Digital Publishing Finances (one quarter in)

We just finished 2011Q2, and I’d like to take some time to talk about Alliteration Ink’s finances as a digital publisher. While Alliteration Ink provides eBook conversion, critiquing, distribution services, and virtual apartment rentals in Second Life, those aren’t the main focus of my discussion here. (The very short version of the above: All other publishing services exist, and traffic varies widly from month to month. The rentals in Second Life are still profitable and sustainable, which is the whole point for me. This may have to do with me serving the lower-cost end of the market.) Spec The Halls is still on target to begin on Midsummer’s Night.

Primarily, this is about sales of The Crimson Pact: Volume One. ("So You Want to Make an eBook?" actually went on sale 1 June, I’ve just not had a chance to write the official announcement and link to the stores.)

Over Q2 we sold 120 copies of the Crimson Pact – not counting CDs that were sold by authors individually. This brought in revenues of $442 (numbers are USD rounded to the nearest integer). The largest revenue source was our own sales ($192) followed by Amazon ($178). Barnes & Noble made us $62, followed by $12 at Smashwords. Due to various silliness (and my own issues), the book only recently became available at the iBookstore and Kobo bookstore; those numbers are not included here.

As you may remember, 75% of the revenue went directly to the authors. Out of that $331, the average Q2 payment was just under $21, though the actual payments ranged from just over $10 to just under $30.

Again, this does not count individual author CD sales. (Authors buy the labels from me at cost, then sell them personally at $5. They get to keep the difference, which stays in author’s pockets, as it should be.)

The remaining 25% was split between myself and the editor, Paul Genesse. This is largely because both Paul and myself sunk some money into the project up front. (In fact, I still am, since I paid authors up through 31 May, and both Amazon and B&N are just getting around to paying me for March.)

Again, this is long-term investing. The average author’s take has doubled since the initial "push" ended in April. That’s a little below my expectation. Yet I saw that during and after Memorial Day weekend – as we started promoting the book at conventions – sales popped right back up again. As many of the authors are attending different conventions, I’m interested to see if this effect continues to build. (I’m guessing yes.)

And finally, Volume Two is under production. If you want to get into Volume Two, flash submissions are due 6/6/11. Guidelines and more are available at

Thank you all for your support so far, and I look forward to working with you in the future.

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