Saleswanking extravaganza! (Saleswankstravaganza?)


I have had an immensely productive day; it’s almost like I have to go back to teaching tomorrow and I’m trying to keep myself from going crazy.  I disassembled and reassembled (correctly!) two different sinks today, for fuck’s sake.  I’m like some sort of freakish monster.

Anyway, the two of you who are big number nerds like I am, click for large:


While I didn’t have a 300-download day like I did last month, at least I can be certain that all of those represent actual downloads to actual humans.  I broke away from the Siler Saturday formula a bit this month and sprinkled some free book days on various days of the week to see if anything made a difference, and given that my level of promotion on the day where I had 300 downloads in September was just about exactly the same as the two 25-download days in October, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the main factors in a free promo are 1) how generically busy Amazon is on that day, and 2) how highly ranked the book is as paid the day before the free promo starts.  In other words, it’s good to do a free promo right after you have a day with a couple of sales for that book, because that’ll push you into the low six figures if not the high five figures just on the strength of those couple of sales, and I think it gives the book a bit of a bump.  Again, though, this is all theory; I don’t have a lot of data.

Here’s how actual paid sales went, by the way.  This will easily be my most lucrative month from Amazon, especially once I work KENP money in there– more on that in a minute:


In other news, I’m immensely pleased at how well Searching for Malumba has done.  It’s had 24 sales in its first five days since official release, half of which were in print, which is outstanding, at least by my standards.  It’s moved twice as many copies as The Sanctum of the Sphere did in its first five days, and it already has more reviews than Sanctum does, although that required an email to my beta readers a couple days after the book came out that I’ll characterize as “pushy” and which reasonable humans would probably call “fuckin’ rude.”

I still love you guys, I swear.

Sanctum continues to be my redheaded stepchild, and I’m not sure why.  It’s my only sequel, but it’s a sequel to my most popular work and it’s good, goddammit.  I gotta figure out how to market it better.  Weirdly, it does just fine when I’m selling it in person– it just struggles online.

Anyway.  Let’s talk about KENP.  I am fascinated by this.  I just started seeing KENP reads recently– note that these are pages read by people who downloaded my books for free through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, and that I get paid about half a cent per page:


Here’s the same range of dates, only it’s just KENP pages for Skylights:KENP-skylights-only

I swear those are two different graphs.  Look carefully, you’ll find the differences!

There are 13 pages for BA Vol. 1 in there somewhere, and that little blip at the end is about 80 pages for Malumba.  Every single other KENP read I’ve had is for Skylights.  Now, Skylights, cover-to-cover, is 535 “Kindle Edition Normalized Pages” long, which is what KENP stands for.  Note that that means that on October 26 two different people read the book goddamn near cover-to-cover, or at least a lot of people read smaller chunks of it.

KENP doesn’t pay well– those thousand pages in a day of reading earned me less than six bucks– but overall for October I’m looking at about another $20something on top of what I made from sales.  Which isn’t nothing, I guess?  And I’ll freely admit that, while I love selling books, it’s actually even neater to log in and discover hey, someone’s reading one of my books RIGHT NOW, because that number was smaller than that earlier today.  

I’d love to know why Skylights is the only one getting any love, though.

June sales analysis

tl;dr version: Wellll…..

Spreadsheet of dooooooooom!

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Those of you who have made with the clicky have noted that this is sort of a mixed-news month.  The good: June was the 2nd best month of the year in terms of overall downloads, not far behind May, and without May’s advantage of a 52-sale book signing.  So that’s a plus.  I also did an end-of-the-school-year countdown deal on Skylights and The Sanctum of the Sphere that netted me my first day ever of double-digit sales on Amazon.  Yes, ever.  I also have continued my streak of no days with 0 downloads out to over two months– my last 0 day was April 19th!

Speaking of Amazon, though:  The bad news, such as it is, is that 2/3 of my downloads were through, meaning that I made very little money in June.  Now, I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it here: the point at this point in my career is not to make a lot of money doing this.  But making a little would be nice.  And Amazon was fucking brutal this month:

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Ouch.  That big spike in the middle is the countdown sale, but even the countdown sale had a zero day.  There were originally a couple of Kindle Unlimited borrows sprinkled through that horrible desert over the back half of the month, but they’ve changed their reporting to go with their new sales model and they’ve disappeared, making the graph even more depressing than it already was.

