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Update! Authors can now add themselves to our KB Authors page, regardless of your current sales level.

Go to http://kboards.com/authors to see a list of KB authors, sorted by estimated sales.



Near the top, there's a link for you to add your own sales data. Each author can only add/edit his own sales data.



For those of you who use pen names, or who have author names different from your KB names, there is a place for you to list up to five of those.

Please give it a go and let me know your feedback. Thanks!

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Help!

Over the years, we've had several fascinating threads showing KB authors who have reached sales milestones (e.g. this outdated list of authors selling 50,000 books or more, and Hugh's thread about authors paying the bills through their book sales, to name just a couple.

We would like to create an official KB list of best-selling authors, which lists KB authors based on sales milestones. This would be something we would maintain in this forum, and post periodically in our blog. I expect it could get a fair bit of publicity if it's done right.

I envision this as a listing of authors who have reached the various sales levels of:
10,000
50,000
100,000
500,000
1,000,000

Some questions, though...

1. How would we make this a reliable (i.e. verifiable) source of info? Ask for screenshots of Amazon KDP sales data?

2. How to handle factoring in sales from BN, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, etc? Or should it be based just on Kindle sales?

3. Indie (self--pub) only? Indie and small-pub? Or any authors of e-books, whether they're indie, small-pub or big-pub?

4. Include freebies or only paid books in the milestone thresholds?

5. Any other thoughts/ideas? Is this an achievable idea?
 

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Great idea, I would love to see this.  I wonder if it could operate on a gentleman's honor level, since most of the ones doing well are very visible on the boards anyway.  It might also mean a higher level of interest, esp. from the superstars who might not want to post screenies from different sources.  Or maybe make it a condition that to get listed you need to provide a little back story of the journey (I love the success stories! - the failures, the false starts the surprises, the elation etc).

 

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I too think its a great idea.

I think the honor system should be in play here.  Also, sales (not freebies) and from all sources, not just Amazon. And I'd say indie is indie not small press or traditional.

Now are you looking at 10000 in a year? 
 

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I like this concept. I don't think freebies should be counted, however. Beyond that, I'd support including sales & borrows of e-books from any platform, by any author who would like to share their story (as Zenferno suggested).
 

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Harvey said:
I envision this as a listing of authors who have reached the various sales levels of:
10,000
50,000
100,000
500,000
1,000,000
Any chance of adding a level for 25K? I ask for purely disinterested reasons, of course. ;)

Harvey said:
1. How would we make this a reliable (i.e. verifiable) source of info? Ask for screenshots of Amazon KDP sales data?
I'd be inclined to take the authors' words for it. Otherwise the only proof I can think of would be screenshots of retailer sales reports or photos of yearend tax papers with any sensitive info blacked out. But that'd be a lot of effort and would make the numbers very outdated by the time you got them.

Harvey said:
2. How to handle factoring in sales from BN, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, etc? Or should it be based just on Kindle sales?
I'd leave it optional for the authors to include sales from all retailers or just Amazon.

Harvey said:
3. Indie (self--pub) only? Indie and small-pub? Or any authors of e-books, whether they're indie, small-pub or big-pub?
I'd make it self-pub ebooks only to limit the scope but that's just my personal preference.

Harvey said:
4. Include freebies or only paid books in the milestone thresholds?
I'd make it optional for authors to mention their freebies too if they like, on the condition they aren't lumped in with paid sales, as that'd make the numbers wildly inaccurate.

Harvey said:
5. Any other thoughts/ideas? Is this an achievable idea?
Sounds very achievable to me. It'll be a lot of work for you or whoever compiles it but I like the idea.
 

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People don't usually include freebies in their milestones, only paid sales. Freebies are a whole 'nother animal. And people here usually seem to limit their announced sales to indie-only. There are a growing number of hybrids, but writers do get indie sales numbers a lot faster than we get publisher numbers, in many cases.

Asking for screenshots could be a big pain. I am pretty sure I've finally reached 150K sales (though I need to sit down and calculate it out to be sure), but that's over three and a half years at two retailers. (I have more at Apple, but I'm never going to sit down and try to figure out Smashword's data reporting.) Does anyone really want to look at that many screenshots? :D We don't all hit big numbers quickly; some of us are just plugging along.
 

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Great idea! I would include a lot more milestones, though. More chances for people starting off and more opportunity to celebrate moving up a level. Someone mentioned 25K. I would add 250K and 750K. And start as low as 10, 50, 100, 500, 1,000. Those are the hardest milestones to hit, in my opinion.

