This being a quasi-Three Jaguars sort of post… yesterday, I finally caught up with my accounting and had a look at my statistics. They surprised me! So, some fun facts:
My revenue right now comes from the following sources:
67% – e-books
11% – web comic
10% – print books
10% – Earthrise serial
01% – audiobooks
And that’s the kit and caboodle. Not in the running at all are print and original sales, merchandise sales or Kickstarter monies (since I haven’t run any campaigns yet this year). Some other interesting statistics:
Despite a great deal of positive feedback, Earthrise has been my poorest-earning serial to date! And that’s counting my little-known/read serial edition of Flight of the Godkin Griffin (which had something like 50 subscribed readers that I knew of). Length isn’t part of that: both The Aphorisms and The Admonishments did better, and they were shorter by about 50 episodes. Rosary also did better, which surprises me, since Rosary isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
I should clarify here that even my “poorest performing” serial is still making a lot more money than one would suspect for something that’s being given away for free. It may be that Black Blossom‘s near five-digit earnings have skewed my expectations.
Anyway! I’m not sure what’s behind Earthrise’s curious performance. My guess is that the content makes it the sort of book people prefer to read in one sitting, so I’m thinking it will do better as an e-book than it did as a serial, particularly with its beautiful cover.
The web comic is also not doing as well as I expected: I’m glad I’m not depending on it for my livelihood! I was expecting to see some merchandise/related book sales, but it hasn’t really inspired any of those if my referred links/royalty statements are any indication. This may indeed be a single-year experiment: as much as I like doing the art, it uses up all my drawing time, so I haven’t done anything except web comics for four months now (aside from quick doodles).
My suspicion is that web comics might need more than a year to ramp up to their full potential, in the same way novel-writing does. Given that, though, I’d rather write novels. But who knows! Something surprising may happen between now and the end of the year. So we’ll keep on to our December 31st date with destiny (Business Manager’s account books).
Even if the web comic ends up being a single-year experiment, I don’t regret doing it at all. It’s been tremendous fun, and I will certainly leave it up for people to peruse for humor and business advice in the future.
My e-book royalties are off the charts. In fact, right now in April I’m seeing double the e-book royalties I made last year. The whole year. This is mostly due to the big brouhaha in February with the Games Workshop thing. My sales numbers have dropped back to normal-for-me in subsequent months. If I got even half the amount I made in February on a monthly basis, I would be over the moon with delight…! I will have to do my part by writing more books. Which brings me to—
—my final observation, which is that the common wisdom is true: series are good money-makers. Sales have been gratifying following the release of the rest of the Stone Moon trilogy; thanks to near real-time tracking from Amazon, I can watch people buy book 2 and then move on to book 3, or start on book 1 and then go on to book 2 and 3 within a couple of days. This seems like a do-able way to succeed. Even an otherwise low-profile indie author like me can get to the point of comfortable earning with enough series out there, as long as readers can easily figure out which book belongs to which series, and what order to read them in. So I’m going to focus on that for a while.
That’s what I’ve got (“and why,” Marketer Jaguar says, “it’s important for me to see the numbers along with Business Manager.”). I should note, this post is not intended to inspire pity or money! I am analyzing my numbers to see where it’s useful to spend my time, which is an important part of running any business. If seeing any of this makes you anxious about helping me (or nudging one of your favorite projects back into my immediate queue), I recommend telling your friends about my work, blogging about it or reviewing it. Those things help! Word of mouth is king. :)
Now, back to work with me.