Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Hugh Howey

#AuthorEarnings and International Book Sales


Two of the more interesting Author Earnings posts I’ve done were in September 2015 and June 2016Author Earnings Methodology

Well, Hugh Howey and his intriguing Data Guy have another, probably controversial, report out

Even the title is somewhat “controversial”—February 2017 Big, Bad, Wide & International Report: covering Amazon, Apple, B&N, and Kobo ebook sales in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

1st Excerpt:

“Today, with the click of a button, any author can start selling any title they wish simultaneously in 12 country-specific Amazon stores, 36 country-specific Kobo ebook stores, and over 40 country-specific Apple ebook stores.”

2nd Excerpt:

“…the four other major English-language markets outside the US….have also been consistently underestimated and under-reported by traditional publishing-industry statistics.”

3rd (rather large but exciting) Excerpt:

“…we’ve substantially overhauled and refined our AuthorEarnings methodology.  We can now measure each retailer’s total sales in each country with far more precision.

“So this time, we rolled up our sleeves and basically went for the whole enchilada:

  • The top five English-language countries
  • The fifteen largest ebook stores
  • 750,000 top-selling ebook titles, in all genres and categories.
  • All of it calibrated against 700,000 points of raw, unfiltered daily sales data, from over 20,000 distinct ebook titles across all 15 stores.

“When we were done, we were looking at the most comprehensive international picture of English-language ebook sales available anywhere. And now, we’re excited to share it with authors everywhere around the world.”

Somewhat obviously, the image up there is from their methodology page; and, there are 13 other images that pretty well sum-up what these two guys are doing that so upsets the traditional publishers

And, if I counted right, there are 10 other colorful, intriguing images on the Report Page, like this one:

Ebook Sales -Top 5 English-Language Markets)

Just a few excerpts from their Conclusions:

“Our look at the wider world of ebook retailers tells us that the rise of ebook sales in general, and indie publishing in particular, are not limited to the US nor to a single retailer (Amazon); they are international, industry-wide phenomena.”

“The US currently leads the world in both ebook penetration rate and the indie share of that market, but other ebook markets are starting to catch up: particularly the other 4 major English-language ones. Taken together, ebook sales in these 4 additional markets add a combined 25% to the US-only total.”

And, for those who still think traditional publishing has it all…

“…somewhat counter-intuitively, self-published indie authors are proving to be far more capable of taking advantage of their global digital reach to achieving commensurate international sales than traditionally published authors are.”

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Author Earnings ~ “…Turning of the Tide…?”


I’ve posted before about Hugh Howey‘s initiative Author Earnings.

Here’s the site explanation

“Our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.”

Today’s post will share a few of the highlights from Author Earning’s October Report

“During the five short months since May, it seems that indies have somehow lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This has been counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally-published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers have each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have instead gone to Amazon Imprints, who have gained a whopping 4% in market share.”

Might be hard to believe; but, that’s not as bad as it may sound…

“Despite the Big Five’s slight uptick in unit-sales market share, their share of consumer ebook dollars has continued to drop—albeit less steeply than in previous quarters.”

And…

“…the biggest recent winners seem to be the Small/Medium publisher authors, whose share of total Kindle author earnings has surpassed 20% for the first time.”

Taking the link to the October Report will give you a huge amount of information and speculation…

For non-link-takers, I’ll finish with:

“We have no idea whether this reversal represents the new normal—no clue at all whether what we’re seeing is a single-quarter blip before the previous relentless market-share shift toward non-traditional ebooks resumes; or whether we are seeing the true beginning of a turn in the digital book tide.

“But regardless, if you’re a traditionally published author of longstanding tenure, this change is probably good news.

“On the other hand, if you’re a relatively new traditionally published author or traditional publishing aspirant, the news is a whole lot less exciting. Because it seems the benefits of this recent increase in traditional ebook market share are not being felt equally by all authors…”

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#AuthorEarnings ~ Are There Any?


Sure, folks with lots of money can buy their way into the BookWorld and sometimes make a killing.

Author Earnings

Image Courtesy of José A. Warletta ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/jwarletta-34460

Then, there are the very few authors who happen to land a publishing deal and continue to make a decent amount of money.

Still, most writers make very little

But

Between “most” and “the very few” there are “lots” of authors doing fairly well.

Enter author Hugh Howey and his anonymous “DataMagician” who have been raising a ruckus about IndieAuthor earnings.

I did a post last year with lots of links to their various studies—Author Earnings and What’s Really Going on in the Book World.

Today, I’ll share some info from their latest report—May 2016 Author Earnings Report: the definitive million-title study of US author earnings.

They begin with:

“Data in the publishing biz is hard to come by. Without widespread sharing of data by retailers, publishers, agents, and authors, we are all left like the blind to describe different parts of the same but seemingly disjointed elephant. Two years ago, AuthorEarnings released its first report on a new part of this elephant: E-book sales on Amazon.com. Our report stirred controversy, as it described a formerly unseen world of publishing data.”

