iUniverse Royalty Report (Jan-Mar 2013)

Ladies and gentleman, I’m pleased to announce that I have officially received my royalty report from iUniverse for the months of January-March. The report came in on June 7th … a full week after it was supposed to … but still, it’s here! Huzzah!

After cross-checking my meticulous book sales records (a Word doc bullet list), I have determined that the royalties they’ve reported are correct. So props to iUniverse for their accurate accounting department!

I shall now divulge the sales stats for my first three months of sales under iUniverse:

  • Softcovers sold = 68
  • Hardcovers sold = 56
  • Ebooks:
    • Amazon = 33
    • B&N = 3
    • Kobo = 6

Tada! My sub-par yet inspiring stats for January-March. I’m pretty sure I have you guys to thank for those ebook sales, so thank you!!!

As for the softcovers/hardcovers, I know what you’re thinking — Gosh, Michelle, over 100 sold! That’s pretty darn good! Maybe print books aren’t dead after all! Now, that would be true, except that 100 of those were bought by me, for the purposes of re-sale/giving away. On the plus side, that leaves 24 print books unaccounted for — which I think is pretty darn cool!

Are these sales amazing? Goodness, no. Compared to some of my fellow bloggers, who complain when their sales drop under 50 a day, these stats are just pathetic. But hey, that’s cool! First book, crazy fluctuating ebook prices, wrong genre classification, questionably genre-appropriate cover, overpriced print copies, no up-to-date sales records for marketing analysis … I’m quite satisfied with the results thus far. Huzzah!

It does make me wonder how my sales would be if I’d not gone with iUniverse, and instead done something like KDP through Amazon. I suppose I’ll find out soon enough, though — now that Chasing Nonconformity, the sequel to Imminent Danger, is well into the editing stages, I’m starting to make plans to self-publish the sequel, as well as re-release Imminent Danger through KDP. This will likely necessitate splitting from iUniverse, something which I’m trying to feel sad about, but … somehow the emotion just isn’t there. Hehehe …

Anyway, for anyone wondering how I was doing, sales-wise, above is all the information I have. This info can also serve as a benchmark to my fellow self-published writers — if you’re selling better than me, clearly you’re doing something right! And if you feel like letting me in on what that something is, please, by all means, feel free. Live long and prosper, blogosphere!

Semi-related image of the day:

Semi-related video of the day:

I present to you now, “Dirty Cash” by BigBang, who are arguably the most popular boy band in South Korea. (To KPOP fans — I said arguably! Put away your weapons!) As you will gather when they sing the chorus, they don’t want your dirty cash. They’re quite firm on this point.

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

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53 thoughts on “iUniverse Royalty Report (Jan-Mar 2013)

  1. Your three months is more than double what I’ve sold in close to a year, so I’d say that you’re doing pretty darned well.

  2. I apparently haven’t had enough coffee yet, I came here expecting to hear you were coronated. Might also have something to do with how much fantasy I read….

    Anyway, congrats on the sales and I’m glad to hear Chasing Noncomformity is getting closer!

    • Well, I recently won Miss Galaxy 3013 — is that what you’re referring to? 😀

      Thanks! And yep, we’re getting closer and closer to nonconformity … waiting on my beta readers at the moment, lol.

  3. Gwen

    Congratulations, Michelle! Those figures sound awesome to me. Sharing your experience here on the blog is educational for us all. I’m really happy for you!

    PS – You can count me among those e-book sales 😉 It’s on my ever-growing to-read list.

    • Thanks 🙂 I remember visiting Tania L Ramos’s blog a few months ago and seeing her post her sales stats, and it inspired me to share my own. I mean, how will we learn from each other if we don’t share stuff like this? And yay ever-growing-to-read list 😀

    • Psst… bump it up the list, it’s super fun. 😀

  4. kingmidget

    Do they distribute to bookstores? I’m just wondering where the sales for the paperbacks and hard cover are coming from. That’s the thing seems to be so lacking with my self-publishing venture … other than some friends, family and co-workers who wanted a paperback so they could get an autograph from me, it seems like almost nobody buys the paperback on Amazon.
    Are you able to disclose what the royalty rate is?

    • Well, they distribute to bookstores in the sense that you can order it through a bookstore … but the only bookstore it’s on the shelf at is my local Chapters branch. So those print book sales would have been via online. I know a couple were thanks to friends/family, but I’m not sure where about 10 of them went, which is really cool 😀

      Yeah, I get the feeling ebook sales are way better on Amazon than paperback. Could just be because people are willing to drop $3 on an unknown author, but not $15, which is fair enough.

