I’ve promised several authors to share the results of my self-publishing experiment with SSH Mastery. I don’t have complete data yet, but I do have sales numbers for January from Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.
Some caveats here:
Before I published, I expected to make most of my sales through Amazon, then Barnes & Noble, and then Smashwords last. I had no idea of how many sales I would make, but I figured they’d be in that order. Let’s see how this compared to reality.
Some interesting things here:
I’m shocked at how low Barnes & Noble sales are. The book was available on B&N a couple days after Smashwords and Amazon, mainly because getting the book through B&N’s internal systems took longer. Apparently my readers don’t use the Nook.
Smashwords sales as a proportion of total sales is much higher than I expected.
Averaging the royalty per book is also interesting.
You’ll hear lots of commentary about how Amazon offers a 70% royalty on ebooks. This has all sorts of exceptions and exclusions, where you’ll only get a 35% royalty. My effective average royalty at Amazon is about 65%, so that’s not bad.
Barnes & Noble, at just under 65%, offers the worst net royalty.
Smashwords: I love you. Just saying. My core audience really wants the book as PDF, and Smashwords offers PDF, epub, mobi, and all the other big ebook formats with one purchase. And they pay me the highest per-sale royalty. I still haven’t gotten the book through Meatgrinder into the other channels they feed, such as iBooks and Kobo. Once that happens, I expect to see their percentage rise. I wouldn’t be surprised if they overtake Amazon.
The real lesson is: sell your work through all available channels. You can’t tell who will buy what from where.