Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts About Fictionwise

Fictionwise.com is a distribution site for e-books that charges the first $15 and 50% of gross royalties. Some authors seem to specifically seek out publishers who distribute via Fictionwise. Things to bear in mind include:

A publisher may be listed as using Fictionwise that does distribute all of their titles through this service. Do not assume that your book will be listed at Fictionwise if this is not specified in the contract.

Before clamoring for immediate distribution check your contract and appreciate that you probably receive at least twice as much from each book sold direct from the publisher. There is a good reason for releasing in-house first, and through distributors only after those sales have dropped off.

There is a significant readership that uses Fictionwise exclusively or in preference to going to the publisher. Fictionwise offers a trusted centralised sales process, useful data such as reader-ratings and specific word counts, and reliably readable files in all common formats for books by famous and niche authors.

In my opinion it is wise to be aware of whether a publisher you are considering distributes through Fictionwise but only as a factor that may contribute to sales figures. It is much easier to discover than actual sales figures but may, in many cases, be a factor of no importance whatsoever.

It is hard to say what typical Fictionwise sales might be but in the absence of real information let me make something up (tell me if this seems anywhere near plausible). If you divide their 40,000 sales per month by what looks like about 750 books listed per month that would give an estimated average around 50 sales per book, less given that not all sales will be of new listings.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.


Imp said...

I agree with you on the delayed release through FictionWise. I think a 1-month lag would be ideal. Get those first sales directly from the publisher's site -- which is healthier for the publisher, too -- then move on to other distributors.

That being said, 3rd party distribution is important to me for building name recognition and easy access to my backlist. At this point in my career, it's not just about the sales numbers.

JMS Books LLC said...

Authors can sign up directly with Fictionwise if they own the full electronic rights to their work. If you work with them directly, you get 35% royalties and there is no listing fee.

I signed a contract with FW to distribute my backlist through them. They released one book a week for nine weeks. Sales were very good for each title the first week, then petered off. Only two or three titles have maintained steady sales on a weekly basis.

FW provides weekly sales figures to authors and publishers alike, but cautions that they aren't set in stone. They pay quarterly, with royalties being sent 45 days after the end of the quarter.

Personally I love the exposure FW has provided me ~ I've gained readers who only found me through that site. However, I do not like their rating system ~ there are no comments or reviews to quantify the rating readers have given a specific book. Authors have no feedback on why readers mark a particular book as "poor."

Overall, I have be very satisfied with my sales through FW, both as an author selling my own work there and with my publisher, too. The new publisher I'm working with doesn't list new titles at FW immediately, so I'm curious to see how that dely will affect things.