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J. R. Tomlin
11-12-2007, 10:54 PM
Is there anyplace that what kind of sales different PoD/ePub presses make is published? I was going to ask Veinglory, but SOMEONE'S mailbox is full. :poke:

I currently have a full of a novella under consideration at Swimming Kangaroo. I've talked to their authors enough to know they're nice to work with and they work on marketing, but I'm not sure what their sales are actually like. So deciding whether to accept a contract with them IF one is offered (which I expect to know in the next couple of weeks from what the editor emailed me) or if I end up subbing to another or what to do is rattling around in my brain at the moment.

I tend to like to plan who I'll sub to. :)

Thanks for any info.

Dusk
11-15-2007, 05:52 AM
I have no information on sales figures for small presses that use POD technology, I'm afraid. As far as e-publishers are concerned, my only source of information is Emily Veinglory's site on romance e-publishers, and she has only just begun to collect figures for individual publishers (http://www.erecsite.com/PLIST.html). Ellora's Cave is well ahead of the rest of the pack, with a sales estimate of 2024 copies in the first month. With everyone else, first-month sales are in the low hundreds, and all-time sales aren't much larger.

You didn't ask about self-publishing/subsidy POD companies, but in case anyone else wants that information, I'll repeat what I've said elsewhere, at another forum:

* * *

Dan Poyter (http://www.parapublishing.com/sites/para/resources/statistics.cfm) provides a whole bunch of interesting statistics on the book industry at his self-publishing site. Among them are these stats from the Wall Street Journal:

"Xlibris published 10,269 titles through March 25, 2004. 352 or 3.4% had sold more than 500 copies. 1,463 or 14.3% had sold more than 200 copies. The average per-publication sale number of an Xlibris title is about 130 copies."

Those figures may have gone up since then, because a 2003 Wall Street Journal article showed that only 3% (352) had sold more than 200 copies.

iUniverse is a little vague about its statistics, but it flatly denies ( http://www.iuniverse.com/community/blog/?p=6) a Publishers Weekly report that only 83 of its titles sold over five hundred copies.

SFWA (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/printondemand.html ) claims that the Facts and Figures provided by iUniverse in 2005 show that the average book sells 166 copies. In 2004, they say, AuthorHouse books sold an average of 111 copies.

The Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,923-2073717,00.html) has this to say about Lulu.com:

"A Lulu bestseller is regarded as a book that sells 500 copies. Some have sold in the low thousands but Young is reluctant to give exact figures."

All of this sounds accurate to me, because the average self-publisher doesn't know much about marketing. Also, some aren't interested in marketing - they only want to sell their books to a select number of people.

* * *

End of my earlier comments. I suspect, from the figures I've seen cited by self-publishers, that most of the big POD self-publishing sales come through Lightning Source, simply because the self-publishers who sign up with them tend to have more business savvy. Lightning Source is also the company used by many small presses. Unfortunately, I can't find any figures on them, and those figures wouldn't tell much anyway, since Lightning Source works with such a wide range of clients.

veinglory
11-15-2007, 06:35 AM
There is some sporadic information at Piers Anthony's website and 'Show Me the Money' but it relates largely to romance. I think it depends a lot on the press but low hundred to low thousands in the first year would be common.

J. R. Tomlin
11-15-2007, 06:53 AM
Hmmm I hadn't seen the sales figures on Anthony's site, just the list of publishers. I'll see if I can find it. Thanks. :)

veinglory
11-15-2007, 06:56 AM
You have to scan through for dollars signs and you see he reports his own sales and a few author reports from other authors. If you come across any other public sales figure sources do let us know :)

PinkUnicorn
01-05-2008, 07:51 PM
Most books, regardless of publisher, sell only as many books as THE AUTHOR promotes. This is true wither you publish via Scholastic Books (with it's 100 new titles each month, including Harry Potter) or Twighlight Manor Press and it's 10 books every other year.

Basicly all a book publisher does is list your book in their catalog and hope that book stores choose to stock it on their shelves.

Books (such as Harry Potter -- traditional published--- and Eragon ---self-published---) get famous, not from the publisher's promotion, but from THE AUTHOR'S having gone out there and told everyone under the sun how great their book was and paying large amounts of their own money (we are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars of the author's private pocket money, mony they already had BEFORE book's release, in the case of such authors J.K.Rowlings, Palini, Steven King, etc.) for advertising in such newspapers as The New York Times. Eragon, a self published book, became an over night best seller because of a single one day full page ad in The New York Times, that cost Palini's parents over $14,000! Within a few weeks he had big name book publishers begging to sell the reprint editions.

