PDA

View Full Version : 32% of the 100 top selling e-books on Amazon each week, on average, is self-pub



KatyPerryfan19
01-14-2014, 09:32 AM
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303640604579298604044404682



In 2013, self-published books accounted for 32% of the 100 top selling e-books on Amazon each week, on average.


I don't know where the article writer got the information from, since Amazon is tight-lipped about everything, but the percentage seem way too high to me.

Ava Glass
01-14-2014, 12:09 PM
Actually, Amazon shared the 2012 percentage, which was 25%:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/04/amazon-kindle-ebook-sales-indie-publishers

This was before the peak of the New Adult boom, so I expected 2013's percentage to be higher.

gothicangel
01-14-2014, 01:05 PM
I would be interested to know whether 'top selling' is the same as 'paid for.'

Even if the figure is correct, this still means 68% of Amazon's top selling ebooks are released through trade publishers.

AVS
01-14-2014, 02:16 PM
When I browse on Amazon for a new title I might find interesting, I tend to look at the number of reviews and rating. If it's say 4 stars and has over 50 reviews, then I might buy it. Who published it is irrelevant to me.
Of course to get to a point where you generate reviews then a publishing house is enormously helpful, and is probabilistically adjusted the most likely path to success.
I am surprised the number of trade released books is down to 68% already. Disintermediation in action.

Liosse de Velishaf
01-14-2014, 02:49 PM
I don't think that figure alone is very illuminating. We'd need to have a clear explanation of how those lists are arrived at.

Ken
01-14-2014, 03:08 PM
Hopefully this will help self-publishing authors gain respect. It is a viable course and is not just some vanity-stoking preoccupation. For some, yes. But most certainly not for all. So quit that sneering and tend to the OP's cited stat:

32%

Thirty two percent !!!

Terie
01-14-2014, 03:55 PM
Amazon is notorious for skewing statistics in such a way as to make more money for themselves. Amazon is making a huge amount of money from people self-publishing their e-books, while putting only as much investment into the task as it takes to keep the servers running. I daresay this is more about encouraging more people to self-publish Kindle books than it is about, yanno, actual facts.

I might trust the figures a bit more if Amazon didn't have a solid history of skewing and obfuscating them.

Yes, self-published books are doing better now than almost ever before, and that's great. But if anything, there are fewer now in the top 100 Kindle paid lists than only a few years ago. Back in, oh, 2009 - 2010, almost all the top-selling Kindle books were self-published. Now? Not so much.

_Sian_
01-14-2014, 05:37 PM
I would also presume it depends on the genre you're looking at. Some genres seem to be (I have no stats, just talking from anecdote here) more accepting of self pubbed stuff/self pubbed authors have more success than others.

AVS
01-14-2014, 06:00 PM
I wouldn't make the assumption that Amazon is deliberately skewing. They might be, but the number whether it be 32% or 25% is still big. I don't think me hoping it's not happening confronts what is probably the reality and the long term trend.

As I mentioned above, I don't care who published a particular piece, and nor I suspect do many others. A market place like Amazon, in effect an open access market place, (bookshops were closed access market places), then people can see the wares in a way they couldn't twenty years ago.

The trick, I suspect is knowing both how to get the quality reading you want, create the quality reading you want or if you're a publisher make sure you still get enough pie, which might mean increasing volume of books processed and decreasing quality. All of that is guess work, I know there are experts, trend followers and futurologist on here who will have a better understanding.

Perhaps the music industry provides a guide to what is happening to publishing.

Buffysquirrel
01-14-2014, 06:13 PM
Amazon wouldn't need to be deliberately skewing for the numbers not to differentiate between ebooks sold and free downloads. Judging by my friends who s/p using Amazon, giveaways of s/p books are very common. I wouldn't consider a free download to be a sale.

Terie
01-14-2014, 06:15 PM
I wouldn't make the assumption that Amazon is deliberately skewing. They might be, but the number whether it be 32% or 25% is still big. I don't think me hoping it's not happening confronts what is probably the reality and the long term trend.

I'm sorry, but I don't get what you mean. Back in the 2009-2010 timeframe, something like 90% or more of the top 100 Kindle paid list was self-published. How is even 32% better than 90%?

What we've actually seen happen over the past several years is the number of self-published books in the top 100 getting smaller, not bigger. That trend might -- or might not -- reverse itself.

Maybe you should check out the Best Ebook Publishers in 2013 — Hachette, Penguin Random House on Top of Publisher Power Rankings (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=282870) thread, which includes a quote with this tidbit:


Below is a list of publishers who have made the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list in 2013, ranking them by number of appearances.

1 Hachette 258
2 Penguin Random House* 230
3 Random House 146
4 Penguin 102
5 Self-published 99
6 HarperCollins 91
7 Simon & Schuster 72
8 Macmillan 68
9 Amazon 46
10 Scholastic 27

(The linked article has more that this. I just grabbed the top-10 list.)

Using those numbers, which are from a more reliable source, fewer than 10% of just the top 10 sources on this list are self-published. 99 of 1139 = 8.6%.

Heck, that 8.6% is a hell of a lot better than 10 years ago, and good on the authors who are successfully self-publishing. But it does put things into a better perspective, IMO.

AVS
01-14-2014, 06:29 PM
I'm sorry, but I don't get what you mean. Back in the 2009-2010 timeframe, something like 90% or more of the top 100 Kindle paid list was self-published. How is even 32% better than 90%?

What we've actually seen happen over the past several years is the number of self-published books in the top 100 getting smaller, not bigger. That trend might -- or might not -- reverse itself.

Maybe you should check out the Best Ebook Publishers in 2013 — Hachette, Penguin Random House on Top of Publisher Power Rankings (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=282870) thread, which includes a quote with this tidbit:



(The linked article has more that this. I just grabbed the top-10 list.)

Using those numbers, which are from a more reliable source, fewer than 10% of just the top 10 sources on this list are self-published. 99 of 1139 = 8.6%.

Heck, that 8.6% is a hell of a lot better than 10 years ago, and good on the authors who are successfully self-publishing. But it does put things into a better perspective, IMO.

Thanks for that. It's the first time you've mentioned the 90% number. I was working only with the number I knew about.

I guess the other factor is total volume of kindle sales, presumably the early high occupancy by self-published reflected a technology adoption cycle?

Terie
01-14-2014, 06:38 PM
I guess the other factor is total volume of kindle sales, presumably the early high occupancy by self-published reflected a technology adoption cycle?

Yep. And back in that time-frame, the self-publishing evangelists (as opposed to level-headed self-publishers, with whom I have no problem) were pointing to that number saying (in effect, not an exact quote), 'You see! Self-publishing is taking over!'

So they went from 'yay we have 90% and are taking over' to 'yay we have 30% and are taking over.' They don't get it both ways.

The facts are simple and plain. Self-publishing is more viable now than it has been for a long time, maybe ever. But trade publishing still dominates the market. It took the large publishers a little longer to catch up with the e-book/e-reader explosion (they couldn't possibly have predicted when that explosion would occur, though they knew it was coming), but they caught up and took back the lead very quickly once it did.

Sheryl Nantus
01-14-2014, 06:39 PM
I think I'd rather spend less time analyzing statistics and more time writing.

Who the hell knows what it means? I sure don't.

But if I don't write something it doesn't mean anything...

:)

Alessandra Kelley
01-14-2014, 07:02 PM
Hopefully this will help self-publishing authors gain respect. It is a viable course and is not just some vanity-stoking preoccupation. For some, yes. But most certainly not for all. So quit that sneering and tend to the OP's cited stat:

32%

Thirty two percent !!!

I am confused. Who is sneering?

shadowwalker
01-14-2014, 07:09 PM
I think I'd rather spend less time analyzing statistics and more time writing.

Who the hell knows what it means? I sure don't.

But if I don't write something it doesn't mean anything...

:)

This. Statistics don't mean anything if the book you wrote sells nothing. That trade published books are at 68% is no big deal if mine has only a trickling of sales. What method is supposedly doing better should be a very small part of the decision-making process. More important is how a particular route will work for that particular author and their particular book.

veinglory
01-14-2014, 07:19 PM
Amazon wouldn't need to be deliberately skewing for the numbers not to differentiate between ebooks sold and free downloads. Judging by my friends who s/p using Amazon, giveaways of s/p books are very common. I wouldn't consider a free download to be a sale.

Amazon is typically very clear about excluding giveaways from ranking and listing. I doubt very much that free books effect this list. But there might be a 99c effect.

veinglory
01-14-2014, 07:20 PM
This. Statistics don't mean anything if the book you wrote sells nothing. That trade published books are at 68% is no big deal if mine has only a trickling of sales. What method is supposedly doing better should be a very small part of the decision-making process. More important is how a particular route will work for that particular author and their particular book.

This is the proportion of the top 100 best sellers. Ergo they are all books that are selling well.

Torgo
01-14-2014, 08:18 PM
This is the proportion of the top 100 best sellers. Ergo they are all books that are selling well.

Yep. But it's also a huge murky stew of different markets and market niches and prices and lengths and things.

The first big revolution in publishing as we know it was when the wood-pulp printing method was invented. This meant that paper - which used to be an expensive linen-based product - became cheap as (wood)chips. One of the many, many great things we got as a result was pulp fiction - the pulp magazines, the dime novels, the penny dreadfuls. Cheaply-produced genre fiction by the yard. Some of it, of course, was excellent. Most of it - the stuff that endured and made money - was as good as it needed to be, which is to say, entertaining and diverting.

But I don't think the dime novel was competing in the same market as the non-dime-novel, is the thing. I think it was an extra, complementary market or a new niche, swiftly colonised by publishers who found ways to commission prodigious amounts of words with magazine-publishing regularity. The guy in the OP's link who writes a book a month or better and sells them relatively cheaply - that's a new niche that looks just like an old niche.

So I see what Kindle have created and I look at my own company's ebook sales increasing steadily, relatively uncannibalised, and it looks to me like the charts show at least two different markets, the market in trade ebooks at trade ebook price points, and the market in very cheap books, often self-published (because it's hard to do that any other way); and also more people buying books overall, which I'd attribute largely to an expansion into that new niche.

I think this is where some of the friction comes in, because there's a right way to play baseball, and there's a right way to play cricket, and sometimes I get the impression that there's a baseball pitcher having a loud impassioned argument with a cricketer over whether the ball ought to bounce before it gets to the batsman, and neither are quite aware that they're not playing the same game.

