Monday, July 22, 2013

First Week's Sales

Hello all, Robin again, stealing Michael's blog to make some announcements. We are just two weeks from the release of The Crown Tower, which is pretty darn exciting. Since signing with Orbit, Michael and I have learned a lot about the ins and outs of traditional publishing. Going into this second launch through a major press we know much more than we did the first time around.

One of the differences between self-publishing and traditional is the length of the runway.Traditional published books generally have a "big first week" and then sales fall off sharply. Here is a graph I took from data from a recent release of a well known author (and this particular data came from a book that hit the New York Times in its first week).

I've looked at a lot of Bookscan data (that's a service from Nielsen that tracks actual print books sold, week by week), and most show similar curves.

Self-publishing books have a different curve. They generally start out modest, grow in momentum, then level off for a long while, and then can slowly decay if the author isn't putting out more books.  It wasn't too surprising then, that Michael's Bookscan data for Riyria Revelations didn't mimic most books.

Notice how Theft of Swords took seven weeks to build it's momentum, and it's fall off wasn't nearly as bad as most traditional books experience.  Plus it saw a good upsurge when Heir of Novron was released (these graphs show weeks from release - and as such Rise and Heir are pushed backward.  Heir of Novron actually started out with higher sales, and again the fall off wasn't as steep as most traditional books.

All in all, Michael's books have held up well.  We are more than a year and a half since the books came out and while the sales aren't blockbuster level they have been strong and steady.

With the approach of "The Riyria Chronicles," we are more focused on the all important "first week sales." It is this first week where a book has its best chance at hitting a bestseller list, and while we have no illusions that the remoteness of that possibility, it's still worth putting an extra effort into.

Orbit, as always, has been great with their support, and the head of marketing came up with a great idea to encourage pre-orders (which count as "first week sales).  Since there was a feeling that some current Riyria Revelations readers might be anxious for the new books, they are offering some incentives for those that pre-order.  Here's what you can get:

Because pre-ordering is so important, Orbit is rewarding our early supporters with a number of perks including:
  • Signed (and dedicated if desired) bookplates to put in your print copies*
  • Signed bookmarks (1 for you and 2 to share with your friends)*
  • Entry for a drawing of a signed copy of The Crown Tower - keep it for yourself and give your pre-order to a friend ;-)
  • Free copy of The Jester a Royce and Hadrian short story made possible with the permission of Shawn Speakman, editor of the Unfettered Anthology where the story was first published (Limited to the first 500 entries)

*Because of the high cost of shipping, the bookmarks and bookplates are only available in the US and Canada, but all locations are eligible for the signed book and the free short story.

So, if you were planning on getting The Crown Tower at some point, consider pre-ordering in the next few weeks.  The perks will end once the books go "live" on Amazon. All you need to do is fill out a quick survey so we know what perks you want, and where to send them to. If you want more details here is a link.

Also, I'd like you know there are a few other things going on that you might be interested in:

That's it for now.  I hope that you are as excited as we are.


  1. Very Excited!! I Preordered!! Can't wait to read them. The free chapters were already a HIT!!! Again thanks for the writing advice posts, I'm still building the world around the guys in my head, always evolving.

  2. Excited to hear how first week sales went. I preordered this along time ago n completely forgot about the release. I'm the IT dept at a small school and was so caught up in preparation for first day back to school on 8/12 that i found out by reviewing my bank statement and i noticed the withdrawal from Amazon. I finished it quickly and loved every minute. I thought it was too short but can admit it was because i wasn't ready for it to end. I love this world and characters and look forward to the next 11 novels leading up to Revelations.

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  4. Loved The Crowned Tower!

    I finally had time to pick it up a couple hours ago and couldn't put it down. Just like the ENTIRE Riyria Revelations. I was enticed throughout this more detailed story of their origins. Can't wait till the 17th for Rose and the Thorn!

    Thanks for all the time and effort you put into your series. I'll continuously be on the lookout for more of your work!

    Huge fan!