In October I got the idea of picking two authors and I picked Jim and David. I never got around to doing the comparision until the other day - and by then times had changed so I posted with "most recent numbers" not the ones I had from October.

But the point still remains - David Dalglish is not a midlister in the indie self-publishing community. Personally I lump anyone in the 1,000 - 10,000 as a "firm mid-list" for self-publishing. Anyone 10,000+ a month can be considered an outlier. I can't think of any other self-published author to compare Jim with - i.e. six fantasy books for sale and therefore I stand by the fact that these are still two good comparisions. If you choose to stick your head in the sand or your fingers in your ears - that's your perogative but it doesn't change the data.

First, I understand that data is limited, but when faced with limitations, we don't draw conclusions anyway. We recognize the need for better data and try to find it.

The problem here is that you're saying 10,000+ a MONTH could be considered an outlier. I think you have a skewed view on how many books the average midlister sells even commercially.

Here's a good post by Neil Gaiman on the topic.

He says an average established midlister can expect $30,000 to $50,000 advance. Based on around 10% of cover (trying to keep numbers simple), and so let's say for argument's sake (again simplicity) the cover price is $15. That's $1.50 per book, which means a range of 20,000 to 33,000 books sold total on the book to earn out. That's a pretty good amount for a print book that's in bookstores. Also, keep in mind that many authors don't earn out their advances, so maybe only sell 15,000 copies, maybe even 10,000, and are considered a decent investment.

So essentially you're giving a number in one month that would be the equivalent to an ebook selling in one month to two months what would be considered acceptable for a print midlist author over the lifespan of the book.

Yes, obviously that person is an outlier, but my point is that anything over 10,000 or 20,000

*ever* is probably an outlier.

Now, also consider that self-published ebooks are a very different animal than a commercially published print book, which is still where the majority of sales come from. There has often been a discrepancy noted by those with print books vs. ebooks that often those with print will sell more copies because they're in book stores and able to reach a wider audience.

Nathan Bransford did a post on this the other day and gave e-books a (rather generous by some accounts) market ratio of 27%, which would mean that you are only able to reach 27% of the viable market by publishing only ebooks.

Also, add into account that, traditionally speaking, self-published books have a long history of vastly underperforming commercially published books in terms of sales. Without backing, quality editing, good covers, marketing, etc., the self-published author is at a disadvantage and often sells fewer books. For print, the numbers were about 75 copies on average.

**Ever**. In essence, family and friends bought them, and that was about it. Yes, there were always a few authors who took off and sold thousands, but for a print book, anything over 100 could be considered above average.

So, back to the main problem. Obviously some people are selling very well via ebook. I think it's Veinglory that has a nice site where she gives numbers of ebooks sold for people who are commercially published for a variety of different established publishers. I can't find the site right now, but I do seem to remember that, compared to print, the numbers were much more modest. Maybe somewhere in the 500~2,000 range. If someone has the link to that, could you please post it? I'm not sure if my numbers are right.

So, in any case, let's assume that my numbers are at least close. Hell, let's be uber-generous and take the higher number. Now that would be 2,000 sold over a long period, not a month. And these are established presses with established fan bases and marketing who provide editing and covers, so I'm being extra generous because I'm actually allowing the assumption that the average self-published author will get the same numbers when history has shown that this is not the case.*

Essentially, an average seller for ebooks in this case would be 2,000, compared to a print midlist of 20,000. Let's factor in a $2.99 royalty rate for the ebook, and that author would earn about $6,000. Much less than the $30,000 earned by the commercially published midlister.

Now, obviously some ebook authors earn much, much more than this. But we're still missing that key bit of information: What is the

**average** for ebooks total? On one hand, dozens of people are publishing ebooks and doing better than the majority of commercially printed authors. On the other, many thousands of people are trying, and the vast majority are not going to find that success.

Now, if you really wanted to be accurate in your data, you would also find out how much money was spent by self-published authors before their books went out. JA Konrath even says that you could get a book edited and a good cover (which he considers a requirement) for $2,000. If someone has actually paid money for these services, that should come out of their royalty rate if you want to consider the actual amount earned.

This might not seem fair, but when you consider that even self-publishing advocates are saying that these steps are necessary to expect sales. A book might earn $10,000, but if you spent $2,000 to have it published, then the net gain is really only $8,000.

I know this is a long post, but my point is that there is an awful lot to consider, and based on everything I've seen, your numbers are skewed by your expectations of how you think things are, probably based on your husband's experiences. He has had a lot of success. That's amazing and commendable, but please be aware that he is not the norm.

*To clarify, this is not okay statistically. I'm doing it here to make a point. Statistically, you'd still need to find the REAL average.