Ten weeks on, it’s time for an update, and I’m happy to provide sales figures, royalties, and all that guff - although be warned, it’s not an exact science. I probably should have waited until March 1st to upload the book, as the February 19th start-date kind of skews the figures a little. Also, this post is being written on the morning of April 29th, which means it’ll be out by a few copies come midnight on April 30th, but not by enough to influence the general trend.
Anyway, on with the show:
FEBRUARYSo they’re the stark figures, which mean that that there’s a modest but pleasingly upward curve on sales, and that I’m currently €50.78 in the black.
February 19 - 28 Kindle US: 23 copies sold (net royalty $8.05)
February 19 - 28 Kindle UK: 8 copies sold (net royalty £2.08)
Total books sold: 31
March 1 - 31 Kindle US: 58 copies sold (net royalty $20.30)
March 1 - 31 Kindle UK: 27 copies sold (net royalty £ 7.02)
Total books sold: 85
April 1 - 29 Kindle US: 89 copies sold (net royalty $28.43)
April 1 - 29 Kindle UK: 14 copies sold (net royalty £2.71)
Total books sold: 109
February 19 - April 30: total books sold: 225
February 19 - April 30: net royalty (in euro): €50.78
That said, I should point out that I had a new cover designed for the epub book, which cost me nothing, given that the designer, JT Lindroos, was kind enough to do so for the sake of a quid-pro-quo plug on Crime Always Pays. It’s also true that the book had previously been edited, so I didn’t have any editing / proofing costs. It’s also the case that I formatted the book myself, so I need to build in the hourly cost of the formatting (it took me about three hours). Then there’s the amount of time I spent on promoting the release, which included emailing people, responding to very kind offers of interviews, and generally doing various kinds of admin. It’s difficult to put a figure on that kind of time, though, given that a lot of the work was done early in the morning, so that it wasn’t eating into my work-day schedule; let’s just say that if I was to be scrupulous about it, I haven’t broken even yet.
On the upside, the ebook of EIGHTBALL BOOGIE has received seven five-star reviews to date, and you’ll have to take it on faith that I didn’t post any of those reviews myself, or badger friends and family into doing so. As this is an experiment of sorts, it would defeat the purpose; besides, there’s an ethical line there that I refuse to cross, not least because there’s a singular joy to be had when an unsolicited review pops up from a reader who enjoyed your work.
On top of all that, the stark figures tell me this: that in the last ten weeks or so, 225 people read my book. Perhaps not all of it, and it would be ludicrous to believe that everyone who read it liked it; but if even a quarter of those people liked it, then there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll tell other people about it. That, to me, is the real investment here. If you’re a writer, it’s nice to think that you might be earning a few bob from your writing; but crucially, fundamentally, it’s far more important to know that people are reading your work, and that a goodly number of those who read the work, like it. Does that smack too much of ego? Perhaps. But I guess that’s the trade-off, that the writer’s ego is stroked, and the reader gets a good return on their investment of time, patience and $0.99c.
Anyway, and never being one to shirk from making things more difficult than they need to be, and this being an experiment of sorts, I’ve decided to raise the price of EIGHTBALL BOOGIE from $0.99c to $2.99, beginning May 1st. There are a number of reasons for this, and they run thusly.
First off, there’s a perception abroad that readers simply won’t value a book offered at less than the cost of a second-hand book, and that may well be true. That said, you’d be hard pressed to find even a half-decent second-hand (or ‘pre-loved’) book at €2.99 these days, but that’s an argument for another day.
Secondly, and assuming I’m not deluding myself, a book that has picked up seven five-star reviews at $0.99c is likely to be just as enjoyable a read at two dollars dearer.
Thirdly, pricing the book at $2.99 allows me as a writer to avail of a higher royalty return from Amazon’s publishing programme - in other words, the royalty soars from 35% selling at $0.99c to 70% at $2.99. Naturally, this makes perfect sense to me as a writer, particularly if I feel the reader is still getting value for money. Whether the reader / audience / marketplace will agree is another matter entirely.
We’ll see. This is, as I say, a work-in-progress, an experiment of sorts, and it’s very possible that this time next month, when I publish the latest figures for EIGHTBALL BOOGIE, that I’ll be climbing down from $2.99 to $0.99c again, and devising a new cardio work-out for myself designed to burn off all those calories consumed by eating humble pie.
In the meantime, if you’re a blogger, reader, reviewer, tweeter, or simply fancy helping out, I’d be more than delighted to do any kind of interview, promotion, or whatever you’re having yourself. I can be reached at dbrodb(at)gmail(dot)com, providing I haven’t swanned off to Grand Bahama with that €50.78 royalty cheque burning a hole in my pocket …