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Thread: Sales Figures

  1. #1
    penny lane
    Guest

    Sales Figures

    What is considered a good sales figure for the first two weeks of a book's release?
    Mine sold 1433 in its first two weeks -- is that considered good, OK, not so good? It's a non-fiction book.



  2. #2
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    Depends on what league your book is in. Simon and Schuster would consider this a failure; iUniverse would put out ads advertising it as a phenomenal success.

  3. #3
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    It depends upon the genre. Even nonfiction has many genres (business/finance, technology, hard science, biography, cooking, self-help, etc.).

    Without paying big bucks for book industry standard statistics, it's hard to know if your sales are good or not. What you might do, if your book is listed on Amazon, is compare the sales rank with other similar books over the next few weeks. It's not perfect information, but it's better than nothing.

    Also, keep in mind, the first two weeks can be VERY different for different books. My first two weeks were slow for all my books, but one picked up very well after the first month and then increased steadily. The others picked up after the first six weeks and then sold steadily. All of them have earned out their advances, are still in print (two of the recent ones have been reprinted), and they are all paying royalties.

    If yours is a "hot topic" book, you need good sales in the first two weeks. If it's fiction, you're usually dead in the water if it isn't good in the first few weeks, and if it's a "quiet" seller or reference book, it may have a shelf life of many years (and, in rare instances, many decades).

    --- Mya Bell

  4. #4
    penny lane
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    The publisher is Random House. It's a non-fiction book. What makes you say that someone like Simon & Schuster would consider it a "failure?"

  5. #5
    Mya Bell
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    Actually, penny, there's another variable, as well.

    If a publisher gives a writer a $1,500 advance and the book sells 1,500 copies in the first two weeks, it's good.

    If a publisher gives a writer a $15,000 advance and the book sells 1,500 copies in the first two weeks, it's not good unless sales dramatically improve over the next few weeks.

    The measure of a successful book is partly about sales performance vs publisher expectations.

    --- Mya Bell

  6. #6
    penny lane
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    Mya Bell, what kind of publisher gives a writer a $1500 advance? That sounds insane. My advance was $50,000 -- and I know that that's not even that great.

    My rank on amazon has been between 4,000 and 11,000 since my book came out on July 26. And on barnes & noble, it's a "b&n recommends" book. The rank is currently at 22,000 but it has been as high as 990.

    I don't know...I think 1,433 sounds pretty decent for a book in my category (music) for a period of 2 weeks -- and I think the numbers don't include this past weekend.

  7. #7
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    Penny: Because the big houses need higher sales (in the very few weeks the books is selling anyway) to support their large establishments and their bigger marketing plans for books. I wouldn't consider that sales figure anything to write home about for Random House, either, although Random house may have some small niches where this is respectable.

    On advances, Penny: Actually "most" publishers don't give advances at all. Beyond that I don't really think you can compare your book to some average similar book out there.

    But, to get at a ballpark answer to your first question just based on the statistics you give on your own book. You indicate a two-week sales record of 1,433 copies, and you say you got a $50,000 advance: profit margins arent' that great for anyone involved in a book. Your publisher may not make more than about $3 a copy. The shelf life of a new book hovers around about 5 weeks. You can pretty easily figure out how many months it might take Random House to cover your advance, and then compare that to the typical shelf life of around 5 weeks. There's an obvious shortfall there, which would suggest that sales of 1,433 for two weeks was not exactly the rate RH was hoping for when they gave you that $50,000 advance. (which, again, very, very, very few published authors actually get).

  8. #8
    penny lane
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    Gary, you've got to be kidding. Maybe most boutique publishers don't give advances, but I've never heard of an author selling a book to a major publisher for $0.

    Just to give you a frame of reference for my sales: My book is at 744 copies sold on Ingram, which is an automated sales data system. Charles R. Cross' Hendrix bio "Room Full Of Mirrors" -- which is ranked at 137 on amazon -- is at 915 copies. Both of our books came out on the same day, and mine is clearly very close to his total. So I know I can't be doing that bad.

    And I also don't agree with you about books having a shelf life of 5 weeks. I have seen many books, in my category, with a ranking lower than mine, still on display at Barnes & Noble and Borders, having come out in early May. So that's obviously over 5 weeks.

  9. #9
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    No, I'm not kidding, Penny. What the mid-list companies publish swamps what the big houses publish and midlist companies can't afford big bucks like that.

    On that and the other issues, think you need to do some actual research and join the real world.

  10. #10
    penny lane
    Guest

    Re: Sales Figures

    Gary, I don't know what you write and who you were for, but you are clearly not qualified to give advice. I came on here hoping for some informed suggestions, but clearly this is a place for mostly amateurs or struggling or mid-level authors. Never mind.

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