Thursday, 28 July 2016

Ink Tip: A Look at the Numbers

One of the most interesting workshops I went to at RWA Nationals was a presentation by the Data Guy from Author Earnings.  They did an extensive survey of romance sales by genre, title, author, platform, just about any aspect you could think of.  They've put up a pdf of their slideshow and I highly recommend checking it out for anyone who is seriously interested in publishing their books.

There were some very interesting and unexpected results in the presentation, some of which I find reassuring as an independent author.
Taking look at sales by genre, it's clear that contemporary is the most popular genre for romance.  But paranormal comes in at a respectable fifth and with a decent number of sales.  But even the more specialty genres still have their devoted readers.


The next bit which caught my attention was this breakdown of of author earnings.  The blue stripe is independent authors, the red is small press and the purple is the Big 5 publishers.  I find it interesting that independent authors dominate every tax bracket.  Granted, this is for ebook sales, and only sales on Amazon, but it's still an interesting phenomenon.  I'd like to see a similar breakdown for print sales, which I'm sure would be more dominated by the Big 5.
I also found the data about release tempos fascinating.  I constantly hear the message that an author needs to publish multiple books a year in order to make any kind of earnings.  Since I can only produce one book a year, there are times I find that pressure to be overwhelming.  But looking at the data, almost half of authors of the 190 000 top selling titles on Amazon did not have a release in the previous year, 27% only publish one title a year and 22% do 2-6 titles in a year and only 4% hit the monthly release marks.  Now maybe they are making more money, but it reassures me to know that other authors are in the same boat.

The most comforting information that I took away was that there is no "formula for success."  It comes in all shapes and sizes and paths.  The only consistent aspect is to write a story that you and readers can be passionate about.

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