Monday, March 18, 2013

Status Report - March 2013

Well, it finally happened. For the last three months, my sales on the iBookstore have been closing the gap on Amazon sales. In February, Apple sales of my books edged past Seattle's darling. It wasn't by much though, just a few dollars, i.e. two books. For the record, Barnes & Noble still outstrips both of them by five to one.

Don't ask me why my sales patterns are radically different than so many other indie writers. I don't get it either.

Ironically, today Joe Konrath talks about why he pulled all his books from other retailers and went exclusive through KDP Select.

I'll be the first to admit I don't come anywhere close to Joe's numbers. After talking with several friends who are indie publishing, the radical difference in sales through the various retailers only means book sales are still in upheaval. There STILL ISN'T a perfect answer to best-seller-dom.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm planning some experiments regarding exclusivity for this summer. (To my readers, don't worry. None of the experiments will involve already established series!) I'll definitely report the results.

1 comment:

  1. From what I've heard from various people in various places, different people have different "best" vendors. Until Emerging Magic came out, I never sold squat on Amazon, frec. -- two books in a month was a major sales spike for me. I'm (still) selling less than squat at B&N. My best vendors pre-EM were ARe and Fictionwise, and they still do okay.

    But I've heard from people who sell a lot more on B&N than they do on Amazon, and others who sell best at ARe. I think the pivotal factor is where you've caught on, by whose audience you've been noticed. I buy most of my e-books from ARe these days, and know a lot of other people who do too. I used to buy a lot from Fictionwise, and knew a lot of other people who did too, especially when they had their 50-60% off sales. If you catch on with someone who shops at Vendor X, and a lot of their friends do too, then if that person starts pimping your books to their friends, you're going to get more sales at Vendor X.

    I think most writers, whether small press or indie or both, aren't selling well enough for the various vendor bestseller lists to be a factor. Seriously, there are only a hundred Top-100 slots, right? [wry smile] But there are many thousands (tens? hundreds of thousands?) of indie and small press writers. It's great for Joe to talk about how manipulating the ranking lists has worked for him, but that's not going to work for most people.

    I think it's more valuable at our level to get in with a community of readers who are into what we write. Anyone's Top-100 list is a zero-sum game, but being popular among members of, for instance, the M/M Romance group on Goodreads isn't. People can squee about as many good books as they want, so if you're good, you can get some word-of-mouth among a community without a specific book having to be one of the best one hundred sellers.

    And because you never know which community (or communities) you're going to catch on with or when, I think exclusivity is a bad idea in the long term. It can obviously work if you're already popular enough to manipulate the top of the rankings lists, but below that you're just cutting yourself off from many thousands of readers.