2023 v 2022 (Amazon Numbers)

Mpepper/ December 25, 2023/ Uncategorized

Though there is still about a week left in the year, I feel it’s relatively safe to summarize my Amazon dashboard for the year and compare it to last year. If I happen to get more sales/downloads and/or page reads in the next few days, I’ll gladly update this info. But I’m not optimistic that much will change.

Note that this is Amazon only; other outlets don’t make it quite as easy to gather info at a glance. I can tell you that I’ve sold 23 paperbacks via Ingram this year and then hand sold a couple more at an author event… Smashwords, though, I can’t even begin to decipher (I’m very new to it), and all I know about my library lending is that I get steady income from those sources, so… Glad people check my books out at libraries, at least!

As for Amazon, there are three chief metrics I look at: orders (i.e., sales, but this also includes downloads of my freebie), page reads, and royalties (as in the actual money made). I compare each month of the year and also look at current year compared to the previous.

It also helps to know when I had releases. For this year, I had a release in February, another in April, and one in December. What I really need to learn is to NOT release things in December because it’s a dead zone for sales (for me, anyway).

Anyway, I’ll start with orders. This year (as of Dec 25, at least), I had 907 orders via Amazon. That’s well beyond the 427 I had last year. However, I had only 5,400 page reads this year compared to 13,518 last year. I attribute this to the fact that I began removing many of my works from KU in order to sell them widely and make them available to libraries. Clearly, though many people encourage wide distribution, I will say there was a noticeable drop in my royalties that I think is partially due to leaving KU and not getting those page reads. I won’t give figures, but I will say I made only about 2/3 this year of what I made last year [via Amazon]. Now, some of that is loss of page reads, but some of it is also possibly due to my not putting out a full-length novel this year either. I released two stories and a collection, and those don’t sell as well.

As for the collection—the collected Drew and Rayze stories—I used that as a way to test Amazon’s paperback creator, and… I found the experience pretty frustrating. The limited ability to format and make a decent cover has sent me back to Vellum and other creative outlets.

Finally, let’s look at the month-by-month. March, November, and April were my best months for orders. November in particular was driven by my free story “One Night in Wildcat Woods” being featured in a daily newsletter for free ebooks. I can only assume March and April were good because of the releases in February and April.

As for page reads, February and May were strongest, but really, all was fairly steady until I began pulling the plug on KU. After August, page reads dried up pretty much entirely.

And, as the stats might suggest, March, February, and April were also my best months for making money. Again, this suggests that having regular releases is helpful. Alas, I am not a fast writer and cannot spit out content frequently enough to feed the content machine. Maybe this means I’ll never really be successful, but I can’t change my process. Believe me, I’ve tried, and I’d certainly do more if I could, but I just don’t work that way.

I tinkered with a variety of ideas this year but made inroads on few. I did just get slapped by the muse with a brand new story concept that I might chase over the new year. Or I might go back to AElit, or to the Switchgrass sequel, even if only for my own amusement. I’m learning that no one is ever likely to care about what I write, so it probably doesn’t matter—I should work on whatever makes me happy in the moment. Sadly, I’m a mood writer as much as I am a mood reader, so “whatever makes me happy” changes by the day, or even by the hour. Hopefully I can find a story and/or characters I fall in love with and see it/them through to the end.

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