One thing I quickly notice is the problem with sales and borrows with my KU/KOLL books. For December, I had 50 borrows. That breaks down like so, with actual income being what I earned and regular income being what I would have earned on sales:
- Dulce Base: 36 borrows on a cover price of $3.99 ($48.61 actual income vs. $99.36 regular income)
- Sell, Design & Tour Your Book: 3 borrows on a cover price of $9.99 ($2.86 actual income vs. $18.36 regular income)
- Tour Your Book: 3 borrows on a cover price of $3.99 ($4.29 actual income vs. $8.22 regular income)
- The Warring States Books 1-3: 3 borrows on a cover price of $9.99 ($4.29 actual income vs. $20.7 regular income)
- Florida Sinkholes: 1 borrow on a cover price of $1.49 ($1.43 actual income vs. $0.52 regular income)
The only book I came out on top on was the Florida Sinkholes, 35-page short horror novel. Most of those, however, you can see I lost a bit of money on.
| || |
Or did I? Would those books have been bought otherwise? Looking at their sales for the preceding quarter or even the whole year, it’s likely some wouldn’t have been. I will say that the sci-fi novel Dulce Base may have fared better, and I do think KU might be hurting it. So in that regard, it depends on your genre.
But what if it’s cutting into the sales that book might have gotten? For Tour Your Book, for instance, I have about 2 to 3 sales on it a month. For December I had just 1 sale but 3 borrows. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t tracked borrows that much, but that’s changing this year – too much is at stake. And for this particular book, I expect sales to half while borrows double, I just expect that because the market for this book – authors – will be utilizing KU to save money on their book purchases, it’s just in their nature.
That said, what else can I do? It’s clear more Florida Sinkholes will help my bottom line, but will that help my author brand? Having that 3-book box set of The Warring States certainly makes readers happy with me, but will that allow me to keep producing?
Some authors will complain that they can’t live on poverty-level wages, and that gives me a huge advantage – I already do! Yes, I do expect belts to tighten this year, and I expect a lot of big name authors to whine incessantly about it. It’s their livelihood after all, and I’m taking a part of it.
Comparing Amazon with Smashwords
- Apple: 722 sales
- Baker & Taylor: 19 sales
- Barnes & Noble: 189 sales
- Flipkart: 18 sales
- Kobo: 14 sales
- Oyster: 5 sales
- Page Foundry: 45 sales
- Scribd: 25 sales
- Sony: 14 sales
- Textr: 1 sale
That’s 1,052 sales, which is a lot more than the 164 sales I managed to put together for the first 3 quarters of the year. Obviously I need to take a look at how I’m reporting and recording for Smashwords, but I know I’m not the only author that’s frustrated by their draconian accounting system.
Updating my totals, therefore, gives me 3,090 total books sold now. I’m simply amazed by this. Up until yesterday I thought I’d just passed the 2,000 books sold mark, and was pretty happy about that…but also wondering why it’d taken so long. Turns out I blew by that some time ago.
Something else that really surprises me is that I got 1,052 sales from Smashwords in 2014 and 1,046 from Amazon.
I actually got fewer sales from Amazon…and I’m not sure all the reports from Smashwords are in yet!
If you throw the 132 POD Createspace books in with Amazon, then yes, I do get more from the “eBook behemoth,” but not by a whole lot. Really, I need to seriously consider my Smashwords marketing, and primarily iTunes, as the bulk (68.6%) are coming from that channel.
iTunes is a serious player in the eBook market, and I need to explore which titles are selling well there and figure out how to increase that. That will certainly play into what kinds of books I write in 2015, big time.
Wow, lots of stuff to think about, huh? I’m glad I know how to use spreadsheets, and if you think you’d like to do something like this and want my template, just contact me using my contact form and I’ll send you a copy. Why? Because if you want the help, I’ll give it to you.
I want to make one thing clear, however. I never bought into the idea that there’s an infinite market and that by helping fellow authors in your genre you’re helping yourself. I just never did, and that’s because I’m a hardcore capitalist. Hey, I lived in “Communist” China for 5 years…what do you expect!
So I know business is cutthroat, I’ve been running one for two years now, and you’re reading one of my main profit engines. I’ll still be churning this blog out a year from now, but many other authors that aren’t as disciplined as I am won’t.
But what will you do? You’ve seen what my sales are like, can you match that? I can just let those back titles pull in money while I sleep, and that pays a good portion of my rent. This year my goal is to have my monthly eBook income pay all my rent, and I think by summer I’ll get there, and stay there, consistently.
That’s my goal, what’s yours? I hope you’re thinking about it, because that first month of the year is already halfway gone. It’s time to get working. Yes, those writing projects, the ones that won’t waste time.
So what’s the plan for 2015? I hope you’ll stop by in the next day or two – I’ll have it up and ready for you!
Happy writing…and reading!
You Might Also Like
Your 2014 Self-Publishing Game Plan
What Do You Do After Hitting ‘Publish’ on Amazon?
I’ve Sold More than 1,000 Books
I’ve Sold More than 3,000 Books
My Publishing Philosophy