Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Best Sellers and Sales Outlets

I like my publisher, Phaze. Every month they give me a breakdown of the books I’ve sold, where I’ve sold them, and how much Royalty I’m due. My books are sold on the Phaze website but also through Fictionwise, All Romance e-books, Kindle and other, less well known book stores.

My sales reports are sent to me two months in arrears – that is at the end of Feb/beginning of March, I was sent December’s report. And each month contains sales from different outlets. The Phaze website reports ‘immediately’, that is December’s report contains December’s sales through the website. Kindle is a couple of months behind – December’s report contained September’s sales.

But AR.e and Fictionwise report quarterly rather than monthly. In November I got AR.e sales for the three months to September and the same period from Fictionwise was reported in December.

I’ve now got six quarters of ‘full’ sales information from the date that Charlotte’s Secret was released and a further quarter of figures from the Phaze website alone. Here are a few interesting (or not, depending on how you look at it) facts and figures.

Firstly, Charlotte’s Secret is my best seller, with a whopping 77% of all time sales. Lost & Found is second with just 15% and Kissed by a Rose is third with 8% - but then, it’s been out for over a year less than the other two. It’s also not surprising that Charlotte’s is the best seller in terms of number of copies for the simple reasons that not only has it been out the longest, but it’s also the cheapest of the three. As can be evidenced when you look at Royalty income.

Charlotte’s makes up 65% of my all time royalties, Lost is 19% and Kissed is 16% - double its percentage in terms of copies sold, but then it is twice the price of Lost and three times the price of Charlotte’s.

So, this leads to an interesting question – should I concentrate my efforts of novella length pieces rather than novel length? The shorter (and so cheaper) books clearly sell better, but the revenue from them is considerably less. Perhaps a healthy mix of both is best. Which still means I should churn out a shorter piece pretty soon to balance things out.

Something to think about. Let’s move on.

In terms of sales outlets, I sell by far the most copies on Fictionwise – some 68%. 20% of sales have come from the Phaze website, 11% from AR.e and a measly 1% from the Kindle store. I suspect that this is because Fictionwise discount the books to some extent – and this shows in my royalty distribution. I get much higher royalties from books sold from the Phaze website. They make up 37% of my royalties (compared with just 20% of sales remember – that’s almost double), whereas Fictionwise is just 50% of royalties (compared to 68% of sales).

All very interesting I’m sure you wouldn’t agree. Forgive me for being a statto. It’s in my nature.

One other interesting thing to say is that the quarter to September saw a spike in sales at Fictionwise. And that spike wasn’t in sales of Kissed (released in June) but in Charlotte’s. The question is... Why? What did I do in terms of marketing during those three months to cause the spike? Or did I do anything? Was it just random? Of course, because the spike covers three months, I don’t know if it was spread evenly over that time, or as a result of one specific thing I did. And I guess I’ll never know.

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