Saturday, November 29, 2008
It's that time of the month again. Royalty statement time. Time for me to bore you all again with the mantra of "8 copies in the first month is not a bestselling book, whatever your publisher may be telling you".
My royalty statement this month is showing the effects of the financial turndown. Either that, or it's something I said or failed to say on a blog somewhere, and I've caused more than my usual number of "never buying one of *her* books again" moments... Either way, numbers are definitely down slightly across my titles.
That means one book just missed out on reaching 1000 copies sold since it first came out, when I'd expected it to hit that mark this month. On the other hand, Lord and Master has just squeezed past the 1500 mark. And I'm still getting a tiny trickle of sales reports on the last few copies of the treeware edition of The Syndicate, which was formally taken out of print back in June.
Titles vary in how successful they are, even with the same author, publisher and genre. But at this point I'm going to be disappointed if one of my titles doesn't manage 500 copies in the first year. 500 copies is a respectable enough number in small press publishing.
I've been around long enough to be on at least one or two people's auto-buy lists, but in erotic romance ebooks, people mostly seem to buy by publisher. Do your homework on sales levels when checking out a potential publisher. "Good sales" isn't enough. Nor is "bestselling". What are the actual numbers behind those phrases? The hard number behind one publisher's "wonderful performance" may be what another house considers a poor level of sales.
The place with the highest overall sales isn't necessarily the best place for your book. There may be issues with the standard contract, there may be issues with getting paid in a format that doesn't involve massive taxes or currency conversion fees if you live in a different country, they may not publish the genre you write. If sales numbers were my only consideration, I'd learn to write het so I could sell to the mainstream. But sales is one of the factors that goes into the mix, and when it's your book at stake, you want hard and spiky numbers, not warm and fuzzy phrases.