Polenth
01-14-2014, 08:28 PM
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303640604579298604044404682

I don't know where the article writer got the information from, since Amazon is tight-lipped about everything, but the percentage seem way too high to me.

It doesn't surprise me given that Amazon encourages self-publishing on its platform and it's ebook only. The overall market share for all books from all retailers is going to be lower.

But as far as Amazon goes, the ebook thing is one reason why it's a significant percentage. Ebooks reduce production costs and allow authors to react quickly to market demand. Amazon makes it easy to distribute those ebooks. So it's made it possible for self-publishing to take some of the market share. What's unlikely to happen is for self-publishing to take all of the market (which wouldn't be a logical interpretation of the stats, but it's the one that gets floated around a lot).

veinglory
01-14-2014, 08:31 PM
I think Amazon's push for exclusivity is slipping as authors see that being in "Select" has only one advantage, only for those who want to give freebies on Kindle (something you can do at any time on other sites). Self-publishers are beginning to report peak sales on other sites now. So I suspect that as they diversify, the picture will become even muddier.

MacAllister
01-14-2014, 08:36 PM
But I don't think the dime novel was competing in the same market as the non-dime-novel, is the thing. I think it was an extra, complementary market or a new niche, swiftly colonised by publishers who found ways to commission prodigious amounts of words with magazine-publishing regularity. The guy in the OP's link who writes a book a month or better and sells them relatively cheaply - that's a new niche that looks just like an old niche.

So I see what Kindle have created and I look at my own company's ebook sales increasing steadily, relatively uncannibalised, and it looks to me like the charts show at least two different markets, the market in trade ebooks at trade ebook price points, and the market in very cheap books, often self-published (because it's hard to do that any other way); and also more people buying books overall, which I'd attribute largely to an expansion into that new niche.[emphasis added]

I think this is where some of the friction comes in, because there's a right way to play baseball, and there's a right way to play cricket, and sometimes I get the impression that there's a baseball pitcher having a loud impassioned argument with a cricketer over whether the ball ought to bounce before it gets to the batsman, and neither are quite aware that they're not playing the same game.

This is really interesting, Torgo -- it suggests that the either/or dichotomy that so many people try to interpret the numbers to mean isn't in play. That actually, more people are buying more books, and at least some of the self-published books that are selling so well aren't gobbling existing market share, but have found new markets -- people who wouldn't otherwise buy books, or wouldn't buy as many books. Veinglory mentioned the 99 cent effect, which would seem to intersect with this trend, as well.

That's born out, I think, by the numbers we've seen coming out of trade publishing that suggest their numbers are up, not down.

Medievalist
01-14-2014, 08:42 PM
I think Amazon's push for exclusivity is slipping as authors see that being in "Select" has only one advantage, only for those who want to give freebies on Kindle (something you can do at any time on other sites). Self-publishers are beginning to report peak sales on other sites now. So I suspect that as they diversify, the picture will become even muddier.

I'm seeing rising sales on other sites not only for genre-specific sites, but for non-fiction books other than how to or self-help.

Self-help and how to self-published ebooks have always done well, but seeing non-fiction (history, biography, especially local history) rise has been a new thing in the last 18 months or so.

shadowwalker
01-14-2014, 08:53 PM
This is the proportion of the top 100 best sellers. Ergo they are all books that are selling well.

Granted. What I'm saying is that statistics about sales in general don't mean diddly when making a decision about which route to take. If SPs were capturing 90% of the top sellers at Amazon, it still wouldn't matter to me because I don't want to get into the publishing side of the business. I don't think authors should use these kinds of statistics to decide how to publish, in other words. There are other more important things to look at.

James D. Macdonald
01-14-2014, 08:59 PM
I don't know where the article writer got the information from, since Amazon is tight-lipped about everything, but the percentage seem way too high to me.

I'm certain the number is correct.

For one thing, it's the Wall Street Journal. And it's a specific number. Not the round "30%" or the squishy "a third."

I've also been tracking the percentage of self-published e-books in the top 100 on Amazon (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211494&page=26) for the past several years, and this falls right along the curve.

veinglory
01-14-2014, 09:07 PM
Granted. What I'm saying is that statistics about sales in general don't mean diddly when making a decision about which route to take. If SPs were capturing 90% of the top sellers at Amazon, it still wouldn't matter to me because I don't want to get into the publishing side of the business. I don't think authors should use these kinds of statistics to decide how to publish, in other words. There are other more important things to look at.

Oh, quite true. And people tend to over-estimate their potential success and underestimate the intangibles a good publisher provides.

Filigree
01-14-2014, 09:12 PM
It matches my much more limited tracking over the last two years, as well.

Without succumbing to confirmation bias, I *hope* this lower percentage indicates an increase in the overall quality of self-pub books making it to that top seller list. Without looking at samples of every single book on the list, I can't do more than suspect...and even then, my opinion could only be subjective to my tastes.

As far as Kindle Select, many of the self-pub authors I know are no longer even considering it. Having their work held hostage by Amazon exclusivity during that critical launch period is simply not worth losing other vendors. The jury's out on the benefit of providing free or $.99 downloads, too, unless it's to promote a larger backlist.

MookyMcD
01-14-2014, 09:19 PM
The number of books is close to, but not completely, irrelevant. I would much prefer to sell two books at $15 than eight books at $0.99, even if I have to settle for twenty percent of the books sold.

Liosse de Velishaf
01-14-2014, 09:27 PM
Granted. What I'm saying is that statistics about sales in general don't mean diddly when making a decision about which route to take. If SPs were capturing 90% of the top sellers at Amazon, it still wouldn't matter to me because I don't want to get into the publishing side of the business. I don't think authors should use these kinds of statistics to decide how to publish, in other words. There are other more important things to look at.


I feel like this point is often lost in the hullabaloo over sales numbers. Different people are different, and the same method isn't going to work for everyone.

veinglory
01-14-2014, 09:31 PM
I think there is a difference between sales volume and profit with the latter being more salient, but the former also having separate value.

Drachen Jager
01-14-2014, 09:40 PM
1) Most self-pub tends to be 'budget' priced. Amazon looks at total books sold, not revenue.

2) Amazon sells a lot of books, but it's only natural their figures will skew toward self-pub as those books aren't even sold in most other bookstores.

3) Those figures don't include endurance. How well do those books figure into the yearly scheme, rather than by daily measure?

4) In conclusion, meh.

MacAllister
01-14-2014, 11:48 PM
As far as Kindle Select, many of the self-pub authors I know are no longer even considering it. Having their work held hostage by Amazon exclusivity during that critical launch period is simply not worth losing other vendors. The jury's out on the benefit of providing free or $.99 downloads, too, unless it's to promote a larger backlist.


The number of books is close to, but not completely, irrelevant. I would much prefer to sell two books at $15 than eight books at $0.99, even if I have to settle for twenty percent of the books sold.

I'm seeing more and more active and informed SP authors urging one another away from the give-away and 99-cent model for novel-length work, especially.

One of the really fascinating things to come out of the popularity of e-books is seeing the market opening up for works of a previously awkward or unsaleable length -- novellas and novelettes can find readers without having to break into print publications and anthologies which have tended to skew to the 3K-5K length for short fiction, and that's been really exciting to watch.

Ava Glass
01-15-2014, 12:26 AM
One of the really fascinating things to come out of the popularity of e-books is seeing the market opening up for works of a previously awkward or unsaleable length -- novellas and novelettes can find readers without having to break into print publications and anthologies which have tended to skew to the 3K-5K length for short fiction, and that's been really exciting to watch.

Unfortunately, there are still readers who have issues with directly paying for shorter works. I hope these new subscription services help with that.

Torgo
01-15-2014, 01:04 AM
Unfortunately, there are still readers who have issues with directly paying for shorter works. I hope these new subscription services help with that.

The annoying thing with Kindle, for those of us who'd like to see more short-form and serial stuff out there, is that it's very difficult to set a price point lower than 99p. I may feel this short story is basically worth 50p, but I can't charge that, so short work essentially has to be for big brands or anthologised if it's going to look like value. Equally with subscriptions - and I think they're moving on that in the US? - it's irritating not to be able to serialise a book in a more user-friendly way on Amazon. They're the biggest platform and it'd be good business and good for our culture, I think, to make it a bit more varied in terms of the ways people can buy and sell.

DancingMaenid
01-15-2014, 01:18 AM
The number of books is close to, but not completely, irrelevant. I would much prefer to sell two books at $15 than eight books at $0.99, even if I have to settle for twenty percent of the books sold.

Eh, I'm the opposite. I'm more interested in having readers than money, so the latter would by far be preferable to me. I figure I'm going to write regardless, so any money I get is just a nice bonus.

It depends on the length of the book, too. $0.99 cents for a novel? Probably not a great profit for the amount of time you've put into it. For a 5,000 word short story? A little better profit (and how many readers are going to spend $15 for a single short story, anyway?).

That said, I think most savvy writers are moving away from $0.99 pricing these days. I would be hesitant to put my erotica at less than $2.99 because that seems to be what works best.

James D. Macdonald
01-15-2014, 01:50 AM
The other thing Amazon Select thing gives you is the Lending income.

The question is whether you'll get more books borrowed at Amazon than the total of all sales of the same title through B&N, iTunes, etc. etc.

As far as pricing, I'd rather price my short stories at $0.25, but there's no way to do that at Amazon, and Amazon demands to be the lowest-priced market out there. I do have some short-story collections priced at $2.99, novels at $3.99, and a novel collection at $7.99.

$7.99 is working out pretty well for me.

Filigree
01-15-2014, 02:00 AM
Eh, I'm the opposite. I'm more interested in having readers than money, so the latter would by far be preferable to me.

On another platform, just for 2013, I had over 10,000 readers. A very small number of those migrated to my blog and thence to my original fiction, and bought my work. I have plenty of ego-boosts and validation from that corner whenever I want it.

What I really want is to join the ranks of authors who are scratching out $30K a year in original fiction. I know plenty who are doing it, whether commercial, self-pub, or hybrid. At my age and health, it's unlikely I can get hired for the kinds of industrial jobs that paid so well in my past. I loathe retail work to my core. So writing and art are pretty much it, unless I want to go into tax stuff and bookkeeping. I'm having much more fun writing.

So I'm paying close attention to the marketing and self-pub strategies that are working for other authors.