And here we get to the reason I post this and keep records like these: writers, did you see a drought in June on Amazon too?  Given how long my books have gone without sales, I’d expect sales ranks to be a lot lower than they are, and they’re falling slowly, so I think everyone had a bad month.  June may just not be a good month for booksellers in general, but I need more data.  Anyone have anything to report?

Saleswanking and statistical nerdery, May 2015

TL;DR version: May was a damn good month.

First, the Spreadsheet of Doom for the last 3 months, in illegible mode.  Click to make this into something you can read:

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 8.23.38 PMNow, even in its current unreadable state, you should be able to perceive some good news. Red days are days where I had no sales– and remember, a “sale” is a download regardless of whether I got paid for it.  The last day I had zero downloads of one of my books was April 19th.  I had zero no-sale days in May, which is fantastic.  And unprecedented.  That’s never happened before.  Hell, I only had four days in May that didn’t feature multiple sales.

I had a total of 175 sales in the month of May.  The majority of those were for Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1, which is free everywhere but Amazon– a total of 105.  73 of those were through, which I’ll need to devote a longer post to later, and which is currently my most active vendor.  The amazing thing is that even if you cut the OpenBooks sales entirely out of the total I still tied my best month of 2015.  The Sanctum of the Sphere  had 39 sales, and Skylights had 31.  My best day was, unsurprisingly, May 9th, which was the day of the signing.  I had 52 sales across all of my vendors.  Again, though, a testament to the strength of the month: you can delete all 52 of those and I’m still way over where I was in April.

I do not expect to hit 175 in June, although I’m probably going to do an end-of-the-school-year sale of some sort, so who knows.  July will be interesting as I’ve got a three-day con in Indianapolis that I’ll be attending.  We’ll see how well it goes.

But yeah.  I’m ecstatic at how the month went.

I spent the last couple of weeks trying to push my Twitter following again.  I think I’ve decided to get up to 10K and then spend at least a month or two sitting back and monitoring activity levels before trying to fiddle with it again.  I discovered that Twitter’s mucking about with their Analytics page again, and not in an entirely positive way, although some of the stuff is okay.  But check this nonsense out:

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Where the hell’s the X-axis, Twitter?  Is that daily?  Monthly?  Hourly?  What the shit?  This is no way to do a bar graph.  And while we’re at it, what in the blazing hell does “Ethnic Explorers” mean?

Problematic, right?  No math teacher would allow that graph to see the light of day.  It gets worse.  I use Crowdfire to control my various additions and deletions, and it recently prompted me to download a companion app called Stats.  Which I did.  And which gave me this:

IMG_2592That’s no axis at all.  Those are literally just weird little lines that don’t mean anything.  Now, if I click on any of those icons, I can drill down and get slightly more specific data, but there are still weird, contextless line graphs that provide absolutely no useful information of any kind.  Okay, my follows are up 268%.  From what?

Dreece’s line, by the way, has got to be wrong– he’s also showing no unfollowers for the last seven days and I don’t believe for a second that anyone’s account has that little churn.  Dude’s got nearly 3000 followers.  Something changed last week.

So, yeah.  A step in the right direction, sorta, maybe, but Jesus, people, take some stats classes.

Sunday #saleswanking: February

Man, but this was an uneven month.  This will be entirely unreadable if you don’t click on it:

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 8.39.02 AMOn the plus side: 73 downloads, which is about 20 more than last month, and with fewer days in February besides.  Also on the plus side: Feb. 7th was the first day I have ever gotten a double-digit number of people to pay me for stuff I wrote, which was a nice little barrier to break through.  Another milestone: a streak of seventeen days, going back into January, with no 0 sale days.  That’s great.

“Sales” at Smashwords also went pretty well– that three-day streak of five downloads a day was especially gratifying.  I also found out I had some movement at OpenBooks, and even made some money off of it.  Note that they’re currently in closed beta; I don’t know if you can get in without registering yet.  I’ll tell y’all more about them once the beta actually ends.

Not-so-good stuff: even without clicking you can probably see all the red on the back half of the month.  The back part of January and the first part of February were fantastic; the back half of February, not so much, and I’m currently on a three-day slide with nothing happening.  So blech.  Also, no sales of the print edition of Skylights, which is disappointing but really not surprising.  I suspect for me print sales are going to be mostly a vanity project for a while, although I’m starting to ramp up for my first signing event and those sales will appear on here when they happen.

On to March!  Hopefully the overall upward trajectory will continue.