Monday, November 15, 2010

Totally Blunt Conversation About Royalties: Internet Sales

Royalty Statement time again and with the exception of some suprising popularity in Nordic countries - there's very little of interest. Except internet numbers. And I'm waffling between how interesting they are or not. But here goes.

My least popular book, the first that was made available on the internet all the way back in 07 has sold 74 copies. That's right. 74. On my first royalty statement for that book it had sold 11.

The first book in my Mitchell series - Baby Makes Three - has sold 373. The second in that series, about a hundred less. And the third book sold 290 - but that book was on sale at Amazon for like...a buck. That series got some buzz on Dear Author, which I think bumped those numbers a bit.

The first of the O'Neill books which was out in August and these statements end in June had sold 7 e-books and they are only available on the eHarlequin website.

So...what does all of this mean to me? Well, remember I am a middle of the road author in a not best selling line. So, my numbers are way way different than say Presents or Desire. There is no doubt in my mind but that Harlequin is ahead of the curve on the internet sales of thier standard print books - in terms of pricing and availabity - they've bypassed the agency model drama. They offer GREAT promotions on thier website and I believe that most internet sales come from the eHarlequin website. I think for as confusing and misleading the Amazon sales rank numbers are the kindle sales are the numbers to watch - and not because you get a better idea of what's what - but because Amazon is becoming an e-book seller. I imagine most authors ebooks far out sell thier print books from that seller. I believe mine do. I think my best selling book probably sold 20 print books through Amazon.

I believe that sites like Dear Author and All About Romance can give you some sales - I believe more and more fans of those sites are buying thier books on an ereader. That said - for me, 98% my sales are still paper and a large portion are still subscribers. (I made up that 98% - I'm not doing that math on a monday morning).

So, it's interesting. Sort of. Frankly, having gone to conferences I expected to be blown away by the ebook sales - but maybe it just doesn't effect Harlequin the same way it effects single title books. OR maybe it's Superromance. Once again - a lot of theory - not much proof. But there you have it.


Stephanie Doyle said...

See I was blown away by the numbers. Not because they were huge, but just because a book that had been released in 2007 (a book that sold practicall nothing!) suddenly sold 100 copies on line in 2010.

Now granted the 100 copies didn't put a dent in my sell through - but I was just happy to see in a year where I had no books released that I was still selling.

I really think eBooks for category authors is a good thing. I'm about to pull the trigger on the Kindle. And I know that if I found an author I liked in category - I would absolutely start looking for back list. Now with eBooks that back list is more available than ever.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh I totally agree this absolutely changes the back list - and a writer's ability to get back our rights after the book has been out of print - now I understand the change in that boilerplate contract.

But having your backlist available for immediate purchase is incredible.

Sinead M said...

That does change the back list, especially for Harlequin authors. It's really sort of exciting.
I'm getting an e-reader soon... it's on my to buy list.

Eileen said...

I haven't seen huge ebook numbers either, although they do seem to be slowly growing. I think that as Kindles and Nooks and everything else become more affordable, we'll see even more of those.

I'm still not sure that it's worth it for a midlist author like me to be putting backlist up as an ebook on my own. It's an interesting proposition, though.

Maureen McGowan said...

These sure are interesting/confusing times with so much contradictory information.

My gut says that the growing popularity of e-books will be great for category authors in particular, because it extends the shelf-life past that month they are in the stores. But it still requires the readers of category romance to change their behavior and adopt the technology, so who knows...

Eileen, I've seen a lot of buzz about writers getting rights back and releasing on their own, too... It is an interesting opportunity right now... but I think whether it makes sense really would vary on a case by case basis.

Eileen said...

Yes, an in the good news/bad news kind of thing, most of my books have been in trade paperback. The rights don't revert back to me for awhile because they stay on the shelf longer.

It'd be kind of fun to release all four of my chick lit novels as an e-book package. I'd love to redo a couple of those covers, too. :-)

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