Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Updates Underway

[click to enlarge]

10 comments:

fiona glass said...

I'm probably being thick as usual *g* but is there a difference between the two graphs? Both say average first month sales. Are they from different years?

Thanks for the hard work, it's good to see these figures in black and white (and yellow and orange and green and...)

Angelia Sparrow said...

Fiona, the first graph has Ellora's Cave, which sells so much more that it depresses all the other lines into a clump.

The second graph expands the clump.

Is it my or have EC and Samhain both taken real nosedives?

Angela James said...

Is it my or have EC and Samhain both taken real nosedives?As for as Samhain, it's you :P Our sales are up.

One thing I've always wondered about the reporting, Emily, is if people are reporting first month sales direct from publisher or from all distributors. Ellora's Cave doesn't have distribution, so all of their sales occur on their website. On the other hand, many of our first month sales take place across a number of venues, many of which aren't reported to the author until 3 months have passed. So if an author is reporting first month sales to you at the end of the first month, rather than at the end of the fourth month, they'd be inaccurate.

Also, while I think this chart is correct in showing that EC still has better sales than other publishers, I don't think the graph can even be considered a good sampling of statistics for any of the publishers. We have almost 1000 books now released. Last time I looked at the #s of books reported, it wasn't much more than 2% and I'm guessing that's very true for most of the pubs represented there. I just don't think a sampling of 20 to 30 books is a good representation of any publisher's sales, and can be skewed in any direction.

I like what you're trying to do, but every time I see an update, I find myself frustrated by such a small sampling trying to represent the overall picture, and that's not me speaking as someone who works for a publisher, just me speaking as someone who's interested in the industry as a whole.

fiona glass said...

"Fiona, the first graph has Ellora's Cave, which sells so much more that it depresses all the other lines into a clump. The second graph expands the clump."

Thanks for the explanation - I might have known it was something simple. ;)

Kris Eton said...

I agree with you, Angela, it is frustrating to not be getting the whole picture, or a fair picture. But until publishers themselves start reporting all of their sales info to the general public, Emily's graph is the best we authors have to look to.

Really, what I use the graphs for is to see where my sales fall in the scheme of things. I like to know if I'm doing worse or better or the same as those from the same publisher. Just out of curiosity, I guess.

But thanks for letting us know that the Samhain sales, in particular, are very skewed.

Emily Veinglory: said...

There is no way my samples could be said to be representative, and I hope people are able to take that into account--perhaps I need to add a disclaimer? It is a constant flaw with many sites like here, piers, Black Hole etc that the data we have is limited and not a random sample. I do have a lower threshold to preven compete outliers from getting in the mix, but it is a pretty minimal threshold--otherwiase there would be no publisher specific data. So is 'not so good' data better than none at all? I hope so but I need to keep looking at how to present it in the fairest light.

Xandra Gregory said...

Emily, could you expand a little more on how we should read the graph? I'm seeing "Days" at the bottom, and it looks like you're counting between zero and a thousand days since release across the bottom--that for example, an EC book comes strong out of the gate and sells around 1100 at day 200, then jumps about fifty or a hundred on day 400, then plummets after day 400 to climb a little more conservatively, maybe peaking around day 800 for some reason, then falling off again. I'm not really sure how to read the graph.

One other thing that's been brought up is that the sales may or may not come from other distribution points--I know with LSB, the releases stay at LSB for a few months before going to Fictionwise or ARe, to give the authors a better chance of making more royalties off the book sold at the publisher's site. I know that not all publishers do that, and that not all books get into FW's database immediately upon release.

It is good to see a little data from TWRP, though. I'd love to see some data from Ravenous, too.

Emily Veinglory: said...

The very end of the lines is the current day. It shows the average sales for a book from that press within the first month--based on whatever numbers the author has knowledge of at that time. It shows all books reported within the last 365 days.

Early parts of the line relate to book over previous one year periods. So the idea is that the line with show trends changing over time--e.g. publisher selling better with time.

Treva said...

Well, to add Loose Id's (possibly even less than) two cents, we recently added some new resellers so number of books sold should be different once they are reported. However those e-publishers who sell primarily through resellers may actually be getting less money to authors even though they show higher numbers of books (vs. those who sell primarily through their own websites and don't have a middleman to pay.) Or maybe not. It's a mystery.

Angelia Sparrow said...

Angela,
No, Torquere and Ellora's drops you can blame on me. 8)

I meant to type "is it my imagination" but I lacked caffeine.

I send in first month sales, even for the value of "month" that equals 4 days. Then I send in 1 year and total sales to date.