rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
RA Sales Graph 2015-07-29

This is the Amazon sales graph for my polyamorous fantasy romance novel, A Rational Arrangement. (Available at a URL near your mouse cursor! Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Nook ~ iBooks ~ Print).

Graph by request of [ profile] alinsa, who thought the sales graph in particular would be cool.  I left the scale on because I do not care if the whole world knows how many copies it's sold. HERE, HAVE SOME DATA, WORLD.

Incidentally, this is the graph that Kindle Direct Publishing gives authors when checking their reports. There are add-ons available for KDP, but I haven't gotten any because the basic page suits my purposes fine.

The "days" are weird.  I don't know when Amazon rolls its day clock over, because the downloadable spreadsheet they'll give doesn't have the same sales-per-day as the graph.  Like the graph shows I sold 3 copies on 6/23 and 1 copy on 6/24, but the spreadsheet shows no sales on 6/23 and 4 copies on 6/24.  Even stranger: it's not consistently "graph shows some sales with a datestamp a day earlier than the spreadsheet". Yesterday morning, the graph had 8 copies for 7/28 and 3 for 7/29, while the spreadsheet gave 11 sales on 7/28 and 1 on 7/29. Uh. Okay! Whatever, the overall numbers match up and this is still data a billion times better than what authors get from major publishers.

Some landmarks for reference:

6/23: Uploaded book to Amazon at night.  Alinsa bought a copy to make sure it was working. It was not.  Alinsa ironed out an erratic problem with the .mobi's display of italics on some devices. Alinsa got it sorted (Amazon screws with the .mobi after upload and she has to make sure they can't mess it up with what they do). I re-uploaded on 6/24.
6/25: "Soft launch": Amazon copy looks good now! I let my Twitter followers know it's up on Amazon and propagating to other book-selling sites. (Kobo and Barnes & Noble already had it -- and were not affected by Amazon's glitchy handling of italics anyway -- but iBooks was dragging its feet). Several people retweeted the announcement. 16 copies sold! I was a little excited, and also a little "this is probably half of what I am ever going to sell, oh well."
6/29: Official launch! I pimped my book everywhere I have a web presence. I mentioned it was on sale ($2 off! Buy now!) I got a fair number of retweets and tweet-quotes on the lines of "buy it! It is good!" plus a tremendous boost from [ profile] haikujaguar, who included a recommendation and link to it from her blog.
7/7: The last day of the $4.99 sale.  I originally intended to have the sale run for 7 days, but that would've ended it on a Sunday, which is a bad social-media day. So then I planned to end it on Monday 7/6, but forgot my phone and so couldn't make a "last day of the sale!" announcement. So I ended it on Tuesday instead.

My best guess is that most of the books during this period sold to people who follow [ profile] haikujaguar.  Not that people following me weren't buying it (I love you all!) but she has a much bigger audience than I do, and frankly, a third-party endorsement of a book is much more appealing than the author's own endorsement.

Also, Micah released her Blood Ladders trilogy, which begins with An Heir to Thorns and Steel, just a few days after RA came out. So my book showed up on the "customers also bought" section of her Amazon page (and vice versa), meaning people who go off to buy her book were reminded that mine existed and might check it out.

7/8: Predictably, RA's sales dropped after the price increased to $6.99.
7/11: Unpredictably, RA's sales went back up.

My best guess at why my book started selling again:

Lois McMaster Bujold released a new novella, Penric's Demon, on 7/6. Micah's new series is in the top results of Bujold's "also bought", and RA is in Micah's. RA started out buried at around #12 of Bujold's "also bought" list, but it eventually climbed to #5 (and is currently #6).  So it looks like people are finding it either via Bujold's novella, and/or because Amazon is putting it on customer's home pages under "Recommended because you liked [X]" page. In any case, I started getting reviews from people who've never reviewed Micah's work but have reviewed Bujold's. One reviewer mentions that it was recommended to her because she liked Diana Wynne Jones's The Lives of Christopher Chant, which, wow, Amazon, that is SO SWEET OF YOU TO SAY.  And also whacked because that is a YA/middle-grade novel and um RA really is not.  But I still appreciate the thought!  And she did like RA, so I guess it works?

