Today we’re going to flop them out on the table and see whose is bigger, regarding sales that is?
One of the quandaries in writing anything is, “How are my sales doing?” How badly do I suck at this? Should I go back to truck driving?
To figure out how your sales are doing is sometimes an exercise in futility due to the scarcity of tools available. Looking at the two biggest publishing houses IMHO Amazon Kindle and SmashWords, how can we tell how sales are going?
Zip, nada, nothing is the short answer. I can find no tools for determining your rank on SmashWords. The one thing I do is go to the SmashWords’ home page and click on the category that you write in, such as Erotica. If you don’t see Erotica, then you have to turn off the safe filter.
Once you’re in Erotica, you have a choice, do I want to see my position in Erotica as a broad category or dig deeper in a subsection such as Men’s Erotica. Once you’ve selected your category, click on Best Sellers, Highest Ranked, or another ranking as desired.
My display shows twenty titles per page with covers shown. Then here comes the hard part. Scan down each page and keep advancing until you find one of your stories.
As an Example, today 11-May-2018, if I sort on Erotica | Menage/Multiple Partners | Highest Rated | Any Price | Any Length, we can scan down the stories and marvel at the topics and titles. You will quickly figure out that if you are not writing a story that involves animals, family members, breeding, whips, or gangbangs, then your rating is likely to suck.
Then voila, on the second page we see a familiar name, it’s moi. No clapping required, thank you very much, and autographs will be $5 each.
The story is “A Night At the Bar,” one of my cuckold – Hotwife stories. Counting down from the top, A Night At the Bar is 17 down from the top on the 2nd page. Therefore it is the 37th highest ranked Menage/Multiple Partner story on SmashWords as of today’s date (20+17=37).
By the same token, flipping to Lesbian Erotica | Highest Rated, we find “Nina The Fallen Ballerina” eighteen slots down the first page. I would assume that Nina is the eighteenth highest ranked story in Lesbian Erotica.
Then on the third page, five down from the top, we find “Nina, The Fallen Ballerina,” once again. Amazing how does that Larry Archer do it? Wait? Listed twice, does this mean that the story is twice as good? Modesty prevents me from agreeing, but I’d have to feel that it’s a computer screw-up, but hey I’ll take anything I can get, I’m not proud.
Modesty prevents me from going further, but you should be able to see that with a little hard work, you can get a rough idea of how your story is ranked on SmashWords.
The biggest problem with this is that like Homer Simpson, my mind tends to wander after about ten pages or so, which is the top two hundred and I usually quit and open another beer.
The one good thing about this exercise is that you can quickly figure out what sells by looking at the other stories. It’s not the story about a good church-going couple, who comes home, turns out the lights, and puts on rubber gloves to have two minutes of sex before running to the shower and washing that “stuff” off!
While we would like to think that we’re above it all, the truth is that kink sells and if your story requires plastic sheeting over everything and Wesson Oil, then you’re going to be a hit.
Amazon – Kindle
With Amazon, we have a number of tools at our disposal. I’m sure that you’ve discovered the Reports section of “kdp.amazon.com” where the daily sales are shown along with the normalized Kindle Unlimited results.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find your Royalties Earned report or as I like to think of it, how many lap dances can I afford this month?
Flipping to “authorcentral.amazon.com” will show your sales rank over time. The sales rank will vacillate up and down with your book sales and over time older books do not move the needle as much as newer books do. So it’s like the old saying, “Publish or Perish.” What I’ve read and it seems to be true is that you need to publish every month to keep your sales up. More is always better.
What I watch is the monthly Author Rank, which is an indication of how popular your stories are in general. The Sales Rank listing shows how each of your stories is selling and keeping the Sales Rank at 500,000 to 1,000,000 or lower should guarantee sales.
Assuming that your sales ranking for the story is between 500,000 and a million which is a decent figure for an erotic story that captures the reader’s eye. This ranking should result in sales of 5-10 copies per month at Amazon or $10 to $20 per month income and the same from SmashWords. Personally, I normally make two or three times as much from SmashWords, but let’s assume the same sales. Refer to one of my previous postings for more on sales by clicking here (an excerpt follows from the previous blog posting).
Before you start rolling your eyes, consider this. A sales ranking of 100,000 should result in the sale of 30 to 40 copies per month or $60 to $80 per month profit per published story.
When your ranking drops into the top one-hundred, you could easily be selling thousands of copies per month and be waited on hand and foot by nubile scantily clad servants who are busily stuffing grapes into every one of your orifices.
Rank To Sales Estimator from David Gaughran estimates your sales as follows:
#1 to #5 = 5,000+ books a day (sometimes a lot more)
#5 to #10 = 4,000–5,000
#10 to #20 = 3,000–4,000
#20 to #50 = 2,000–3,000
#100 = 1,000+
#200 = 500
#300 = 250
#500 = 200
#1,000 = 120
#2,000 = 100
#3,000 = 80
#5,000 = 40
#10,000 = 20
#25,000 = 10
#50,000 = 5
#100,000+ = fewer than 1 a day
From what I’ve seen, this estimate is relatively close. A 100,000 sales rank should return sales in the 30 – 40 per month bracket, but your mileage may vary.
