem solved. The coupon code is:
Copy and paste that into your cart at EasyReaders.org and it’ll reduce the total of whatever’s in there by the promised £4.
This is one use per customer, so if you mess up your order (say you choose the wrong payment option), then try again with a new order, the coupon won’t work the second time.
In which case, just email and I’ll fix it for you by deleting the messed-up order.
Ready to pick out your own, personalised -50% BotW (Book of the Week) from our Catalog page?
Don’t forget to figure out first what the level designation on the cover is supposed to mean.
And to take a look at the free sample chapter!
Did you read/listen to Saturday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Many thanks, from the team that produced it, to all of the people who helped out with donations.
Where people specified that their name or message should be listed on the ‘Thanks’ page, then I did that, as promised. But there weren’t many.
The vast majority of people don’t, whether because they don’t know it’s an option, or more likely because they find Paypal’s interface hard to navigate (it is!) and so don’t fill in the relevant part.
If that sounds like you – that you sent the EIN team some cash and hoped, in return, to get your name in lights (and why not?) – then just drop me an email (from the address you used for the donation), letting me know that you’d like to be thanked in public, and exactly how: J.Doe, Jane Doe, ‘Janey and her Italian group in Melbourne’, or whatever.
Or if you were meaning to donate but didn’t get around to it, it’s not too late! It’s never too late, as there are always bills to pay.
Visit the Donate page. The next actual appeal will be in January, or sooner if the EIN bank account runs dry.