7/19: I have no idea what happened that Sunday.  Literally, I got nothin'. I hope it happens again someday.  That was nice.

7/27: My average up through this day has been about 15-16 copies per day.  Overall, it's been selling a little better per-day at $6.99 than it did at $4.99 (even discounting the slower sales prior to official launch).  I think the early boost from Micah was critical to getting RA up in the Amazon rankings and into Amazon's recommendations algorithm. Without that, I am pretty sure the book would've stopped selling once the sale period ended. Sales through iBooks/Barnes & Noble/Kobo dried up at that point. So it looks like people who hear about me directly (via my social media or someone else recommending me) might go to those stores to buy it. But only Amazon is selling A Rational Arrangement without anyone else directly pointing to it.

7/28: In honor of my monthiversary, sales have decided to halve. Ah well.

I don't know if the last couple of days are a fluke or a new trend towards lower sales.  I'd be quite happy to have sales hanging around 10 per day, in truth. Time will tell.

Total books sold at the $4.99 price point: 170*
Total books sold at the $6.99 price point: 380

Days at $4.99: "Available" period was 15 days. "Official launch" period was 9.
Days at $6.99: 21

Total sales to date: 550.

For a big publisher, 550 sales in the first month is "fire this author" territory.  For me: I am floored.  I am absolutely amazed that 550 people bought my book.  People I don't know bought my book.  People who don't even know anyone in common with me bought my book. WHAT HOW IS THIS I DON'T EVEN.

I keep trying to picture it: a random stranger browsing Amazon saw the cover image that I created and Alinsa laid out and thought "that looks interesting". And then read the blurb I wrote and went "sure, I'll try it."  This does not seem like it could happen even once, much less happen dozens of times.


Seriously, my expectations were set at "eh, maybe 50-100 copies for the year". This does not exceed my wildest dreams (I am a fantasy author: my dreams get a whole lot wilder than this, believe me) but it still feels unreal.

Great! But unreal.My expectations are that 7/28 heralds the beginning of the end, and that sales will peter off to 0-1 a day from here. But hey, (a) my expectations were wrong last time, so whatever, and (b) 550! Woo! That's not gonna change.**

In conclusion:


* Total sales is accurate, but the split between price points is +/- 5 copies, because the breakdown from D2D is less accessible than Amazon's, and I don't feel like untangling it.
** Okay, yes, it can change. Amazon lets you return ebooks. But it's not a huge factor the way "shipped" vs "sold" is wildly different with big publishers.

Edited to add purchase links at top & bottom, because I fail marketing 101. *^_^*

If you'd like to be sale #551, A Rational Arrangement is available at any of these fine websites: Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Nook ~ iBooks ~ Print

Date: 2015-07-30 03:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay, I helped! :D

Date: 2015-07-30 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*diez and is ded of blushing*


Date: 2015-07-30 03:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I remember, while we were making the slow, seemingly never-to-end slog towards release, that you several times questioned "why am I doing this?" and really wondered whether or not all the effort was worth it.

You will undoubtably find yourself with that question again, in the future. And when you do, look back to this post. This is why. People are reading your work. People are excited by your work. Remember that 'wow' feeling, keep a little bit of it in a jar on a shelf for the next time you're questioning whether or not all this publishing stuff is worth the trouble. some point, we should really find a way to celebrate the success of the book beyond 'sleep'. ;)

Date: 2015-07-30 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't think it's justified all YOUR time invested in it

I art vicariously by supporting artists with my skills and resources. I got to spend a bunch of my time working really closely with one of my best friends in the world to put something out that is, truly, a work of art. Not only was this totally not a waste of my time, but it's borderline "dream come true" territory for me. Really.

