Talk quantitatively to me, baby.

Let’s chat about quantitative data for Kraken, woot!

Actually my sales figures are hard, if not impossible, to extrapolate from, because we’re talking tiny sales, of a single book, over a very short time period. But, for what it’s worth, back in November I put Kraken on Kindle Unlimited.

Since then 23 people borrowed it on KU, and 34 people purchased it; a total of 57 units.

In the three-month period prior to going on Kindle Unlimited Kraken sold 49 units on Amazon and 10 on Smashwords; a total of 59 units.¹

Because Kraken only sells for US $2.99 I take a 33% hit in royalties when people read it on KU instead of buying it. That’s not great, but it’s not as vast a loss as it would be if Kraken was selling at $5.99 like other m/m books of similar length. And in any case, for me this is a moot point: for the whole last six months my total income on Kraken is zero. Because of where I live Amazon won’t do a bank transfer for royalties. I have to get paid by cheque. And Amazon don’t issue cheques until royalties reach over US$100. Over $100 in each market, that is (that’s my favorite part).

So, for example, in May 2014 a single solitary person bought Kraken in Italy. Thank you, Italian tentacle-sex fan! But I won’t actually get that money until approximately 93 other Italians buy Kraken (or some other book I might potentially write in the future), pushing the total amount I would get paid (after tax) over US$100.²

The situation is slightly better in the UK. Kraken sold 31 copies in the United Kingdom in the last year. But again, I won’t get any actual money from those sales until I sell another 60-odd books in the UK market.

So, yeah, in the last six months Kraken sold 83 units outright and 23 units were borrowed on Kindle Unlimited. Money I received: nada.

Luckily I didn’t write tent porn for money. I wrote it for squishy, oozy joy! And so others could have fun reading it. Admittedly, going by ratings, some people really loathed their Kraken experience. Sorry, fellow humans! I shall endeavour to improve in future.

So, should I keep Kraken in KU for another 90 days?

Figures suggest not. Total readership didn’t change, but I would have made more money on sales over KU borrows (assuming a theoretical world in which I actually made money, but yanno *shrugs*). This would be in line with figures released by pretty much every self-published author who’s been blogging on this.


While you are thinking, here is actress Joan Caulfield in 1941 with an appropriate number of kittens (click to embiggen for extra fluff):

appropriate kittens

¹ For interest’s sake, today as I write this Kraken sits at #10 in LGBT Horror, and #98,676 in paid Kindle overall. This is a fluke, and only happened because in the last three days Kraken sold three units. In the two weeks before that, it sold just one. QED: Amazon sales rankings are not worth the pixels they’re displayed with.

² Update: 6 March 2015. Exciting news today: Amazon now do wire transfers to my country! So now my payment threshold is only USD$75 after tax, instead of $100. Plus Amazon no longer want an EIN from me, but can do the tax treaty thing with my own country’s tax ID, so I now pay 5% withholding tax, instead of the 30% I’ve been paying. That might not sound like a huge deal, but it is. That Italian tentacle-sex fan? Now I need him to be joined by only 41 comrades and I will get paid! I’m going to be rich, muahahahahaha.

2 thoughts on “Talk quantitatively to me, baby.

  1. leigh b

    This is fascinating, and dismaying. I knew of the “no check till $100” practice but I didn’t realize this meant no check *ever* if it didn’t reach that threshold! I thought you just had to wait until year-end to get your $6.17 or whatever.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up. For what it’s worth, I received great OODLES of squishy, oozy joy along with my (Smashwords, I luv Smashwords) copy of Kraken.

    Hugs to Cyrus.

    — leigh b

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