Self-publishing stats update 2017
I'm just starting to get acquainted with the latest version, but the release of Scrivener 3.0 reminds me to give an update here.
Definitely still a great tool which I love and highly recommend. I use it for non-fiction, at lengths from 200 words to entire books, and fiction. I use it for my daily journaling. I use it as a D&D gamemaster.
I've used Scrivener for seven years now. Two of the books I wrote using it have been successfully self-published (and sold thousands of copies each, thanks!) in both print and ebook form, with one of the titles nominated for a major award in its subject area.
Back in 2012 I wrote about how I created Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff and in 2013, while working on The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, I added more thoughts on self-publishing.
Here are how the statistics have changed since Discardia's first 16 months:
- Kindle sales have become an even bigger percentage of revenue, growing from 34% to 65%.
- iTunes sales have dropped from 16% to 9.5% of revenue. Apple's never treated their shopping experience for books with any seriousness and the bad browsing experience seems is likely a big factor in inferior sales.
- Physical book sales are only 11.6% by copies sold, but 23.6% by revenue. Createspace represents 20.5% of that.
I need to go back and locate my pre-2013 detailed data before I draw any conclusions about which platforms I wouldn't bother with on subsequent books, but I can say that Amazon is and will remain the core of my self-publishing channels.
The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level came out in fall 2013 and I have the full stats for it. It's a beautiful hardcover with high-quality photos, so the breakdown is radically different.
- Physical sales are 66% of the copies sold, but represent 93% of the revenue.
- Ebook sales revenue is 6-to-1 Kindle to iTunes.
- 44% of physical sales revenue has been through Amazon.com (I use Amazon Advantage to stock them) and 20.5% were through Ingram (before they killed their small publisher program in mid-2016).
- Small retailers—not only bookshops but specialty retailers with cocktail items—represent just over 15% of revenue.
- In-person sales—"handselling" and events—represent almost 13% of revenue.
As business projects, not including any of the costs of our labor or of the business generally, Discardia is well into the black and Shim is still a loss. The rate of catching up from that loss is getting better since we stopped having to pay for a storage unit to hold all the inventory. The good news is we're finally also getting a lot closer to not having every corner of our apartment full of cases of the book. ;) Would we self-publish a physical book again? Probably not, but boy are we glad we did this one!