Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Real world sales numbers, Part 2

This is a follow up post to the sales numbers I talked about in November. It's been about six months so let's see how things have been going for my Disciple series.

Does not include Storybundle sales. Does include both ebooks & paperbacks, across all sales channels
  • Definitions: "units sold" includes both ebooks and paperbacks, across all sales channels (except Storybundle), for a given month. Starts with October 2012, when I released Disciple, Part I. Since Oct. '12, I have sold about 195 books in total. 
  • In the last six months, I've added two new titles to the series: Disciple, Part IV, and the Half-Omnibus which collects the first three parts. 
  • The spike in sales of Part II and Part III was a result of briefly getting Amazon to give Part I away for free. They quit before the end of January 2014.
  • To ask the same question again, am I thrilled? Well, the spike was exciting and getting the royalty check for that was nice. Sales have been creeping back down, but they do that. I'm going to keep moving and get Disciple, Part V out later this year.
After a conversation I had where a self-publisher expressed concern about working with Amazon because of its 500-pound-gorilla-ness, I put this graph together from my data:

That is books sold, per week, broken out by sales channel. Start date is September 1, 2013 (when Part III was released). If you don't want to play with Amazon because they're getting too big for their britches or whatever -- you certainly can, but you're missing out.

As you can also see, Smashwords hasn't exactly been worth the trouble even though they do distribute me to several other outlets like Sony and Diesel. Draft2Digital hasn't exactly wowed me either -- they're slow and I don't like how their sales reports are organized. Then again, I haven't had enough sales to really look at...

I hope these graphs help my fellow self-publishers by giving them something to compare their own sales numbers to. There are plenty of stories out there focusing on the writers who've made it big in self-publishing, and those of us who are slogging along in the trenches don't get much attention. It's no mystery why: these numbers are not exciting. The income I'm getting from this is not a livable wage -- heck, it's an open question whether I can afford to produce Part V off this income.

Care to share some of your numbers?

1 comment:

David A. Todd said...

Hi L.B.:

I trotted over here from Absolute Write to see your numbers. I'd say you're doing somewhat better than I am, with fewer books out. I had 8 sales in April (of 14 titles), after 2-2-3 in Jan-Feb-Mar. Since my first item (a short story) went live in Feb 2011, I've had 271 sales.

It's very frustrating to work so hard to produce something, only to have it lost in the vast expanse of items for sale. Wish I knew the answer. I have a goal for sales for the year which, if I don't hit, I may just chuck it all.

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