Numbers for Q3, 2011

Downloads were down about 15%, compared to Q2, for both eBooks and Podiobooks. eBook sales are… still unpredictable. July had pretty strong sales (still nothing to write home about), but August and September were back in the old “single-digit-sales-per-month” zone. I spent most of the last two months working on a new poetry collection, Unspecified, which “came out” this weekend (the eBook is still wending its way to all the eBook stores, and while the paperback is listed on Amazon already, I haven’t received my own initial print run, yet), so we’ll see how it does – having an October 1st release date means that the next time I make a post like this one, I’ll have a full quarter’s data on it.

Anyhow, here are all the eBook and Podiobook download numbers for/through Q3 of 2011, as usual giving the total of eBook downloads, the total of Podiobook downloads, and the more-accurate (re: # of people who dl’d a full book) total downloads of the final episodes of each Podiobook, as: eBook/total-PB/final-PB

  • Lost and Not Found: 296 / 1,751 / 73
  • Dragons’ Truth: 710 / 1,781 / 175
  • Forget What You Can’t Remember: 322 / 6,686 / 126
  • The First Untrue Trilogy: 409 (eBook only)
  • The Second Untrue Trilogy: 299 (eBook only)
  • Untrue Tales… Book One: 2 / 3,797 / 237
  • Untrue Tales… Book Two: 1 / 4,534 / 310
  • Untrue Tales… Book Three: 1 / 2,124 / 166
  • Untrue Tales… Book Four: N/A / 1,728 / 154
  • Untrue Tales… Book Five: N/A / 1,636 / 168
  • Untrue Tales… Book Six: N/A / 2,607 / 312
  • Cheating, Death: 261 / 7,663 / 467
  • Lost and Not Found – Director’s Cut: 180 / 511 / 63
  • More Lost Memories (full): 182 / 1,409 / 80
  • More Lost Memories (ind. stories, eBook only): 15
  • Time, emiT, and Time Again (full): 177 / 1,286 / 75
  • Time, emiT, and Time Again (ind. stories, eBook only): 8
  • Last Christmas: 1
  • Total Q3: 2,864 / 37,513 / 2,406
  • Total all-time: 25,805 / 515,002 / 33,439

As you can probably see, most of the drop in Podiobooks downloads was among the Untrue Tales… books. The total downloads for the series actually dropped 31%, quarter-over-quarter, though clearly there’s a huge drop over the course of the series. Now, Books 1-3 were all in print (and available as eBooks) before I even began podcasting my books, and I began podcasting Book One in April 2009, so they’ve a bit of a head start. Books 4-6 were all in print (as The Second Untrue Trilogy) by March of this year, and I finished podcasting Book Six in June, so the end of the series has been available 4-6 months already, depending on preferred format. Still, people just aren’t finishing the series. I’ll break out a few numbers to really clarify, starting with (all time, PB only) Total # of downloads / final-episode downloads:

  • Untrue Tales… Book One: 82,040 / 6,578
  • Untrue Tales… Book Two: 77,489 / 5,460
  • Untrue Tales… Book Three: 39,516 / 3,345
  • Untrue Tales… Book Four: 9,075 / 762
  • Untrue Tales… Book Five: 7,539 / 595
  • Untrue Tales… Book Six: 5,764 / 399

Keep in mind that all 6 books have 10 episodes each, so the first number should be about 10x the second number, and where it isn’t, that indicates that people aren’t finishing that book. So we can see about 20% of people who start Book One don’t finish it, a whopping 30% of those who try Book Two don’t get through it, but 85% of those who start Book Three or Book Four finish those books. More drastic than the number of people who start Book Two and never finish is the 50% drop in downloads between Book Two and Book Three. That only 23% of people who downloaded through Book Three bothered to pick up Book Four when it became available (starting last December) is also telling. Now, you may say that the years of downloads of the first 3 books are skewing the numbers; okay, let’s look at just the numbers for 2011. (By the time 2011 / Book Four had started, I’d made it quite clear the series would have a conclusion by the summer.)

  • Untrue Tales… Book One: 14,772 / 1,031
  • Untrue Tales… Book Two: 15,320 / 1,031
  • Untrue Tales… Book Three: 7,941 / 699
  • Untrue Tales… Book Four: 8,641 / 762
  • Untrue Tales… Book Five: 7,539 / 595
  • Untrue Tales… Book Six: 5,764 / 399

Here we see 31% of people didn’t finish Book One, 33% didn’t finish Book Two, but by the time they get to Book Three and Book Four 88% are finishing. We also see a strange phenomenon I also observed with the eBooks: more people start Book Two than Book One; people are skipping the first book and going straight to the second, then quitting. There’s that 49% drop between Book Two and Book Three again, but instead of a drop, there’s a jump in the number of Book Four downloads; presumably, people who had listened in previous years did actually seek out the remainder of the series. Interestingly, if we consider the 2,646 people who finished Book Three prior to 2011, either 78% of everyone who finishes Book Three never starts Book Four or (if the retention rates seen from the start of Book Three to the end of Book Four hold across the gap for people who started the series this year) only about 5% of the people who has listened to Books 1-3 previously have returned to listen to the conclusion to the series. This projection actually matches the roughly 6% ratio between people who finished Book One and people who have finished Book Six, over all time. (If we look at just this year, the drop from Book One to Book Six is only about 60%, not 94%. It’ll be interesting to see how those numbers shape the picture over coming years.)

Anyway, between these downloads and the eBook downloads of The Second Untrue Trilogy, there are well over 1000 people who (even if they haven’t taken the time to read/listen to the whole thing) wanted to read the books. A thousand people. Well worth the effort, I say.

(A mere three-quarters of a percent of them seem to be willing to pay money for any version of my work, but I still say it’s well worth the effort. Having a thousand fans is a far road from the “thousand true fans” of myth (the ones whose steady financial support would be enough to sustain any independent creator); I estimate I’ll need in the neighborhood of 125,000 fans before I get near the “thousand true fans”. Or in the neighborhood of a million downloads (cumulative across all my titles) per year. I’m projecting reaching about 24k downloads this year. So it’ll be a while. I’ll keep making the effort, it you’ll keep reading.)

Published by


Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

Leave a Reply