This post, by J.A. Konrath, originally appeared on his A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog on 9/21/12. In it, Konrath shares his latest, cumulative book sales figures, both self-pub and "legacy" (mainstream-pubbed) titles, in both hard copy and ebook formats.
While this is useful information that definitely bolsters the argument in favor of going indie, it’s important to remember that Konrath’s numbers are exceptional, in part because he didn’t begin to self-publish until after he was well-established as a mainstream-published author. Konrath also has many, MANY titles in print.
So I’m working with an incredible woman who is an MS Office tutor. She knows Excel like she wrote it herself.
Over the past few weeks she’s been compiling my sales data. ALL of my sales data.
For the very first time, I have total counts of all my sales from every platform. My legacy titles, Amazon published titles, and everything I have on KDP, Nook, Smashwords, Overdrive, Createspace, Kobo, Sony, and Apple.
And now I’m going to share those numbers with you.
These are based on my 8 legacy titles (the Jack Daniels books, Afraid, Timecaster) and my 40+ self-pubbed titles (which include 6 solo novels, 3 collaborative novels–Flee, Draculas, and Serial Killers Uncut, and the rest shorts and compilations and collaborations).
So what are these numbers? (For fun, compare them to my numbers from 2009.)
Since 2004, I’ve sold 126,366 legacy ebooks, earning me $130,916 (prior to 15% to my agent.)
Since 2009, I’ve sold 632,501 self-pubbed ebooks, earning me $912,138. Some of that is shared with my collaborators, but not the lion’s share by a longshot.
The majority of the money I’ve made on ebooks are on six of my novels, The List, Origin, Disturb, Shot of Tequila, Endurance, and Trapped. These six novels–all rejected by legacy publishers, have sold 362,783 copies, earning me $600,501.
I’m not at liberty to discuss the sales of my Amazon published books, Shaken and Stirred, because Amazon prefers I don’t. But I’ll say that I’ve sold more ebook copies of Shaken and Stirred in less than three years than my eight legacy titles of sold in ebooks in eight years.
My eight legacy titles have sold 60,993 hardcovers, 190,213 paperbacks, and 9828 trade paper since 2004, earning me a total of $264,527.
I’ve used Createspace to make my self-pubbed books available in print. Since 2010 I’ve sold 12,711 self-pubbed paper books and made $37,519.
Again, can’t talk about Shaken and Stirred. Shaken, released first, did pretty well in print, as this was when Borders and B&N carried copies. Now Borders is gone, and no brick and mortar bookstore will touch Amazon pubbed paper books, so Stirred didn’t do as well.
Since 2004, I’ve sold a combined ebook/paper total of 387,400 legacy books, earning $395,443, or $336,126 after my agent’s commission. This includes all advances. That’s $42,015 per year. Not bad, but anyone who is a longtime reader of this blog knows how much I busted my ass to sell that many, and how much I spent on promotion and travel. If I took home $30k any given year, I’d be very surprised. It was usually less than that.
Since 2009, I’ve sold a combined ebook.paper total of 645,212 self-pubbed legacy books, earning $949,657. That’s $730,282 on my own, and another $109,687 for my share of my collaborations, for a total of $839,969. That’s $210,000 a year, average.
Stirred has made a little more money than Shaken, due to Blake Crouch’s brand, but I had to split that money with him. Again, I’m not disclosing how much I’ve made, but I’ve made more on Shaken than I have on any one of my legacy titles. This is the reason I continue to sign with Amazon publishing, and why at the end of this year I’ll release three books with them, co-written with Ann Voss Peterson, Flee, Spree, and Three.
Some of my self-pubbed novels have made more money than Shaken.
Now my calculations don’t take certain things into account, including: