Hard numbers

Tobias S. Buckell
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I follow several of the “big” writer blogs: Nathan Bransford, John Scalzi, and Mark Newton.  Along with Joe Konrath and Tobias Buckell.

Interesting fact to note – I’ve never read any of these guys’ stuff.  Just their blogs.  Weird, huh?

Anyway, Tobais Buckell recently posted about his sales.  Specifically, sales of his short story anthology that he e-published.  He wanted to compare what he could earn from e-publishing versus going the traditional route.  This coming about, I’m sure, because of the whole thing with Barry Eisler (another author whose work I’ve never read) eschewing the traditional route even though he’s made good money doing it that way, and instead going the e-publishing route.

For Buckell’s experiment, the numbers are quite shocking for someone new to writing like me.  Here’s a dude making a living from writing novels.  He has an established audience, his work is good (by industry standards), and his name is fairly common among genre fans.

And the numbers are soooo low.  The dude made about $380 in one year – on that one book.

Admittedly, we are talking about one book, that is a collection of short stories.  Those just are not very popular to begin with, and he didn’t really do any advertising.  He was playing around with the pricing, trying to see what price did to his sales.  But still, damn.  Those are some hard numbers.  I make more money than that in a day.

Remind me, why am I doing this?

After reading his post, it is definitely not because of the money.

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4 thoughts on “Hard numbers

  1. Writers hardly ever start off for the money and if they do, well, I don’t know what to say, haha. I think all know that, more than likely, things are going to suck money-wise. I’m surprised by the numbers though. I’ve been keeping up with authors like Eisler, Konrath, Hocking, Victorine Lieske, and of course lit agent Nathan Bransford. Maybe I’m reading too much of the exceptions, not the rule. I don’t know. I’ll definitely keep up with Buckell from now on, too.

    Oh, and I haven’t bought any of these people’s books, either. What does that mean? Haha.

    1. Hello Elisa,
      Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I never thought I would make tons of money if I ever got around to publishing a book, but I thought it would be better than that. Really.

      It is odd that we follow these folks’ blogs, but we haven’t read their works. I’ve read lots of authors, but just not those particular ones. I don’t even look up authors that I like to see if they even have a blog…maybe I should…

      Or not. I definitely think blogging is a different sort of writing skill, and I’m sure not all writers have the time or inclination to maintain one. If nothing else, I’m glad that Tobias is so open with his numbers. Invaluable for someone like me.

      1. It is a temptation, but not sure yet. I thought I’d query a couple of agents and see what sort of response I get.

        If it’s promising, but no deal, I’ll probably self-publish and just move on to the next book that I’ll then try to shop around to agents.

        If they say I’m crap, then I’ll put the novel aside and start a new one that I will hopefully improve on, then shop that one around.

        If they accept, then I guess I’ll let the agent do the work of shopping it around and I’ll move on to the next book.

        Either way…I’ll keep writing. 🙂

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