It is not, strictly speaking, especially necessary to take this post terribly seriously. This is one of those “get it out of my head and onto the page” things, and it’s not like I have the sense to make anything private, so y’all get to see it regardless.
I’ve been on a prolonged dry spell, fiction-wise, lately, and it has rolled through my head a few times in the last couple of weeks that it would literally take less than half an hour to utterly eliminate every trace of Luther Siler– remember, it’s a pseudonym– from the internet. It’s basically just a matter of deleting a bunch of social media accounts. I don’t think I’d be able to completely eliminate the books from Amazon since it would continue allowing used sales, but I could stop new sales.
And if I did that, I wouldn’t have to keep worrying about the goddamn sequel to Skylights, now, would I? Or feeling crap about the fact that I haven’t put anything useful on Patreon in weeks and those folks are sending me money.
Again, don’t take this seriously. The punch line is this shit isn’t even true– I wrote Skylights before I’d ever even imagined Luther Siler, and I’d been thinking about the fucking sequel for years before this blog even got started. So this goddamn thing is going to be hovering over my head until I write it or die, whichever comes first. I could 86 my Luther Siler identity tonight and I’d still be kvetching about this damn book in a month.
I dunno. This is how I work; I have prolonged periods of Nothing and then a switch in my brain will flip and I’ll write two books in three months. I was hoping that the pressure of the Patreon would get me better at reliably producing short fiction but apparently ha ha ha I’ll just take your money is winning instead. I mean, there’s a whole book on there, so it’s not like it’s a worthless investment, but I want regular new shit, and right now I’m not producing regular new shit.
Baaah. Need to kick this and get back on the horse. Just gotta figure out how.
I’m basically done with the “break” part of my break; I have the weekend and then I’m back to work on Monday. Usually by this point at the break I’m climbing the walls and chewing on my extremities; for the most part, other than yesterday’s post, I’ve managed to avoid going slowly crazy. I’ve gotten a fair amount of stuff done over the break. What I haven’t done is any of Luther’s stuff. It’s all been Clark Kent nonsense over here for the last couple of weeks.
My first priority in 2019 has to be to decide what to do with Skylights. I have so many half-written drafts of the sequel, under more than one title, that it’s frankly kind of ridiculous. That may or may not be the cover. It may or may not be the title. And once I have the sequel written I have to decide if I’m doing a second edition of the first book. A second edition wouldn’t be too different, but the first book already mentions things that didn’t happen in 2018 (because 2018 was, comfortably, The Future when I wrote it) and the events of the book are at this point far too close to Now for comfort. If nothing else, I need to remove specific dates, and probably rewrite the prologue to give the story some breathing room. I don’t think I can tie the events of the story so close to something that happened in 1984, for example; it just makes Gabe too old.
(20-minute break while I research the FAFSA and explain how taxes work for a former student; I avoid using the phrase “this would be easier if I adopted you.”)
Anyway, point is I gotta figure this shit out. And I probably should have reformatted some of my books to get them away from CreateSpace and over to Ingram over the break. And maybe done a new banner, since the one vertical banner I have is Skylights-focused. I should probably have one for at least one more of my books.
Point is, I didn’t spend as much time being Luther over the last couple of weeks as maybe I should have. And now I need to figure some stuff out over the next couple of days. This week shouldn’t be too hard (he said,) so I should have some brainspace left to get things done when I get home from work. And who knows? The next couple of days might be hugely productive.
Just, like I said, I’ve got some decisions to make, and a weight to get off my back.
This is going to be a very short post, considering the amount of work that went into it, because Amazon and Square don’t play nice with each other and neither of them makes it especially easy to get these numbers in a format that I like. HOWEVER! I haven’t looked at book sales in a systematic way in a while, so this kinda needed to happen. And, frankly, included some nice surprises.
Note that “Amazon” includes both paid sales and free downloads, and I’ve smushed together both physical and digital copies as well; nearly all of them are digital. The Square sales are sales in person; some of those are going to be free giveaways for one reason or another but all of them involve physical books given or sold to people by me. This is 2018 only:
Eight hundred and fifty-seven books seems like a lot, honestly. The little discrepancy you see with Click from 2018 to the total includes the 14 people who got free copies through Patreon, which is one of the only ways you can get the book (pledge more than $2 a month!) and the 9 on the Square set were sold in person at conventions, which is the other way to get it.
