So, what's this all about? Part of being a writer is knowing how you write best, and I find that I need an outlet for the random business, craft and mindset musings that pop into my head while I'm trying to write. As well, I've discovered that I brainstorm best when I'm performing for other people, so writing these articles will let me get a bunch of ideas down that I otherwise wouldn't have thought to write down. Then, these articles are for other writers. I get so many insights from reading writing sites, and not necessarily "writing advice" sites, but the personal sites of regular working writers (check out the links below for both). In short, I want to chronicle what works for me to increase that body of knowledge.
Fiction writers throw large piles of ideas at the wall and see what sticks, and we're well-served to look at as many walls as possible. What's going to be on my wall today?
I started electronic publishing (ePub) on Halloween 2010, so it's been about three months. Not expecting much, but let's get it out of the way. Note that I'm defining Earnings as money in my bank account and, for the purposes of these articles, only from Amazon because they're the most organised. I'm also on B&N PubIt (& Smashwords, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel...) but I think Amazon KDP will be enough to give a representative sample of my total ePub earnings.
So here's the data that meets those criteria:
1 Nov'10: $0.43
Whoo! I'm rich! Breaking that down, that means I sold one short story in November, the first full month of my foray into ePub. This was with no real promotion except to whoever was reading my site in November and random Amazon searches. Taking that into consideration, I'm not too concerned. This is a classic nowhere-to-go-but-up scenario. Why so upbeat?
By 'shelf space' I mean the total count of ePub titles available for sale, which includes individual Buck eChaps (one short story @ 0.99) and any collections. There more shelf space I have, the easier it is for somebody to find my work in random Amazon searches, and the easier it is for somebody to find something of mine that they like. Thus shelf space is the most important number, so let's look at my shelf space over time.
Shelf Space at the start of month #:
1 Nov'10 = 6
2 Dec'10 = 6
3 Jan'11 = 12
4 Feb'11 = 17
5 Mar'11 (projected) = 24+
In November, I only had 6 titles available, so I think I'm pretty damn lucky some random person found one of them in the Amazon sea. What does this tell me about the December numbers? They'll almost certainly be the same. My real interest is in what I'll see in January when 6 becomes 12, and then in March when 12 becomes 24. The question is what's the exponent of sales growth for a doubling of shelf space?
Predictions while we wait?
Just to make it interesting, if somebody manages to predict either January or March in the comments, I'll post a coupon code here and in the follow-up article for one of my series (guesser's choice). Go for the exponent or the actual dollar amount.