Self publishing stats: Women and Other Constructs, First 30+ days

When I published my first collection of short fiction, I said I would add up the stats after 30 days. The highlights:

  • The book cost me $0 to create. I did every bit of the work myself: writing, editing, page layout, cover design, and art. Ebooks and print-ready PDF, too. I also did the distribution, setting up for a variety of ebook sales, and print via Amazon. I chose methods that didn’t have any up front cost at all. The only thing I paid in advance was $10 a month for the online shopping cart.
  • The fiction in the book was worth $462.21–based on a $0.05 per word minimum pro rate for the new writing, and the standard $0.01 minimum reprint rate.
  • I published the book on June 28, and calculated income for the end of June/all of July; that’s about 33 days.
  • I made a total of $195.31 over that time. I haven’t been paid for all of it yet, but that’s the calculated income.

Doing the math

The stories were six reprints I’d previously published, and two stories I hadn’t sold before, along with an intro and notes at the end. Continue reading

Results of the ebook experiment and an update on pricing “Women and Other Constructs”

I ran a brief experiment–for about 32 hours, part of July 3rd and all of July 4th–where I let buyers choose the amount they wanted to spend on a bundle of Women and Other Constructs ebooks (ePub, mobi, PDF). I suggested the price of $3.99 but allowed the buyer to put in whatever amount they wanted, even $0. I advertised it around, got it listed on SF Signal under the day’s “Free Fiction” (they noted that it was a pay-what-you-want deal, so no one would feel tricked about having a suggested price), and waited.

The average price readers paid? $2.90

Some paid $0, one reader paid $1, and some the suggested price. A few others paid more: I got $4, a couple at $4.99, one at $5 and one at $5.99.

After looking at this data, my sales so far, and deciding that using this book to get me readers was more important to me than the individual price paid, I went back and lowered the prices on all of the buying options (except print*). You can now get the book for:

Bundle: Signed print book + instant download of all ebook formats $12.99

Bundle: all ebook formats $2.99

ePub $1.99

Mobi $1.99

PDF $1.99

Signed print book $10.00

I think that sales have been good, especially considering that I am not a well-known author, and most of what’s in this collection can be found for free on my website, in a different format. I appreciate that my fans want to support my work, and that there are readers who have been waiting for a book to come out before reading the individual stories. I’ve heard from people who never read the fiction they can get here for free, because it was one story at a time. Some readers still hold on to the idea of a “book”, even when they’re digital.

I hope these production notes are useful. I’ve already learned a lot: I have now set up an online shop to host all the different formats, instead of individual Paypal buttons; I added PDFs because a reader requested it. After 30 days, I will post the full stats–total sales, pricing, costs, etc–for this collection, for anyone interested in self-publishing their own work.

Please note: I don’t want anyone to feel as if they lost out on a better deal because they bought early. If you paid a higher price for any of these items, and would like an additional ebook format–for example, you bought the $2.99 epub and would also like the PDF–email me, and I’ll send it to you for free.

* Because I’m using Amazon’s PoD, I’m limited to a certain minimum price. I can raise it, but can’t lower it.

#SFWApro