Crunching the numbers: Book Report

WARNING: If you don’t like numbers or graphs you might want to look away now…or skip this post altogether!

I’m probably a gazillion steps behind the rest of the author community, but I just signed up for Book Report. If you haven’t seen it, Book Report makes an easy-read dashboard out of your Amazon KDP data, and it’s a considerable improvement on the single-line KDP graphs for sales and pages reads. Best of all, it’s free until you make more than $1000 a month from your books – oh, I wish! – and then it costs $10 a month.

So now I can actually tell what I’m earning per day from books, and it’s quite an eye-opener. Obviously, I know how much goes into my bank account at the end of each month, and I do check it against the Amazon reports, but seeing it day by day is different. Book Report also does historical reports, so I can compare different time periods, and can split income by which store it came through.

As an example, this screenshot is an excerpt from last week’s data. I can see which book earned the most (in real life you can see the book title by hovering over each colour), and also earnings by store.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 16.12.06

I’ve just spent a few minutes clicking away, and I’ve learnt things which probably would have taken hours to find out via Amazon’s own reporting. The headlines are:

  • Since I started self-publishing in April 2016, almost 90% of my income is from 2 books: The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes (67%) and A House Of Mirrors (21%)
  • Last year 60% of my income came from the US store, and Secret Notebook earned 88% of my total book income
  • This year to date 78% of my income came from the US store, and House of Mirrors earned 53% of my total book income
  • A Jar of Thursday and my 2-book Sherlock box set have earned almost exactly the same, both this year and last
  • I had my first thousand-page day last week – a grand total of 1033 pages read on that day – and I now know that this earned me the princely sum of £3.76

There are explanations for some of this data.

  • I started experimenting with pay-per-click Amazon advertising last December. This is only available for Amazon.com, so that might explain the increase in US market share
  • My book price varies. I’ve sold more of Secret Notebook than House of Mirrors this year, but the second book is a dollar more expensive – well, it’s got more words! Likewise, Playgroup is my third-best seller this year, but it’s currently on offer at 99c

But the main question is: what am I going to do with this information?

My current thoughts are:

  • Think of ways to publicise the books that haven’t sold as much – I have concentrated on Secret Notebook and House of Mirrors to date, as my first book and my first full-length novel
  • Back up the pay-per-click Amazon adverts with social media posts and other activity scheduled for times when the US is online
  • Spend more time promoting that my books are currently all in the Kindle Unlimited programme, since I need a LOT more page reads to make a significant amount of money from KU
  • Experiment with free days and Kindle Countdown Deals and see what effect that has on book sales overall
  • Monitor book sales and page reads to see what is effective

That’s the current plan, anyway, along with finishing my spooky Halloween story and then getting down to some more editing.

Do you think I’ve got it right? What would you do? All advice and suggestions welcome!


The featured image is php pear image_graph by fsse8info, which is shared under Creative Commons license 2.0

 

 

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