Thursday, September 14, 2006

my dearest pimps

the USA Today list is up, and PI didn't make it. my agent said hitting the list was remotely possible, but all along i felt it wasn't -- that the print run simply wasn't big enough.

one way to get a very rough idea of sales -- call ingram's automated number. enter the ISBN # and you can get your sales figures. i called last week when the book had been out a couple of days. at that time the unadjusted demand was MUCH higher than the suggested demand. almost double, i think.


i resisted calling again until today. now the unadjusted demand is slightly lower than the suggested demand. does the unadjusted ever adjust? i'm not sure how that works and i can't find my notes from my first phone call. anyway, total sales as of this morning were 383. i was just lifting the special jim jones kool-aid to my mouth when i spotted jaye's comment about joe konrath's blog. he's also talking about ingram today. so i hopped over there and now i don't feel so bad about that 383. in fact it actually seems like a pretty good figure considering the book has been out a little over a week.

people guess that ingram is roughly 5% of total sales. this can vary depending on who is using what wholesaler. stores like walmart don't use ingram if i understand correctly, so that could put my figures more in the 4% bracket. is anybody still awake???

Neilsen BookScan was launched in 2001, and is considered the most accurate indicator of sales. Their information can be purchased for 52.00 a year. i don't think i'll ever resort to that, but BookScan seems to be what publishers use and consider the most reliable method of tracking early sales.


Kelly Parra said...

I don't totally understand much of this. =D My question is, does it have to be the first week of sales to hit the Today list? How does the Today list work? Is it sales in one week, then?

Sorry, I don't know diddly about this yet!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

After taking a look at the numbers Konrath is showing, 383 for the first week sounds pretty goddamn good. Keep it up. It's a great book and I can't wait for the next one.

anne frasier said...

kelly, yes the USA Today list is one week of sales, and the first week is almost always the strongest week.

stephen, thanks! :) yeah, it's weird how that number did a turnaround in my head once i read the figures joe posted.

Kelly Parra said...

Okay, thanks. Yes, I went and checked Joe's post. 383 is not too shabby at all! =D

anne frasier said...

yay pimps!!!

:) :) :)

Tami said...

Okay, after looking at Joe's numbers, your 383 looks damn good especially after a week!!!!!!! WOOHOO, maybe our pimpin' worked!

By the way, I finished PI a few days ago and I LOVED IT. I just made my good friend go buy it and now she's engrossed in it too. :) Awesome job Anne! One of the most engaging books I've read in awhile!

anne frasier said...

tami: whew! :D thanks so much!! you don't know how worried i've been about my own pimps not liking PI! thank you so much for the wonderful words. and for pimping me to your friend! :D

Jeff said...

I don't know very much about how book sales are tracked. I'm sorry PI didn't make the USA Today list, but I'm happy that 383 is a good number for the first week.
You would think members of PIPS would have some inside track on this information. :)

angie said...

Umm...step away from the evil kool aid, slowly, slooowly. Whew!

I have no freakin' idea how publishing math is figured - it's more complicated than my poor little noodle wants to think about. Still, sounds like Pale Immortal is doing just fine. Maybe not USA Today bestseller fine, but pretty damn good. So congrats, dammit! If Ingram is 5% of total sales, then that means you've sold roughly...7660 books in just over a week. Not too shabby, lady!

Jaye Wells said...

Here's my question. How does the criteria for the USA Today list differ from NYT. Wouldn't the lists be almost identical?

anne frasier said...

jeff, i agree! you'd think PIPS would have some inside scoop!
angie, the whole math thing makes me dizzy. it's kind of amazing that any books make money.

jaye, the lists don't have much if anything in common. USA Today is considered the most accurate. NYT is a strange creature all to itself and not a good reflection of sales. i've seen the list that goes to secret stores. about 20 books are already on it, and the bookseller just fills in the amount sold. they can add books if they want, but those books aren't going to make it because other secret stores would have to add them to their list and that isn't going to happen. it's pretty bizarre. so in some ways the list is predetermined before the books are ever sold -- although they do make a guess as to what books will be hot that week.

Jaye Wells said...

Well, I'm osrry you didn't make it this time. Just know you have an army of pimps who love you. We all salute you with our pinkie rings and feathered hats.

Jeff said...

You asked in your previous post if anybody could guess who the blogging buddy was that came to your book signing in Burlington.

I know who it was . . . ME!

It was just a hop, skip, and a jump from Indiana, and I wanted to surprise Anne. It was a fun time. :)

anne frasier said...

aw, jaye. i kind of feel i let the pimps down. there's no way of knowing the impact our blog crawl had, but i'm guessing it was quite a bit. can't take that coolness away! :)

Jeff -- i'll bet my mouth dropped open when you came walking across the mall.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh boy, it gets complicated, doesn't it?! I think it's a good number. Word of mouth is going to carry it forward... Right?

Congrats on the sales, on trying to make sense of it. Perhaps we can talk this over at Bouchercon over some serious beverages. I'm sure everything will make sense then. (wink)

Mary Louisa said...