Ava Glass
01-15-2014, 03:02 AM
The annoying thing with Kindle, for those of us who'd like to see more short-form and serial stuff out there, is that it's very difficult to set a price point lower than 99p. I may feel this short story is basically worth 50p, but I can't charge that, so short work essentially has to be for big brands or anthologised if it's going to look like value. Equally with subscriptions - and I think they're moving on that in the US? - it's irritating not to be able to serialise a book in a more user-friendly way on Amazon. They're the biggest platform and it'd be good business and good for our culture, I think, to make it a bit more varied in terms of the ways people can buy and sell.

I suppose Amazon thinks that if they lower the minimum to below .99, authors will start lowering their full-length novels below that. They'd probably be right.

I wish Amazon had different pricing and royalty structures based on length, but I suppose that would be hard to implement.


Equally with subscriptions

Not sure what you mean by that. I see Oyster and Scribd as more-or-less frictionless in this regard.

Ken
01-15-2014, 03:54 AM
I am confused. Who is sneering?

Apologies. I was just being rhetorical. The absent audience I was addressing consists of the many posters on the internet and occasionally IRL who sneer to put it mildly. No one here does that. Not once since I've been here. Good set of people. Like Mac mentions in her post, there are entirely new readers who have begun reading self-pub'd books. I'm not new myself but am new to an interest in them, thnx to a recent member here who told me how I can read kindle books on a PC which has opened a world of possibilities and makes it possible for me to access self-pub'd works much easier. So I've been searching about and reading occasional reviews which has a downside. There is almost like an active campaign to put down self-pub'd books. So much negativity. Here's a sample from a site I happened upon the other day along with one of those marvelous comments always attached to stuff of the sort. (I won't post the link because I do not want to give the individual any further platform. Anyone interested just rep me and I'll relay it.)



Self-publishing is for losers!


Find AN AGENT, submit to a Publisher and someday you'll be able to hold your head high and say, I'M A REAL AUTHOR!


Real authors would never try to circumvent the legitimate publishing houses.


:gaah

Again. Apologies for any confusion. AW is an above board board. It's cool that self-pub'ing is respected and not put down. And that goes for things in general. Supportive environment overall :-)

Torgo
01-15-2014, 04:42 AM
I suppose Amazon thinks that if they lower the minimum to below .99, authors will start lowering their full-length novels below that. They'd probably be right.

I wish Amazon had different pricing and royalty structures based on length, but I suppose that would be hard to implement.

Hard for Amazon, yes, so I think there's a niche to be filled. Nobody is quite there at this point.


Not sure what you mean by that. I see Oyster and Scribd as more-or-less frictionless in this regard.

I was talking about Amazon's (non)implementation specifically - not sure how Oyster or Scribd work yet. We're a bit behind in the UK - we only get to play with the cool new publishing toys a couple of years later!

gingerwoman
01-15-2014, 05:27 AM
I'm certain the number is correct.

For one thing, it's the Wall Street Journal. And it's a specific number. Not the round "30%" or the squishy "a third."

I've also been tracking the percentage of self-published e-books in the top 100 on Amazon (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211494&page=26) for the past several years, and this falls right along the curve.
Yup. There is really nothing surprising in these figures, if you're someone keeping track of what is going on out there.

I haven't self published anything, but I think people are burying their heads in the sand, if they still think only a few "outliers" are making money out of this.

gingerwoman
01-15-2014, 05:33 AM
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303640604579298604044404682



I don't know where the article writer got the information from, since Amazon is tight-lipped about everything,
Amazon is not tight lipped about who is selling well. They are not completely transparent, but they are more transparent than anywhere else I know of what with their rankings and novel rank, and their best seller lists in different categories.

J. Tanner
01-15-2014, 05:33 AM
Hard for Amazon, yes, so I think there's a niche to be filled. Nobody is quite there at this point.

Back before BN bought and gutted it, Fictionwise had a nice little short fiction ecosystem with pricing allowed in the sub-dollar range.

I think Google Play may be the only place you can really experiment with cheaper pricing, but it's trouble if you want to keep your story up on Amazon too due to the pricing terms.

thothguard51
01-15-2014, 05:56 AM
Not sure if anyone is taking SP volume into account.

SP is bound to increase its sales percentage each year just by the fact that the volume of self published titles per year far out way trade published titles.

You would think that self publishing would then have the bigger market share, at least in e-publishing, but it does not.

Trade publishing still has the bigger share and I feel that is because they get an authors books to where they sell.

gingerwoman
01-15-2014, 06:02 AM
SP is bound to increase its sales percentage each year just by the fact that the volume of self published titles per year far out way trade published titles.
.
Do they? I mean that as an honest question, I have no idea.

K.B. Parker
01-15-2014, 08:40 AM
I'm sure there are more self published titles than trade published released every year. But there is no figures on how many of those are personal copies (family stuff). Then you factor in how many writers are uploading without any clue what they are doing (I would imagine that's a high percentage).

What it comes down to is that if you have the will, the knowledge and the skill, then there's a good chance that you can succeed self publishing. The odds? Those haven't been studied and any argument about the number of successfull titles vs. the titles published is irrelevant, because we don't know the figures above.

The decrease from 90% to 32% is just spin. It's meaningless. We are talking about a point in time when the vast majority of titles available were self published. The numbers that matter are the increase year after year since the trade publishing world adapted E-books.

Somebody said that an increase in self publish sales doesn't necessarily indicate a decrease in trade sells. That's probably true to some extent. The point is that these numbers prove that self publishing is a viable option. It's not a fluke and success isn't limited to outliers.

Ava Glass
01-15-2014, 08:47 AM
We're a bit behind in the UK - we only get to play with the cool new publishing toys a couple of years later!

Scribd is more widely available than Oyster, but not all books are available in all countries.

http://support.scribd.com/entries/90983-In-what-countries-is-Scribd-available-

JournoWriter
01-15-2014, 01:08 PM
Ken, just FYI, the "Validation Publishing" site you quoted is a parody site.

Terie
01-15-2014, 01:31 PM
The decrease from 90% to 32% is just spin. It's meaningless. We are talking about a point in time when the vast majority of titles available were self published. The numbers that matter are the increase year after year since the trade publishing world adapted E-books.

Erm, no, I was not spinning anything. You might go back and re-read my posts.

The point I was making is that back when it was 90%, the self-publishing evangelists were touting it as proof that self-publishing was taking over. If anything, it was THAT that one could call 'spin'.

You weren't a member of AW back then, so you didn't have experience of trawling through the endless postings by people like Robin Sullivan (and others whose names I don't remember) with the lists that 'proved' that trade publishing was dying....see how most of the top-selling Kindle books are self-published?

You might not find it ironic that folks who claimed that 90% of top sellers being self-published proved something are now claiming that 32% of top sellers being self-published proves the very same thing. I do.

Ken
01-15-2014, 03:26 PM
Ken, just FYI, the "Validation Publishing" site you quoted is a parody site.

:o

Well that is good to know. It's a shame they all aren't parodies. But one less is a plus, especially as the writer is an established one.

ps There should be a law that all parodies and satire be appended with these fellas --> ;-)

thnx for the info

Liosse de Velishaf
01-15-2014, 03:31 PM
Erm, no, I was not spinning anything. You might go back and re-read my posts.

The point I was making is that back when it was 90%, the self-publishing evangelists were touting it as proof that self-publishing was taking over. If anything, it was THAT that one could call 'spin'.

You weren't a member of AW back then, so you didn't have experience of trawling through the endless postings by people like Robin Sullivan (and others whose names I don't remember) with the lists that 'proved' that trade publishing was dying....see how most of the top-selling Kindle books are self-published?

You might not find it ironic that folks who claimed that 90% of top sellers being self-published proved something are now claiming that 32% of top sellers being self-published proves the very same thing. I do.


I feel like this problem happens a lot on the internet, where someone joins a conversation late, and doesn't realize that that time difference has a major effect on where different people in the conversation are coming from. I remember the Robin Sullivan stuff, and while things may have shifted a bit now, it doesn't erase that history just because I lived it and someone else didn't.

LeslieB
01-15-2014, 04:42 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see in the article that the 32% was specifically fiction ebooks. It made me wonder, because I've never bought a self-published fiction work, but I've bought a ton of 99 cent Kindle cookbooks, gardening guides, and so forth.

jana13k
01-15-2014, 10:07 PM
Statistics can be used by any side to prove _____. And ultimately, it shouldn't matter at all when an individual makes a decision about how to distribute their work. The only thing that should matter is whether the author wants to be a publisher and is prepared to take on all the aspects of that job or not.

As far as money goes, it's very simple math. The bottom line is that it's easier to make money self-publishing with far fewer sales because the royalty rates are way higher. For me, it was a no-brainer. I've been running businesses for other people for years making them rich. Why not do it for myself? Not one year of my eight years of trade earnings (14 books published) was a livable wage. Self-publishing, I quit my day job as did my husband and our quality of life is somewhere we never dreamed it would be.

Would I ever take a trade deal again? It depends on the deal. After all, this is business. People who make it personal are those losing sight of the goal line.

veinglory
01-15-2014, 10:29 PM
I think it should matter what approach best meets their goals for that work, whatever they are. In which case data is needed to try and make that decision. Any particular datum means exactly what it is.

In this case a datum was raised and its accuracy questioned. The plausibility of its accuracy was established.

It is what it is.

Torgo
01-15-2014, 10:38 PM
As far as money goes, it's very simple math. The bottom line is that it's easier to make money self-publishing with far fewer sales because the royalty rates are way higher. For me, it was a no-brainer. I've been running businesses for other people for years making them rich. Why not do it for myself? Not one year of my eight years of trade earnings (14 books published) was a livable wage. Self-publishing, I quit my day job as did my husband and our quality of life is somewhere we never dreamed it would be.

Would I ever take a trade deal again? It depends on the deal. After all, this is business. People who make it personal are those losing sight of the goal line.

I'd just add a caveat about oversimplifying it. The royalty rate is not the only way to make money as a trade author. Indeed, it's somewhat secondary to the advance. If some of your books fail to sell as expected, the publisher has covered the risk, not you.

Comparing trade and self publishing based on the royalty rate also misses the fact that the lower royalty rate for the former reflects all the work done on the behalf of the authors that would otherwise need to be hired in freelance or done themselves. How many man-hours' work are those royalty points buying for you? As you say, people need to be prepared to take those on.

