So I’m technically on holiday but the KENP page read for June dropped which meant my numbers and earnings validated (mostly) so I can actually provide an estimate of what I earned for the Nameless Restaurant and discuss a bunch of things.

Firstly, some basic facts about the Nameless Restaurant for those who might not know.

  • standalone novella. Total word count is in the 22k word range and KENP page count is 167.
  • paperbacks are available via Amazon AND Ingram
  • set in the Hidden Wishes universe, an urban fantasy series I wrote a while back which, while not super successful does have it’s own reader base.
  • audiobook rights were sold to Dreamscape Audio 
  • the book was launched in Kickstarter to begin with where we had over 200 backers and then, we had a website sale period of a month where we sold another 29 copies.
  • we pushed the book out via a number of book review services, Netgalley, etc. to test finding new readers
  • we managed to get bestseller status for new releases multiple times!

– we currently have over 127 reviews with a 4.3 star rating.

Overall, a successful launch, right? 

Depends on your definition of success. Let’s look at the financials.

Overall Sales

I pulled the data backwards by a day, so that you can see the full amount of pre-orders coming in since sometimes, pre-order sales register the day before for countries like Australia and other Asian countries. 

Biggest highlight, for all that we sold, we’ve only made $1000 from Amazon sales.

The Breakdown

Now, for those of you who don’t know, the Borrow number is an approximate based off the total number of pages read divided by the KENP of the book. Chances are, the total number of books downloaded is higher than the 571, since there will be readers who didn’t finish.

As you can see, I don’t sell a lot of print books. Mind you – I shipped over a 100 print books from the Kickstarter, so that’s a significant percentage if you include Amazon print sales, Ingram print sales (14 copies so far!) and the 100+ we shipped physically. That’s actually round 13% of our total sales (123/921), so maybe you could say I’m selling more physical books than normal (which is often 1-2% of total sales).

Moving on, I’d like to point out two major areas for sales on Amazon (only).

1) Unit Sales to Borrow is 227:571. Or ebook sales are roughly 28% of digital sales on Amazon.

2) Earnings for Sales to KU Royalties is $582.23:$376.71. Or ebook sales are 60.72% of earnings.

That is, we are earning TWICE the amount we are seeing from pure ebook sales even when we have over twice the number of readers.

This is, mind you, partly because this is a novella. At 167 KENP, we make (at June US$ rates) roughly $0.67 per full book read, compared to $2.76 for a book sold in the US.

Geographic Effects

Of course, anyone doing the direct math will realise these numbers don’t add much exactly. And that’s because of the geographic effects of different prices in different markets and the different payouts for KU rates in different markets. 

Basically, US KENP payout more than non-US KU page reads.

In this case, surprisingly, I found there was a much higher percentage of readers in the US than normal. Even so, having readers in the UK/AU (which was higher than normal!)/CA pulled overall KENP reads and some of my sales down a bit. 

Rank before Bank and KU Earnings

So what does this all mean? Well, Kindle Select / KU payouts have dropped for the last few months. We used to see around $0.0042 US payout rates. What that would mean, with our page reads is a cumulative drop in earnings of… $19.09.

Give or take a dollar or two for geographic effects of course. Not really much of a change.

The bigger negative was that if we translated those 571 readers into sales, we’d make another $1,119.25 roughly. Or basically, double our ebook and paperback income.

Of course, a lot of KU readers wouldn’t have bought it if they had to buy, but we’d only need about a 1/5 of our readers to breakeven. And, obviously, the goal of getting a bestseller ranking which could convince more readers to try the book worked in this case, which meant that we probably managed to increase our sales and borrow count because of the better rank. How much, that’s hard to say. Of course, there are other knockon effects of being high-ranked including being added to browsing lists, recommended book lists, etc.

Still, that’s not including all the potential sales we might have outside of Amazon if we had launched the Nameless Restaurant in those retailers.

So was it successful?

With the caveat that success is always individual, and works can be successful or unsuccessful in multiple dimensions…. for me…

The Nameless Restaurant financially did well, but NOT because of being in Kindle Unlimited and our launch on Amazon. We did well because of the audiobook deal, because of the Kickstarter, because of direct sales we managed to garner and the pre-order (with pre-orders making up over a 1/3 of our total sales).

Being in Kindle Unlimited with a novella was a mistake. It’s why we took the Adventures on Brad and Hidden Wishes out of KU a while ago, it’s why we’re taking the Nameless Restaurant out. Shorter works suffer in Kindle Unlimited in my view. 

Even longer works might not be the best. It’s why Climbing the Ranks (which has a Kickstarter right now) won’t be in Kindle Select when we launch it. Future works might not go in there either.

The ability to sell and support ourselves across myriad retailers and funding sources is important. 

Lastly, it’s worth noting how, even if a book looks successful (multiple bestsellers, great reviews, over 100+ ratings!) it might not be financially viable. Without all my other non-Amazon sources of income, this would have been a very painful launch.

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