The Big 1000

Early this morning, Pegasus Pulp e-books crossed the 1000 paid sales mark.

Hereby it is notable that it took almost two and a half years to reach the 500 books sold milestone, but only one year and two month to sell another 500 books to reach the 1000 lifetime sales mark. I did notice that my sales have been accelerating over the past year, but seeing the discrepancy in the time required to sell 500 books confirms this.

As with previous milestones, let’s take a look at the sales breakdown according to retailer:

Amazon.com: 42.1%
Amazon UK: 14.7%
Amazon DE: 14.4%
Kobo: 5.5%
B&N: 5.2%
DriveThruFiction: 2.9%
Apple: 2.5%
Scribd: 2.4%
OmniLit/AllRomance: 2.3%
Smashwords: 1.4%
Amazon CA: 1.2%
XinXii: 1.0%
Amazon AU: 0.9%
Weltbild: 0.6%
Casa del Libro: 0.6%
Libiro: 0.4%
Amazon IT: 0.4%
Amazon FR: 0.3%
Page Foundry/Inktera: 0.2%
Feedbooks: 0.2%
Amazon ES: 0.2%
Amazon IN: 0.2%
Amazon BR: 0.2%
Der Club: 0.1%
Buecher.de: 0.1%

These figures confirm a trend I’ve been noticing for a while now, namely that as Pegasus Pulp continues to expand into new markets, the market share of the various Amazons is declining, while the market share of other outlets is growing.

Of the lesser Amazons, UK and DE continue to go head to head. Kobo continues to be my biggest non-Amazon sales channel, followed by B&N (which was slow to take off, but once it did it just kept slugging along) and DriveThruFiction. Apple, which is the No. 2 outlet for many, still isn’t particularly big for me, while OmniLit/ARe continues to chug along. The big surprises for me are Scribd and Smashwords, where my books have been available for less than a year (note that neither channel even shows up in the three-year-anniversary post from last July) and which are going surprisingly well. Scribd has even bypassed ARe by now and is scratching at Apple’s position. XinXii’s market share has dropped to 1%, but then again this is a trend I’ve been noticing for a while (and my XinXii market share was always something of an outlier).

The tiny outlets with under 1% market share include various of the lesser Amazons, the Tolino alliance which makes up 0.8% altogether (much lower than it should be, given their stated share of the German market, but then Tolino is not an indie friendly environment), Spanish retailer Casa del Libro with a surprising 0.6% market share, Libiro, Page Foundry/Inktera and Feedbooks. Coincidentally, the combined market share of the under 1% retailers is 3.3%, putting them ahead of such luminaries as DriveThruFiction, Apple and Scribd. Indeed, the performance of the small retailers confirms the German saying “Kleinvieh macht auch Mist” (Small animals still produce manure).

Now let’s take a look at the sales ranking of our 67 books:

1. Seraglio
2. Under the Knout
3. Outlaw Love
4. Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade
5. Unter der Knute
6. Hostage to Passion and Der Kuss der Richtschwertes (tie)
7. Christmas at the Purple Owl Café
8. Gesetzlose Liebe
9. Mercy Mission
10. The Hybrids and Rites of Passage (tie)
11. Murder in the Family and The Spiked Death (tie)
12. Flying Bombs
13. Christmas Gifts, Countdown to Death, The Butcher of Spain and The Iron Border (tie)
14. Seedlings and The Other Side of the Curtain (tie)
15. The Cork and the Bottle and Kurierdienst (tie)
16. Flights of Madness, Hanging Day, A Bullet for Father Christmas, Overdose, Pissed and Honigtopf (tie)
17. Heartache, The Hidden Castle, New York City’s Finest, The Great Fraud and Familienkutsche (tie)
18. Debts to Pay, History Lesson and Mean Streets and Dead Alleys (tie)
19. He never brings me flowers…, Insomnia, Payback Time and Die Liebe in den Zeiten des Frischkornmüslis (tie)
20. Family Car, He has come back to me, Letters from the Dark Side, Old Mommark’s Tale, Thirty Years to Life, Last Minute Geschenke and Reiche Beute (tie)
21. Acacia Crescent, Cartoony Justice, Elevator of Doom, Muse and Crisis, Love in the Times of the Macrobiotic Müsli, Courier Duty and The Apocalypse Protocol (tie)
22. Dream Job, Honeypot, Open Season, Paris Green, The Dark Lily and Auf der anderen Seite des Vorhangs (tie)
23. Bank Job, Boardwalk Baby, Demolition, Loot, Seeing Red and Whaler (tie)

Once again, the trends I’ve noticed before continue and indeed the top spots have hardly changed and all go to historical romances/historical adventure fiction that have been out for quite a long time now. These books no longer sell as well as they did, but they continue to be good for a handful of sales every month, which makes for some nice numbers. Once again The Butcher of Spain, which has been out for more than three years now, is the big outlier, the story that just doesn’t sell very well, even though it’s actually my favourite among the historicals. Hanging Day is the lowest ranked historical, but then it has been out for less than a year and there are signs that it is settling into a similar sales pattern as the others.

The big surprise here is Christmas Eve at the Purple Owl Café, which already sits at No. 7 in the all-time sales chart, even though it is our newest title and has been out for less than a month now. I put this down to the double sales whammy of holiday story (my three holiday stories sit at No. 7, 13 and 16 respectively) and lesbian fiction (my three lesbian stories sit at No. 3, 7 and 16). Coincidentally, one of those lesbian stories, Pissed, outsells the collection Flights of Madness in which it is included. Interestingly, all of my top 8 titles are standalones, countering the traditional indie wisdom that series are the way to go.

Regarding my series, Mercy Mission, the first story in the Shattered Empire series, continues to do well and currently sits at No. 9 with additional installments of the series at 14 and 18. Interestingly, Shattered Empire is also the only series which people seem to read in the intended order, judging by the sales ranks.

The Silencer series still has solidly middling sales ranks with book 3 (The Spiked Death) selling the most and book 4 (Elevator of Doom) selling the least. I was never all that happy with the cover for Elevator of Doom, though I doubt that’s the reason. I still love the Silencer series, but I guess retro-style pulp thrillers just don’t sell all that well and what fanbase this genre has probably not yet transitioned to e-books.

My newest series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries, does quite well, considering the first book been out for only 6 months. The time around, the first book The Cork and the Bottle actually sells best, followed by books No. 2 and 5. Meanwhile, book No. 3 (Bank Job) is the lowest selling of the series. Again, I have no idea why so many people seem to prefer to read the series out of order, even though there isn’t a whole lot of internal continuity and the stories largely stand alone.

My two forays into the world of post-apocalyptic fiction, The Hybrids and The Iron Border, continue to do well. Murder in the Family, my collection of short crime fiction, has gotten something of a boost, likely due to the relative success of the Helen Shepherd Mysteries.

The low sellers are also the same as always, crime shorts that can also be found in Murder in the Family and quirky, hard to classify stories such as Cartoony Justice, The Apocalypse Protocol, Letters from the Dark Side and Love in the Times of the Macrobiotic Müsli.

My 1960s spy adventure The Dark Lily still barely sells for reasons I simply cannot fathom, especially since the sequel The Other Side of the Curtain (though not in German, even though the story is actually set in Germany) sells okay. Though I’m probably not going to continue the series anytime soon, unless I’m ambushed by a storyline.

And absolutely no one likes Whaler. Come to think of it, I don’t particularly like it myself, though the story does exactly what I wanted it to do.

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