Harvey said:
Some questions, though...
1. How would we make this a reliable (i.e. verifiable) source of info? Ask for screenshots of Amazon KDP sales data?
2. How to handle factoring in sales from BN, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, etc? Or should it be based just on Kindle sales?
3. Indie (self--pub) only? Indie and small-pub? Or any authors of e-books, whether they're indie, small-pub or big-pub?
4. Include freebies or only paid books in the milestone thresholds?
5. Any other thoughts/ideas? Is this an achievable idea?
My opinions:

1. There's no good place to screenshot lifetime sales in KDP. Not sure how you would do this. I recommend the honor system. Don't know why anyone would lie about sales. It would feel like a helluva jinx to me (and I don't even believe in those things!)
2. I would include them all, as hard as this is to tally. Let those who want to do all that work be rewarded with an honest accounting of their sales.
3. My vote would be to only include indie sales. But I don't feel strongly about it.
4. Only paid.
5. Badges would be great for people's blogs/sigs. Again, I would recommend much lower thresholds and a lot more of them.
 

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I started over 3-1/2 years ago. It seems I'd have to have screenshots of each book each month to prove anything that way, and I don't. Do those Author Central graphs cover that much time? I admit to never looking at them. Another way would be to send copies of reports to the author from Amazon and other vendors, and quite frankly, I'm no more willing to do that than send someone my income tax returns. (Of course if your politics are correct, IRS might be happy to share.) Would I be willing to provide one of those reports with personal info blacked out just to give some evidence that figures for older books that are no longer selling like hotcakes aren't an invention? I don't know. I'd have to look hard at one of those reports and think about it and since they're spreadsheets, I rather think one could be faked anyway.

So it seems to me an honor system is all that would work, and since if someone really started making up figures, someone else would point a finger....

P.S. I seldom disagree with Hugh, but KBoards made me aware of his post before posting mine, and I do disagree with the suggestion of more and more "milestones." The more there are, the more the importance of any one is diluted.
 

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Hugh Howey said:
5. Badges would be great for people's blogs/sigs. Again, I would recommend much lower thresholds and a lot more of them.
I think this is such a great idea! I know there are many who have posted numbers but I often forget. It's nice inspiration for the rest of us. :)
 

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I love this idea.  Also, are the sales numbers for each book?  Or for all of your books, total?  We've achieved one of those and then some, but to reach the second it will definitely take a combination of books.  So how are we counting?  By single book or all books by the author?
 

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Some questions, though...

1. How would we make this a reliable (i.e. verifiable) source of info? Ask for screenshots of Amazon KDP sales data?
-- another vote for trust.

2. How to handle factoring in sales from BN, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple, etc? Or should it be based just on Kindle sales?
--- add them in definitely... not that my 28 BN sales on my YA ast week really move me much ;)

3. Indie (self--pub) only? Indie and small-pub? Or any authors of e-books, whether they're indie, small-pub or big-pub?
--- Hmmm... my initial thought is indie bc that's what I enjoy reading about, but I don't know

4. Include freebies or only paid books in the milestone thresholds?
---- Only paid books

5. Any other thoughts/ideas? Is this an achievable idea?
--- love the badge idea.
Also, are we talking per book, all your books, all your books per pen name?

I think this could be really inspiring, Harvey!
 

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Harvey said:
5. Any other thoughts/ideas?
Comparing sales counts is like comparing apples to oranges or grapes to strawberries. By and large, most of it is meaningless, unless you define separate groups such as a) books to 20,000 words, b) books to 40,000 words, c) books to 80,000 words, d) books to 100,000 words, and e) books over 100,000. Everyone seems to agree that freebies should not be accepted as part of a valid count, but how about books that sell for 99 cents versus $2.99. And it's a lot easier to sell cheap books than books at publisher prices. John Scalzi took a book and broke it into 13 parts which he sells for 99 cents each. Should each of those parts count as a separate, full length novel when comparing it to books of 100,000 words that sell for $6.99 or $9.99. Cost to the reader must be considered as a valid measurement in talking sales.
 

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DDark said:
Include up to that point how many titles they had published to achieve those numbers.
I agree but not a huge number of categories. It would be nice to give some attention to the authors who don't a huge number yet and tend to be ignored. Make them high enough to feel like an achievement, say 100, 500, 1000, 2500, 5000...

ETA: To answer Harvey's original questions, My opinion:

1. The honor system
2. Whichever the author wants to include
3. My vote would be to only include indie sales.
4. Only paid.
5. I'd as soon skip badges, but I have a feeling I'm in the minority.
 

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1. Honor system
2. All outlets
3. Indie only
4. Paid only
5. No cute names for levels, add 100 and 1000, and perhaps add a field for number of books at the time milestone was crossed

I'm assuming this is lifetime sales?
 

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I tend to think that the natural levels are 500, 1000, 5000, 10K, 25K, 50K, 75K, 100K, 250K, 500K, 750K, 1 mil, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.

Paid sales only. Honor's fine. Lifetime sales, or annual?

Unsure how you deal with .99 vs. $5 sales, since one is 11X more economically meaningful.



 
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