Tuesday, December 21, 2010

November sales, total revenue and expenses so far

 (Amazon November sales reports came in today.)
Here are my sales numbers so far:

I hit my goal of selling 30 copies of Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance in the first month on about Dec 15! Excellent! I’m average 2.3 books sold per day in December! Mucho excellent!
The release of the DDDDance novel has definitely increased my DDDDeeds anthology sales. Since the novel was released, sales of the anthology have tripled! I frequently see sales for each go up at the same time. I’m guessing that people are buying both because of the low price of the anthology ($0.99). That’s a good omen for when I get more full-length novels published.
My revenue since I started epublishing
49 copies of Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds = $17.15
53 copies of Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance = $108.12
Amazon Associates earnings = $33.49
Total Revenue  = $158.76
Unfortunately, my expenses far exceed that:
Production costs for Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds = $612.50
Production costs for Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance = $1,477.50
Miscellaneous expenses = $30.84
Advertising expenses = 205.34
Total Expenses = $2,326.18
Net Loss = $2,120.84
Still in the red, but at least now I’m also making some money. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to break even. If I don’t spend any more on advertising (freezing my expenses), I would have to sell 1060 copies of the novel to break even. I’m hoping I can sell that many in 2011.
As you can see, the self-publishing route has a lot of up front costs that can take a long time to earn back. If you take the traditional publishing route the publisher pays those expenses, plus you get an advance (generally up to a few thousand dollars). However, it takes a lot longer to get published, and the author has to give up a bunch of rights - the publisher sets the book's price, chooses the cover art, chooses the title, and pays the author 6% - 15% royalties on the cover price (compared to the 70% that Amazon pays ebook self-pub authors).
On the plus side, I have two books in the pipeline. A how-to book on formatting ebooks for Kindle and a YA action-adventure novel. The former has zero production costs, so it’ll be a good way to increase my profit. The latter, however, will require another $1,500 or so to publish.
So, here’s hoping that all those new Kindle Christmas gifts will provide a good boost to ebook sales!


  1. Derek,

    Hey, those are pretty good book sale numbers for being so recently published. It'll be interesting how January and February numbers hold up, whether they stay same or go up/down, to see the staying power of your books. What kind of advertising are you doing, besides this website? Are you participating in Kindle forums or blogs?

    My biggest challenge is advertising: how to get people to know my book exists.


  2. Manley, I'll be posting about paid advertising tonight! Stay tuned.

  3. I'll also stay tuned. I've been lurking on your blog since about a week ago.

  4. My own sales started out just as modestly and then actually decreased in December. This was not surprising to me, since not only was I not advertising, I engaged in almost no social networking either. I was pretty busy with finals at school. So although I spent less than you did, I also made less and am still in the red also. However, I also have another book coming out, and will be social networking a bit more, at least until my school schedule heats up again.

    It seems to me your advertising did have some effect, though it still might not be worth the cost.

  5. Derek,

    It looks like most of the money you've put into up front costs has to do with editing. I was curious if you had considered finding an amateur editor or not editing except for yourself in order to see how much of a difference it would make it terms of your sales.

    $1,000+ is a bit of an exceptional cost for a self-publishing effort that is going up for $2.99, and I feel like it might be an unnecessary one.

  6. Matthew, that's a good point. But, Joel is the least expensive professional I've been able to find. I'm okay with the expenditure, because I know I'll make it back someday. I worry about free editing because you get what you pay for.
    I work as a professional technical writer and I work with technical editors every day. So, I value their work.

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