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Amazon sales data - SteeBee - 02 Apr 2017 09:09 PM

I've just come across the following statistics:

The average Amazon book by a new author sells 79 copies per year!

Many 'well known' authors only sell 1,000 copies a year!

I wonder if this compares with your own experiences?

As for me, I must be lucky, as my first book continues to sell strongly. I do not advertise but very rarely does a day go by when I don't make sales.


RE: Amazon sales data - Campbell - 03 Apr 2017 06:57 AM

If by average you mean 'mean', then maybe it's 79. But if you mean 'typical sales', the modal figure is nowhere near 79 per year. Most books just don't sell. Anything with a sales rank >500k (i.e. 90% of the store) hasn't sold for a month or more. The mean is dragged up massively be a few outliers. If you put E L James in a (presumably very large) room with 69.9 million non-authors, they haven't sold one copy each despite the average suggesting they have.

There's an exponential curve in play. The top 1% get 99% of the sales. Of those 1%, the 0.01% are getting 99% of *those* sales. 1500 in store in the UK is a dozen or so a day. 50 in store is hundreds per day. The gap between 'doing well' and 'doing great' is absolutely enormous despite the slim percentile change.

I don't think anyone becomes well known on 1000 copies, but it's such a nebulous concept that you could define it very loosely. The 'big' names are clearing 100,000+ copies per annum (combined sales and full-sale-equivalent reads via KU).


RE: Amazon sales data - cecilia_writer - 03 Apr 2017 09:34 AM

I am not a successful or well-known author but I see from my records that back in 2014 my best-selling book to date sold 948 copies just on Amazon UK in one month. (That was because it had 'Christmas' in the title and I inadvertently published it at exactly the right moment!) The figures have gone downhill quite a bit since then. 2014 was my best year by quite a long way. I haven't really gone in for paid advertising apart from a couple of failed attempts, but it's very much harder to be visible now than it was a few years ago.
I think as well as the tiny minority of top-selling writers, and the majority who sell hardly anything, there are quite a lot trundling along somewhere in the middle like me, at various levels.


RE: Amazon sales data - Campbell - 03 Apr 2017 09:59 AM

(03 Apr 2017 09:34 AM)cecilia_writer Wrote: Wrote:  I am not a successful or well-known author but I see from my records that back in 2014 my best-selling book to date sold 948 copies just on Amazon UK in one month. (That was because it had 'Christmas' in the title and I inadvertently published it at exactly the right moment!) The figures have gone downhill quite a bit since then. 2014 was my best year by quite a long way. I haven't really gone in for paid advertising apart from a couple of failed attempts, but it's very much harder to be visible now than it was a few years ago.
I think as well as the tiny minority of top-selling writers, and the majority who sell hardly anything, there are quite a lot trundling along somewhere in the middle like me, at various levels.
But you are the 1%. There are over 4.5 million books on Kindle, and you've got 16 books all consistently in the top 5% of that even now, three years since your best year,, and have had for most of the time the Kindle Store has existed. There are very few authors as prolific as you. Outperforming 95% of all kindle books ever published on a per-book basis all the time *is* successful, and you've peaked much higher than top 5% too (including several in the 99th percentile right now, and you've probably been top 0.01% at peak). It just shows how close everything is at the top, and how big an iceberg of unseen books exists underneath that.


RE: Amazon sales data - cecilia_writer - 03 Apr 2017 11:54 AM

Thanks - I didn't ever think of myself as being at the top end of it, and I can tell you that I sell next to nothing on the .com site so that should stop me boasting about it!


RE: Amazon sales data - H.E. Bulstrode - 03 Apr 2017 01:06 PM

The question of averages and sales numbers is a vexing one.

If I aggregate my half a dozen novellas/novelettes that I've published over the past ten months, then I've almost hit the 'average' annual sales figure. However, individually they have sold in very small quantities, leaving my royalties 'resting' in Amazon's (rather like Father Ted's) account. Given that I've not paid for any advertising, perhaps this should be expected, but at least the first of them should have sold at least a couple of dozen by its first anniversary. As to why it's selling so much better than the others, it may be down to its clutch of good reviews and ratings, and hopefully its revised and improved cover art should catch the attention of prospective readers.

How do the rest of you fare vis-à-vis where your sales occur? Mine are almost exclusively in the UK, although my free promotions have lately attracted a fair amount of interest in the US.


RE: Amazon sales data - Shayne Parkinson - 03 Apr 2017 07:50 PM

Campbell's done a brilliant job of explaining how misleading the mean can be in online bookstores, with a few huge sellers and a legion of non-sellers.

I'm in the six figures per annum cohort, and I'm really not a big name. Smile


RE: Amazon sales data - Jason Chapman - 04 Apr 2017 04:09 AM

Last month I sold 148 copies of my books, which amounts to nearly 1800 a year, if I had ten books I might sell 10,000 books+ some Indie authors will have dozens of titles to their name and make a nice little turn over. I guess the lesson to be learnt here is write loads of books in order to make a living.


RE: Amazon sales data - cecilia_writer - 04 Apr 2017 06:02 AM

(04 Apr 2017 04:09 AM)Jason Chapman Wrote:  Last month I sold 148 copies of my books, which amounts to nearly 1800 a year, if I had ten books I might sell 10,000 books+ some Indie authors will have dozens of titles to their name and make a nice little turn over. I guess the lesson to be learnt here is write loads of books in order to make a living.

Unfortunately it doesn't work quite like that for me, although I suppose it might for some others! It's more a case of running faster and faster to stay in the same place.


RE: Amazon sales data - H.E. Bulstrode - 04 Apr 2017 08:55 AM

(03 Apr 2017 07:50 PM)Shayne Parkinson Wrote: Wrote:  Campbell's done a brilliant job of explaining how misleading the mean can be in online bookstores, with a few huge sellers and a legion of non-sellers.

I'm in the six figures per annum cohort, and I'm really not a big name. Smile
That's a mightily impressive annual tally! How long have you been publishing for, and what, if anything, did you find was key to acquiring the visibility necessary to sell your titles? An easy enough question to ask, but I suspect that the answer is not quite so straightforward :-)