Sales for new books: One week in (and other sundries) / by Josh Guess

So, as many of the five of you that read this blog at present may be aware, I released two new works on the Kindle store and the Nook a week ago. This morning at three O'clock marked seven full days of sales, and I'd like to share the facts and figures with you to see how this month has been shaping up so far. Please keep a few things in mind as you read--1) I'm using only the sales of my books that are $2.99 or more to figure books sold per day, though I am including the income from my .99c titles in any dollar amounts I mention. Similarly, I'm only using the total money earned from Barnes and Noble, and am not including the number of books I've sold through the Nook anywhere in here. Yes, that brings my averages down slightly, but the weird accounting stuff on B&N's dashboard means the only thing I can be sure of is how much money I've made. With that in mind...

The first seven sales days of March, I have sold:

69 copies of Living With the Dead: With Spring Comes The Fall (Months 1-6)
38 copies of Living With the Dead: The Bitter Seasons (Months 7-12)
52 copies of Living With the Dead: Year One (Months 1-12, plus bonus material)

I crunched the numbers as best I could, factored in what foreign sales (which means a lower royalty rate) I could, and here is the result:

Seven days of sales have made me $406.46. That averages out to $58.07 per day, and 22.7 books sold per day. Compare that to February, where for the entire month I made $819.70, averaged $29.27 per day, and sold 14.1 books per day. That's a huge improvement, though I expect it to go down over the next few weeks.

Part of that is because of the initial surge as we tried to push the new stuff up the charts, which netted sales of $96.66 on the first day. I might actually be wrong about the averages going down, because just a few minutes ago the metadata on my new stuff (bitter seasons and year one) went live. This means that customers won't just be searching for them anymore, but will now also see them displayed on pages of other eBooks, ones that people who bought my books also purchased. I've talked about metadata before, so I won't get into that. Suffice it to say that the rest of the month will be very interesting, and I will post updates where appropriate.

Now, I'm going to get on my high horse again. I've mentioned many times that I save 10% of my royalties (gross) to donate to Worldbuilders, the charity drive that's run by fantasy author (and superstar, both in fantasy and in the world of beards) Patrick Rothfuss. What I haven't gone into detail about is Mr. Rothfuss's body of work, which I desperately want to do. So...

I first read "The Name of the Wind", his first novel, in mid 2008. My wife had purchased it on one of our trips to the bookstore, where we always spend way too much money. TNOTW is an AMAZING book, seriously one of the best pieces of writing I've ever come across. At first, I wasn't interested in reading it. I'm terrible about picking up new stuff, new authors. I couldn't be happier that I was eventually browbeaten into reading the book--Kvothe is one of the most complex, human, and just straight out awesome characters ever created. The tone of the book, the loving care with which each word is chosen and fit into the almost lyrical rhythm of the story, is perfect. I've bought many hardcover copies for others as gifts, and at least as many paperbacks.

So, in short, read it. Go on, right now. I'll wait.

...Done? OK, now go out and buy "The Wise Man's Fear", the sequel to TNOTW. I'm halfway through my second reading of it, and it's equally amazing for totally different reasons. The writing is still great, but after my first read through, I felt an odd disquiet. I tried to figure out what it was that wasn't meshing for me, what wasn't working. Eventually I came to realize that it wasn't the book that was wrong; it was me. I had read through the story expecting it to be the first book, but that's not the case. I can't tell too much about either of them, because I don't want to ruin the story, so let me write a paragraph about each to whet your curiosity.

In TNOTW, we meet Kvothe; Hero to many, villain to some, and legendary figure across the known world. We see three stories twined into one--the legend that grew from his (mis)adventures, the man he has become in the present...and the real story behind his life. The truth of his deeds, honest and raw, told in the voice of the hero himself. I'm trying not to copy the jacket quote from the book here, which was what led me to read it in the end...so here's a link to it: My Name is Kvothe...

If the first book is about the birth of the hero and many of his clever triumphs, then TWMF is about his coming to grips with reality and the harsh repercussions of his decisions. The clever writing was what threw me off at first, making me expect more of the same. However, where the first book creates potential for Kvothe as a character, the second shows how he meets it. I really, really can't say much more, but trust me...If you go into this book with an open mind and simply look at book one as history and canon, you WILL see the brilliance of it, the skill with which the author created a tone that fit the story even better than the first book.

OK, I'm done gushing now. Go to amazon's Patrick Rothfuss page and buy his books! Also, check out his shopping enabled Wikipedia page, which I didn't even know existed, and read about him. He's a neat guy.