Written by: Self-publishing is not for sheep

April 2020 Sales Report

It’s time for the April sales review, a little late because my May writing challenge turned out to be very time consuming. But hey, I’ve just finished it, I’ve done my part, so I can actually set my mind to writing this article quite serenely, ha-ha! So let’s consider the April figures without further delay.

Let me remind you that my income comes from Amazon sales (eBooks, paperbacks and Kindle subscriptions). In April, I published the sixth volume of the adventures of Kacy Matthews, an eBook on self-publishing (available for free on my blog, for now only in French) as well as the first volume of Comment se Mettre en Danger Inutilement (How to Put Yourself in Unnecessary Danger), which I’ve co-written with the brilliant Théo Lemattre. To be entirely transparent with you, I didn’t take the sales of this co-written book out of the figures (part of this specific income going to Théo Lemattre, obviously), because coming up with an accurate figure was actually quite a lot of work. But then, we’re talking about 500 euros for this title specific in April, both our royalties and Panda Jones’ revenue included, so I have to admit I didn’t let it bother me too much!

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Details of sales for the month of April 2020

April has been a classic month, with a lot of sales and pages read due to lockdown. A drop in the sales is noticeable in May after lockdown was eased, but we’ll get back to that in a few weeks. At the best, I’ve reached 118,148 pages read in one day and 165 sales. At the lowest, I made 63 sales and had 63,008 of my pages read. I should add here that just one year ago, I would very rarely reach 63 sales and 63,008 pages read in one day.

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Details of sales by title in paperback format for the month of April 2020
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Details of sales by title in digital format for the month of April 2020

Here are the totals for the month of April:

  • 2,739 eBooks sold (vs. 2,489 the previous month)
  • 283 books in paperback format sold (vs. 215 in March)
  • 2,487,667 pages read via the Kindle subscription (vs. 2,200,433 last month), which approximately equals 5,528 books read in full via the subscription
  • This brings the total to 8,550 books purchased/read via the subscription for the month of April (vs. 7,594 in March)

Here’s a small reminder on how this income actually works (please bear in mind these figures do not apply to the eBook on self-publishing or on the book I’ve co-written with Théo Lemattre, but then again, even though I am aware that for many authors who read us, this represents quite a significant income, in my case, compared to my global revenue, it is not that relevant; I’ll therefore provide a general overview of the income related to the other novels):

  • I earn 3.92€ (or 3.93 or 3.91 depending on the size of the eBook; if it’s a little longer the virtual price of delivery to the reader costs one cent more (this may vary from 7 to 9 cents depending on my books) which lowers my royalty by 1 cent (which of course is insignificant, but that’s just to give you all the details), per eBook sold at 5.99€.
  • I earn between 2€ and 3€ per paperback sold, depending on the format, the number of pages (which together determine the printing cost and which I use to determine the selling price).
  • As to the Kindle subscription, the payment is based on the number of pages read, this number being normalized by KDP, so you won’t get a higher number of pages if you skip 3 lines between each paragraph; neither does it correspond to the number of pages displayed on your product page on Amazon; you will find it in your KDP account. I guess they rely on word count, 100,000 words being about 500 KENP pages. My novels are about 450 pages (between 85,000 and 105,000 words depending on the series). There is a KDP monetary fund (part of what clients pay for the Kindle subscription goes into this fund, which is paid out in full to the authors every month) and we are paid according to the number of pages read compared to the total number of pages read during the month. The fund for the month of January amounted to 27,900,000 euros; let’s say my number of pages represents 0.01% of the total number of pages read in the month, I will then receive 0.01% of the total amount of the fund. Please note that generally I lie somewhere between 0.0041 and 0.0044€ per page read, that is between 1.85€ and 1.98€ for a book of 450 pages (about 85,000 words) read in full via the Kindle subscription.

A small info as to the amount of the global KDP fund. In February, this fund amounted to 23,900,000 euros and by then it had been stagnating for about six months, sometimes pointing to 24 million, sometimes to 23, before going up again to 24… But then in March, it made a monstrous leap: +2.7 million euros, and it partly soared up again in April, with +1.3 million euros. Why, you’re asking? Most certainly because of the lockdown.

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Details of income by market for the month of April 2020

In April 2020, we have reached a total of 20,780 euros (I’ll spare you the commas and conversions). Of course, this is a gross amount. If you are a self-entrepreneur, you have to withdraw 22% of this sum for social security contributions and then pay your income tax. As for me, I have now registered at the AGESSA. I don’t pay myself the full amount, far from it; I don’t need all this money to live on. I use most of it to invest into translations, to pay the people I work with and to finance projects of other independent authors in which I believe very much.

Right now, I just can’t wait to reach the end of the year to see how the international markets will react when I launch the translations of my books in the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany and India!

I wish you all the best, my dear pandas, and let me state once again that I am not posting these figures just for show off, but merely:

  • To show you that one can make it; there are self-publishers out there who live on their income; I am not the only one, far from it!
  • To show you that one can make it; there are self-publishers out there who live on their income; I am not the only one, far from it!
  • So you would understand how this works (because a publishing house suddenly seems much less appealing, from a purely financial point of view, compared to the amazon royalty…).
  • And of course to motivate you, qite simply

 Illustrations by the wonderful @blandine.pouchoulin

Last modified: 1 October 2020
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