After a few months I lost track of how many I was selling; it’s surprisingly hard to monitor because the dashboard sales reports are mostly on a rolling 30 day basis and each category of royalty payment is broken down into different marketplaces: UK; USA and Canada; Europe; Australia etc. My books are being sold through Kindle Direct Publishing (ebooks and kindle unlimited pages), Createspace (paperbacks ordered via Amazon) and Ingram Sparks (paperbacks ordered via bookshops). I’ve also sold a good number directly.
The other day I spent some time generating reports and working out exactly how many books I’d sold, and this is how it breaks down: 45% kindle ebooks, 20% kindle unlimited (440 pages read is considered one book), 20% direct sales by me, including to small bookshops where I provide the books, 15% paperbacks to other bookshops via Ingrams. These percentages are for the number of books sold, not profit. If I work out the financial percentages, kindle direct publishing earns me about 88% of total book royalties. This is because I make about £2.20 per £3.99 ebook sale, and only between £0.35 and £1.53 per £8.99 paperback. There’s a misconception that the more expensive paperback is more lucrative for an author but this is not the case at all. The people making money from paperbacks are the bookshops, not the authors (certainly for self-published authors. I don’t know about traditionally published authors, although I suspect that unless they are best-sellers, the people making money from their paperback sales are the bookshops and their publishers and agents. At least as an Indie Author I don’t have to share my royalty payments with anyone. Except my kids, lol). By the way, much of the last sentence is pure speculation on my part – I’m just stumbling around in the dark here, learning as I go. It could be that traditionally published authors are making a lot more per paperback sale because their publisher has paid for a large offset print run that makes the unit printing cost much lower than the print-on-demand model used by me. I dunno.
The biggest surprise to me was the kindle unlimited pages. There is much advice ‘out there’ for authors not to go exclusive to Amazon for their ebook and to sell through other outlets like iTunes, GooglePlay and Nook. I initially went exclusive to Amazon because it was simpler and I had no idea what I was doing. But I became aware that every day many pages were being read, I just didn’t know how much money I was getting from it and the other day when I ran a report that separated the kindle unlimited figures from the regular ebook downloads I was pleasantly surprised at how lucrative it was. I will definitely be staying exclusive to Amazon and enrolled in the KU programme. I suspect it’s a lot to do with the type of reader – my typical reader is probably a lot like me, and if I wasn’t spending so much time writing and had more time to read, I would definitely sign up for KU. It’s a great scheme and relatively cheap if you are an avid reader.
Maybe other Indie Authors have a completely different experience – it’s probably very dependent on type of book and publicity undertaken. This is just a rambling summary of my self-publishing journey.
If you’d like to hear more, I’m doing a talk in Waterstones, Inverness on my two books and why I decided to self-publish them from 1-2pm on Sun 8 October 2017. Later that day, at 2.30pm I’m taking part in a ‘self-publishing panel conversation’ with two other self-published authors.
Here is a link to the programme for the Ness Book Fest – loads of brilliant free events, 5-8 Oct 2017: https://nessbookfest.wordpress.com/2017-programme/
And if you would like to be kind (no pressure, obvs) and buy one of my books, the links are below. GLASDRUM ebook will be only 99p (normally £3.99) from 9am 18 to 24 September 2017 – a bargain! Buy it please – and leave me a review too, why not!
GLASDRUM: http://amzn.to/2o0dnnI – Cheaper than chips for the next week!
DAUGHTER, DISAPPEARED: http://amzn.to/2eCnZRf – still slightly more than a portion of chips but much better for you