They then reveal:

“So for this report, we went deeper. Instead of just looking at Amazon’s bestseller lists, we had our spider follow links to also-bought recommendations and also through each authors’ full catalog. This resulted in a million-title dataset, our most comprehensive and definitive look yet at author earnings. We were able to tally up precisely how many indie authors, Big Five authors, small/medium press authors, and Amazon-imprint authors are currently making enough from Amazon.com sales to land in a number of ‘tax brackets’.”

And, no matter what you personally feel about Amazon, they do sell an amazing number of books (and diapers…).

Here’s a breakdown of what they captured info on:

Nearly every single Kindle book selling 1 or more copy per day. (98.5% of them)

90% of all Kindle titles selling at least 2-3 copies a week

81% of all Kindle titles selling 1 or more copy a week

64% of all Kindle titles selling 2 or more copies a month

32% of all Kindle titles listed in the Amazon US Kindle store.

There’s lots of analysis of the numbers from their latest data-exploration in the full article; but, I’ll share a bit of what I consider important:

“…the Big Five’s year-long plummet in overall ebook unit sales appears to have finally leveled off, leaving them with roughly 23% of Amazon’s ebook unit sales.”

“…every author who debuted anytime in the last century and is currently accumulating income at a rate of $10,000 a year or more from their Amazon US sales alone….almost 9,900 such authors”

“…Almost half of those 9,900 authors also appear in the $25000-or-better bracket…”

“…over 2,500 authors…are currently earning at a living-wage run rate — $50,000/year or more — from just their Amazon sales.”

“1,340 authors are earning $100,000/year or more from Amazon sales.”

And, just in case you wondered:

“On Amazon alone, the data shows over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.”

However, doing a little math with a few of their numbers, it seems there are over 300,000 book sales a day on Amazon—and, my best intuitive guess is that somewhere around 100,000 authors are selling those books (which should mean there are many more authors selling none)

I think we’re still able to say most writers make very little

And, if you want to do a little self-therapy on why writers continue to work at writing and attempting to sell their books, check out my past post—Selling Books Is Hard. ~ So, Why Do Writers Keep Trying?
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Author Earnings and What’s Really Going on in the Book World


This blog says its purpose is doing “Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing”.

Today’s post will be really heavy into the Publishing side.

But

If you don’t care about such stuff, just scroll down in the left side-bar and find the Top Tags area—then, click on “Reading” or “Writing” or any of the other tagged collections of posts

Here are just a few more particularly interesting collections:

Author Interviews

Behind The Scenes

Friday Fantasy

So, back to the topic in the title of this post and looking into the Book World’s goings-on by giving credit to Hugh Howey and his initiative, Author Earnings.

I got an email from Author Earnings this morning and they gave me a nice list of links to quite a few of their past reports on the Book World.

I’ll share those with you

Top 7,000 E-books in Three Bestselling Genres

Barnes & Noble Report

85,000 of the Bestselling Books Across All Genres

How Newer Authors were Faring Compared to Their Longer-tenured Peers

The Effect of DRM and Genre Across 120,000 Titles

The Size of the ISBN-less “Shadow Industry” that Remains Completely Uncounted in Official Publishing Industry Statistics

The Effect the Return to Agency Pricing has had upon the Market Share and Sales of the Big Five

And, their latest report:

How the American Association of Publishers’ 1200 participating publishers’ market share has trended, and whether their declining 2015 ebook sales are representative of the direction of the broader US ebook market

If any of you actually go to all those links and check them out, Please let me know in the Comments ’cause you are a Rare Person :-)
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Self-Publishing 101 ~ “What’s It All About?” & “Where’s The Money?”


I’ve written about 200 posts on my blog about Self vs Traditional Publishing over the last three years.

Self-Publishing 101

Image Courtesy of Rae Grimm ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/bloodylery

Even if you read all my posts and the many other articles I link to, you’d still need to read much more to fully understand what’s going on in the book world…

However, many writers, due to the relative ease of self-publishing, read a bit, prep their manuscript, and publish—usually learning by this method how not to do it.

But, they’ll take what they learned and do it again; with, perhaps, more success.

Yet, the reality of the book world shows that most writers (Self or Traditionally published) sell less than 500 copies of any given book…

I’m going to share two videos with you, one centered on “What’s It All About?” and one exploring “Where’s The Money?”.

However, these videos are nowhere near complete answers to those questions—though, they could get you started asking the right questions for further research.

Other resources for exploration are all the posts I’ve written about Self-Publishing—just scroll down the left side-bar and look for the Top Tags widget—since I’ll be tagging this post that way, it will be the first one you see when you click the Top Tag “Self-Publishing”—just scroll down again :-)

So, “What’s It All About?

Full Sail University had a panel discussion about Self-Publishing.

The panelists were:

Kim Craft
Course Director, Entertainment Media Publishing and Distribution

Wes Locher
Creative Writing BFA student, Independent Comic Writer

Bill Thompson
Course Director, Mobile Marketing and Commerce

Matt Peters
Course Director, Publishing & Distribution

 

Now, “Where’s The Money?”

This video is a Google Hangout with best-selling author Hugh Howey, who created the site Author Earnings:


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