Recordkeeping and Sales

I feel like I should have a feather duster tucked behind my ear and an adding machine at my fingertips.  It’s a virtual housekeeping/record updating kinda day.  The latest quarter (ish) numbers have come in from distributors at Smashwords, so I’ve been performing mental gymnastics to sort their spreadsheet (which provides data going back to the beginning of time–or at least when you started publishing with them) into something I can use to update my sales tracking spreadsheet.

Yes, that flop at the end is exactly how I feel just now since I think I finally have it sorted out.  There’s a lot of adjusting and number crunching to do, as some distributors have not reported actual income yet and I’ve played around with my price points some, so I’m having to manually update my spreadsheet to account for that.  There’s still room for miscalculation and hinkiness, so I have a totally separate page in the spreadsheet to track what I ACTUALLY get paid.

Since I haven’t done a numbers post in a while, here’s the latest.

  • Since I put out Forsaken By Shadow in March 2010, I have sold 8,260 ebooks total (this doesn’t include the ones I gave away) across assorted distributors.
  • Since I released it in March 2011, I have had over 20k verified downloads of Blindsight (which is probably more in the neighborhood of 30k as I don’t have any numbers from Barnes and Noble or Kobo).
  • So far this year I’ve consistently made over $500 a month from these two little novellas, which sounds like small potatoes, but I paid off my car a year and a half early, thanks very much.
  • There’s been a bit of a dip since April, but that seems to be par for the course for most everyone.  I’m starting an upward swing for the summer reading season, one that won’t be as pronounced as I won’t be releasing another title until August or September.   That wasn’t the plan but life happens and we move on.  I’m still writing.
  • The key to momentum and long term growth absolutely seems to be a solid backlist.  By which I mean GOOD books and stories, not just the product of spewage.  If you’re trying to make a living at this, you HAVE to remember that it’s a LONG HAUL GAME.  Take however much time you must in order to produce a QUALITY PRODUCT and recognize that momentum takes a long time to build.

In other random bookish news, Barnes and Noble’s website now seems to do the Customers Who Bought this Also Bought thing on ALL listings, which is a massive improvement.  THANK YOU Barnes and Noble!  Their keyword search still doesn’t work, so that’s still an epic fail, but still, they’re making improvements.

I’m currently having a hate-hate relationship with the current incarnation of the Smashwords Meatgrinder and Microsoft Word.  Since they did the latest upgrade (Smashwords, I mean), I have had to go back and nuke files that were TOTALLY FINE BEFORE because they say “You might have corrupt formatting.”  No, I don’t frigging have corrupt formatting.  All I did was add ONE LINE to the file.  I have had this happen repeatedly, so I conclude that it is not caused by moving from Write Way Pro and the exported RTF it creates to a .doc but rather just the simple act of OPENING the freaking file in Word at all.  Because Word apparently keeps inserting garbage code.  If Smashwords would just let me upload my EPUB file directly, we could avoid all this.  I heart Sigil and I know how to use it and verify the end result (they have a nifty tool built in to do this).  I promise it’s prettier than what the Meatgrinder produces.  If they kick back the current version of Blindsight again, I may hit something.


8 thoughts on “Recordkeeping and Sales

  1. I’m jealous. You paid off your car early! That’s one of my goals with my writing – paying off my truck early. =p

    That’s really strange about Meatgrinder. It only kicked back one of our ebooks listed there, and approved all the rest. And I haven’t reformatted them in over a year, though I have added a few things and re-uploaded the doc for some. 0_o

    Anyhoo, congratz, Kait! 🙂

    1. The problem didn’t arise until I submitted it for Premium Distribution. One I had had approved before and literally added ONE LINE to and the other I added a new excerpt to and resubmitted. I’ve been through several rounds of it and I’m beyond annoyed about it.

  2. I’m having the same problem with the Meatgrinder. Before, first, possibly second time, and I was approved for Premium Distribution. Every time.

    And now it keeps telling me I have hidden bookmarks or some such nonsense. Only, it’s wrong. I know how to find hidden bookmarks. There aren’t any. But, frustrated that the error kept coming up, I started nuking the books and reformatting, wasting a lot of my time. The result? Apparently, in a FRESH file, I still have hidden bookmarks. I’m about to contact Mike Coker personally. This is ridiculous.

    And all this to correct a few typos. Makes me wary to ever correct a typo again, which is silly. I hope Smashwords gets this fixed soon.

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