Writer By The Numbers

I tell people I'm a writer. I say I have self published. The next question, either outright or in their minds (even I'd ask) is "How many books have you sold?" Here are the numbers for calendar year 2012.

For 2012, there were sales of 51 copies of my books. Bear in mind, this is based in part on compensation reports which lag actual sales data, but for the sake of argument (and the fact that only a handful of my friends might even be interested in these numbers) 51 books. This breaks down as follows:

eBook: 40
Paperback: 6

Dreams Like Snowflakes
eBook: 2
Paperback: 5

Total: 53 books (see, I told you it's a little fuzzy)

Interesting facts here, while my short story collection clearly sold far fewer copies than my novel, the amount of paperback sales was almost the same. This may be in part due to my marketing strategy (stay tuned).


For eBook sales, the gross totals show an interesting fact:

Kindle eBooks: 21
B&N Nook: 17
Other: 2

For all the hype about the Kindle, in this particular case, the Barnes and Noble Nook sales kept a healthy pace.


That's all fine and good for volume, what about MONEY?

My total compensation for book sales in 2012: $31.74 The breakdown on that is:

eBook: $23.79
Paperback: $7.61

That comes out to about .57 per eBook and .85 per paperback book. Bear in mind here that my eBooks are priced on current market value not the outrageous prices the big publishers charge. Indeed, seeing that discrepancy on return, one can understand (if not justify) the publishers greedy cash grab on eBooks given what they will potentially lose in the long run toward an eBook future. But I digress.


A Writer Resolves

Here are my four resolutions for 2013:

1K Every Day

I will write one thousand words each day. New words. Fiction. Every day.

1 Blog Post Every Week

Okay, I skipped last week, but I had the flu. Over the next few weeks I will be reporting on results of self-publishing last year.

1 Story Submission Every Month

Should be easy to accomplish, and might even lead to some new publication credits.

1 New Novel By the End of the Year

Which means finishing, editing, editing, editing, the current work in progress.

Why make these resolutions?

Some years ago I set goals, committed time to them, and reported the results. While tracking those efforts in detail on a spreadsheet was not worth the time, committing to the goals made me, no surprise, a very productive writer. It is time once again to get back on track.

Best wishes to your own new year, whatever your goals may be.

Somerville Public Library Main Branch

Like the West branch building, the main branch library in Somerville, MA was funded by Andrew Carnegie. The building was completed in 1917 after outgrowing the space first in city hall and then in a building adjacent.



The interior is bright and comfortable with orange bookshelves which are the result of an extensive renovation in 1975.



The frieze shows a procession for the festival of the Panathanaea. It is a reproduction of a section of the Parthenon's outer wall.



Other decorations include a bas relief carving which was a WPA Art Project completed in 1938



... and a donated statue of the Greek boxer Damoxenus, here garbed for Halloween.



Like all libraries, there are interesting tidbits of information. In 1901 the library started a delivery service to people's homes. Boys were paid five cents per book for each round trip delivery. Then there was the arrest of John McKay in 1904 for the theft of about 200 books valued at $1,600.

The most entertaining description was in the library's own pamphlet describing the first library director, Sam Walter Foss: "He was an exemplary director and a mediocre poet."


Additional photos can be seen by clicking over to the gallery for this library.


Pamphlet: "Everything You Wanted to Know About the Somerville Public Library But Were Afraid to Ask"

Newspaper clippings, date and source unknown.

Library Trustees Annual Report, 1938

The Library Journal, June 1904 issue.

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