      Royalty rate … I’m trying to remember, lol. I believe I get 20% on print books, and 50% on ebooks. But the print book percentage is calculated after the discount sites like Amazon and B&N get (which is 48%, I believe). So if the book is $10 list price, I would get 20% of $5.20 (or something — my math skills are not what they call “leet”).

      • kingmidget

        That’s the problem with paperbacks … an author I’ve never heard of, am I willing to pay $10 or $15? I’m also a bit peeved at what the royalty payment comes out to be. I make more on a $2.99 e-book than a $9.99 paperback. Doesn’t make sense. Thanks for providing the additional information.

  5. I’d like to chip in that the KDP program can do wonders for promoting your ebook if you use the 5 free days. I uploaded my ebook through the KDP program in February and had maybe 10 sales through my friends and family. Then I set it to free for 5 days – did no promotion and sold 800 free copies. Now, that’s not great for royalties but it is good for getting the book out there. My KDP ebook is now sitting on 911 copies sold total at my last check, so I’m still getting sales through it.

    Congratulations on your sales so far! I hope it continues to do well for you 🙂

    • See, that was my thinking — the KDP free days thing sounds so insanely amazing for getting your book out there. I’ve heard a few people bash KDP, but … it seems like a fantastic deal to me 😀

      • I published through amazon KDP for my first book, then discovered Smashwords was easier to use than I thought so I published my two novellas through that. The only issue with KDP is that you can’t publish anywhere else if your book is enrolled in the KDP program. Smashwords has a better reach in that your book is available through more than one outlet, so I guess KDP does have its downsides too.

        I think it’s a matter of personal preference really 🙂

  6. Congrats on the sales. You did a lot better than when I tried with iUniverse. Think in the course of a year, I sold 10 books.

    • Thanks 🙂 Oh geez, 10? Well, luckily you’re doing a bit better now, lol. You were with them a while back, right? Back when they were even sketchier than they are now?

      • Yeah. 2006 is when I joined. They weren’t really sketchy though. It was more of a ‘do you people know what you’re doing?’ type of thing.

  7. Your stats sound pretty good to me – I’m on about 20 ebooks over the course of a couple of months and I know who’s bought most of those. Am planning to do a FREE weekend on the KDP programme soon so it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. Good luck with the sequel. 🙂

  8. Michelle, thanks for sharing your stats. It’s interesting to see how ebooks fare compared to print books. Unfortunately, I’m like many people and am more willing to shell out $2.99 for an ebook than I am $15.99 for a print book, when the author is unknown to me. But then, as you mention somewhere in the comments, the royalty rate is better with ebooks? My wee brain finds this hard to compute. At the end of the day, just have to be happy that you are selling!

    • The royalty rate … um, with normal self-publishing, it’s better for ebooks, yes, but because I went through iUniverse I’m only getting 50%, so I believe the royalties work out the same-ish for ebooks vs print. And yeah, at the end of the day, I’m just glad that people are willing to read the book 🙂 This was never about the money — well, I mean, yes, I’d like money, obviously, but I’m more thrilled by the fact that people are reading my creation!

  9. Well done for hitting 3 figures. They say tick these off and you sold your first book, then hit double figures and now triple figures. Sounds like you’re progressing with your next book and once you switch to KDP I’m sure the sales will increase. You’ll also have two books out there to generate repeat sales when someone buys one of your books and wants to read another. Happy writing 🙂

    • Haha 3 figures including the 100 I bought for myself … now I need to sell those, lol. And yes, very good point with the two books thing — I’ll have to do some research and see what the best pricing algorithm/sales technique is for promoting a series. Maybe first book in the series at 99 cents, and then subsequent books higher? Hmm …

      • That seems like a marketing technique a lot of people use. Have one cheaper to get the buyers to your book and then have another for them to read when they like your first. Good plan.

  10. You rock Michelle. I’m going to take lessons from you.

    • Make sure you’re taking the right lessons, lol. I seem to post about my failures more than my successes!

      • You’re putting me to shame. Do you sell online or is it all about signings and conventions?

        • Well, I have everything online for sale, and then I’ve also been doing book signings and festivals this summer. I’ve been to three so far — the book signing was pretty good, sold about 17 books, and the first festival was good (15), but the latest festival was a total dud (none sold), so I think it’s really hit or miss with that sort of thing 🙂

  11. Thank you for sharing! It doesn’t sound to me like iUniverse has done much to deserve your loyalty, I wouldn’t be sad about leaving them, either!

  12. I echo the others. Thanks for being willing to give us very specific details. The world of self-publishing can be overwhelming. It helps when you know better what to expect.

