Nobody is going to get rich writing niche non-fiction books on local history or other similar narrow niche topics. But if you can get a some sales it will give you a great feeling. You will have provided a useful resource to the community.
If you are lucky, writing a niche non-fiction book might allow you to buy a few beers. But you most certainly should not give up the day job! So if you want to maximise the number of beers what should you publish? An ebook? A paperback? Or both?
NOTE: This is about novellas, short stories and other ebooks that do not sell. It is not about the Zombie novellas as a genre!
OK, lets say your novella or short story sold a few copies then went into rapid decline like This One did. Now, two years on, instead of giving you that small but consistent income you were hoping for, it has dropped to a sales rank so high it resembles the number of dollars you were dreaming of making when you started writing.
What should you do?
In the last post I displayed the statistics for the first of three short stories I wrote a few years ago. The sales performance of this first ebook was hardly spectacular. But it took less than a day to write, format and then submit. It was also just an experiment. So taking all into account, it wasn’t bad. I made a couple of hundred quid. In this post I want take a real no-hoper and do some sales analysis.
In my last post (Here) I looked at how the ebook Novella and short story market appears to be overcrowded. I went on to surmise though that maybe it is not as bad as it first looks. Could it be that as most novellas and short stories seem to have a very brief shelf life? Which would mean the author of a new novella would be competing mostly with corpses.
If that is the case then there is some good news.
The good news is that the market is not swamped. Or at least, less swamped than we thought. Sadly though there is some bad news too.
(It is just old novellas smell funny)
So how do novella sales compare with other ebook formats? Look at this graph I picked up from Data Guy on AuthorsEarnings.com. Like all of the Data Guys information, it is immaculate. Everything on his site is worth a read. (Frankly I’m in awe). There is no reason to doubt the graph below at all. But, I do not think it tells the whole story.
Just to wrap up the last set of a short series of blog posts on how many ebook sales you can expect from a specified sales rank, I thought I would just compare the pluses and minuses of sales rank performance in the USA and UK. The series started On This Link
We know that by far the biggest market for ebooks is the USA. Below is the relative quantity of ebook sales by Amazon in 2017 by English speaking region. Bear in mind Germany is a bigger market than the UK. Japan is nearly as big. There will be more on these two markets in a later post.
In the last post I looked at the relationship between ebook sales rank and actual sales for popular ebooks in the UK. This post is about those ebooks that sell less well and how the sales rank relates to actual sales for them.
Over 400 million ebooks were shifted by Amazon USA in in 2016/17 whereas the UK managed just short of 85 million. So the ratio of ebook sales between the two behemoths is of the order of 5:1. Unsurprisingly the sales rank for the same ebook differs greatly between the two.
So, are the USA sales ranks totally independent of the UK store? I think so. Inevitably there will be books that sell well in the USA and badly in the UK and vice sa versa. So to have the same ranking for both would be self defeating.
The last couple of posts, starting with (This one) I have explored how ebook sales rank relates to number of ebooks sold. But that was for the USA. From the data that is out there I extrapolated to end up with a set of graphs showing how Amazon sales rank related to actual sales. Obviously this comes down to my interpretation but I think it stands up. Here I will try an explore the same issue with UK sales rank.
In the last post (Here) I tried to graphically present how many ebook sales per month you could roughly expect for a particular sales ranking. This was fine for those shifting 1000’s a month. For those with a sales rank under 10,000 it was useless. The resolution on the graph was simply not up to displaying the highs as well as the lows. The long tail ebook sales rank in the USA just blurred into the x-axis.
This is the first is a series of posts on how ebook sales rank in the USA and the UK relates to the number and rate of ebook sales. While there are a number of tools available that will give an approximate sales outcome for a particular rank, they are a little like fruit machines. You put in your sales rank. Pull the handle. Out pops an estimate of the number of books you need to sell to achieve that sales ranking.
I thought it would be nice to present this data graphically so we can all see what is going on right across the full sales rank spectrum. I intend going down to where a ebook is selling only a handful of copies a year. This is below the resolution of the fruit machines.