Book Sales By the Numbers

Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when you’ve published a book. We’re not all Seth Godin. Books don’t fly off the virtual shelves. So I thought it might help to take a look at the numbers and try to keep them in perspective.

Addition by Adoption officially released on May 11 with a pre-sale in April. A few numbers to date:

  • Copies sold: 185
  • Copies in circulation: 212 (we’ve handed out 27 freebies for publicity, promotion and to friends/family)
  • Total donated to charity: water from book sales: $568
  • Total donated to charity: water by others: $1,478
  • Total raised for charity: water: $2,046
  • Number of people receiving clean water so far: 102
  • Amount we still need to raise to build a well in Ethiopia: $2,954

That’s all pretty incredible. Namely that a self-published book by an author with no platform (love my Twitter friends, but 1,600 followers is not a platform) could sell 185 copies. Even more incredible is that folks have pitched in nearly $1,500 to help build this well in Ethiopia with charity: water. That’s awesome.

What’s a little less awesome is that my net-profit is currently negative. People have told me that writing books is not a good way to make money, and I’m seeing how true that is. Though in all fairness, part of that negative profit is due to unsold inventory from an event that wasn’t very successful. If I can sell that unsold inventory I’ll be back in black (want a multi-copy pack or an Awesome Edition?).

Yes, I’ve become the self-published author with a box of unsold books in the basement.

Though they’re not in a box in the basement, they’re sitting on a shelf in my office. And now I’m thinking a shelf full of my own books in my office is a little narcissistic.

Then again, it’s a Twitter book. Maybe that fits.

So 185 books and $2,046 for clean water in Ethiopia! Those are good numbers. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Book Sales By the Numbers”

  1. Two random thoughts while reading this entry:

    – Are you “saving up” for an actual well, or contributing as it comes in with the idea that if/when you reach $5K, it’ll essentially be like building a well?

    – The books on your shelf remind me of Dr. Leo Marvin in “What about Bob?”… “There’s this great new book that just came out.. where is it.. oh yes, here it is..”

  2. The money is all donated to charity: water as soon as possible (i.e., if you donate to charity: water they have it immediately. If you buy the book from me, I donate a portion to charity: water as soon as I get paid for the book).

    I’m not sure how charity: water does their accounting–whether this money literally sits in the bank until we have $5,000 and then it goes to a well in Ethiopia, or if they start dolling it out immediately and we just get assigned a well.

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