S.O.S.

Before we get started, I’m going to preface this post with a disclaimer that it’s going to be long and publishing-related, and will include an announcement of sorts. This is a “business” post, in which I’ll discuss sales numbers, downloads, and what it all means for the future. This won’t be a fun post for me to write, and it probably won’t be fun to read. So, if this doesn’t interest you, you may be better off just waiting for the next one.

Still there? Okay. Here we go.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been spending a lot of time lost in thought over the last couple of weeks. Thinking about the Monochrome, thinking about the ULT collection, real life matters, and everything in between, and this week I remembered I owe someone a full report on the download numbers of my books since enrolling in Amazon’s KDP Select program in March 2012.

Last time I had a single year of data to work with. This time, I have 18 months of data to view, and . . . well, I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves.

Raw Data

I broke out the Kindle sales data from ALT and TLM by month, into separate columns: Sold, Lending, and Free. This data goes from March 2012 (when I enrolled) through September 2013 (the last full month of data).

Print totals are based on LSI data from the most recent year-to-date (YTD) reports. Since I’m going across a single year, it’s broken up by December 2012 and September 2013. These totals reflect sales strictly through retail websites (Amazon, B&N, etc.); these are not reflective of the books I’ve ordered from the distributor for promotions/events. (Although I had several sales for the TLM book tour, I view that as an atypical event, and have decided not to include them in the total.)

Totals include all territories:

Metrics_FML
Click to enlarge the disappointment.

In summation:

GrandTotals

If you paid for either one of my books, congratulations! You’re part of that 1.3%! Now, just excuse me for a minute while I got have a really stiff drink and a good cry . . .

Okay. Back now. I’m going to try and leave my emotions out of this (says the guy who just wrote about having a good cry), and point out the facts.

What does this mean:

  • My books aren’t selling well (Duh).
  • The effectiveness of free promotions has waned considerably.
  • Releasing a second book did not yield much better results.
  • At this rate, the business of Precipice Books is not sustainable.

The Future:

What was earned did little to cover the expense of keeping all of this up and running. This website, domain renewal, keeping the books in print, paid promotion and other events (signings, etc)—all of it costs money which I have, for the most part, paid out of pocket following ALT’s publication (which exhausted the Kickstarter cash). Every dollar I earn from this venture is kept separate from my personal funds, and is used exclusively for the Precipice business.

A year ago, funding the business out of my personal funds wasn’t a problem—in fact, I had to. That’s how I paid Amelia, paid B10, paid LSI’s setup fees for the print edition, and so on. This year, I had a lot of unexpected health issues explode all at once, leaving me with a number of sizeable medical bills which have mostly eviscerated my expendable income. So . . . Precipice is on its own this time around, and without book sales, it won’t be around much longer at all.

Yes, this means future releases—including the last Monochrome book—are in jeopardy. This does not mean I’m going to stop writing, and it doesn’t mean this website is going away any time soon (I’ll keep this place going at the very least), but it does mean that future titles may not be available the ways you’re used to. It may mean going entirely digital. It may mean lower quality releases because I a) Can’t afford to pay my editor; and b) can’t afford to pay B10 Mediaworx to handle the digital layout. Can I do Kindle formatting on my own? Probably, but I doubt I’ll be as good at it as Elizabeth is.

And considering I’m a stickler for quality, it may mean no releases for a very long time—or not at all. That’s a worst-case scenario, but it’s also a plausible one.

To Be Continued

Honestly, I wanted to write more here about why certain promotions did or didn’t work, what I haven’t tried yet, and so on, but I’m just tired at this point, folks. I’m tired of thinking about this, tired of pulling my hair out, tired of being disappointed all the time, and tired of feeling like I’m not doing enough when I know I’ve done everything I possibly can.

So . . . I’ll write more about this after I’ve had more time to think about it. If there are any other more successful authors out there who have any better ideas, please feel free to share. I’m all ears.

Thanks for reading.

TK

8 thoughts on “S.O.S.

  1. Oh, Todd. I wish I could say something else than ‘I’m right there with you’. You’re a wonderful writer and I love your books and find it very hard to think you’d be giving up on publishing book 3, or at least pushing the date, because of this. It amazes me how other writers talk about the huge after-sales the Kindle free promos have brought to them. I thought my smaller numbers were an anomaly, however, even when your free numbers are so much higher than mine it doesn’t show a too big increase in sales. Not to poke the wound, but I’m starting to think twice on renewing my KDP Select enrollment and try and put my books on other retailers to see if at least the exposure will help.

    I format my own books because I can’t pay for anything else than editing, and even that is getting hard since I lost my job. And marketing and promos are getting tiresome. I thought on going back to posting a lot of free stuff to see if it could act as bait for new readers (feeling brave/desperate enough to maybe put some stuff up on a site like Wattpad).

    A may be rambling, yet I really want you to know I’m with you and that I’ve been feeling the same even when I know my books aren’t worthy of looking at yours in the eye. Thank you for this post, and for being so transparent on this, but please, DO NOT FADE AWAY FROM US. We need you.

  2. Sorry to hear this, Todd. But yeah, I’m seeing the same results. In fact, I sell fewer books than you do at any given time. The publishing/writing business is a bad one to be in right now. I wish I knew the answer.

  3. Well reading all that put a frown on my face. I like your writing Todd and I rather not see your disappear completely. You’re a good writer and I want to see you succeed. I really wish I could help you more, I do. I wish I knew anything that could help you out.

  4. Todd, I hope you don’t disappear as well. I am still reading A Life Transparent, and am enjoying it. I am not a writer, but I feel your pain and experience it thru Moriah. It’s funny, because just the other day I asked her to ask if you had tried something we are considering. We also have considered the KND, but I thought results would be better. Maybe it would be with a different genre.

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