But let’s not get carried away here, the cold, cruel truth is that assuming you are a decent writer of material other people want to read, you’ll likely have a sales ranking around a million. At least that’s what you need to shoot for initially.
SalesRankExpress is a very handy site that shows how your story is ranked and whether it is “Safe” or not. If Amazon doesn’t appreciate your story and slaps an “Adult” rating on it, you can kiss goodbye any help from Amazon. Stories with an Adult rating cannot generally be found by searching. The only way someone will find your story is a direct link from your website or some other location or promotion.
As a suggestion, if you are self-publishing, make sure that you put your name in the “Publisher” spot when you list your story. What I’ve found is that if I search on author “Larry Archer,” it brings up a ton of other material but if I search on publisher “Larry Archer,” I get all my stuff and nobody else’s.
I’ve just discovered this ranking program, and it looks to combine most of the features I’m looking for in one place. If you have less than $1,000 in sales per month, the program is free, so that means that it’ll be free for me for quite some time! My sales typically range between $150 – $250 per month so you can see that I can’t quit my day job anytime soon. The bulk of my sales are between Amazon and SmashWords with about 60% SmashWords and 40% Amazon. I think my sales are poorer at Amazon because they’ve “Adult” ranked two of my latest stories “Cheating Glory Hole Wives” and “Stripper or Nurse?“. I’ve managed to get Stripper or Nurse out of the Adult dungeon but have given up on Cheating Glory Hole Wives. There should be no reason that “Wives” should be adult but it’s often like arguing with a post or your wife.
If you want to publish on Amazon, tread lightly as once in the dungeon, it’s hard to escape. That’s all I’m going to say about that as I’ll start ranting!
BookReport allows you to select a time frame such as last week, month, 30 days, etc. and will display the best sellers and what your projected income will be over the selected time frame.
You also get your Earnings per Day which is handy if you’re doing some type of promotion and want to see how it’s working.
You get a breakdown by Marketplace (Amazon server) to tell where your stories are selling or not.
And then finally a breakdown by the individual book for the anally obsessed.
BookReport at least on first glance, tells me everything I need to know except if a book is ranked Adult or not. If you want sales, then you have to stay out of Adult or get most of your sales through other forms of marketing.
NovelRank is a super site that gives your estimated sales for the current month, the previous month, and the sales rank for the story. This is very handy for watching your sales.
Note: You can also track other author’s work so that you can compare your sales to theirs.
This is another site similar to NovelRank except it allows you to sort your stories on sales rank among other categories. This way you can easily see how your story is moving up or down in the charts.
For example, my stories have rankings that go from 240,000 to 1.6M, so most authors have nothing to fear from me.
The listing above of sales rank vs sales is helpful when you’re trying to figure out if advertising is working for you.
I’ve got about four stories about 75% done, and if I could just focus, I’d get them out the door. I’ve just bought a new MacBook Air and given up on my Windows laptop. I’ve been installing software and trying to relearn how to do things the Apple way. Yes, I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid.
I’m trying to finish up the story “Crashing a Swinger’s Pajama Party.” This story grew out of a neighborhood couple who crashed one of our annual New Year’s Eve pajama parties and discovered some 50 or 60 couples trying to reenact one of Caligula’s events except we didn’t sacrifice any goats but maybe a few virgins! The initial part of this story is based on an actual event at our annual PJ party, then expanded by Lisabet Sarai’s and my perverted minds.
It was funny after this that the husband was noticeably cooler towards us, but his wife was a lot friendlier especially when hubby wasn’t around.
What will typically happen to me is I’ll see something that will spark an idea for a story. Then I must at least get enough down such that at a later date, I can pick up my original idea and run with it.
This ends up meaning my “Draft” folder is full of 50-75% finished stories that one of these days, I’m going to finish. Time is always my worst enemy. With our Lifestyle, we always have a full schedule, then there’s work, and Wifey’s poker tournaments to eat up the remaining time available.
There are always House Parties going on or other socials, and we finally had to pull back and limit ourselves to weekends and Wednesday nights as we started ending up like Zombies and not the good kind.
On Wednesday nights, our bowling league, “Friends and Lovers,” is always fun and the alley told us that we have greatly increased their business. Our players run the gauntlet from scores below 100 to some who consistently bowl over 200 so you can tell that bowling is not the most important thing that we do on Wednesdays.
But it’s a lot of fun, and each team takes turns picking the restaurant to celebrate at afterward. One of the nice things about Vegas is that there are literally hundreds of places to have a decent meal and yet get home before it gets too late.
For more from my deranged mind, visit my website and blog, LarryArcher.blog. See you next month! If it’s the 24th, then it’s another day in the barrel with Larry.