And we can't necessarily say that we could compare selling x books self-published with x books trade-published, directly, given that they are selling in different markets, at different price points, marketed differently, etc etc.

So I think in the end it is personal in some respects; self-publishing is going to be the smart choice for some authors and some books, and not for others. You can't just look at the headline figures - royalty rates, percentages of the top 100, whatever. It's hard to even look at someone else's experience to draw conclusions, I think. You need to make the decision that's right for you and your book(s), and it's an increasingly complex one.

jana13k
01-15-2014, 10:52 PM
I'd just add a caveat about oversimplifying it. The royalty rate is not the only way to make money as a trade author. Indeed, it's somewhat secondary to the advance. If some of your books fail to sell as expected, the publisher has covered the risk, not you.

Ah, but if you don't make enough money, you won't see another contract, which is another consideration. Yes, you may have gotten an advance, but that's an advance against royalties. Publishers drop authors do to low sell-through all the time. And once advances are parceled out at signing, d&a, publication, etc. it can amount to very little money in a single tax year.

My highest earning book in trade made me $25k, and I received that money over a three-year period, so average $8k a year. That was a book used to launch a new line, with print marketing, co-op and Walmart, Target, grocery store distribution. Because I had an established readership, I already had auto-buys when I started self-publishing. My last release in my new series sold 10k copies the first month. At a $5.99 price point, that's approx $41,000 for one month's earnings. My trade book sold three times that to make me far less money.

That's was my point about the royalty rates. You don't need 100k readers to make a very good living self-publishing. All you need to do is cultivate 10k autobuys.

slhuang
01-15-2014, 10:59 PM
The most interesting part of this article, to me, was that it seemed to highlight the type of process that I suspect lends itself best to self-publishing: people who are incredibly prolific and can write at a speed that enables them to release several books a year (and who preferably write in a popular genre). For some people, that's a perfect pace. But other writers' processes don't work that fast.

The article also did mention that the author they were focusing on spent quite a while making next to nothing on his first ten releases while sinking somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 (!) into the editing and cover art for the books that would eventually become his backlist (so to speak) before he gained traction. Not everyone has the resources to make that financial investment -- a lot of people would prefer a business partner (= a publisher) to shoulder the financial risk and in return take a cut of the profits.

I think both of these things are pretty important aspects to highlight about that author's particular success story. People who can produce a book every month or two in a popular genre who recommend SPing for everyone are overlooking the fact that the writer whose process outputs a literary fiction novel every two years would probably make next to nothing if s/he self-published. (On the flip side, it looks like SPing is pretty clearly the better choice for those authors who can do this!)

And the financial investment aspect is also an important one, I think. Not to mention that some writers just don't want to wear all the hats that SPers have to.

I love that SPing is opening up new market niches and offering opportunities to authors who are so wonderfully prolific! I also love that writers whose process and/or temperament and/or genre and/or finances aren't suited to self-publishing can partner with a trade publisher and go it as a team. And I love even more that authors can hybrid and do different things depending on the needs of each individual project, and leverage their successes with either type of publishing to bolster their sales across the board. I love all of these things.

I think SPing is absolutely wonderful for offering a wider variety of publishing choices to authors and for allowing for market niches that otherwise wouldn't have existed. I don't think it's going to take over the world, however, because there are still, and I think will continue to be, a lot of people/projects it simply isn't the best-suited approach for (and I'm honestly not sure why some SP evangelists seem to push it as the best approach for everyone,* as to me that's suddenly cutting out all the authors whose work and methods are better suited for trade publishing).

tl;dr: Everyone should do what's best for them! SPing is awesome and so is trade and it makes me happy to see them cheerfully coexist! Whee!

* eta: Not meaning to imply that that's happening in this thread. :) Just speaking in general.

Filigree
01-15-2014, 11:06 PM
Another factor may be the difference between starting out as a self-pub author, or migrating into it from an established commercial career. It seems like a lot of the early self-pub cheerleaders had already been published, had well-developed writing and self-editing skills, and at least some readership through commercial presses.

There's a world of difference between that and an unknown author loading an unbeta'd, unedited book onto Amazon one day.

veinglory
01-15-2014, 11:08 PM
You need to make the decision that's right for you and your book(s), and it's an increasingly complex one.

Indeed. Arguably intimately an intuitive choice -- but the more people know the more accurate that intuition will tend to be.

slhuang
01-15-2014, 11:16 PM
Another factor may be the difference between starting out as a self-pub author, or migrating into it from an established commercial career. It seems like a lot of the early self-pub cheerleaders had already been published, had well-developed writing and self-editing skills, and at least some readership through commercial presses.


Yes. From what I've seen (anecdotal but extensive reading... :)) there's absolutely a difference in result between debuting as a self-pub and migrating over after already having built a name in trade pub. Someone who's made a name with trade published books already has an established readership, whereas it's very easy for a SPed debut to sink beneath the ocean of books without a murmur. Many only-SPers don't start making money until they've started building up a list, whereas trade-to-self-publisher migrants seem to make a good bundle right off the bat -- understandably!

Most of what I've read seems to point towards hybrid publishing as the smartest play for many authors -- trade publishing gives creative support infrastructure and distribution and helps you build your name and readership, and self-publishing brings in the higher royalty rate and is perfect for the OOP backlist or for shorter works or for a more quickly-written series that's being published in parallel to trade-pubbed books....or any one of another variety of hybrid options.

Filigree
01-16-2014, 12:13 AM
Hybrid has been my plan all along.

I have an unpublished stock of quirky fantasy novels that didn't fit well into Big Five marketing categories. But I recognized that the erotic romance market was going in my direction. So I wrote something for that market, but still to my taste. It sold to a reasonably strong, well-known e-pub, and has made some decent sales over the last year and a half.

I sold a distantly-related erotic fantasy short story for a pittance to an anthology with a respected literary erotica publisher. I'm working on sequels to the novel. If I can build enough of a backlist with erotic romance e-pubs, that will help my finances considerably.

At the same time, I'm gearing up to self-pub mainstream and erotic romance fantasy in my larger story arc. A novella to start, but the novels themselves if my agent can't find a good Big Five home for the first one.

I already know that I'll be far below the $3K sales per month that some self-pub authors have claimed.

veinglory
01-16-2014, 12:20 AM
Hybrid is such an odd term. As if being self and third party published is akin to being part human and part chimpanzee--totally different species. It is more like being a human who likes to tango and also boogie.

Medievalist
01-16-2014, 12:23 AM
Hybrid is such an odd term. As if being self and third party published is akin to being part human and part chimpanzee--totally different species. It is more like being a human who likes to tango and also boogie.

It's confusing since "hybrid" is often used to describe a printed book with a bound-in or bundled CD-ROM, data card, or DVD.

Filigree
01-16-2014, 12:29 AM
It is confusing. Technology changes so fast, that each industry will often have different meanings for the same word. In book arts and fine bookbinding, what you described as 'hybrid' we might call 'multimedia book'.

Can we call ourselves 'chimera authors'? (Knowing the biological and mythological definitions of chimera?) The self-pub and trade aspects are often forcibly separated by the latter's contract restrictions, after all.

veinglory
01-16-2014, 12:33 AM
To me an author publishes, so really it just says you are versatile. We don't have a world for those who print and epublish, or POD and do print runs.

I think it is sad that authors need a term for having a foot in both "camps" when it comes to self-publishing.

Medievalist
01-16-2014, 12:36 AM
Ah, but if you don't make enough money, you won't see another contract, which is another consideration. Yes, you may have gotten an advance, but that's an advance against royalties. Publishers drop authors do to low sell-through all the time.

They also keep them all the time. Many trade fiction authors never sell through, but their publishers still make money.

The publisher's P & L is predicated on not losing money, but making money. They calculate very carefully what the book will cost them to acquire, edit, design, produce, print and distribute.

It's going to depend a lot on the person and the book. It's worth doing a P & L for books ourselves to decide whether it's better to self-publish or seek a publisher.

jana13k
01-16-2014, 01:34 AM
They also keep them all the time. Many trade fiction authors never sell through, but their publishers still make money.


I'm referring to sell-through based on ship out, not author advance.

Medievalist
01-16-2014, 01:44 AM
I'm referring to sell-through based on ship out, not author advance.

That's pretty much immaterial in this context, frankly.

The author keeps the advance whether or not the publisher considers sell-through adequate.

The author keeps the advance whether or not the book earns out and starts garnering royalties.

There's no guarantee either way in terms of whether or not a publisher will publish another book by the same author—even if the first book does well, does superbly well, or totally tanks.

Books aren't commodities.

The author and the publisher and even the agent make their decisions based on a specific book.

Kylabelle
01-16-2014, 02:07 AM
The publisher's P & L is predicated on not losing money, but making money. They calculate very carefully what the book will cost them to acquire, edit, design, produce, print and distribute.

It's going to depend a lot on the person and the book. It's worth doing a P & L for books ourselves to decide whether it's better to self-publish or seek a publisher.

Forgive me, but, was P & L defined upthread somewhere, and I missed it?

I am following this hoping to learn, because I am by no means knowledgeable about either trade or self publishing. I do gather that in order to make a good decision about which course to pursue, writers need a lot of information about what each path will mean in terms of work for the writer, responsibilities of the writer, rewards for the writer, etc. It seems often there is a lot of enthusiasm and perhaps loyalty among writers for one method of publishing versus the other, but how do you find the nitty-gritty info you need to make a basic choice for any particular book?

I realize that's a huge question, but it's in the spirit of trying to understand this that I'd love to see some terms defined for those like me who are not familiar with them.

So, what's P & L, for starters?

:D

ETA: And if this information exists already in one of the very wonderful FAQs posted here and about, I'll blush and slink away quietly. :D

Medievalist
01-16-2014, 02:27 AM
P & L = Profit and Loss; it's standard in all sorts of businesses, but they're typically quite detailed for publishing, done on a book-by-book basis, and the P & L follows a book through its lifespan. They're called something else in the UK, but the principle is the same.

Here's a birdseye intro from Anna Genoese (http://alg.livejournal.com/84032.html)

It's from a few years ago, so the costs aren't current, but the principles are.

There are others available too.

Kylabelle
01-16-2014, 02:38 AM
:e2smack:

I kept trying to think what it could be, and it is so obvious. :D Thanks, Lisa.

The term I've been reaching for, which this jogged loose, is "cost/benefit analysis" which is not quite the same thing, I don't believe, but which is a term I've heard applied to many endeavors and situations outside a purely monetary concern.

What I am hoping can be developed, somehow, is a sort of cost/benefit analysis flow chart of questions and considerations that a writer can use to help determine what publishing path to take, ideally to include non-monetary considerations and intangibles that people might not think to take into account.

*goes to look at link*

Norman D Gutter
01-16-2014, 08:04 AM
Comparing trade and self publishing based on the royalty rate also misses the fact that the lower royalty rate for the former reflects all the work done on the behalf of the authors that would otherwise need to be hired in freelance or done themselves.

So what you're saying is that the author indirectly pays the publisher to do these things for him, the payment being made through a lower royalty rate. Thank you. That's what I've been saying for a long time.

K.B. Parker
01-16-2014, 08:33 AM
Another factor may be the difference between starting out as a self-pub author, or migrating into it from an established commercial career. It seems like a lot of the early self-pub cheerleaders had already been published, had well-developed writing and self-editing skills, and at least some readership through commercial presses.

There's a world of difference between that and an unknown author loading an unbeta'd, unedited book onto Amazon one day.


Yes. From what I've seen (anecdotal but extensive reading... :)) there's absolutely a difference in result between debuting as a self-pub and migrating over after already having built a name in trade pub. Someone who's made a name with trade published books already has an established readership, whereas it's very easy for a SPed debut to sink beneath the ocean of books without a murmur. Many only-SPers don't start making money until they've started building up a list, whereas trade-to-self-publisher migrants seem to make a good bundle right off the bat -- understandably!

Most of what I've read seems to point towards hybrid publishing as the smartest play for many authors -- trade publishing gives creative support infrastructure and distribution and helps you build your name and readership, and self-publishing brings in the higher royalty rate and is perfect for the OOP backlist or for shorter works or for a more quickly-written series that's being published in parallel to trade-pubbed books....or any one of another variety of hybrid options.


Hybrid has been my plan all along.

I have an unpublished stock of quirky fantasy novels that didn't fit well into Big Five marketing categories. But I recognized that the erotic romance market was going in my direction. So I wrote something for that market, but still to my taste. It sold to a reasonably strong, well-known e-pub, and has made some decent sales over the last year and a half.

I sold a distantly-related erotic fantasy short story for a pittance to an anthology with a respected literary erotica publisher. I'm working on sequels to the novel. If I can build enough of a backlist with erotic romance e-pubs, that will help my finances considerably.

At the same time, I'm gearing up to self-pub mainstream and erotic romance fantasy in my larger story arc. A novella to start, but the novels themselves if my agent can't find a good Big Five home for the first one.

I already know that I'll be far below the $3K sales per month that some self-pub authors have claimed.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://beverleykendall.com/files/self-publishing.pdf&hl&chrome=true

There's a section in that survey that relates to self published authors who were trade published first.

shadowwalker
01-16-2014, 09:13 AM
So what you're saying is that the author indirectly pays the publisher to do these things for him, the payment being made through a lower royalty rate. Thank you. That's what I've been saying for a long time.

Considering that many authors never receive royalties (because their books don't earn out) but do receive that advance, I'd say they're still getting a bargain. It's not out of pocket money, either, or spent only on the hope they'll earn it back.

Terie
01-16-2014, 12:24 PM
Considering that many authors never receive royalties (because their books don't earn out) but do receive that advance, ....

An author who is paid an advance has been paid royalties. That what the advance is: it's royalties paid in advance.

If you had a financial emergency and your employer gave you a $500 advance ahead of your paycheck the next week, you wouldn't then say that you didn't get paid for $500 worth of work on that next paycheck. You were paid in advance.

An advance isn't some weird kind of signing bonus. It's an advance against royalties.

MookyMcD
01-16-2014, 12:50 PM
I think her point was, if you get a $5K advance and would have only earned $3K in royalties, you still have $5K. I did not get the impression she was unaware of how it worked.

Terie
01-16-2014, 01:00 PM
I think her point was, if you get a $5K advance and would have only earned $3K in royalties, you still have $5K. I did not get the impression she was unaware of how it worked.

Yeah, Shadowwalker probably does understand how it works.

But the choice of words can leave someone who doesn't know how it works with the wrong idea. We're writers here, and how we use words is important. There are many writers who believe all kinds of untrue things about the trade, and language such as 'some writers don't earn royalties' can be extremely misleading to people who don't know enough to fill in the missing phrase 'beyond the advance'.

I'm certainly not going to apologise for clarifying an extremely important point for people who don't know how things really work.

Old Hack
01-16-2014, 02:37 PM
Hybrid is such an odd term. As if being self and third party published is akin to being part human and part chimpanzee--totally different species. It is more like being a human who likes to tango and also boogie.

Yes! I agree.


I'm referring to sell-through based on ship out, not author advance.

You can't base sell-through on ship-out (I assume you mean what I've always referred to as sell-in) or on author advance. A book might or might not sell through, but that has nothing to do with it earning out its advance. I agree there is some correlation between sell-through and sell-in, in that if a book doesn't sell in then it's going to be difficult for it to sell through: but I might have misunderstood your comment because it seems nonsensical to me. Could you clarify, please?


P & L = Profit and Loss; it's standard in all sorts of businesses, but they're typically quite detailed for publishing, done on a book-by-book basis, and the P & L follows a book through its lifespan. They're called something else in the UK, but the principle is the same.

I've worked at publishers who refer to them as P&Ls, cost/price build-ups (CPBUs), financial forecasts--all sorts. But the general principle is the same, I think.


The term I've been reaching for, which this jogged loose, is "cost/benefit analysis" which is not quite the same thing, I don't believe, but which is a term I've heard applied to many endeavors and situations outside a purely monetary concern.

What I am hoping can be developed, somehow, is a sort of cost/benefit analysis flow chart of questions and considerations that a writer can use to help determine what publishing path to take, ideally to include non-monetary considerations and intangibles that people might not think to take into account.

That would be really helpful but I suspect it would be almost impossible to produce.

There are so many different publishing issues to consider, and every one of them would be influenced by the writer's own preferences, and the work they had produced (style, genre, and competence would all play a part).

I'd like to see someone try, though.


So what you're saying is that the author indirectly pays the publisher to do these things for him, the payment being made through a lower royalty rate. Thank you. That's what I've been saying for a long time.

That's not what was said at all, Norman. Stop trying to stir things up.


But the choice of words can leave someone who doesn't know how it works with the wrong idea. We're writers here, and how we use words is important. There are many writers who believe all kinds of untrue things about the trade, and language such as 'some writers don't earn royalties' can be extremely misleading to people who don't know enough to fill in the missing phrase 'beyond the advance'.

It's a difficult balance, isn't it?

I try to remember that we're not just replying to the people who we're replying to: other people will also read our conversations here, and it's so easy for a lack of precision to lead to misunderstandings.

Similarly it's easy for our insistence on precision to lead to hurt feelings when we (especially me!) wade into a conversation and set things straight. It's often done in an attempt to make things clearer, and to help the writers involved, but it can seem abrupt or rude. We do have to be careful.

evilrooster
01-16-2014, 05:58 PM
I'm referring to sell-through based on ship out, not author advance.

You can't base sell-through on ship-out (I assume you mean what I've always referred to as sell-in) or on author advance. A book might or might not sell through, but that has nothing to do with it earning out its advance. I agree there is some correlation between sell-through and sell-in, in that if a book doesn't sell in then it's going to be difficult for it to sell through: but I might have misunderstood your comment because it seems nonsensical to me. Could you clarify, please?



Quick vocabulary question: what do the terms sell-through, ship-out, and sell-in mean?

Torgo
01-16-2014, 06:15 PM
That's not what was said at all, Norman. Stop trying to stir things up.

(I did sort of say that, to be honest.)

Torgo
01-16-2014, 06:17 PM
Quick vocabulary question: what do the terms sell-through, ship-out, and sell-in mean?

Sell-in: the number of books we can persuade bookstores to buy and stock. Otherwise known as 'sub' (subscription) and probably 'ship-out' as well.

Sell-through: the number of books the bookstores manage to sell to customers. So you might sell-in well but sell-through poorly - that's when you get returns.

When you print, you generally print your sub plus some extra to be kept in the warehouse - as shops sell copies of your books, they will generally want to buy new copies to replace them. So a print run might be (looking at a P&L for a modest picture book) 1K sub, 3K stock (plus maybe 1K for export as well.)

shadowwalker
01-16-2014, 06:18 PM
An author who is paid an advance has been paid royalties. That what the advance is: it's royalties paid in advance.

If you had a financial emergency and your employer gave you a $500 advance ahead of your paycheck the next week, you wouldn't then say that you didn't get paid for $500 worth of work on that next paycheck. You were paid in advance.

An advance isn't some weird kind of signing bonus. It's an advance against royalties.

Understood. I was talking about the money paid after the advance was earned. I should have been more clear on that.

evilrooster
01-16-2014, 06:23 PM
Thanks, Torgo.

Kylabelle
01-16-2014, 06:28 PM
Thanks, Old Hack and Torgo, for the definitions and clarifications. :)

jana13k
01-16-2014, 07:00 PM
Sell-in: the number of books we can persuade bookstores to buy and stock. Otherwise known as 'sub' (subscription) and probably 'ship-out' as well.

Sell-through: the number of books the bookstores manage to sell to customers. So you might sell-in well but sell-through poorly - that's when you get returns.

When you print, you generally print your sub plus some extra to be kept in the warehouse - as shops sell copies of your books, they will generally want to buy new copies to replace them. So a print run might be (looking at a P&L for a modest picture book) 1K sub, 3K stock (plus maybe 1K for export as well.)

This exactly. Thank you for the clear description. Authors I know that have been dropped from publishers suffered poor sell-through in the stores.

For example, bookstore orders 10 copies, sells 5. The next time they order, they order 5. If the diminishing trend keeps up, eventually orders are not high enough for a publisher to offer additional contracts, or at minimum, advances drop considerably.

AdamNeymars
01-29-2014, 11:27 AM
Barnes and Noble also reported the number on April 2013. It was at 25%.
http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/press_releases/04_09_13_nook_press_release.html



Customer demand for great independent content continues to dramatically increase as 30% of NOOK customers purchase self-published content each month, representing 25% of NOOK Book™ sales every month.

