I cannot take a step further on this journey without backing up a little and speaking of the wonderful people who helped so much with editing the numerous chapters of my novel almost from its inception. Many thanks to my critique friends at Critique Circle, without whom my manuscript would never have gotten where it is today. Special thanks to my critique buddies who slogged through hours of editing with me.
I began a blog on Critique Circle as well as here, and received some interesting comments about She Writes Press, one of which I am including in this post.
I am poor with anything regarding numbers, always have been. My sister received all mathematical skills from my dad. This may be partly psychological on my part, and appears to have become worse as I have aged. Simple math is no problem, but when it comes to thought problems, it is like attempting to connect the dots—half do not connect.
This particular response concerns Amazon U.S., and is from Trevose. It goes on a bit, but I don’t want to leave anything important out:
“I searched on “she writes press” on Amazon US, in both the Kindle store and in the Book store. It returned a number of titles sorted by “featured” (whatever that means). I spot-checked about 10 of them and they were all published by “she writes press”, so it seems to have been pulling just books published by them.
“Here is the data that came back…
“Results: 103 ebooks (this is not the total, just the top titles I could survey)
“Avg Sales Rank: 388,797
“Avg Monthly Rev: $8
“Avg Price: $1.75
“Avg Number of Reviews: 72 (this seemed like a lot, but I’ve seen where these types of operations expect their authors to review n number of books they’ve previously published — so it is a ‘ladder’ not reciprocal, which keeps it from hitting Amazon’s ‘reciprocal reviews’ tripwire)
“Total Monthly Rev (for all titles combined): $863 (The 4 best selling titles accounted for about half)
“Results: 108 books (this is not the total, just the top titles I could survey)
Avg Sales Rank: 1,094,969
“Avg Monthly Rev: $139
“Avg Price: $15.02
“Avg Number of Reviews: 37
“Total Monthly Rev (for all titles combined): $13,975 (The 5 best selling titles accounted for about half)
“Keep in mind this data is just the Amazon US store. And this data makes assumptions about monthly revenue based on a snapshot of the current sales rank and price. It’s a swag. And keep in mind that this is revenue – not what the author gets. For the sake of discussion, assume the authors get half of these totals. SWP says they get 40% of author earnings for books and 20% for ebooks.
“Additionally, book sales generally have about a year life. That is, after about a year sales trail off to a fraction of their highest point (even if the highest point was really low), so even the better selling books in these lists can’t sustain for long.
“A weird aspect I saw was that almost half of the titles that came back when I pulled the data have not been published yet (some won’t publish until late this year), so a lot of the data is based on pre-publication sales. I’m not sure what to think of this.
“What we can conclude from all this? Yes, they are a vanity press that makes most of their money off of what authors pay them to publish their books (this is not a pejorative statement). These titles are clearly not generating enough cashflow to pay even one full-time staff member. They make a modest amount of money from book sales, but it is pretty small.
“We can also conclude that whatever services SWP provides and some writers have worked together to achieve some market success. On the other hand, based on this data, we can estimate that 99% of authors will never recover the $7,900 SWP charges, and probably half won’t recover even $200 of it.”
I am not familiar with Amazon publishing or anything he is commenting about. Maybe someone out there is? I will be speaking with Brooke Warner of She Writes Press this coming Wednesday and might be able to get her to respond about this then.
In the meantime, here is a video from 2015 that contains a good deal of what She Writes Press does for their authors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb971_X5PAQ&feature=youtu.be
I welcome any comments.