Transparency and Accountability

July 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm
filed under

Mendacities is self-published, yes. This is not because it’s bad in any particular way — it’s pretty well-written, if I do say so myself, and the layout and design are perfectly professional. No, it’s self-published because there are (probably) no publishers willing to take the risk of publishing it.

Why? It’s a 70,000-word first novel that really isn’t able to be pigeonholed. It’s sort of an adventure story. It’s sort of science fiction. The main characters are seventeen years old, but it’s not really a bog-standard young-adult novel, and there’s the odd “dirty” word or whatnot that’s likely to offend the “moral guardians” of the young and impressionable. If it had been written in Japanese, it would be a “light novel”, but the world is divided on whether or not you can have a light novel written in English (i.e. an OEL light novel), and the “conventional wisdom” says that light novels don’t sell in the English-speaking world, anyway.

Hence, self-publication.

As a sort of experiment, I’m going to try and be 100% transparent about Mendacities, and it’s success (or, more likely, failure).

My (modest) goal for Mendacities is to invest no more than 250 350 USD up-front, not counting labor and effort, to sell 300 copies (total, print or e-book) over the span of three years, and to break even, financially, in the long term.

Wish me luck!

History and Expenses

Mendacities was begun on 15 May 2010, based on a pre-existing outline, and revisions to the first draft were completed on 23 June 2010. The second draft was completed on 1 July 2010, and final edits were finished on 6 July 2010. At an average speed of about 2,000 words per hour, Mendacities took about thirty-four man-hours of time to write, and another thirty or so hours to rewrite, edit, proofread, and layout.

Cover and interior art were licensed for 75 USD. Domain registration for the website was 20 USD. “Pro plan” distribution services through CreateSpace was 39 USD. Two early proof copies (to check layout and design) were ordered from, at a total cost of 22 USD. Three hopefully final proof copies were purchased from CreateSpace for 40 USD.

In August 2010, online advertising was purchased, initially in an amount of $20. Results were pretty dismal. In November 2010, another $12 was spent. In March 2011, another $5 was spent. In May 2011, another $35 was spent. In October 2011, a final $60 was wasted.

Cost to date: 328 USD, not counting time and effort.

Both the paperback and e-book editions of Mendacities will go out-of-print at the end of the first quarter of 2013. Get ‘em while you can.

Mendacities the E-book

Mendacities became available on the Smashwords website on 8 July 2010. The SRP is 2.95 USD, of which I will supposedly earn somewhere from 1.77 to 2.18 USD per sale.

A Kindle(TM) edition was uploaded to Amazon on 14 July 2010, and became available on 16 July. Priced at 2.88 USD (though I’ve occasionally experimented with that), I’ll theoretically receive 1.01 USD per copy sold to Kindle(TM) users. It’s DRM-free, of course, just like all the other e-book editions.

(both e-book editions were revised very slightly in February 2011, in the hopes of capitalizing on publicity from the ABNA contest. It may or may not even have worked.)

Mendacities the Paperback Book

The digital files for Mendacities were accepted by CreateSpace on 11 July 2010, and proof copies were ordered then. Proofs were received – and approved – on 14 July. The book became available at on 21 July.

The SRP is 9.95 USD, of which I will supposedly earn between 0.25 and 2.24 USD per sale, depending on where it’s purchased from.

The paperback edition is 240 pages, 5.5×8.5 inches (140x225mm).

Mendacities Marketing

Mendacities was launched upon an unsuspecting and very largely indifferent public on Friday, August 13th, 2010. Not the most auspicious date, perhaps. Online advertising began the same date, to run for a couple of weeks. Was it successful? Don’t be ridiculous…

Mendacities Sales Figures

Total reported e-book sales to date directly through Smashwords: 5
Total reported e-book sales through Smashwords’ over-hyped extended distribution: 0
Total reported e-book sales through all channels: 5
Total reported income from e-book sales: 7.92 USD

Total reported physical book sales through 3
Total reported physical book sales through all channels: 10
Total reported income from physical book sales: 8.97 USD

Total reported Kindle(TM) edition sales (in all countries): 55
Total reported income from Kindle(TM) sales: 36.31 USD

Total reported copies of Mendacities sold: 70

Total income made: 54.99 USD

(sales & financial stats last updated on 11 November 2012)


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