It’s been two weeks and a couple of days since my book, Accidental Intelligence, shipped. I’ve crossed the 100-units sold mark, and I wanted to offer a breakdown on where those sales have come from. This is particularly for those authors weighing whether or not to lock themselves into Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited. Spoiler: I don’t recommend it.
If you have purchased my book, thank you! I love you so much for that. Please consider leaving a review where you bought it and/or on GoodReads. I’ve gotten some amazing reviews already, and would love to hear what you think of my book.
Sales of Accidental Intelligence on Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play
As noted in the heading, I’ve placed my book on Kindle, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play. My sales have been in that order, and I’ll break that down below with color, glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. All told, I’ve sold 105 books to date.
Amazon Kindle Sales
First up is Amazon’s Kindle sales, where I’ve sold 57 units. One of those was mine, a soft back I bought to verify quality. All told, I’ve sold 50 ebook units and 7 soft back. I didn’t offer a hardback version on Kindle because it doesn’t include a dust cover (see Barnes & Noble, below). Here’s a chart:
Almost half of my sales were pre-sales—thanks everyone!—with a steady trickle of orders since. I’ve received 5 written reviews, and again, thank you. They’ve been dreamily delicious reviews so far, and I am very thankful.
Also—and not surprisingly—my sales have all come from English-speaking countries. Accidental Intelligence is available in all Kindle markets, but I haven’t localized any translations. Regardless, it’s an amazing feeling knowing that people in other countries have purchased—and eventually will read—my book.
Apple Books Sales
I’ve done really well on Apple Books, with Accidental Intelligence selling 40 units in the first two weeks. That’s 38.1% share for Books, which delights and surprises me. I feel like Books offers a much more enjoyable reading experience than Kindle, but Apple has only something like 10% of the market. Amazon has 70-80%. I’m sure my history in the Apple community has added to my showing on Books, and I’ll wear my Apple share as a badge of honor.
My brief sales so far have been heavily dominated by pre-sales on Books, too, more so than on Kindle. They’ve all been ebooks (Apple doesn’t offer a print option), with 34 units to the US and 6 units in “Asia Pacific.” Eagles to bagels that’s strictly Australia.
Barnes & Noble Sales
I’ve had no ebook sales on Barnes & Noble, but have sold eight hard copies (2x of them to me for quality checks). That’s five hardbacks and three soft backs. I’m waiting for my two copies even now, but I believe their covers will be the best of my hard copy options.
For those new authors weighing their options, Barnes & Noble offers a dusk jacket option with print-to-order hardbacks. Amazon does not. But, the B&N hardback doesn’t have anything printed on the spine. So, if you lose the dust jacket, it’s just a blank book on the outside. Ingram also has a dust jacket option and they’ll print the name of the book and the author on the spine. The flip side is that that every review of their services I found lambasted them as a pain in the ass to work with. Other than the initial two week-delay with B&N, it’s been an automated process that was relatively hassle free.
Note, though, that the image on my hardback listing on B&N was clearly put in place by software without human intervention. It’s slightly offset and is driving me nuts. Also, having your self-published book on B&N’s website does not mean it will be in B&N retail locations. My understanding is that is a negotiable option if you’re selling a Crap Tonne™ of books.
Google Play Sales
I’ve not had any sales on Google Play. That’s not surprising, in that I haven’t yet added a link to my Google Play listing anywhere until this very blog post, but my book is searchable. This isn’t a complaint, mind you. Google Play has a tiny share of the books space and it hasn’t been a priority. I will be adding a But on Google Play button to my book page, and we’ll see what happens.
Casting a Wide Net as a Self-Publisher
If you’re considering whether or not to sign up for Kindle Select (with the possibility of Kindle Unlimited), I’d caution against it. 45.7% of my sales of Accidental Intelligence have come from Apple Books and Barnes & Noble. I don’t think I would have gotten even a tiny faction of that from additional Kindle sales. 46% is plenty of reason for me not to lock myself into the platform of the company hell bent on destroying the publishing industry. That’s Amazon, in case I wasn’t clear.
As margins disappear, quality disappears, and this has an effect on self-publishing quality, too. Then again, I’d caution against putting your books on Kindle Unlimited even if you did go with Kindle Select. It’s a gross and disgusting business model that devalues our product and further commoditizes us as writers.
That’s a major derail from the point of this section. Kindle has most of the market share, but they don’t have all of it. Much of the work of adding your book to Books and Barnes & Noble is complementary to the work needed to add your book to Kindle, and the print options are better with B&N in my opinion. Casting a wider net is a no-brainer option to me.
I’m Delighted with My Start!
All in all, I am thrilled with my start. I remember telling Jeff Gamet that I’d hit 50 sales a few days after the book launched, quipping I should be able to double that in a year. It turns out it took roughly two weeks. Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed Mason’s story, and I know that several of you have been beating the drum for my book. Thank you for that, too!