Quick note: This post is in no way a criticism of Severed Press. Severed is a great publisher; sales just take longer to get going than I had thought.

Curious about my sales data (which, since I’m publishing with a real publisher instead of self-pub for the first time, I don’t get to see directly), I sent the following to Severed Press:

Hey! I leave tomorrow for my epic cross-country bus trip to promote Cthulhu Attacks! at the NecronomiCon in Providence from August 20-23. I got a bunch of cool bookmarks printed up with a QR code for easy access.

I’ve seen the sales rating go up and down, which has been exciting for me. Can I know what those ratings translate into, saleswise? I guess I’m asking: How are we doing?

Feel the love

See, Cthulhu Attacks! has been as high as No. 43,000 and as low as (today) No. 183,000 and change, so I’m like, I must be moving some units between those two extremes! My publisher wrote me back with:

We have sold 15 copies so far plus Kindle Unlimited sales.
Good luck with your trip.

Fifteen copies? My blood went cold and my sight grew dim. Considering that the paperback just came out, so this must mean all eBook sales. Also, the Kindle Unlimited pay scheme is byzantine to say the least (not Severed’s fault, of course), so we won’t know the figures on that until the end of the quarter, I imagine.

Fifteen eBooks. I get 50% of the $2.99 cover price for each one. So thus far, not including KU, I have brought in, um … $22.43.


Now, the advertising campaign hasn’t really started, and the point of going to all these Cons is to get the word out about Cthulhu Attacks!, but shit … I spent more than that on business cards today.

How Kindle Unlimited says it works

If you have bought Cthulhu Attacks! through Kindle Unlimited—and I love KU and use it myself—please could you do me a favor and at least page through the first 25 pages or so? That’s how Amazon calculates whether the author will be paid for that purchase or not. I am now doing this with all of my KU-purchased books, even those I won’t be getting around to reading anytime soon. Would you mind doing that for me, Dear Reader?

Slouching toward Providence

Fortunately, I will be spending the next three days on a Greyhound bus, which is 95% powered by tears of disappointment. Then I will be with my Lovecraftian people again, trying to determine if any of them are among the fifteen buyers who have brought me to such dizzying heights of literary success.

Coming up next: Leaving Las Vegas (for 10 days)


7 thoughts on “Sigh.

  1. Hey Sean. Good luck on the R.I trip. If you’re into some great Italian “wise guys approved” food, check out Federal Hill. The real stuff! I’m still working on my 2nd book in the series, so I’m going to ask you about your success when you get back. Enjoy the East Coast my friend.
    Douglas A Davy

  2. Wow, that sucks! Are you taking copies with you to sell at the con? Can people buy the book on Amazon? I don’t know anything about the rating system you spoke of, but I’m guessing since Kindle is also involved, it must be an Amazon rating. One or two excellent reviews on Amazon ought to help. I guess I’m gonna have to bite the ole bullet and read this puppy, even though I’m so not into this genre. Stay tuned, and keep your chin up. Have a great trip. In a weird way, I kind of envy you that bus ride.

    • Hi! Actually, NOBODY knows about what the Kindle Unlimited plan has in store, only that it pays an author only if the first 10 pages are accessed, not just the “free purchase” on KU (you pay them $10/mo. for unlimited books that are enrolled in the program). So we’ll see.

      And yeah, officially I have to buy my hard copies (at a discount) from the publisher if I want to have them to sell at Cons, &c. It’s different from printing out a few of my own Advance Reader Copies. But that’s cool—I have my awesome bookmarks and promotional materials and so I will wow them all into buying!

      I’m excited as heck about the bus ride. But I also am scared as hell of germs. My next blog post will cover this conundrum.

  3. Uck! That is an unfortunate number and other authors I know have stated the new Kindle pricing is VERY unfair. How much do you earn from a physical book sale, which I assume would be less due to printing costs?

    • Michael, I won’t know about the physical book sales until the end of the quarter, I assume. But I get a 10% royalty of the list price of $11.95 (so $1.20) per book, actually a bit less than I will get from eBook sales. But 10% is actually pretty good for an emerging author, so I don’t really have any complaints about my contract—in fact, it’s very fair. Amazon just started its new payment plan in June, so we’ll see how that works. Apparently NOBODY knows exactly what will happen and we can’t ask why (coughmonopolycough), so all I can do is put my schnozz to the grindstone and work on the next book. Thanks for the message and the love, man.

  4. They owe you an answer. This is ‘YOUR’ business. If this is typical of a paid publisher, I think it sucks. Demand the figures for your product, now. It’s all electronic so there is no excuse for delay. So sick of games. Miss You already. t

    • Hi, Toni! Actually, it was a courtesy (no matter how discourteously it was phrased) for Severed to share the sales figures. They don’t have to do anything until the financial quarter is up. Severed Press is great, so please don’t blame them. Like I said, the publicity machine is only now getting started. I keep forgetting (because I self-pubbed for so long) that with real publishers and books published in the traditional paradigm, you have to play the long game. Also, I don’t know what a “paid publisher” is, but I think maybe you mean “traditional publisher”? In any case, thank you so much for the love. I return it and it keeps me going.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s