KatyPerryfan19
02-09-2014, 08:38 AM
I'm sorry, but I don't get what you mean. Back in the 2009-2010 timeframe, something like 90% or more of the top 100 Kindle paid list was self-published. How is even 32% better than 90%?

What we've actually seen happen over the past several years is the number of self-published books in the top 100 getting smaller, not bigger. That trend might -- or might not -- reverse itself.

Back in 2009, ebook is less than 1% of all fiction books sold.
In 2013, ebook now has a very significant percentage of fiction books sold.

For instance, 90% of $20 million is $18 million but 30% of $1 billion is $300 million.



Maybe you should check out the Best Ebook Publishers in 2013 — Hachette, Penguin Random House on Top of Publisher Power Rankings (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=282870) thread, which includes a quote with this tidbit:



(The linked article has more that this. I just grabbed the top-10 list.)

Using those numbers, which are from a more reliable source, fewer than 10% of just the top 10 sources on this list are self-published. 99 of 1139 = 8.6%.

Heck, that 8.6% is a hell of a lot better than 10 years ago, and good on the authors who are successfully self-publishing. But it does put things into a better perspective, IMO.I look at the link you provided. DBW weekly best sellers list comprises of only the top 25 ebooks.

The 32% stat is from Kindle weekly Top 100 Paid.

Jamesaritchie
02-09-2014, 12:23 PM
The trouble with Amazon is that their numbers most often mean little to nothing, even when they're accurate.

shadowwalker
02-09-2014, 07:27 PM
I like perspective when looking at statistics.

X% of Kindle sales = ?% of total ebook sales (not just Amazon) = ?% of total book sales (all formats) - means what?

MagicWriter
02-12-2014, 09:21 AM
That other thread with the stats article has been closed, but at the end of the article the author offered a link to the data tables that they used to come up with the data. (hmmmm). If I get time this weekend, maybe I'll pop the data into SAS (statistical analysis software for clinical trials) and see what throws up on me.

jjdebenedictis
02-12-2014, 09:48 PM
If I get time this weekend, maybe I'll pop the data into SAS (statistical analysis software for clinical trials) and see what throws up on me.Oh, I do hate it when data throws up on me. But sometimes you have to take one for the team--for SCIENCE!

I'd also be interested in what you find using proper analysis. :)

MacAllister
02-12-2014, 10:15 PM
That other thread with the stats article has been closed, but at the end of the article the author offered a link to the data tables that they used to come up with the data. (hmmmm). If I get time this weekend, maybe I'll pop the data into SAS (statistical analysis software for clinical trials) and see what throws up on me.

Yeah. A bunch of threads pointing to this site have popped up, that will be/have been locked, merged, or otherwise dealt with here on AW. HH apparently sent folks over from the Kboards (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,178430.msg2515514.html#msg2515514) to post the link to his newest venture. (And here's a big thank-you to the Kboard mod, by the way, for trying to discourage the trolling.)

So we'll be monitoring these threads closely, since HH sending people here for the purposes of "stirring things up" is hardly new -- and not particularly welcome.

So let's DO be rather careful in terms of the tone and content of our posts about this, folks. My level of tolerance for blatant trolling from infrequent visitors (http://www.thepassivevoice.com/02/2014/new-author-earnings-report/#comment-168294) is going to be particularly low.

AdamNeymars
02-19-2014, 10:48 AM
The trouble with Amazon is that their numbers most often mean little to nothing, even when they're accurate.

Why do they not mean anything? Amazon is around 60-65% of the ebook market in the USA.

Kindle Sales Rank and Estimated Sales
http://www.theresaragan.com/p/sale-ranking-chart.html


And a lot of self published authors are making money from mostly ebook sales.

http://www.kboards.com/authors/
33,249,513 e-books sold over 16,514 titles by 644 authors

Old Hack
02-19-2014, 11:25 AM
Why do they not mean anything? Amazon is around 60-65% of the ebook market in the USA.

Kindle Sales Rank and Estimated Sales
http://www.theresaragan.com/p/sale-ranking-chart.html

You can't use Amazon rankings to accurately estimate sales. There are too many variables involved; and even if you do get to grips with all those, Amazon changes the ways it calculates rankings so often that what might work one month won't work the next, and you're back to square one.


And a lot of self published authors are making money from mostly ebook sales.

http://www.kboards.com/authors/
33,249,513 e-books sold over 16,514 titles by 644 authors

I'm really pleased for everyone who does well with their work, no matter how they've published. It's great. But as I've said before, high sales and good earnings are not the only measures of success, and by focusing on sales alone we're running the risk of discouraging self-publishers who have produced beautiful editions of great books but who haven't enjoyed the sales they might like. And that would be a shame, I think.

Remember that while some self-publishers are doing well, more self-published authors are not making any money from their efforts, no matter which format they've published in. If we forget that, we're not going to have a realistic view of the pros and cons of this route to publication, and that means we might well make poor decisions.

PulpDogg
02-19-2014, 03:06 PM
For example, bookstore orders 10 copies, sells 5. The next time they order, they order 5. If the diminishing trend keeps up, eventually orders are not high enough for a publisher to offer additional contracts, or at minimum, advances drop considerably.

Why is that bad? Why is it better to send 10, but return 5 then only shipping 5 and selling all of those? Or ... why is it good to have a big print run, but have half of those books returned and scrapped?

Terie
02-19-2014, 03:41 PM
Why is that bad? Why is it better to send 10, but return 5 then only shipping 5 and selling all of those? Or ... why is it good to have a big print run, but have half of those books returned and scrapped?

That's not the point. The point is that if bookstores start by ordering 10, then sell 5, order 5 more, sell 2, order 2 more, and finally don't order more, that shows the author isn't selling as well as if the bookstore starts by ordering 10, then sells 9, orders 15 more, sells 15, orders 20, and so on.

Eventually, all books' sales will decline, but if you start out at the first scenario instead of the second, it's going to affect your offers for future books.

Torgo
02-19-2014, 03:54 PM
If I may apply my rubbish GCSE maths:

33,249,513 e-books sold over 16,514 titles by 644 authors equates to about 2000 sales per ebook, and each author writing 25 books (mean average.) I suspect the distribution of sales across the list of books will follow a similar curve to the one I see when I graph the sales of any cross-section of ebooks from my own experience, a long shallow curve that gets steep very quickly at one end - the long tail curve, basically. So the mean probably isn't the average to be looking at.

Your 'average' ebook in this data set is probably not doing 2000 copies, then. The median number is going to be the most meaningful, and it'll be lower. And even if it were doing 2000 copies, if this is the US market that strikes me as a low figure. Does it offset the cost of publishing?

It should also be pretty obvious that this market is significantly different to the trade ebook market. 25 titles per author is a lot. These aren't people working in quite the same way or catering to the same kinds of readers; directly comparing them increasingly feels like apples and oranges.

AdamNeymars
02-25-2014, 11:35 AM
Is it safe to assume that genre fiction like romance, scifi/fantasy, mystery/thriller, self publishing might have a higher percentage than 32 on Kindle ebook store?

Torgo
02-25-2014, 05:33 PM
Is it safe to assume that genre fiction like romance, scifi/fantasy, mystery/thriller, self publishing might have a higher percentage than 32 on Kindle ebook store?

That doesn't sound like an unsafe assumption - I believe the SP market is skewed more towards genre that the Trade market. But then I don't really know what conclusions we could draw from that.

Looking at the top 100 today I see a lot of trade books in the £2.99-£3.99 range and a lot of SP books at less than £1. At least two markets, not directly comparable. The fact that they're lumped into one chart doesn't help.

AdamNeymars
03-05-2014, 08:22 AM
That doesn't sound like an unsafe assumption - I believe the SP market is skewed more towards genre that the Trade market. But then I don't really know what conclusions we could draw from that.

Looking at the top 100 today I see a lot of trade books in the £2.99-£3.99 range and a lot of SP books at less than £1. At least two markets, not directly comparable. The fact that they're lumped into one chart doesn't help.

Yes, SP books are sold at lower prices compare to trade books. Around $3.5 for SP and $8 for the Big 5.

http://authorearnings.com/the-bn-report/

Old Hack
03-05-2014, 11:31 AM
Adam, reduce the size of your image, please. We allow a maximum image size of 400 x 400 pixels; and no hotlinking, thanks.

JournoWriter
03-05-2014, 02:27 PM
Yes, SP books are sold at lower prices compare to trade books. Around $3.5 for SP and $8 for the Big 5.

And yet that's not what the chart that you appropriated from Author Earnings (with permission of the owner?) even shows. The chart shows data for top-selling B&N ebooks. That's not enough data to support an unqualified blanket statement that "SP books are sold at lower prices."

Additionally, your question was about Kindle books, so I'm not sure why you're bringing B&N data in to the discussion.

Alessandra Kelley
03-05-2014, 04:16 PM
There's something I've been wondering but I haven't been able to check because I can't access all of the OP article (the Wall Street Journal has a paywall).

These book sales, do they include free giveaway books? Free ebooks seem to be a major part of the sales strategies of many self-publishers, so I imagine they would skew the sales figures dramatically if included.

There's another complication. There are unscrupulous paid services which sell boosts to authors by downloading thousands of copies of their free books to spammy but valid individual accounts, "ghost buyers," thus briefly catapulting those books onto the top 100 ebook sellers list.

The idea is that authors do this so that their free books will gain visibility for them and serve as advertising for their regular books, boosting real sales to real readers.

This has been prevalent enough that Amazon has been sending warning emails to self-published authors.

I think it's a scuzzy thing to do because it pushes down the rankings of ebooks which have garnered honest sales.

And obviously it distorts the very idea of the "top 100 sellers in ebooks" if anybody can buy their way onto the list.

Medievalist
03-05-2014, 08:55 PM
Adam, reduce the size of your image, please. We allow a maximum image size of 400 x 400 pixels; and no hotlinking, thanks.

Since Mr. Neymars is not the creator of the image, there are no permissions granted by the original article (http://authorearnings.com/the-bn-report/)and the original article he links to explains the data in context, I have removed the image.

AdamNeymars
03-13-2014, 11:14 AM
There's something I've been wondering but I haven't been able to check because I can't access all of the OP article (the Wall Street Journal has a paywall).

These book sales, do they include free giveaway books? Free ebooks seem to be a major part of the sales strategies of many self-publishers, so I imagine they would skew the sales figures dramatically if included.