    • That’s what I figure. Even when I read about other authors selling 1000 a month, it’s still helpful to know so that you can have an idea of how you’re doing in comparison — giving you a chance to re-evaluate your marketing strategy, etc. I would only *not* share my sales stats if they suddenly sky-rocketed and stayed that way … then I would worry about sounding like I was bragging, lol. Sadly that hasn’t happened yet, so specific details it is!

  13. I think you did well considering you had some really hard price problems. I would love to see what you can do on your own without iuniverse and some ads. I think you stand to sell a lot more with a lot less overhead. 🙂 Looking forward to Book 2!

    • Totally agree — I shelled out about $5000 to iUniverse over the course of the last year, and while I thought that was a great deal at the time, after doing a bit of research I see that that’s INSANE. So definitely I should be able to publish future books with less overhead, lol. Think of all the ads and bookmarks $5000 could buy … oooooooooooh …

      • wow. I knew you spent far more than I plan to but didn’t realize it got that high. A lesson well learned I would hope and one for every author out there to heed.

        • And I mean, it wasn’t a complete waste of money — I learned a lot from the experience and everything. I just wish it hadn’t cost me so much to learn, lol.

  14. Pingback: iUniverse Royalty Report (Jan-Mar 2013) | 4menand4me

  15. Pingback: Michelle Proulx, my fellow author and her wonderful blog! | Terra Ann Spencer

  16. Congrats. I have just started using KDP for my novel, five days of free promotions, and I have started to get some sales. I also priced it at 99 cents, so that helps. It looks like iUniverse is working for you, despite the complications.

    • It does seem to be working! — mostly I’m just glad they accurately reported the sales, lol. I can’t imagine a worst waste of time then getting into a legal battle over a few hundred dollars.

  17. Woohoo! What are you going to do with the check (once it’s cashed, of course). Frame it?

    • Hmm … I should have thought of that before I handed it over to the bank and they whisked it off to cashed-check land! Curses. I have the stub sitting on my desk … maybe I can frame that? Lol.

  18. Michelle, I’m impressed that you actually reported these stats. Until now, the only authors’ stats I’ve seen have been for those who sell hundreds or thousands of books. Therefore I’ve avoided admitting my numbers — 186 books “sold,” over 3 years, but quite a few of those were free giveaways during Smashwords’ Read an Ebook Week and Summer-Winter Sale events. Good thing I never went into this expecting to make money! I keep telling myself there are many ways to define success. You work so hard at promotion that I’m sure you’ll get great results eventually.

    • I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to report the stats at first, to be honest, but then I said to myself, “You’ve committed to blogging about your entire self-publishing experience. That includes stats. So hit that publish button!” Etc. 🙂

      Haha yeah, I get the feeling the vast majority of we self-published authors will end up making very little money, sadly. Thank you in turn for sharing your stats with me 🙂 I personally found your book to be absolutely brilliant, so I think it’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world figures that out!

  19. Thanks for the insight & well done. Heard that free ebook days are especially good for writers of serials – get them hooked, reel them in.

    • That’s what I figure. I could also probably boost visibility by giving away free ebooks, but I only recently figured out how to actually create an ebook, so … lol. Yet another thing to add to my to-do list 😀

  20. My book with I-Universe has been out for ten months now. I have not gotten any kind of report about sales. I know which of my relatives have bought the book, and which ones keep saying they will and won’t, but I’ve no idea if anybody in the known universe is actually reading my book. I’ve gotten a couple of five star reviews back from copies I gave away, but finding a doorway into readership is hard. Keep on telling those stories, and good things will probably happen. We lead a rich fantasy life, don’t we?

    • I love your metaphor — finding a doorway into readership — even though I can’t say I’ve found it. And yes, we’re compelled to keep telling those stories, no matter what happens. Let’s face it, most writers don’t write a business plan before they write their books.

    • Firstly, you should definitely have gotten a sales report — you might want to give them a call and see what’s going on with that? They emailed me several pdfs and then mailed a cheque, so maybe they have the wrong email/address for you?

      Secondly … yeah, finding a readership is so hard! When I first published, I kind of had it in my head that people would just stumble across my book during their daily internet browsing and buy it on a whim … but that, as I learned, only happens with big name authors. Curses!

