In this section:
We provide monthly sales figures on your Financials page, by units and value in £ sterling.
All print sales for any given month should be uploaded by the end of the following month. E.g., February sales will be uploaded by the end of March.
For ebook sales, a number of retailers, including Amazon, do not report ebook sales until the middle to the end of the following month. We add the sales to your reports when they self-invoice to us. Your eBook sales will, for the most part, be a month behind when they were bought (or later if we receive the corresponding invoice later).
All ebook sales (worldwide) are listed in the US sales column on your Financials page because they are run through our US distributor, NBN.
The figures include sales to authors but not free copies issued to reviewers.
Print sales numbers are sales to booksellers and not sales to individuals.
So if various individuals report to you that they bought your book from a bookseller in March, and your page reports no sales for March, then those copies will have been recorded on your Financials page in February or in the months before, when the bookseller initially bought the book and added it to their stock.
Ebook sales are all direct-to-reader sales – while customers can return an ebook, booksellers cannot!
Preorders will also show up in the monthly sales figures on your Financials page.
Our books are available to pre-order around ten months before publication. Over this period, authors understandably want to know their pre-order sales.
Unfortunately, we don't have access to individual pre-orders as and when they are made. We only get an idea of preorders when booksellers place their initial wholesale orders a month or two prior to publication. These show up on your Financials page by the end of the following month.
However, checking your Amazon sales rank before publication is a ball-park indicator for how your pre-orders are going with Amazon.
Printed copies of your book are not the same as sales of your book. We print the copies. Then we have to sell them to booksellers.
In an ideal world, we would sell every copy we print, but in practice it is unlikely. We carefully manage our print runs, avoiding too many unsold copies by aiming to keep stock levels at the number of books that have sold in the previous three months.
As well as buying books from us booksellers also return unsold stock. If you have negative sales for any given month, it means there were more returns (by booksellers) than sales (to booksellers) in that month.
The numbers you see are net of returned books rather than gross.
Net sales can appear as negative, because orders from over-ambitious retailers are being returned and are often higher than more recent outgoing orders and is now more cost-effective to pulp returned copies.
No, you can't see your specific no. of Amazon sales. If you have an Amazon Author Central account you can see your Amazon sales rank, which gives you an indication as to how well your book is performing.
Amazon also offers Nielson Bookscan data for its Amazon.com site. This gives an indication of books sold at point of sale to customers for the USA only (not the same as the numbers on your Financials page, which is books sold to the trade).
For foreign rights sales go to read our Foreign Rights chapter here.
The current monthly sales figures, going back to November 2008, are accurate, though there may be slippage from one month to the next. Prior to 2008, they are not, particularly if your book was published before January 2005. The royalty statements, however, will be accurate overall, but we have put in an approximation at times rather than checking every royalty statement for each book. Sales of ebooks prior to November 2011 are not given on the website, but will have appeared on your royalty statement.