There's another complication. There are unscrupulous paid services which sell boosts to authors by downloading thousands of copies of their free books to spammy but valid individual accounts, "ghost buyers," thus briefly catapulting those books onto the top 100 ebook sellers list.

The idea is that authors do this so that their free books will gain visibility for them and serve as advertising for their regular books, boosting real sales to real readers.

This has been prevalent enough that Amazon has been sending warning emails to self-published authors.

I think it's a scuzzy thing to do because it pushes down the rankings of ebooks which have garnered honest sales.

And obviously it distorts the very idea of the "top 100 sellers in ebooks" if anybody can buy their way onto the list.

Kindle Paid Best Sellers are sales only.

Free ebooks have their own chart in the Free section.



There are unscrupulous paid services which sell boosts to authors by downloading thousands of copies of their free books to spammy but valid individual accounts, "ghost buyers," thus briefly catapulting those books onto the top 100 ebook sellers list.



Thousands of free downloads will result in catapulting these free books into the top "Free" category. It won't catapulting these ebooks into the the Paid Best Sellers.

From Amazon Kindle page



Best Sellers in Kindle ebooks

Top 100 Paid
Top 100 Free

Alessandra Kelley
03-13-2014, 12:46 PM
Kindle Paid Best Sellers are sales only.

Free ebooks have their own chart in the Free section.




Thousands of free downloads will result in catapulting these free books into the top "Free" category. It won't catapulting these ebooks into the the Paid Best Sellers.

From Amazon Kindle page

Is that an important distinction? Separate lists or no, multiple authors were willing to pay hundreds of dollars each to get a boost onto the "Top 100 Free ebooks" category.

Filigree
03-13-2014, 03:23 PM
For friends' books, I've seen varying results when those books were listed as 'Free'. The best outcomes seemed to be when the first book or story in a series went free, and drove interest to the 'paid' sequels.

JournoWriter
03-13-2014, 04:33 PM
How are the free Select periods tallied? Under free or paid?

Alessandra Kelley
03-13-2014, 10:52 PM
For friends' books, I've seen varying results when those books were listed as 'Free'. The best outcomes seemed to be when the first book or story in a series went free, and drove interest to the 'paid' sequels.

That makes what happened make more sense. The person I saw selling bestseller list spots claimed to have a large network of readers downloading the free ebooks, which seemed to interest authors more than just getting a spot on the bestseller list.

But it was clear this person didn't actually have any real readers.

He guaranteed 10,000 downloads of any book no matter what the genre, which is pretty much impossible. He would need to have a database on the order of million readers, and even then it's a brave book recommendation service that guarantees that a certain number of people will download a particular book. He wasn't able to give a clear explanation of how he had amassed all of these readers without anyone in the extensive online reader community having ever heard of him. Oh, and he flatly turned down a number of people who asked to be put on his mailing list of readers.

What he was selling was a very expensive temporary boost up the Amazon free ebook sales ranks which simultaneously shoved downwards the rankings of books that real readers were honestly downloading.

Well, that and the ability forever after to call oneself an "Amazon bestselling author."

I am not surprised Amazon started sending out the warning emails.

AdamNeymars
04-02-2014, 10:37 AM
How are the free Select periods tallied? Under free or paid?

Free.

AdamNeymars
04-29-2014, 07:03 AM
I would be interested to know whether 'top selling' is the same as 'paid for.'

Even if the figure is correct, this still means 68% of Amazon's top selling ebooks are released through trade publishers.

Amazon Publishing also has a good market share in the Kindle store. 3rd biggest publisher according to its executive:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/61492-amazon-expanding-publishing-programs-touts-hiring-plans.html



"We owe our growth to a talented group of authors, such as Helen Bryan, whose sales across her two Amazon Publishing books War Brides and The Sisterhood recently surpassed 1M copies," wrote Belle in a note soliciting recruits.

At present Amazon has 15 publishing imprints and, according to Belle, it ranks #3 on Kindle in the U.S. for paid units, and #1 on copies sold per new release.


From the Hugh Howey one day snapshot at authorearnings for 11,000 ebooks, all genre.
http://authorearnings.com/reports/the-50k-report/

Big 5 Published: 38%
Self pub: 33%
Small or Medium publisher: 13%
Amazon Publishing: 9%
Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher: 7%

Old Hack
04-29-2014, 10:18 AM
From the Hugh Howey one day snapshot at authorearnings for 11,000 ebooks, all genre.
http://authorearnings.com/reports/the-50k-report/

Big 5 Published: 38%
Self pub: 33%
Small or Medium publisher: 13%
Amazon Publishing: 9%
Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher: 7%

What's the difference between the two categories I've put into bold, Adam? Do you know? Because I can't work it out.

Also, let's bear in mind that very clear problems are evident on that site with their methods for collecting and handling data. As was said in another thread,


I started skimming, and the bad math and poor understanding of statistics was already making me *headdesk* so much that I stopped.

Y'all know how I feel about bad math.

I admit to not RTFA, but it saddens me when an article appears to be trying to fit data to the conclusions they want to happen. It hurts me in my little scientist heart. And it makes me want to disassociate myself from whatever cause* the authors espouse, even if there are other very good and valid things about the topic under discussion. (I'm SPing, for anyone who doesn't know.)

* Tbh, though, I'm totally stumped as to why SP has become a "cause" in the first place, rather than a business decision as to what's best for that author and that book.

Dave.C.Robinson
04-30-2014, 05:27 PM
What's the difference between the two categories I've put into bold, Adam? Do you know? Because I can't work it out.

Also, let's bear in mind that very clear problems are evident on that site with their methods for collecting and handling data. As was said in another thread,

I believe the term "Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher," refers to a situation where the book is published by a separate legal entity from the author, which only publishes books by that author, but it's unclear whether it exists solely as a front for the author or not.

shelleyo
04-30-2014, 05:52 PM
I'm as big a fan of self-publishing as you're likely to find, and I'm not sure why anyone really cares about how many SP books are in the top 100 aside from the trivia aspect. I guess it's interesting in a way, but it's not something worth looking at if someone's trying to determine whether SP is viable or not. So few writers are ever going to get near that or any top 100 list, whether they're SP or trade-published, it just doesn't matter. It'd be like me worried about how many people of my weight, height and fitness level reached the Olympic games before I've even tried jogging once around the track.

And yes, if they're there, the books were purchased, not given away free. It's also extremely unlikely that so many authors are cheating Amazon and somehow getting that many copies purchased unscrupulously when you're talking several hundred to a thousand+ copies sold per day.

Sheryl Nantus
04-30-2014, 05:56 PM
Considering about four weeks comes between the OP's questions/blanket statements... I'd rather be writing my next book.

;)

shelleyo
04-30-2014, 05:58 PM
That makes what happened make more sense. The person I saw selling bestseller list spots claimed to have a large network of readers downloading the free ebooks, which seemed to interest authors more than just getting a spot on the bestseller list.

But it was clear this person didn't actually have any real readers.

He guaranteed 10,000 downloads of any book no matter what the genre, which is pretty much impossible. He would need to have a database on the order of million readers, and even then it's a brave book recommendation service that guarantees that a certain number of people will download a particular book. He wasn't able to give a clear explanation of how he had amassed all of these readers without anyone in the extensive online reader community having ever heard of him. Oh, and he flatly turned down a number of people who asked to be put on his mailing list of readers.

What he was selling was a very expensive temporary boost up the Amazon free ebook sales ranks which simultaneously shoved downwards the rankings of books that real readers were honestly downloading.

Well, that and the ability forever after to call oneself an "Amazon bestselling author."

I am not surprised Amazon started sending out the warning emails.

I followed this same story and knew it was fishy from the start. I was glad to see Amazon slam the door on that kind of nonsense. I tried twice to get added to this amazing mailing list as a reader. He didn't want to share that, because of course there was no list. I was amazed anyone could think it wasn't a scheme at that point.

But it didn't allow anyone to call themselves a bestselling author. Not unless that person is a liar. Bestselling means selling, not free downloads. I think most SP authors you'll find agree wholeheartedly with that. The ones using that service to boost their get rick quick or other similar books up the charts, maybe not. But at the board where this went down, almost all would balk at a book in the top free chart being called a bestseller.

I have seen some people note on their book's buy page that it was in the Top 10 free for the whole store or a certain genre or something, but they do say free. There's no harm in mentioning it had that much interest, especially considering there are plenty of free books that the authors can't even give away.

shelleyo
04-30-2014, 06:02 PM
Considering about four weeks comes between the OP's questions/blanket statements... I'd rather be writing my next book.

;)

I finished my latest on Saturday morning. Give a girl a few days to bask and dicker around! ;)

AdamNeymars
05-09-2014, 10:28 AM
Another snapshot of the top 100 of romance, mystery/thriller, sci fi and fantasy on Kindle. One in February 2014 and one in April 2014

Here are some short excerpts from the two blog posts:

http://edwardwrobertson.com/self-publishings-share-of-the-kindle-market-by-genre/


I simply look at the top 100 bestsellers in each genre—romance, mystery/thriller/suspense, science fiction, and fantasy—and split them up by method of publication.
.
.

this is merely a breakdown of the raw number of self-published titles on the bestseller lists, not the number of total book sales within each genre.



ROMANCE
Self-published: 49%
Small/medium: 11%
Amazon: 9%
Big 5/Harlequin: 30%

MYSTERY/THRILLER/SUSPENSE
Self-published: 11%

SCIENCE FICTION
Self-published: 56%

FANTASY
Self-published: 49%



http://edwardwrobertson.com/followup-self-publishings-share-of-the-kindle-market-by-genre/






ROMANCE

Self-published – 59%
Small/medium – 3%
Amazon – 12%
Big 5 – 26%
MYSTERY/THRILLER/SUSPENSE

Self-published – 26%
SCIENCE FICTION

Self-published – 53%
FANTASY

Self-published – 45%


Anyone with some time on their hand can do this. The top 100 ebook of romance/mystery-thriller/sci fi/fantasy is available on Kindle on an hourly basis with the relevant method of publication (self pub, Amazon, Big 5, small/medium publisher). There will be some variance from hour to hour, day to day, week to week, and month to month with a snapshot in time method.

Is this information relevant? Maybe to some but not to others. I find it interesting personally.

jjdebenedictis
05-10-2014, 09:18 PM
Is this information relevant? Maybe to some but not to others. I find it interesting personally.And yet you never stick around to discuss it with us...

