I used to publish monthly updates of the sales of my book Entreprenerd: Building a Multi-Million-Dollar Business with Open Source Software. I stopped doing so last fall. My last report dates from January 1, 2023. As far as I knew then, I had sold 694 copies in total since its release in May 2021. In the second half of 2022, sales dropped to only 6.17 books a month on average, and it didn't make sense anymore to spend time on compiling detailed reports. Note that I hadn't received all the sales numbers for 2022 on the first day of the new year. Afterward, I learned that I had sold 13 copies more than I thought.
We're half a year later now, and maybe it's time to publish an update on the sales of the book. Much to my surprise, sales were better in 1H23 than in 2H22: 70 copies versus 50 (37 + the 13 that were reported after January 1st). Let's take a look at the set of 6 charts I've created to show how the book has performed between May 14, 2021, and June 30, 2023:
So far, I've sold 777 copies of the book. It comes in three versions: hardcover, paperback and eBook.
It's hard to calculate the exact revenue because I receive royalties in all kinds of currencies. To make it easy for myself, I use a currency value table that is fixed in time. I know this isn't correct, but it's the best I can do. Using that inaccurate method, I've made €4,958.53 in royalties so far.
Let's take a closer look at Amazon, as it provides a great dashboard to monitor your sales.
We see two peaks when we look at the number of copies sold over time. The first peak appears immediately after the release of the book; the second peak coincides with the publication of an interview on the code code ship blog. That blog post was featured on Reddit and generated quite some sales before it was removed by Reddit's automated SPAM filters.
Amazon also provides information about the distribution of those 290 sales over the different market places.
The US leads in eBook sales, Germany leads in paperback sales. The same is true for the revenue in each region.
Observe the difference in revenue estimated by Amazon versus my own guesstimate.
The difference of €86.64 is easy to explain. I use the same fixed currency values for the American dollar, British Pound, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Polish Zloty, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen, and Brazilian dollar since 2021. Amazon's estimate takes into account the currency values at the end of each month. The royalties that are actually paid use the currency values at the moment of payment. That makes it complicated, doesn't it?
Many people tell me those numbers are great; they also congratulate me on the great reviews I'm getting (last checked today, on July 6, 2023).
People who know me, know that I'm good at finding reasons to complain. It's no secret that I expected to sell 3,000 copies. When compared to that expectation, selling only 777 copies is a flop.
I also did a great effort writing a pitch for an eight episode limited series based on the book. I even wrote a first draft of a scenario (8 times 60 pages). I sent this pitch to several production companies, but they all turned down the idea (or didn't bother to answer my email).
That was not the feedback I was looking for. While there is a sufficient amount of drama in my book, I want the series to be an inspiration for people to start an entrepreneurial career. I don't want it to be yet another 'Inventing Anna' about Anna Delvey, 'The Dropout' about Elisabeth Holmes, etc. I am willing to rewrite the whole scenario as many times as it takes, but I'm not willing to turn the protagonists into criminals. I want the series to be about two real people building a real actual business. If you think entrepreneurs need to be crooked to have sufficient drama, think again please! (I never thought Belgian television makers and Belgian tax authorities would think alike.)
To prove those people wrong, I've made a new resolution. I have started writing short stories again, and I will be 'carpet bombing' every writing contest in Flanders and The Netherlands in the months to come. Let's see how many of the stories I am writing today will make it into print, or even better, win an award. Keep an eye on my Awards page if you want to keep track of my successes.