Raw Data Is Telling

Yesterday I was minding my own business working in Scribus on the layout of one of my novels. I was following the steps in my Creating Print On Demand Interiors & Covers Using Scribus 1.4.1  and realised it gets easier and easier, each time I went through the steps.

Note the blatant plug for one of my books. 🙂

I stopped to have a break and decided to open FeedReader to skim over the topics for the day in all the sites I monitor.

Wow! Just Wow!

I usually check Passive Guy first. He had a blog post titled New Author Earnings Report

Of course, I clicked the link to Author Earnings  and checked out the About page.

Then I clicked on the report and realised it was written by Hugh Howey. I love that guy. 🙂 He is always so open with his data.

Warning! If your brain turns to mush when you look at statistics then just read Hugh’s interpretation on what the figures might mean to him.

Look at the coloured pie charts and bar charts.

He data is mined on three genres including their subcategories.

Mystery/Thriller
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Romance

For what it is worth, these are the best selling genres of all the genres and account for 70% of the top 100 bestsellers on Amazon.

I noted that Indie Published and Uncategorized Single-Author Publishers combined (includes me except I have never been on a top 100 list) make up 53%.

Also, Big Five Published, Amazon Published and Small or Medium Publishers combined make up 47% sales in the top 100 best sellers on Amazon.

This is mind blowing.

Even though the data is only based on the top 100 best sellers I think it is interesting.

If they collected the data on the midlist authors, it would show the same percentages, because the Big Five Publishers have been dropping midlist authors for years and the few I know are now Indie publishing.

I won’t comment on the rest, just read it.

Then I checked Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and he commented on The Report.

Dean knows the publishing business inside out so I listen and take on board what he says. Also read the comments there.

I then checked out J A Konrath’s site. He commented on the same Report.

I had a good laugh.

I decided I had wasted enough time, and returned to the layout of my POD book and fell into bed around 11:00 pm.

Today, I got to thinking.

In my previous life I was a bookkeeper, even before I got my Accounting Degree at uni. One of the sayings at the time was “pay attention to the cents and the dollars will look after themselves”. That still works for running my own small publishing business. 🙂

I also developed a sense of knowing when business cash flows were getting tight, when businesses overextended their debts by upsizing too soon, knowing when state and commonwealth governments in Australia were over spending, leading to more borrowing, and many other events in both small and large businesses that were signs those businesses were heading towards receivership and closure if they did not downsize quickly and pay off debt.

Now, with the publishing industry, I never knew anything about it.

I only started learning about publishing in the past 5 years, which was when I started self publishing because I was sick and tired of rejection slips.

I read another interesting blog post some time back on J K Konrath’s site about questions from Steve Zacharius, the CEO and President of Kensington .

The questions Steve was asking got my sense of knowing when business cash flows were getting tight was now happening for Kensington, but I ignored it.

Then I read other articles from Mike Shatzkin, Robert Gottlieb and David Gernert. I do not know who these guys are, or care much what they say, only what J A Konrath thought about their comments. Then I read the comments from Donald Maass and what Joe thought about those.

I am not linking these articles, because they should be ignored by anyone entertaining Indie publishing.

But, I mention them because they also got my sense of knowing when business cash flows were getting tight for them, too.

Wow! No wonder they are all worried.

This report, even though it is a small data set from the whole publishing industry, is telling.

What this means to me?

Not much.

In the groups of Best Selling authors, Midlist authors, and Beginner authors, I would be in the bottom of the Beginner list. 🙂

If the report had data for the top one million best sellers on Amazon, I would still be outside that, even though my non-fiction book was  70-75 in the best selling non fiction range when I checked it just after it went live from CreateSpace. Haven’t bothered to check it since.

If the report included the number of authors earning $500 a year, I would still be outside that.

Will it change the stories I want to write? No. I write the stories I want to read, but can’t find in the local book stores.

Please note that I did statistics at Uni, but am not an expert at it. I am really not an expert at anything, sort of a jack-of-all-trades, so take what I say next for what it is. Just my opinion and as more data comes to light up my life I may change my opinion accordingly. 🙂

What this report means to me is if the data is a small subset (layer) of the whole publishing industry just from Amazon, then Indies are the heavy weight publishers of the world right now.

In 2013 alone, Amazon ebooks was only 20% of all my ebook sales, and less the years before that.

That means that 80% of my miniscule sales were outside of Amazon. Surely, I am not the only indie published author earning money outside of Amazon.

Imagine what that will show if http://www.authorearnings.com drills down into the data from every other ebook selling site around the world and does another report. The collective number of sales from Indie authors will increase the percentage of overall sales upwards from 53% and the combined Publishers will decrease from 47%. I have no idea by how much, but it has to shift the current data.

That is mind blowing for me.

So, enough from me. Read The Report and learn from it.

I am going back to finish the layout of my novel, then work on the cover and blurb again before I put it on CreateSpace and let Amazon do its thing in selling my next book.

Thank you Amazon.

Thank you Hugh Howey and your programmer friend.

Thank you Indie Authors.

And a big thank you to readers around the world who found my books among the many published books and took a chance on reading them.

Keep writing, editing, publishing and repeat, and keep having fun.

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