It’s been an interesting weekend. Like every other proud publisher of a Kindle book I have done more than my share of checking my sales figures. I am pleased to report that I have sold an average of two books a day since Friday.
Pleased, I hear you cry? Two books a day does not sound like a lot, Bill. Particularly not for a bestselling Warhammer writer like yourself.
It’s not a huge amount, true. But if you consider my publicity and marketing has consisted of an email to 4 of my test readers thanking them for their help and one tweet to my 6 twitter followers alongside an announcement on this blog (which I had blocked to search engines until Friday), I can safely say I am happy with the results. And I can equally safely say I would be happy for sales to continue at these levels.
By now you are probably thinking, you are mad, Bill! You would be happy selling 730 books a year?
Happy? From a purely financial point of view, I would be bloody ecstatic. The royalty structure of Kindle Direct Publishing means I get 70% of the purchase price of every book sold. That’s $3.50/ £2.10 at present exchange rates. 730 books a year translates into $2555/£1533 a year.
Look at the traditional paperback royalty rates. These vary from 4% to 8% depending on a number of factors. Let’s say for the sake of argument you are getting 8% on a a $9 paperback. That means you are collecting 72 cents and chances are you will be lucky to get that. Those 730 books translate to the rough equivalent of selling 3500 paperbacks at the top rate. Believe it or not 3500 sold would be a pretty good result for many modern paperbacks.
In case you are wondering my Warhammer books do sell a lot more than this per year, sometimes an order of magnitude more, but the potential earnings on e-books are still a not inconsiderable sum as far as I am concerned. Furthermore this is a book that will not go out of print and which can keep earning year in, year out. And let’s not forget I have already written this book so the only work involved is formatting it and uploading it to Amazon which takes an hour or two.
Now obviously I am not going to get rich from this, but, seriously, if you chose to become a fantasy writer with the idea of getting rich, boy did you ever pick the wrong profession! It does mean that if I can continue to sell at these rates, and put the remaining five novels I have sold in other languages than English up on the Kindle, I could be earning $15000 dollars a year. That would pay my rent and then some.
Leaving aside the financial stuff for a moment, I am also really happy that this book might have a chance to find its audience. It’s a book I am proud of but it was always going to be a hard one to market for any publisher that picked it up. It is not in any sense a conventional fantasy novel. It has elves, but it also has muskets and Lovecraftian monsters. The hero is not an innocent young farm boy gifted with god-like powers and a secret destiny to be master of the world but an amoral thief trying to get by in a very dark world, one where the beautiful and the powerful are not wish-fulfilment fantasy persecuted outsiders but the ones doing the persecuting. It’s a return to the realpolitik sword and sorcery of my youth.
Obviously it’s early days yet. 3 days are not enough data points to extrapolate anything from. It’s possible that sales might dry up today or they might explode. In any case, it’s exciting and nerve-wracking to watch.
I’ll keep you updated as more info comes in.