Self Published Books for SaleSelf-published books for sale
This is not the 99% of people who live their own living experiences in the field of authoring and publication. Let me speak about the realities of being a debutante, because no one has spoken to me about these figures. Would I have been a flop if I sell less than 80,000 units? Well, I know it's not good to sell a hundred, but outside of that....?
Publishers Weekly (2006): The typical live sale of the volume is 3000 units. In its first year, the first edition of the typical publication, which has sold 3,000 books in printing throughout its life, only sold 250-300 of them. In his life, the medium sized electronic volume, published only by the writer, sold 250 books. Selling less than 1500 issues from a conventional publishing house will generally be regarded by any publishing house as a business catastrophe, but a very, very small one that has given you an upfront payment of less than $1000.
So, I trust you do more than that. Well, if your editor gave you $100,000 and you were sellin' 5,000 books, you didn't make any cash, did you? Unlike my first volume, GOD'S WAR, for which I got $6,500 and which was earning its prepay in the first 6 month after only having been able to buy its first 5500 pieces.
It' sold over 20,000 since then, and I just got a cute little cheque for the one I got for it when it was only 6-12 in age. A little notebook. And I knew we had to dispose of about 5,000 to be a success because I had made the bill.
In the end we sold 60-70% in e-book, so I did very well. The reason why it is difficult to discuss figures and results is that every treaty is so different. Do you know that if you combine audio/foreign copyrights with your publisher agreement, when they resell those copyrights you will receive the royalty rate of the sale that is included in your agreement and applies to your upfront?
Audiomoney was helping all three GOD'S books (INFIDEL, RAPTURE), as well as the Science Fiction Book Club titles for GOD'S books, still the only (and out-of-print) hard cover issue of the books (even overseas titles would have been helpful, but I was never remunerated for the British versions of this show - I was in a constant fight with Night Shade since 2012, which even the SFA could not solve to everyone's contentment, and now attorneys are in it.
And the MIRROR EMPIRE has developed even better with an advanced payment of 7,000 dollars and more than 13,000 of them. It has also been selling audiovisual and international titles to Germany and the Czech Republic. It doesn't turn me or my publishers into billions, but it stops the light. So, while all this mid-list is sounding pink, I want to speak about the not-so-rosy material because I've seen sell numbers you would let the sobs of your intestines out on the pavement (ha ha ha if you're already at the sobs I've divided YOU ARE IN FOR A Surprise).
Some writers - some of whom you may have already known - have already written a few hundred of them. I have seen publishers' tables showing some writers who only sell a decade or so in eight month. As I recall, an writer sells four books in 12 month and I thought it was a spelling mistake, but it was not.
It happens with great authors and extraordinary books. Usually, in the case of numbers that are so lousy, there are a bunch of things that go awry at once - publishers fuck-ups, lousy timings, lousyitching to bookshops, no author-driven advertising, larger books that move to the top of the reviewer stacks, big breaking stories that are drowning out the sound, and yes, sometimes it's just not a great story, and so on.
Sometimes you're fortunate and your story has the right script, the right place, the right time, the right contents ("We Have Always Fought" is a great example of this), sometimes all happiness turns around at the same moment, across every single vectors, and you're just messed up. Nevertheless, I believe that as writers we have the possibility to turn a novel that could form such a shell into a novel with the strength of intelligent advertising and a position.
I say that as someone who almost didn't swim there for a while after RAPTURE only sells 2,000 of his first two years (it's going to sell more now - the hit of MIRROR EMPIRE is pushing folks to get my back list. GW books are good. Never did I market the second two books of the show, and my editor had so far messed up and was no help).
But one of the things I learnt when I published it is that yes, the only thing you have complete command of is the words on the page. You do not have your coverage, although you may have little feedback (and the coverage is a giant driving force for sell. The MIRROR books are moving.
It is not up to you whether your reader likes your text and/or wants to share/speak with others. However, I am disappointed when writers whose books do not TOTAL attribute the external factor to their failures, while they say if they have a hit, it's just that it's a great work. A lot of big books don't make more than a few hundred bucks for their writers.
A lot of crappy books are sellin' million dollars. The MIRROR books are not better books than the GOD'S WAR books. But the MIRROR books had better cover, more publishing suppport and a more or less solvency publishing house, in additon to a huge boost in market. I was often informed that MIRROR sold out its first copy and sold out its first few weeks and was out of stock for several moths, which REALLY had an impact on prospective purchases.
It was a crappy publisher I couldn't keep track of. In fact, we don't know what my full authoring capacity is if everything on the publisher side is right. That prompts me to look at the next few books that have similar prepayments: So I did some vaguely maths on LEGION, and to acquire out my $20k progress I have to be selling a mixture of hard cover and e-book, which is about 8,500+/- cipi? and I want to do that its first year.
Compare it to my other SF track, GOD'S WAR, which with me as an unfamiliar writer cleaned up almost 7,000 of its first year with big publishers fuckups: Thinking about all these figures, I am naturally remembered for the anecdotic tales I hear from other writers who have been reading my progress in the publishers, who are less sellers than I am and who are making greater progress.
The only thing I have to deal with are my numbers, which is why I try to get them free and split them (publishers who look at Bookscan would run away. I' m still selling most of my books in electronic form). Publishing houses sometimes make choices that have nothing to do with the figures.
When they carry a bestselling writer upstairs, they can take on authors who don't sell as much because they like them and their books. I' ve been through some of the hardest releases (and I'm still in). I' m working really well with a lot of different companies (something has to work for ONE of them.... right?).
We are also becoming more and more interested in what is beautiful outside the field of publication. Meanwhile, I'm dropping off three books this year and not terminating my daily work.