As of right now, my books are starting to drop off of KDP Select, which means I’m about to lose the ability to give them away on Amazon. I am either trying to get all six of them (Click isn’t on Amazon) on the same schedule or about to broaden back out and put my books on other sites again. I haven’t decided. As of January 2nd, everything will be off KDP select, so I’ve got a few more days to think about it.
The overall numbers really surprised me. I didn’t think I’d moved this many books.
So, basically, if you include the occasional sale that isn’t captured here (Barnes and Noble, Apple, non-convention personal sales that I didn’t bother recording in Square,) I’m probably at right around five thousand books sold or downloaded since I started doing this.
Which, on the one hand, is a larger number than I thought it was going to be, and on the other hand, if I look at actual money earned from this … yeesh. I’m not going to share that because Amazon accepts currencies from all over the world and I’m not about to start digging through my tax returns, but suffice it to say that I’ve absolutely lost money at playing author since 2014. Cons and hotel rooms and book printings and all that cost money, and again, a lot of those Amazon numbers are from giveaways, not sales.
The totals for in-person sales, which are included in the above– this is just a summation of the “Square” lines:
Which, again, this isn’t nothing. Every one of these represents an actual human standing in front of me who bought books from me. Am I J.K. Rowling? Hell no. But this is a lot larger of a number than zero, which is what it would have been when I started doing this.
I should probably set some hard and fast goals for 2019. Not yet; I need to absorb these numbers first. But maybe that post is coming. Tomorrow, the 10 best books of the year.
Ah, screw it, we’ll do it today. Christmas also falls under the “nobody’s paying attention” rule, right? 🙂 You ought to be able to click on any of these for a larger view, if you’re inclined to do that.
Overall traffic: basically right around the same amount as last year for pageviews, slightly down in everything else. That huge blip in 2015 is from the Syria post, which got over 100,000 pageviews and hugely inflated absolutely everything, and I was also posting twice a day or more most days back then. I haven’t been able to keep that pace up. Hopefully next year we’ll have a visible upward trend.
I wrote more here than last year, but still not close to the pace I was setting in the early years– which, let’s be fair, was insane. Still, over 100K words isn’t nothing even if it is technically my second least-productive year.
Geography. This is this year:
And this, slightly more filled-in, is all-time:
I still prefer the way they used to do things, where that heatmap was a lot more useful, but basically I’m still looking at traffic from all over the world except for kleptocracies, hardcore Communist countries, bits of Africa, and Svalbard island. Top 10 countries for 2018 are the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, India, Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, Norway and Indonesia. All-time is a little different: the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, India, Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, France and Norway. I’d love to know what caused me to get more popular in Malaysia, which has had 40% of its all-time traffic just in 2018. And this little bit of weirdness still persists:
I have still never gotten a single hit from Kosovo. There has GOT to be something going on with the way WordPress calculates traffic that makes it impossible. I just don’t know what. Have ANY of you ever gotten any traffic from there?
(I do have 28 hits from the “European Union,” which is kinda weird, and I wonder if those are the Kosovo ones and are just tabulated strangely. 28 would be roughly in line with the rest of the countries in the area.)
The top 10 individual posts for 2018 will not surprise anyone who has been around here for a while:
The popularity of the Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews series continues to inexplicably endure; the Mini Force post is the #1 Google result for “Mini Force review” and was, all by itself, responsible for nearly 20% of my site traffic. The Snowpiercer review had a single day this year where it didn’t get any traffic, which is the first time that has ever happened. And I have no idea what the deal is with the “bad student” post. None of these make any sense to me at all.
And, for the record, after the top 10 posts (I’m ignoring the home page,) six of the next seven top posts are also CCPR posts.
Nothing I wrote this year really blew up; the difference between #1 and #10 up there is only about 40 pageviews, which isn’t much, and there’s still two CCPR posts up there. I wrote three of them this year; the post for THE DAY MY BUTT WENT PSYCHO doesn’t appear to have benefited from whatever dark sorcery is driving traffic to the rest of them for some reason and is right in the middle, traffic-wise, of posts written this year.
Finally, just for the hell of it, referrers:
All of those Fark referrals are to the Snowpiercer post. I assume the lion’s share of the search engine posts go to the top 10 one way or another, and then there’s the 3000 referrals from Facebook that are keeping me from shutting my Facebook page down for good. Nothing too surprising here, one way or another.
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