Thursday, November 17, 2011

There's $$ in Them Hills: October Ebook Sales Report

I'm always looking for a clever title for these updates. If anyone has any clever titles please send one my way. I can't keep using Stephen King in my title! He'll come to my house and challenge me to a write off! I can't keep up with that guy! I figure people like the $$$ sign so maybe I'll just keep using that.

Anyway, here's the report on my ebook experiment for October. What you say? You're late! Well, I decided to move these reports to the middle of the month because that's when Amazon sends me my monthly sales records (up until that point it's a bit of guesswork as to exactly how many copies I've sold). So here is your first chart!

Aha, you say. Your sales dropped in October! Ha, so much for that yacht you were dreaming about when you sold all those copies of DUST in September. But wait, I say, let's celebrate the good news first. There have now been over 3000 copies of my self-pubbed books sold. As we speak 3000 people could be reading my words. Or playing games on their iPad. Anyway, that's a nice milestone to pass. It's also important to note that October was the second highest sales month so far.

I did expect sales to slow down after that first bump that I received in September. Mostly that's because I raised my prices. Dust was no longer $1.49 but was bumped up to $2.99. At that price I get the 70% royalty from Amazon. So for each 1.49 book I am making .52 cents (because any book priced at .99-2.98 is a 35% royalty), but for each 2.99 book I'm making $2.09 (or 4x as much). That means I only have to sell 1/4 of the number of books to make the same amount of money. That's math even I can do!

Ah, so let's talk about the money. And about the beautiful American dollar and the lovely British pound. Doesn't the image above make you all teary eyed? Anyway, wipe away the tears. In September my income from U.S. sales on Kindle was $557.64 and from UK Kindle £216.49 which, once converted, adds up to about $897.98 US (I won't further complicate this by converting to Canadian since our dollar is nearly the same as the US). That's a nice tidy sum for very little work (err, if you don't count the weeks it took me to figure out all the various ways to convert files and upload all that ebook "stuff").  So I made $898 dollars by selling 1467 books in September. In October I made $251.96 from US Kindle store and £339.35 from the UK Kindle store for a total of $785.12 U.S. Except this time I only sold around 493 copies. And obviously it's easier to sell fewer copies than it is to sell more.

Two other short observations. One is that the October sales were partially propped up in the UK store because I was giving The Hunchback Assignments away for free for two weeks of that month. The second is that I'm starting to have more sales through the UK store because I have 10 books available there and only 7 in the US (I'm publishing my three Hunchback Assignments books in the UK Store but they are published through Random House in the US).

The only problem with higher prices is that you drop out of the bestseller charts faster and therefore fewer eyes are seeing your books. Already I see that my November sales are slowing. I have yet to have a book "stick" in the charts for a long period of time.

What you want another chart? Look I don't just have charts up my sleeve! Oh, wait there's one right there:

This is the Amazon ranking for The Hunchback Assignments on UK Kindle charts. As you can see it was selling a copy every once in awhile, thus the zig-zag pattern. Then it went "free" on Sept. 23rd (creating that straight line) and became "paid" around October 16th and jumped up to about 1000th spot on the charts (which made it one of the bestselling kids books for a few weeks). It's continuing to slowly decline but it pops back up every once in awhile.

Does anyone have any glue? I'd like to stick it in the top 500 at the very least.

Until Kindle sticky glue is invented, I'll keep on keeping on!


P.S. I do refer to Kindle a lot. My books are sold on other sites. In October I sold 1 book on Kobo, 1 Book on iBooks, and 5 books on Barnes and Noble, so obviously it's easiest to talk about Kindle.


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Awesome! Love the charts!! And I have to wonder about seasonality ... everyone's gearing up for Christmas, but I don't think the e-book sales come until everyone's opened their shiny new Kindles. So Nov/Dec will be very interesting to see! As always, thank you for sharing!!

Unknown said...

Yes, I'm very curious about November and December and especially January when all those new kindles arrive in the hands of potential buyers. At this point November sales are slower than October...but in the wacky world of ebooks that can change in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Arthur I absolutely love these posts. Honest, informative, and putting realistically achievable numbers out. They make me smile.

Catherine Stine said...

Very exciting news. Congrats on making that 3,000th sale! Keep posting the details, it's never boring. I'm launching my YA futuristic thriller, FIRESEED ONE, on DEC 20th, so your post is that much more inspiring.

Kim Goldberg said...

Thank you, Art, for your useful and UPlifiting postings on your success and discoveries along the eBook trail! There's hope for the rest of us. (And I'm learning a lot here too.)

Doreen Pendgracs said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Arthur.

It's really quite fascinating, and I've only recently begun considering self-publishing options such as Balboa Press to maintain more creative control over my next book, broaden the distribution possibilities and reap a larger percentage of the rewards.

We authors really need to consider all options in today's changing marketplace and I appreciate you sharing your own experiences with us so openly.

Wishing you continuing success,
Doreen Pendgracs

Unknown said...

Glad I can be of help...and add a few smiles. : )

Renee Pace said...

Thanks for sharing and great blog. I have super glue - would that help? I'm seriously hoping all those parents will buy Kindles for Xmas for their kids and that will help us e-YA authors.

Unknown said...

One can never have too much superglue!