      Have you tried doing a Goodreads giveaway? I’m not sure if it’s boosted my sales any, but it did generate a few good reviews, and it put my book on more peoples’ radars, which is always good 🙂

  21. Laura

    Hi Michelle! I’ve been reading your entry here and everyone’s comment. I was contacted by iUniverse and have been giving them thought to publish my book. But then I did some research on how others felt about them. It’s been review heavy on the bad side. Are they worth it? Is what it all comes down to. I’m writing a book that is in the same category as the Twilight Saga, or the Mortal Instruments Series. In size, length, sort of same world concepts but is of course different. I tried to find a similar book that iUniverse is selling but came up short. Do you know if there are any? I wanted to compare, to see if I would do as great or not.
    I don’t have a lot of money and don’t want to be scammed. So I’m really looking for an answer that can help me.
    Also you mentioned that bookstores don’t actually carry the books. Is that true? Not even like 10 copies? Seems like if that’s the case, how does one get their book known and bought? I know iUniverse doesn’t do promoting unless you spend thousands of dollars.
    I need help and you have been the most recent and reliable person I have seen voice their opinion.
    -Laura K

    • Hey 🙂 Well, first of all, check out this post I wrote a few months back that reviews the iUniverse system: http://theselfpublisher.com/2013/06/18/publishing-with-iuniverse-yea-or-nay/

      That basically sums up my feelings on the matter! As for your individual situation … so you’re writing a teen book? I’ve run into a lot of trouble with that, because iUniverse doesn’t have a “teen” genre, so the book is filed under children’s lit … which, as you can imagine, is NOT where it belongs! That means it shows up on all the online sites as a kid’s book, which definitely affects sales. They haven’t added a “teen” genre yet, to the best of my knowledge, so that’s a major strike against them.

      The bookstores don’t carry books unless A) you choose an iUniverse publishing package that specifically involves putting the book on a bookshelf (Chapters/Indigo package, for example), or B) you go into individual bookstores yourself and convince the manager to carry your book. General rule of thumb: iUniverse doesn’t do anything unless you pay them for it. If it’s not written down in the contract you sign, they’re not going to do it.

      As for promoting and marketing … iUniverse only does that if, like you said, you pay them lots of money. The bottom line is that iUniverse is a company, and they want to make money. They do that by selling pricey publishing packages to authors, selling print books to authors (who then sell them to their friends), selling marketing/publicity packages to authors … and then of course getting a cut of any books that are sold online. They do want their authors to succeed, but only in the sense that they’d be making more money as a result from the increased book sales.

      So that’s all the bad stuff. As you’ll see in my review, the good is that they do everything for you, they’re fairly competent, and they produce a great quality book in all three formats – ebook, softcover, hardcover. The major things that turned me off of them were A) the fact that they had no “teen” genre and refused to add one, B) the incredibly incompetent cover designer I had to work with, C) the fact that you can’t set the price for your softcover/hardcover books (they’re ridiculously expensive, by the way), and D) the lack of control you get (can only see royalty reports once every three months, can’t change the genre listing of the book without going through a 6-8 week process, etc.).

      In conclusion … I mean, it’s really a matter of what you’re willing to do 🙂 If you have no free time and would rather someone else do all the work of interior formatting, cover design, etc. etc., then iUniverse might be the right choice for you. It’s an expensive choice, and I really do think you’ll get frustrated by your lack of control, but it’s certainly a viable option. However, if you have some extra time and are willing to tackle the publishing thing yourself – hire a cover designer, do the interior formatting yourself (it’s actually not that hard!), etc., I would say do it yourself and save your money!

      And in case you ARE still considering iUniverse, I’ll add that, although I’m not a huge fan due to the reasons mentioned above, I’ve never had any trouble with them from a legal standpoint. They’ve paid me roughly on time, and for the correct amount, and I’ve never had any issues with people calling all the time and trying to sell me extra marketing packages (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen people complaining about that sort of thing on forums, hence why I mentioned it!).

      So going with them definitely wouldn’t be the worst option – I just think that, if you’re up to going it alone, that would be the much better option 🙂

      Whatever you decide, best of luck! And let me know what you decide! We authors need to stick together 🙂

      • Laura

        Thanks so much for answering me! That is a really great entry and had loads to think about.
        The royalties are my biggest concern next to the promoting. So, they fall short in that department.

        I starting having doubts before I found you online here, there was just too many negatives out there and they outweighed the positives.

        I owe it to myself to at least try for a publishing house. If I don’t try, then I’ll never know.
        Yeah sure they’re reject ( comes with the territory ) but in the off chance they truly love my book, one just never knows.

        It’s been wonderful reading your witty entries, and I’ll be sure to keep stalking your blogosphere of mindful and insightful tips. XD

        Thanks again for the help, and take care!

        • My pleasure 🙂 And best of luck pursuing a traditional publisher! It didn’t work out for me (obviously!), but that’s not to say you won’t knock it out of the park 🙂

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