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Amazon sales data

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Offline Jason Chapman Reading
04 Apr 2017, 07:28 PM | Post: #11

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RE: Amazon sales data

(04 Apr 2017 06:02 AM)cecilia_writer Wrote: Wrote:  
(04 Apr 2017 04:09 AM)Jason Chapman Wrote: 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.
True, what I can't understand is how authors maintain their position in the books charts from months on end, moving one or two places every now and then.
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RE: Amazon sales data

(04 Apr 2017 08:55 AM)H.E. Bulstrode Wrote: Wrote:  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 :-)
Thanks, H. E. This year will mark eight years since I began self-publishing, and it's five years since it began providing a full-time income.

It isn't easy for me to say how it's happened. I do a lot of things "wrong", and the things I do "right" are done as well or better by many other writers. I'm not all all prolific: it takes me years to finish a book. Of course I make each book the best I'm able, but that hardly needs saying.

The biggest single factor for me has been word-of-mouth, which can be a slow process - hence the three years it took until I reached a "tipping point". I've also had a large share of luck, aka pixie dust, and there's no planning for that!
Shayne Parkinson on Amazon
Historical novels set in New Zealand

http://www.shayneparkinson.com

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Offline SteeBee
05 Apr 2017, 09:57 AM | Post: #13

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RE: Amazon sales data

This post was last modified: 05 Apr 2017 09:57 AM by SteeBee.
Against my expectations (well I didn't really know what to expect), my debut novel broke into four figures sales within two months of release. I only advertised on social media (waste of time) and a couple of forums. Initially it sold very well in the USA, but those sales have dropped dramatically - I think as a result of a couple of reviews speaking about 'bad' spelling, where the readers haven't realised (not realized!) it is written in UK English - but the gap has since been filled by UK sales.
As yet,the second book has failed to launch. No I haven't advertised it, but I am disappointed by the slow progress from its publication date a couple of weeks ago. 
Overall, my decision to enroll my books in the KU programme has been worthwhile, with some healthy returns.
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Online Campbell
05 Apr 2017, 12:40 PM | Post: #14

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RE: Amazon sales data

This post was last modified: 05 Apr 2017 12:42 PM by Campbell.
(04 Apr 2017 07:28 PM)Jason Chapman Wrote: Wrote:  
(04 Apr 2017 06:02 AM)cecilia_writer Wrote: Wrote:  
(04 Apr 2017 04:09 AM)Jason Chapman Wrote: 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.
True, what I can't understand is how authors maintain their position in the books charts from months on end, moving one or two places every now and then.
Amazon have a proprietary algorithm called A9 which determines rank. It is designed to reward consistent sales rather than 'spikes', and works as follows:

Each sale (or Kindle Unlimited/ Prime borrow) counts as one unit regardless of price (as long as it's not zero). The total sum of the units sold (Sales + borrows) is the daily total for each book. Every day the book's daily unit total is reset, and the book credited with HALF of yesterday's score.

e.g. compare these books

Book A is brand new. It goes on sale for one day and sells 100 copies. It therefore has a daily unit total of 100. Simple.

Book B has been out for ages. It sells 80 copies a day. The last five days therefore look like this: 80 80 80 80 80. We'll pretend that six days ago it wasn't selling at all for the sake of simplifying the math.
Day 1 = 80.
Day 2 = 80 + 0.5(80) = 120
Day 3 = 80 + 0.5(120) = 140
Day 4 = 80 + 0.5(140) = 150
Day 5 = 80 + 0.5(150) = 155

You can see how consistent sales quickly ramp up the score, and thus rank more highly.

Contrast that with a book selling 10 a day, but with a spike of 200 on a promo day so it's 10 10 10 200 10
Day 1 = 10
Day 2 = 10 + 0.5(10) = 15
Day 3 = 10 +0.5(15) = 23 (rounded up)
Day 4 = 200 + 0.5(23) = 212
Day 5 = 10 + 0.5 (212) = 116

Unless the sales are continuous, the rank will drop back. Slow consistent sales which build slowly and taper slowly are rewarded by Amazon's algorithms. This is then compounded by the way high-volume books are given promo spots in genre emails, and the 'stickiness' inherent in the also-bought system. Books take a while to get started, and they take a while to slow down. A short sharp promo does less good for the long term than you might imagine even if it results in a short term rank spike.

The books which are hanging around are doing so because either a) they're being promo'd constantly or b) there's sell-through from the author's other books/ also bought links or c) there's organic word of mouth.

The last one is the biggie. If readers tell other readers about you, you'll sell. If they don't, you probably won't. All of us have to reach some people initially (because if nobody knows the book exists, nobody can buy it). Some of that will be promo, some will be Hot New Release lists (which give you a short window of extra exposure on Amazon, and will cause a cliff if you drop off that with nothing to replace it), and some of that will be your own immediate reach (existing readers, social media contacts etc).

Imagine if every person who reads your book tells ONE other person about it. In theory A could tell B. B tells C. C tells D and so on. This is a 'vector ratio' of 1:1. Now if you've got a vector ratio or 2:1 (readers told: existing readers) you can see how a book explodes. A tells B and C. B tells D and E. C tells F and G, and so forth. This sort of exponential growth is possible.

Now we need to remember not all readers are alike. Many are private and just consume. So even if ON AVERAGE each readers tell 1 person, it probably won't be enough because A - Y could tell zero, and Z tells 26... but if A hasn't told anyone, how would Z know the book exists? Equally some of us will tell other people who already know (which could saturate a network and create a bottleneck).

The key to maximising your odds on that front are a) the best, most commercial, widely-appealing, genre fiction novel possible (because genre is the biggest market; romance is twice crime, crime is twice sci fi and fantasy, and everything else becomes progressively more niche), and b) telling enough inorganic traffic readers so you can create the the conditions for the viral element to take off. Someone has to be the first. Without those early initial readers, you can't go viral.
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RE: Amazon sales data

(05 Apr 2017 12:40 PM)Campbell Wrote: Wrote:  
(04 Apr 2017 07:28 PM)Jason Chapman Wrote: Wrote:  
(04 Apr 2017 06:02 AM)cecilia_writer Wrote: Wrote:  
(04 Apr 2017 04:09 AM)Jason Chapman Wrote: 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.
True, what I can't understand is how authors maintain their position in the books charts from months on end, moving one or two places every now and then.
Amazon have a proprietary algorithm called A9 which determines rank. It is designed to reward consistent sales rather than 'spikes', and works as follows:

Thanks Campbell. That's a fascinating insight into the world of Amazon's algorithms. I suppose that the primary problem that all indie authors initially have to overcome is their invisibility. Thus far, I think that I may have achieved limited translucence :-)
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Offline SteeBee
07 Apr 2017, 10:11 AM | Post: #16

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RE: Amazon sales data

This post was last modified: 07 Apr 2017 10:12 AM by SteeBee.
Some very interesting information here. My own first book hovers consistently around the 10,000 mark in the UK Amazon bestsellers rank. At the time of writing the data is as follows:

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,242 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) Is this a good ranking to achieve with a first book, and one which was released with modest (free) advertising, and has not been advertised since?
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Online Campbell
07 Apr 2017, 10:15 AM | Post: #17

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RE: Amazon sales data

10,000 is a solid rank. It's better than 4.7 million other titles (as of today) so you're in the top 0.2% if all books If you're sticking in that position, even better. You might want to ask KDP support to create a series page/ link between your books to help with sell-through to #2.
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