Some basic sales stats and commentary based on total sales from release date of a novel/collection through December 31, 2013.
Flank Hawk:Print = 48%
Ebook = 44%
Audiobook = 8%
Notes: I’ve not pushed the audiobook version of Flank Hawk very hard in the past year, but with all of my other titles in various stages of audiobook production, with more titles available, it will be easier and more logical for myself and my publisher to market them more effectively. Of course, that doesn’t promise success in garnering a large ‘listenership’ but certainly increases the possibility.
The trend is that sales of ebooks is increasing and has overtaken the rate of print sales of Flank Hawk.
Blood Sword:Print = 39%
Ebook = 61%
Notes: Sales of Blood Sword have not been as strong in print as Flank Hawk—and never have. It may be a factor of when Blood Sword was released, about two years after Flank Hawk.
The sell through rate, where a reader of Flank Hawk obtains up a copy of Blood Sword appears to be increasing.
Genre Shotgun:Print = 93%
Ebook = 7%
Notes: Sales of short story collections by an author are known to, and generally expected to, lag behind novel sales. Print sales are obviously stronger with this collection, and it might simply be the type of readers that are attracted to short stories still prefer print versions, be they in the form of collections or anthologies.
At book signing events where there isn’t a major focus on authors/books available—festivals as and art shows, for example—Genre Shotgun often does very well, sometimes better than the novels. Whereas online the sales are weaker when compared to the novels I’ve written/had published.
Relic Tech:Print = 5%
Ebook = 95%
Notes: It’s possible that the trend toward ebooks has continued to increase (see Blood Sword commentary above), especially with respect to online sales.
Upon Relic Tech’s release, it’s rate of sales proved stronger than all of my other works combined. A positive result of Relic Tech’s sales surge is that attention was drawn back to my other works. As a result, both Flank Hawk and Blood Sword have risen in readership/sales. I believe this is due to crossover readers—those that read both SF and Fantasy works. If readers enjoyed Relic Tech, sometimes they decided to give Flank Hawk a try. Unfortunately, increased readership of my SF and Fantasy novels hasn’t translated into increased readership of Genre Shotgun.
Also, on Amazon.com, the appearance of Relic Tech on the ‘also bought’ portion of the page of other popular SF novels helped keep the momentum going. When Flank Hawk and Blood Sword found places on some lists (in addition to Relic Tech’s), I believed this helped as well.
Reviews, positive ones, have appeared to be drivers in gaining readers, and critical or negative reviews have had a stifling effect, deterring readers—until several positive reviews followed and helped rebuild some of the lost momentum. As I’ve said other times and elsewhere, that’s okay. Not everyone is going to enjoy my writing. It’s part of being an author.
Predictions: I am figuring that ebook sales will continue to dominate over online print sales, at least with my works. In addition, my publisher, Gryphonwood Press, does not have the resources to place novels in major chains such as Barnes & Noble across the country, or in a large number of independent bookstores. Thus, while there are some bookstore sales with respect to my works, the sales will not be numerous enough to swing the tide away from increasing ebook readership percentages.
Having four titles available in audiobook format will have a synergistic effect. How strong that will be is unknown. If Genre Shotgun will benefit/participate in this synergistic effect, I am unsure. But, having complete stories that run from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, which may be a sweet spot for listeners who are looking for something to be finished and wrapped up, as opposed to an ongoing story/next chapter.`