So you see. What you the author are willing (or can afford) to pay for a marketing campaign, is going to determin how many book you sell, not who you choose for a publisher. Keep in mind that when you see ads for book, either in newspapers or on tv, those ads were paid for by the author him-herself, NOT the publisher.

Sheryl Nantus
01-05-2008, 08:23 PM
actually, it comes down to distribution.

if a publisher has a distributor and a sales force on hand (NOT just the author) then your book has a decent chance of making it onto the bookshelves and to the general public. A distributor will "push" the book to the stores and try to sell them; a wholesaler like Ingrams and B&T just makes sure it's available for ordering.

the author can only do so much - if there's no distributor and/or the publisher has no sales force per say, it's unlikely the book will sell beyond your local area. After all, a single person can only do so much versus having a group of sales reps pushing the book and/or a distributor actively promoting the book to land on shelves. It's common sense.

this new wave of putting the promotion solely on the shoulders of the author is troubling - it releases the publisher from any responsibility to promote the book. And if the author puts thousands into a marketing campaign and the book tanks... is it the author's fault or the publisher who did nothing other than to list the book?

if your publisher doesn't have a distributor or a sales force or at least some idea of how to get your book onto bookshelves - you're sunk. A single person just can't do it all and can't fill the shoes of those professionals with contacts and knowledge of the system.

Unimportant
01-05-2008, 09:46 PM
Most books, regardless of publisher, sell only as many books as THE AUTHOR promotes. This is true wither you publish via Scholastic Books (with it's 100 new titles each month, including Harry Potter) or Twighlight Manor Press and it's 10 books every other year.
Actually, that's not true. As Sheryl N said, it's all about distribution.

My partner published with a small niche press and never did any promotion at all or put a single penny into advertising or had a single book signing, and also had no track record as this was a first novel. The publisher has excellent distribution and "name branding", got the book into bookstores and in front of readers, and copies sold in the thousands.

Also, Eragon was not self published. The young author's parents owned a publishing company. Nepotism, yes; self pubbed, no.

james_b38
01-05-2008, 10:39 PM
Actually, that's not true. As Sheryl N said, it's all about distribution.

My partner published with a small niche press and never did any promotion at all or put a single penny into advertising or had a single book signing, and also had no track record as this was a first novel. The publisher has excellent distribution and "name branding", got the book into bookstores and in front of readers, and copies sold in the thousands.


There are some cases where the author can do very little and be successful as in the case of your friend. The problem is that most authors who just sit back and wait for the money to roll in are very disappointed when it doesn't (then they wonder why). Whenever you are an active partner in promotion you increase the chances of success. The publisher definitely needs to spearhead and fund the promotion efforts and have solid distribution and sales people, but a smart author will make themselves available to assist where practical.

Unimportant
01-06-2008, 10:59 PM
Certainly it's helpful for an author to do self promotion if possible. But all the promotion in the world won't sell books if the readers can't get them. Bookstore distribution and a returns policy are key for that. Self-promotion also won't do any good if you're selling a product people don't want to buy.

Look at the PubliSHAMerica authors. Some of them spend every waking minute and every penny they have promoting their books, and still only sell a handful of copies.

james_b38
01-07-2008, 12:18 AM
Certainly it's helpful for an author to do self promotion if possible. But all the promotion in the world won't sell books if the readers can't get them. Bookstore distribution and a returns policy are key for that. Self-promotion also won't do any good if you're selling a product people don't want to buy.

Look at the PubliSHAMerica authors. Some of them spend every waking minute and every penny they have promoting their books, and still only sell a handful of copies.

I agree one-thousand percent. It takes many pieces being there to provide an optimum opportunity for sales success.

veinglory
01-09-2008, 05:31 AM
The most interesting thing I found in collecting small press sales figures is that books in the same genre at the same publisher sell about the same number of copies, no matter what the authors does. I am sure there are exceptions but publisher and genre seem to be the main factor by far whether the author is a promo-fiend, or brand new and utterly lazy....

Unimportant
01-09-2008, 05:59 AM
Yes, V, I've found the same thing for lesbian fiction.

Chumplet
01-09-2008, 06:10 AM
I'm one of the brand new and utterly lazy ones. My e-book sold eleven copies in three months, but I have yet to see how many copies sold when in print. I'll know by mid-March. I sold twelve author-bought copies to co-workers, and many cousins and relatives (I have tons) bought all the Amazon.ca copies.

Distribution is certainly a problem for my particular publisher in Canadian bookstores. My next book will be with a Canadian e-book and POD publisher and I see more of their books in Canadian stores. So I guess I'll put aside my laziness for book number two and give it the ol' college try.