Monday, May 2, 2011

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Still waiting for some queries for the queue (*drumming fingers*).

In the meantime, I thought I'd cater to your inner voyeur. (Or is that just me projecting?)

Some of my favorite posts to read are those that talk about the realities of publishing in terms we can all understand: cashflow.

But in this, authors are often hamstrung. They can't get sales figures or can't share deal points (unless, of course, an agent or publisher decides it's in their best interest to publicize), which just makes the whole industry seem that much more mysterious.

I've also heard authors defend this attitude by saying how unprofessional it is for writers to discuss -- shhh -- money.

Now I've done PR for large, publicly traded companies, and we made a point to brag about the deals we closed -- and for how much. So how is discussing money unprofessional? Because other authors might want the same deal, and agents and publishers might have to spend time commodifying their decisions? Of course, I'm also not a fan of company policies that forbid employees from discussing salaries. There's a reason women still don't earn on average the same as men for doing the same job. But to be clear, authors aren't employees, and small business tactics should apply.

So I thought I'd share my sales figures, good or ill, each month for Spoil of War. I would do the same for the Extinct antho, but it isn't mine to make that kind of decision wholesale for all the authors involved. I will say that 6 weeks after its release, Extinct is a little over 1/3 of the way toward earning out the advances to its 19 authors plus its production costs (in this case, the fee to license the main image in the cover, which was $18).

There's always a bit of a lag between uploading a book to one of the e-stores and when it finally appears in the online catalog. Spoil went up on Amazon on March 31. So, basically during the month of April, it sold:

11 copies - B&N
37 copies - Amazon US
13 copies - Amazon UK
07 copies - Smashwords
68 copies - Total

(I also participated in a super-fast, ad-hoc freebie campaign on Smashwords where I gave away 9 additional copies, but I won't track any free copies here.)

At 99 cents a copy, royalties are anywhere from 35 cents to 81 cents based on which store it sells from and where the buyer is purchasing from. In actual cash, the book returned about $25 in royalties in April.

Considering I haven't really marketed beyond this blog and a few other mentions (thanks fairyhedgehog, Orlando, Evil Editor, and Lexcade who's been tweeting her heart out about it), I feel OK about the numbers of copies sold. I still haven't covered my image license fee of $31.60, but that's the only actual cost outlay I had for it; everything else was simply time -- copious amounts of time. I have a couple of venues that have agreed to advertise the book for free, and I've requested reviews from a number of sites, but no word whether any of them will review it.

The most frustrating thing, I must say, has been locating review sites that are open to reviewing self-pubbed e-books. If anyone knows any historical fiction or historical romance sites that do reviews of quality self-pubbed e-books, please let me know! (Ditto science fiction, fantasy, horror, or broad-minded literary fiction sites for Extinct.)

I'll watch for any fluctuations after reviews or marketing campaigns and let you know what seems to work and what doesn't. And if you have numbers you're posting somewhere regarding your books, please let me know!

Put This Tool In Your Favorites NOW

For anyone with books of any sort on Amazon, if you're not using the Novel Rank site to track your sales, you're really missing out on an addictive tool. In fact, even if you don't have a book out, you can while away some time looking at the stats of any of the books listed in its database. And if you don't see a book you'd like to track (such as a competitor's or a friend's), you can add it to the list. How many of each title did Amanda Hocking sell on Amazon last month? Find out. Note that if a book isn't being tracked yet and you add it, the tool will only track sales going forward, not retroactively.

I found the site a couple of days after Spoil went up for sale, so not all my sales are reported for April -- or for my best sales day so far, March 31. Figures. Here's what the report looks like:


Orlando said...

I know it will continue to do well. Keep going strong.

Slush said...

on the hunt for a review site for you. Stupid question but does a romance blog count???

I may be able to help in that arena.

FYI: This is on my I will spend money on list. Buying today. Lexcade had sometihng to do with it too.

laughingwolf said...

pulling for you... hope you make some lunch $$$, quickslike... then some super sales!

if you check my friend bernita harris' blog [link in my sidebar], you may get some ideas as to who may do a review, or two....

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Thanks, LW. I've actually wondered what's happened to Bernita. I announced her book launch here and "attended" one of her launch parties when Dark and Disorderly came out. She hasn't been blogging. Do you know what's up? I did check the review sites she's listed, thank you.