(Being able to sit here and grin ear-to-ear going "I was a part of this" is a bonus, too. It's not that often I'm able to be involved with things that I'm truly proud to have been involved with.)

Date: 2015-07-30 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Congratulations! :D

Date: 2015-07-30 05:43 pm (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Nice numbers there! (What's the little bump on the green line? Someone got a freebie?)

Date: 2015-07-31 03:31 am (UTC)
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Glaseah Me!)
From: [personal profile] archangelbeth
Ah-HA! Useful to know. Especially since whenever I manage to get QoR into print, I will probably do something similar, and I would be freaking out about seeing those green spikes... >_>


Date: 2015-07-30 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*cheers for good sales* ^_^

Date: 2015-07-31 05:21 am (UTC)
danceswithlife: (Me)
From: [personal profile] danceswithlife
Rowyn, have you mentioned this on poly websites? There are so few poly novels that you might well get another bump on sales from mentioning it there, saying it has positive reviews.

Date: 2015-08-04 05:25 am (UTC)
ashbet: (WINby)
From: [personal profile] ashbet
You really should! (Says the admin of the [ profile] polyamory community, seen in the middle of this icon *grin*)

I think I found you through buying "Penric's Demon" (Micah has been on my mental to-read list for some time, but I haven't made any purchases yet), although I'd also been buying some Cherise Sinclair books recently, and thought at the time that your book might have come up as a selection that way.

May I just say that I enjoyed it immensely, that I'm recommending it to friends, and that I'm very much looking forward to reading more of your work in future? Because, yes, all of that!!

Thank you for an EXCELLENTLY enjoyable novel, as well as various inclusions that I burbled happily about to my family (bisexual non-erasure! neuro-atypicality! "white" not being the default! body diversity! smart women! people who work out ways to COMMUNICATE!)

And polyamory, which is all-too-rarely represented in fiction, much less featured.

Wishing you the best with this novel, and with your ongoing writing career!


-- Andi <3

Date: 2015-08-04 06:05 am (UTC)
danceswithlife: (Me)
From: [personal profile] danceswithlife
All that and large sentient cats, too!!!

Date: 2015-08-04 06:15 am (UTC)
ashbet: (Angel of Death)
From: [personal profile] ashbet
I'm pretty much always game for large sentient cats ^___^

I liked the balance between fantasy elements, social structure, and relationships -- it's a character-driven book, but getting the chance to observe the differences between their world and ours is fun, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Didn't mean to give the greatcats short shrift, though! ;)

-- A <3

Date: 2015-08-04 06:53 am (UTC)
danceswithlife: (Me)
From: [personal profile] danceswithlife
A totally awesome book. I'm reading it for the second time.

I had a therapist that did a bunch of amazing thing for me back when I was first realizing that polyamory existed outside of a few novels. I told him I was interested in that and his response was..."But...but..then you'll never learn how to deal with deprivation in a marriage." I looked him in the eye and said, "And your point is?"
Edited Date: 2015-08-04 06:53 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-08-10 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carina (from
Deprivation in a marriage?

Bwuh? That's a THING outside of political marriages? And a therapist said that as something desirable?

I mean, I'm as monogam as they get; but I've never ever felt deprived, you know, because I picked a person that fits and supports me.

I'm right now seriously hoping that's just a translation error on my part.

Date: 2015-08-11 03:47 am (UTC)
danceswithlife: (Me)
From: [personal profile] danceswithlife
As an MFCC (in what seemed to be a successful marriage himself), what he advocated for patients in a lifetime monogamous relationship was to be ok with what you *couldn't* get from your partner. To find the joy and fulfillment in what you did get. Granted one can get some things in platonic relationships, but he felt one would, at some point, butt up against a deep desire one's partner couldn't meet that wasn't appropriate to a platonic relationship, and that's when accepting deprivation came in to it.

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