Thursday 3 December 2009

Hold a Self-Publisher to Account: Month 3


smashwords: 222

Scribd: 6

total: 228 (forecast 200)

Lulu direct: 2

Bookshop: 2

Me direct:

My copies from Lulu

Total: 4 (forecast 5)

It was a very quiet month as I predicted - not much publicity for my own book because I was concentrating so much on Free-e-day and the new Year Zero books. Significant events were:

4th November - Nylon Mag list Year Zero as their site of the day (a spike of around 300 extra hits to the Year Zero site on the day, that sustained over a substantial period)

4th November - Penny Goring's "Temporary Passport" is discovered on the Year Zero site and will be made into a film

6th review of Songs on Sulci Collective blog

7th - interview with a local journalist

8th flyers for Songs on display at a college alumni event celebrating 20th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall

9th Berlin wall anniversary. I tweet five or six times, and there is a spike of 200 extra views on smashwords

20th Songs wins the Litchat #litpitch comp on twitter

28th my article on social media appears in issue one of literary ezine Words with Jam

29th SKIN BOOK featured on the Writer's Muse site

The downloads were up on expectation - analysis of the daily chart shows this is entirely down to the Berlin Wall anniversary. Other than that I note with interest not a single sale or a download blip as a result of the flyers (although, of course, the 9th November blip may be a result of this and not twitter, but the volume of retweets suggests otherwise). This is significant as it emphasises the importance of a personal presence at these events and selling on the spot rather than through flyer.

In the build up to Free-e-day there was a surge of interest in the Year Zero site and the Free-e-day site, but these did not convert to personal downloads - the results of Free-e-day itself will go in December.

I anticipate a busier month but a disappointing one for sales. My personal attention will be focused on the new Year Zero anthology and forthcoming tour for it as well as selling chapbooks of SKIN BOOK. Sales of Songs will depend on whether family buy copies for Christmas. Forecast: 5 - through bookshops as I start to do more instore in preparation for getting the new Year Zero books into shops. I may be able to do further live readings before Christmas enabling on site sales.

I anticipate downloads to be back to 300 after Free-e-day and because I will be focusing on marketing the Year Zero books as a package before Christmas, sending press releases and focusing on magazine forums. Songs will also feature on the Writers' Muse website. There will be a mention of Year Zero in Writers' Forum.

I anticipate a significant upturn in sales in late January as I get Amazon listed - I will finally this week get a Lulu ISBN, a decision not taken lightly but financially necessitated.

NOTES: SMASHWORDS will not guarantee delivery of timely figures for Barnes & Noble downloads. Mark Coker is aware of this column and the fact that I am calling them out over this (and apologising to my readers for any resultatnt confusion), and has, helpfully, agreed to ensure 1. I get figures eventually and 2. that smashwords will work to inmprove delivery of figures. I am as ever grateful to Mark. He is also aware I will call smashwords ut ina big way if they fail to deliver on this. AMAZON figures will not necessarily be timely. I will also call them out when necessity dictates. Unlike Smashwords I doubt they will care


  1. Dan, 2 bookshop sales is promising because they are to complete strangers either on the basis of them browsing or chatting with the store people. Have you got any feedback from the stores on this?


  2. Marc, I literally flitted in and out because I've been so busy with Free-e-day and trying to get as much as possible behind the next four Year Zero books. I had basicvally written off between now and Christmas for my own sales - I want to focus, once you all have both hard copy and download so we can have a unified press pack, on the Year Zero Novels brand this month. Now Free-e-day's done I've been writing press material.

  3. You have been busy! Have you had time to write?

  4. It's been ridiculuosly busy but yes - whilst not as much music stuff as I'd have liked, I've written some articels and actually finished a book (albeit a chapbook), with SKIN BOOK. It's sleep I forgot. Now I will do that, and spend more time on other people's blogs!

  5. Dan, forgive my ignorance, but why is getting a Lulu ISBN problematic?

  6. Dan, most retailers will report sales and download data to us on a quarterly basis, so once we have that data we'll integrate it into our reporting tools.

  7. Congratulations on the whole event Dan, and here's hoping the downloads and sales continue to flow! I have a slightly more modest total of 40 downloads so far, but that's at least 39 more than I was expecting ;)

  8. mark thank you - I am a huge fan of yours as you know. I look forward to seeing how the stats pan out from your initiatives with B&N & sony, but to me the fact you are doing things with them at all sets you apart - do go and say some stuff about smashwords over at the Free-e-day site on the DIY webchat. And thanks again - you and the guys at Bookbuzzr are an example to all.

    Tony, thank you - and very best. And now I should have time to spend longer on your blog :)

  9. @Philippa - simply as part of a long-term plan it has always felt more comfortable to have my own name as publisher - and bearing in mind I want it to sit alongside other Year Zero books, I don't want to lower the tone so to speak. But I guess the true punk ethic is do it and do it however, which doesn't preclude using Lulu's ISBN.

  10. Thanks for this, Dan. It's also encouraging to see Mark Cocker here. We have all an invested interest not only in Year Zero but in Smashwords and our works (collectively and individually). I hope that sales will spike for you. I have a hard copy of your book and I recommend it unreservedly to everyone reading this.

  11. Thanks, Anne - I am very impressed with smashwords as a means of getting works out there and read. Thanks for the good wishes - I am not worried about sales at the moment - I want to get the Year Zero brand more established before I worry about myself