Sunday, March 13, 2011

1846 and 1762

One thousand eight hundred and forty-six. That's how many self-pubbed books I'm selling daily.

This is an average of the 12 days and nine hours (March 13, 9am) my books have been for sale this month.

For those who are interested in numbers, here is how the 22848 books sold breaks down:

CreateSpace
603 books
$1457 earned

Nook
648 ebooks
$1047 earned

Kindle
14485 ebooks @ 99¢ (14 titles)
$5070 earned

7014 ebooks @ $2.99 (14 titles)
$14,238 earned

Which means that so far this month I've earned $21,812.

In other words, I'm making $1762 a day, or $73.44 an hour, or $1.22 a minute, or about 2¢ a second.

If this rate stays steady, in a 365 day period I'll earn $643,130.

Of course, I don't expect this rate to stay steady. I expect it to go up. Just like it has consistently for the last two years.

Ereaders will keep coming down in price. Many more will be sold. Plus I'm going to put ten new ebook titles up by Xmas.

Certainly I can't be the only one blown away by these numbers. Especially considering the route it took to get here.

In April 2009, I made $607 self-pubbing.

In April 2010, I made $4041 self-pubbing.

For April 2011, I'll likely make $52,860.

Now, let's see how I analyzed my data last year in June.

I guessed that if I could sell 5000 ebooks a month (which I thought was doable), I'd be able to earn $120,000 a year.

I also predicted there would be more indie writers in the Top 100 (at the time, I believe I was the only one), and some would wind up do better than I'm doing.

Turns out I underestimated both how many I'd sell, and how many other writers would sell. (And it really tickles me to see my reaction 12 months ago.)

Now there seems to be a lot of worry on the world wide web about ebook prices "racing to the bottom." I'm pretty sure my latest figures contradict that, and I think the worry is based on a skewed sample.

You can't study the Top 100 ebook bestsellers on Kindle and apply those ratios to the other 900,000 Kindle ebooks for sale on Amazon. Data always falls into a bell curve. The Top 100 won't apply to the rest of the ebooks that are for sale.

I've sold over 14k ebooks for 99 cents so far this month, and have made $5k. The majority of these sales (11781) are from The List, which is currently #17 on the Top 100.

But my $2.99 backlist, while not as high profile as the Top 100 books and not selling as well, has earned me almost three times as much money as my 99 cent ebooks.

I think that's a pretty good argument for $2.99 still being a viable price point overall. It just doesn't seem to be a viable price point for cracking the Top 100.

But even then, there are a few $2.99 indie ebooks in the Top 100. And soon I'm going to raise the price of The List back to $2.99, to see what happens.

Should be interesting...