What will our graphs look like once more up-and-coming authors skip straight to self-publishing? Books are not only in competition with each other, they compete with everything else a reader might do with their time. We hope to answer questions like this as we run reports every quarter to track shifting trends.
What this chart shows is that indie and small-publisher titles dominate the bestselling genres on Amazon. My interest in this story began the moment I became an outlier. I counter this notion with one of my own: It might get lucky a second time and fall into the lap of the right editor at the right publishing house.
Keep in mind that the dollar figures and the exact sales are irrelevant to the ratio and percentages shown. So we feel confident that our analysis looks at the vast majority of books sold on the largest bookselling outlet in the world.
Or when top traditionally published authors decide to self-publish, as artists in other fields are doing? I received an email from an author with advanced coding skills who had created a software program that can crawl online bestseller lists and grab mountains of data.
The first thing that jumped out at me when I opened my email was these next two charts, which our data guru had placed side-by-side. Manuscripts in hand, some writers today are deciding to forgo six-figure advances in order to self-publish [ link ].
This is wisdom the indie community knows very well.
Nearly every book in our sample has at least three stars, which makes the difference in rating nearly twice as sensitive as a 5-point scale would indicate.
That model needs to change.
The third and final possibility is that the manuscript in question is great. They will most likely disappear, never to be widely read. Here is what our data guru found when he used sales per ranking data5 and applied it to the top 7, bestselling genre works on Amazon today: Instead of feeling any sort of confirmation bias, my immediate reaction was to reject these findings.
Now look at the Big Five, who with all their marketing efforts and brand recognition actually end up with pretty average per-book sales: These reports can be run so long as books are ranked.
From the left, they are: For now, the full data set for this study has been anonymized by removing the title and author info, and is available for download below this report. Every pronouncement about e-book adoption is flawed for the same reason.
Before we move on, take another long look at this chart. What does the future look like?
Pricing e-books higher than mass market paperbacks used to cost is having an even more deleterious effect on reading habits.
Our data shows quite conclusively that mid-list titles earn more for self-published authors than they do for the traditionally published. Could we look at the bestseller lists and tally by format? Well, now we have a large enough sample of data to help glimpse the truth.
Again, daily unit sales are estimated by sales ranking, using publicly shared data from dozens of authors who have logged the correlation between rank and daily purchases included among those authors are the two involved in this study. More writers today are paying bills with their craft than at any other time in human history.
There are a number of more plausible explanations for the nearly half a star difference in ratings, and one in particular jumped out at me, again from seeing these two charts next to one another.Consolidating the data is something that’s needed to be done for a while. Most surveys on the book selling industry totally ignored/underestimated self publishing sales.
"Need a blueprint for getting into ghostwriting? Kelly James-Enger has written it. From the most lucrative markets to target, to tips for making more money and everything in between, Goodbye Byline is the comprehensive guide to becoming a ghostwriter.Download