JournoWriter
05-10-2014, 11:24 PM
Is this information relevant? Maybe to some but not to others. I find it interesting personally.

And what exactly do you find interesting and relevant?

We can all find the information that you're posting on our own, if we're interested. Copying text and pasting a link adds no value for anyone.

AdamNeymars
05-13-2014, 06:49 AM
And what exactly do you find interesting and relevant?

The % of titles in the top 100 in romance, scifi and fantasy on Kindle are self-published.

50% is way above my expectation.

It is relevant because it's a changing world out there.




We can all find the information that you're posting on our own, if we're interested. Copying text and pasting a link adds no value for anyone.

It might be no value to you but I'm sure some authors out there will find some value in it, especially which genre is popular and selling well.

aruna
05-13-2014, 07:43 AM
He's referring to the fact that you are posting only info and not discussing anything. If we all did this AW would be a very boring place.

jjdebenedictis
05-13-2014, 09:04 AM
It might be no value to you but I'm sure some authors out there will find some value in it, especially which genre is popular and selling well.You'd think they'd comment, if they did.

Instead, more people are commenting on your tendency to post links and then fail to engage in any substantive conversation.

So... How does this information influence your writing, Adam? Let's hear from you.

shelleyo
05-13-2014, 09:28 AM
I'm not surprised by the percent of self-published romance titles at the top, since that's the community I belong to.

The science fiction percentage blows me away, though. I had no idea self-published science fiction (and fantasy, as well) was more than maybe 20-25% of the list.

Isn't mystery the biggest genre after romance, typically? I would have thought, given the size of the genre and its popularity, more self-published books would make its list. It begs the question why over half in science fiction and romance (and near that in fantasy) are self-pubbed, while only a quarter are in mystery.

I've read two modern mysteries (the first books of Sue Grafton's and Janet Evanovich's series) and found they're not for me. I don't know enough about the genre to be able to compare the differences in writers or readers. I'm even more surprised that the percentage is so slow when you figure in thrillers.

K.B. Parker
05-13-2014, 09:33 AM
I'm not surprised by the percent of self-published romance titles at the top, since that's the community I belong to.

The science fiction percentage blows me away, though. I had no idea self-published science fiction (and fantasy, as well) was more than maybe 20-25% of the list.

Isn't mystery the biggest genre after romance, typically? I would have thought, given the size of the genre and its popularity, more self-published books would make its list. It begs the question why over half in science fiction and romance (and near that in fantasy) are self-pubbed, while only a quarter are in mystery.

I've read two modern mysteries (the first books of Sue Grafton's and Janet Evanovich's series) and found they're not for me. I don't know enough about the genre to be able to compare the differences in writers or readers.

I think the lack of sp'd mystery novels in the numbers above directly pertains to the demographics who read mysteries. It's all anecdotal, but I believe the average romance reader is more of a voracious reader than anyone else. Because of that, the readership has taken to ebooks moreso than other genres (I've heard the YA market is difficult to crack as a Sp'd author).

I think those who read mysteries are more set in their ways and are more likely to seek out print editions from brick and mortar stores.

shelleyo
05-13-2014, 09:54 AM
I think the lack of sp'd mystery novels in the numbers above directly pertains to the demographics who read mysteries. It's all anecdotal, but I believe the average romance reader is more of a voracious reader than anyone else. Because of that, the readership has taken to ebooks moreso than other genres (I've heard the YA market is difficult to crack as a Sp'd author).

I think those who read mysteries are more set in their ways and are more likely to seek out print editions from brick and mortar stores.

That's an excellent point. From what I understand, YA is tough but possible, while MG is such a struggle, probably because there's also a tendency toward print. Kids just can't order their own books, the parents buy them, and so print hangs on to more of the market share. Makes a lot of sense.

Old Hack
05-13-2014, 10:26 AM
I see several problems with the blog post Adam linked to.

For example, and in no particular order:

It only used Amazon's best-seller lists for Kindle, which isn't indicative of the market as a whole. What about print editions? What about other digital formats? What about books sold by other retailers?

Amazon's best-seller lists for Kindle change almost by the minute. What's true at one point is not necessarily true at any other point: it could be that the blogger took his snapshot at a moment when one particular book or genre was surging forwards, and so his results are distorted.

I've only skimmed the article but I didn't see any reference made to when this snapshot was taken, which might well be pertinent.

It is only a snapshot: it doesn't depend on data which was carefully-collected over time, and which would therefore smooth out issues relating to momentary popularity.

There are all sorts of other problems with it too. At best this article is an interesting summary of what its author thinks was happening in the best-seller lists at the time he took his sample. It doesn't provide any reliable data, and I'd be very wary of relying on it to prove anything other than its author's interest in self publishing.

AdamNeymars
05-13-2014, 11:20 AM
I see several problems with the blog post Adam linked to.

For example, and in no particular order:

It only used Amazon's best-seller lists for Kindle, which isn't indicative of the market as a whole. What about print editions? What about other digital formats? What about books sold by other retailers?

Amazon's best-seller lists for Kindle change almost by the minute. What's true at one point is not necessarily true at any other point: it could be that the blogger took his snapshot at a moment when one particular book or genre was surging forwards, and so his results are distorted.

I've only skimmed the article but I didn't see any reference made to when this snapshot was taken, which might well be pertinent.

It is only a snapshot: it doesn't depend on data which was carefully-collected over time, and which would therefore smooth out issues relating to momentary popularity.

There are all sorts of other problems with it too. At best this article is an interesting summary of what its author thinks was happening in the best-seller lists at the time he took his sample. It doesn't provide any reliable data, and I'd be very wary of relying on it to prove anything other than its author's interest in self publishing.

It was done for Kindle only. No one suggest that it is for the whole market.

The Kindle Top 100 Paid list (by genre) changes hourly.

The first blog post was posted on February 15 and the second one was posted on April 12. No idea when the snapshot was taken.

As I wrote earlier, there is variance with this method as demonstrated below:

The first is February snapshot (http://edwardwrobertson.com/self-publishings-share-of-the-kindle-market-by-genre/), the second is April's (http://edwardwrobertson.com/followup-self-publishings-share-of-the-kindle-market-by-genre/).



ROMANCE
Self-published: 49%
Small/medium: 11%
Amazon: 9%
Big 5/Harlequin: 30%





ROMANCE

Self-published – 59%
Small/medium – 3%
Amazon – 12%
Big 5 – 26%




MYSTERY/THRILLER/SUSPENSE
Self-published: 11%
Small/medium: 5%
Amazon: 16%
Big 5: 68%





MYSTERY/THRILLER/SUSPENSE

Self-published – 26%
Small/medium – 1%
Amazon – 15%
Big 5 – 58%



SCIENCE FICTION
Self-published: 56%
Small/medium: 9%
Amazon: 5%
Big 5 (plus Baen): 30%






SCIENCE FICTION

Self-published – 53%
Small/medium – 7%
Amazon – 12%
Big 5 – 29%


FANTASY
Self-published: 49%
Small/medium: 7%
Amazon: 7%
Big 5: 37%





FANTASY

Self-published – 45%
Small/medium – 6%
Amazon – 8%
Big 5 – 41%
[QUOTE]

shadowwalker
05-13-2014, 12:22 PM
Was there discussion or opinion there that I missed? :Wha:

RedWombat
05-13-2014, 06:52 PM
That's an excellent point. From what I understand, YA is tough but possible, while MG is such a struggle, probably because there's also a tendency toward print. Kids just can't order their own books, the parents buy them, and so print hangs on to more of the market share. Makes a lot of sense.

This is absolutely my experience. I think e-book sales of my MG series run in the neighborhood of 1-2% of total sales. If I were writing an MG I couldn't sell, I'd shelve it before self-pub and hope to revisit once I had an established name, whereas I'd self-pub an SF novel in a heartbeat.

Terie
05-14-2014, 11:46 AM
Adam, is this how you interact with people at, say, a party or a pub? Walk up to a group of people who are talking about something, spout off some pertinent fact, then walk away? If not, why do you do that here at the Absolute Write Water Cooler?

Also? 'I think this is interesting' isn't discussion.

If you want to monologue, start a blog. Here at the Water Cooler, we're into dialogue.

Once!
05-14-2014, 02:40 PM
Um ... no-one's forcing you to reply to this thread or even to read it.

Adam may not have a made a point in a way that you would like, he may not have made a point that you find interesting or that you agree with. But surely the answer then is to walk on by?

Maybe this isn't how you would conduct a conversation in a party or a pub. But then this isn't a party or a pub, is it? We have the option of not taking part in a discussion if it doesn't interest us.

I have always thought that RYFW means being tolerant to viewpoints or ways of expressing ourselves that we don't necessarily agree with.

alexaherself
05-14-2014, 04:23 PM
I have always thought that RYFW means being tolerant to viewpoints or ways of expressing ourselves that we don't necessarily agree with.

I think there are and should be some limits to that, Will. Nobody should criticize us for expecting members here to conform, to some extent, to the local norms: if we tolerated absolutely everything, we wouldn't need any moderation of the forum at all.

In initiating (or even just in continuing) a discussion by posting a link to something, in my opinion one should be taken as effectively saying "I find this interesting and am posting it here because I want to discuss it" rather than "I find this interesting and am posting it here just in case others want to discuss it, but I have nothing to say about it, myself". That's surely not an unreasonable assumption?

Once!
05-14-2014, 05:20 PM
But what is a "local norm" and just who is the arbiter of these norms?

Quite rightly, there are rules on what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, RYFW, profanity, spam, etc. That's why we need moderators - to make sure that we don't offend or attack each other.

But that's not what is happening here. On the surface, the issue seems to be about how the OP posts, how frequently they post and how willing they are to engage in a conversation. But as long as the themselves posts are legal and decent, should anyone be critical about the way in which the posts are being made?

Old Hack
05-14-2014, 05:34 PM
I'm not a mod in this room so I'll not do any modding: but I think it would be helpful if we were to stop discussing how people might or might not post here, and get back to discussing the topic in hand.

I'm sure you all agree.

Kylabelle
05-14-2014, 06:06 PM
Okay, I'm going to close this one for now, since it seems most of the recent posts have been about member behavior, which is not especially useful here.

Please report any posts you feel need attention; we do see those messages and take them all into account.

Thank you.