Some Interesting Numbers

It’s an absolute fact that all self-publishing journeys are unique. We can talk about what the average writer needs to do to be successful at this, but at the end of the day people will find success by following a number of different paths and those who follow the tried and true path aren’t necessarily guaranteed to succeed.

Today I was crunching some numbers. I’ve been feeling a purge of books coming on. I have eight pen names I’ve published under but I don’t actively promote everything I’ve written and there are some names or titles that I have no intention of going back to.

The question is, do you unpublish titles like that or do you leave them up for the occasional sale they’ll generate? A hundred bucks a month is still a hundred bucks a month. I go back and forth on it. And I’m not sure what I’ll do this time around.

But while I was in there crunching numbers I did something else I’ve never really done, which was look at sales across each of my series across different platforms. And what’s kind of crazy is that for 2018 I have made more in paperback sales than I have in ebook sales. By about $600.

I knew that I’d made more in paperback sales for one of my series, but it turns out I’ve made more in paperback sales for four of them. And I had one series that’s made more in audio than ebook this year.  I also have one series that sells better on D2D than Amazon and another two that sell better on Nook and Kobo, respectively, than Amazon.

I also made more in audio on both ACX and through Authors Republic than I made in ebook sales on D2D, Google, Kobo, or Nook. Not combined, individually. And that’s with most of my audio being for non-fiction titles. (Still not going to do anymore audio at this point. I simply don’t sell in high enough numbers to justify it.)

So what’s that mean for anyone who isn’t me?

It means that there are lots of ways you can do this gig. And just because one way is working for most people that doesn’t mean you have to follow the same path as them. Find one that works for you and is sustainable for you and block out the voices that tell you there’s only one way to do this “right.”

And don’t discount those other formats or other sales channels. You never know what will work for a particular title until you try it.

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at]

2 thoughts on “Some Interesting Numbers”

  1. Unless there’s a very specific reason you don’t want them on the market anymore, it might not hurt to keep them out there. You don’t ever have to spend time on them again if you don’t want to, and still earn a trickle from them. $100 isn’t a lot in the grand scheme, but it’s still income.


    1. One good reason: yesterday I was looking at my Google sales reports and Google had randomly linked my book to a different book with a similar name and included that book’s subtitle on my book which included the word “rape”. For a romance short story. Not worth having a title up that makes a few bucks when that kind of thing can happen…


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