Sunday, 7 February 2010

Hold a self-publisher to account: Month 5



Smashwords: 336 (forecast: 400)


my orders from Lulu: 25

bookshop: 0

direct from Lulu: 11

total: 11 (forecast 5)

(addendum to previous months) - I made two interesting discoveries that may explain previous months' activities. First, I received a positive review from the Oxford information hub "Daily Infornmation" in the middle of November - although there is no obvious correlation to a spike in downloads.

Second, in the last week of December, Songs was listed in ebooksjustpublished's top 10 DRM free ebooks for Christmas - I'm fairly sure that was the reason for the spike at the end of December.

late Dec/early Jan - my old college alumni newsletter went out with a long article on Songs

15 Jan Discounderworld ezine writes a piece on me and on Year Zero Writers

mid Jan - Writers' Forum print magazin carries a follow-up piece on me in Siobhan Curham's self-publishing column


It was always going to be a slow month. I spent every spare second building up for the tour that started on Feb 4th. Two things are of particular note:

1. The efictionbookclub closed down the week before it was due to read and review Songs. Obviously this was a big blow. I wish the people behind it all the best in future, though - the jobn they did whilst the site was running was fantastic, and an excellent model.

2. There was an enormous spike in both Songs' downloads, and those for 13 Shadows, on January 13th. I have absolutely no idea why. As it affected both books I then had on smashwords, I am guessing it was related to smashwords, but I don't know how - it's too early for it to be aggregated first quarter downloads from Barnes & Noble - if it happens that date in a month/quarter's time I will be clearer that it is an automated aggregation of something!

Also worth noting that 10 (but not the 11th) of the Lulu sales were from a single family member for use as presents.

I DO have hopes for February. I've got some significant local news coverage confirmed, and we are on tour, with two big gigs that I hope will kick start sales, or at least downloads. The first, at Rough Trade East, was on the 4th. Next up is To Hell With Books on the 23rd. I'm also hoping we might get some write-ups and general web coverage out fo the tour, and want to make sure the sales and downloads are mentioned there.


downloads: I'll go with what I hope is a cautious 300, in case the web tie-ins don't run as smoothly as they might

sales: 10 - largely from live readings

I HOPE both of these are cautious


  1. This is great news. Songs is really growing in popularity. Your Smashwords downloads have really taken off and you're advancing up the top 100 - now 42nd.

    The spike in downloads on January 13th was specific to your work, not a general one affecting all Smashwords titles, which can happen. (I had a similar unexplained download spike on January 10th, and a odd spike in page views on 12th.) Maybe some publicity about the anthology, and people visiting the site to download 13 Shadows found Songs as well?

  2. Good for you, Dan. You're THE hardest working e-publisher I know. You deserve success with Songs. It's a great book and you're doing your best to publicise it. Did I tell you I took it to the set of Dr Who and Casualty? I'm doing a photoshoot next week and will take it there with me too.

    I noticed a spike in my downloads when my friend put my books on her website (not as many as I'd hoped).
    Onward and Upward!

  3. Dan, congratulations on being in the top 50 on Smashwords! As I'm sure you're aware, the vast majority of places in the top 100 are filled by short stories or novellas, so to get a full-length book to number 42 when it's only been there since August is a fine achievement.

    Funnily enough, I had download spikes on Jan 12th and 14th, and a dip on the 13th. Clearly everyone was checking out "Songs" that day :-) I had a major spike on 28th and 29th Jan, and have no idea why.

    I was so looking forward to seeing "Songs" reviewed on efictionbookclub. It was a fine site, and I,too, wish the people behind it well.

  4. What Shayne didn't mention is that the rest of the Top 50 consists of Smashwords how-to guides and smutty literary contributions ;)

    Congrats on both the downloads/sales and the rockstar performances!

  5. @Shayne & @Tony - what Shayne has not said, and Tony hasn't mentioned either, is the incredible success of Sentence of Marriage, Shayne's own wonderful book, whcih is soaring away in the charts - and, from what I understand, is helping your other books?

    @Larry - yes, the spikes may be interrelated - it's fascinating to see how things work in relation to each other - especially the page views/downloads

    @Anne - you did! That's wonderful - I love the idea of it travelling around with you (time travelling around even!)

  6. Hey Dan - it was great to see you - if only briefly - at Rough Trade last week. Thanks for the goody bag, I really enjoyed the stories. I hope it went really well and I'll be in touch with the details re the Covent Garden gig very soon...

  7. thank you so much for popping in, Siobhan - lovely to see you again, and very much looking forward to meeting again :)

  8. How interesting that you share your sales, forecast and analysis here. Thank you for your generosity. :)

    I'm sure your forecast is conservative and you'll have excellent sales this month! ;)

  9. Let's hear it for Live Readings! My reason for starting Poets Alive here. I feel the vocally articulated word is predecessor and holds priority rights. It predates, influences and defines all else. Without physically spoken Voice, there is no Quality of 'Voice'.
    However, there is the counterargument that it may be an egotistical prejudice of the hearing public. I think, then, that the written word has its own rhythm and nuance, of course, just as the spiritual body is superior to the physical, though we in body here don't always care to agree. That said,
    Congratulations for the 10 sales. It is a pleasant number. (I remain just me, Mignon M. Fahr, stripped to that entity, and not Fahren henceforth.)

  10. @Mari - I hope so too :)

    @mm - I do think sometimes that a book read to oneself in the bath and a book read aloud are two utterly different things.

  11. I'll refrain from such blurb comments in future. Promise. Where is the plug for the bathtub?
    Congratulations for ALL your work. I did not mean that to be facetious. Routing our words is a hallaciously long job. Each must find the particular path.