Biennial data dump: What sold when & where

I put Trang up in January 2011, so it's been almost two years since I began e-publishing. I recently decided to actually look at all my sales reports (a first for me). My sales have never been stellar, but I thought it would be interesting to break down what sold when and where. These percentages are on a per copy basis, not a revenue basis, but I did not count freebies.

These sales are limited to e-books, and for good reason--I have sold almost no paper books.

Untill this month, my books have been available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, which distributes to a variety of retailers (I've been on expanded distribution most of the time). The Smashwords data complicates things, because at least in the spreadsheets I downloaded, they don't tell you the exact date of when a sale through a retailer occurred--they just give you the year. So sales data within a year is approximate.

So what's selling where? Everything's pretty much selling on Amazon--89% of sales there; 11% on Smashwords (through a mix of retailers). Barnes & Noble has yet to sell a single copy.

Which title sells more? I have two titles out, Trang (which has been out since January 2011), and its sequel Trust (which has been out since June 2012). Trang accounts for the lion's share of my sales--fully 76% of copies sold are Trang, only 24% are Trust.

So Trust was kind of a bust, right? Oh, no. Before you decide that, you have to ask...

When did you sell your books? The short answer is: After June 2012. Obviously all of my Trust sales occurred after that date, since that was when Trust was released. But surprisingly, approximately 45% of copies of Trang were sold after June 2012, meaning that I have sold almost as many copies of Trang in the five months following the release of Trust as I did in the 17 months before the second book's release. I have also sold more copies of Trang since Trust was released than I have copies of Trust. Overall, approximately 60% of my sales have accrued since the release of Trust last June--and only about 10% of my sales took place in the first six months of 2012.

Well, what about promotions? Hard to say. I put Trust on sale in its first month of release and it did fairly well that month, but then again sales probably would have been relatively strong at release anyway. And its impossible for me to tease out the effect of promotion like con flyers (although sales were not particularly strong in July and August, when I did my most aggressive efforts) or putting a Smashwords coupon on Kindle Boards from the effect of simply having a second book out (which implies to readers that I'm actually going to finish the series). It's not like I did absolutely nothing to promote Trang before June 2012, but my focus was certainly different--I ran an ad and sought reviews (and while I don't think that particular ad worked, I still think reviews are important). I can say that putting Trang at 99 cents with no other promotion had a negligible impact--I didn't actually sell no copies during those five months, but I sold very few.