There is a writer’s forum that I refuse to post on anymore after I watched a discussion of a fairly controversial topic where information was provided from more than one source on a topic most people aren’t well-informed about and then two posters basically said, “I chose not to read that information that was provided but here’s my outdated, uninformed, insensitive opinion on the matter.” I’m simply done with helping people who don’t want to be helped.
But I still drop by and read the posts.
There was a discussion on there about how a trade published author that someone hadn’t heard of (who has been a highly successful author with two to three trade pub releases per year for the last thirty-plus years and sold at least 20 million copies) must not be very successful because of their Amazon US rank. The individual making this claim said that he was just as successful as this author because their most recent releases were basically ranked the same on Amazon US.
First, I’m not sure what the commenter was comparing, but when I looked at the latest release by the self-pub author and the trade pub author, this is what I saw.
Trade pub author with a rank of 26K for an ebook priced at $13.99.
Self-pub author with a rank of 49K for an ebook priced at $4.99 and in KU.
Let’s just stop right there for a second. Because if a book is in KU and it is borrowed, Amazon gives that book a rank boost equivalent to a sale. Someone can open that book, decide it is pure drivel, return it, and that book will still get the benefit of the rank boost.
So to claim that a book that is ranked purely based on paid sales and a book that is ranked based on paid sales and KU borrows are equivalent in terms of their performance is absurd.
Also, setting aside the borrow issue, look at the price paid for each sale. One is selling at $4.99. One is selling at $13.99. More than double. And I do not believe that the one selling at $4.99 could continue to sell if it were priced at $13.99.
But there’s more.
Because the self-published title in KU doesn’t even have a paperback version. So all sales of that title are happening on Amazon in ebook.
Compare that to the trade pub author who is published in print. And well-established enough and popular enough to be carried in pretty much every single physical bookstore. And in libraries. Something that will not show on an Amazon US ranking.
The number varies widely for different genres and authors, but the most recent estimates I’ve seen thrown around were that print is about 65% of the overall book market.
This is the part that so many indies miss. Because most indies publish POD which comes with higher costs and therefore higher price points, we tend to miss the print market.
I can hit it with my non-fiction but not my fiction. That’s because my $15.95 YA fantasy has to compete with $10.99 YA fantasies or, worse, $7.99 mass market fantasies.
Print is an incredibly big part of the pie and especially in fiction it’s a part of the pie that most indies don’t get.
Sure, some indies make a lot of money. But it’s mostly in ebook or in audio. Dismissing print is like the authors making money in KU dismissing everything else. They’re making good money but it’s in a relatively small section of the overall market that actually exists.
Because indies don’t compete effectively in other portions of the market they forget that those portions of the market exist or they dismiss them as small because their ability to reach that part of the market is so limited that they assume it must be small.
Anyway. Bottom line. Honey, you ain’t anywhere close to touching the level of success of that particular author. But nice try, thanks for playing.