I'm just coming to this post now, and have been educated by your comments trail. I too think 383 sounds durn good, esp. since the publisher didn't give it the way-big marketing push it deserved. I am definitely spreading the word to my friends, both real-life and online. Keep on pimpin'!!!

and Jeff, HOW COOL that you went to Anne's signing in Iowa!!

anne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
anne frasier said...

sandra, i'm sure drinks will help clear things up. :D
i've been practicing my drinking.

mary louisa, i do want to say that my publisher has obviously paid for nice positioning in stores. i absolutely can't fault them there. i just don't think there was much if any in-house excitement which is important.

yeah, you should ask jeff about riding in a covertible with 3 women.

Jeff said...

"yeah, you should ask jeff about riding in a covertible with 3 women."

It was nice. What guy wouldn't want to be riding around in a convertible with three women?
Anne and I rode in the back. We were going for that "wind-blown" look.

Remember the attack of the Praying Mantis? Both of them? ha ha!

Bailey Stewart said...

You have a new book out? *gg*

My exhaustion must have reached a saturation point because I think I understood most of this.

Kel said...

Jeff, I'm jealous you got to meet her in person! I will just have to hop ,skip and jump across the US one of these times, too! =D

bekbek said...

I think your first point might be the most telling. About the size of the print run. I remember way back when I worked as a bookseller, the big chain bookstores were just starting to push into our market. It took a while to understand they could buy out entire print runs and then warehouse them, effectively cutting our little store off.

Then again, one brilliant thing about this pimping business is... have you had one post from somebody unable to get the book?

K, what would be bizarre and cool is, all our friends finally get around to reading our blogs now, and then they go out and buy PI, and it hits the list on its second week!

Crazier things have happened. Usually involving convertibles, but then, what do I know? :P

Bernita said...

Steady as she goes, Anne.
This is good. Really.
~goes away muttering "Pale Immortal...lovely, lovely title..."~

Bill Cameron said...

Did someone say beverages?

I had a little trouble getting the book, bekbek, but only because of the way I went about it. I could have pre-ordered from Powell's or Amazon, of course, but I like supporting local brick and mortar so I started with my local mystery bookstore. Their order got mixed up and I would have to wait for them to get it in.

So then I went to one of the branch Powell's -- technically Powell's Books for Cooks and Gardeners, though they have a good mystery section. None there, but they said they could get it to me from the warehouse the next day. Or I could drive downtown.

I was going downtown anyway, so I stopped at the Powell's mothership and VICTORY!

Interesting to me is when I checked with Powell's, they said they had two at the main store, four at the Beaverton store, and (if I recall correctly) 264 at the warehouse. They were expecting to sell some, but I suspect they thought a lot would go through the web site, and then they would top off the stores as needed.

If you go here:
you will see they show only one in stock at the Beaverton store. They don't list warehouse stock, and of course I don't know how many times they've restocked the local stores. But it's interesting to look at. (To me anyway.)

When I'm out and about today, I will stop by Powell's again and ask for it, and then when they look it up on their computer I'll see how many they have in the warehouse now.

anne frasier said...

jeff, yes, the praying mantis thing was odd.

bailey, i like when that happens. it's like being high without the hangover or possibility of jail time.

kel, i hope we end up in the same area of the country at some point!

bekbek: i think the print run was a big part of this. i've also wondered about the cover. not sure what message it's sending to random shoppers and browsers. i would guess it says romance, and i'm not sure that's the right message. but it could also work in its favor. i haven't a clue! i know i wouldn't pick it up, but i have to remind myself that i'm not a typical book buyer.

anne frasier said...

bernita! did you see that you won a copy of PI from bailey??? :) :) :)

bill, this is above and beyond what i'd expect of a pimp! i'll watch for your report! i've gotten the idea that my books have never had a lot of exposure at powell's -- or in that area of the country. i wonder if publishers pay for coop at Powell's?

anne frasier said...

bill -- just went to the above link. thanks for the great comment and rating!! :D :D

Bill Cameron said...

I don't know what they're doing out at the Beaverton store, but at the downtown store you just got your regular slot on the shelf under F. PI wasn't fronted, but then they only had two copies. I fronted the one I didn't buy though!

Hush was fronted when I got there.

The Beaverton store has a different vibe. I don't get that way very often. It's westside and I'm on the eastside. The fact that they put four there to begin with tells me they think they were likely to sell more there than downtown.

I'll let you know what I find out!

(Are you SURE that was me over at! ;) )

Anonymous said...

I'm sad, and I'm not. I'm kind of with Bekbek. The battle is not over.

If Pale Immortal outshines Before I Wake in sales, then I think it's all been a screaming success!!

BTW, I LOVE the Kool Aid guy. But not Jim Jones, so much.

Bernita said...

Yes, Anne!
I am so delighted.
I won a winner!

emeraldcite said...

Is it possible for, say, three or four authors to chip in and get one bookscan account? Ten bucks and a shared username between five or so people would go a long way for those figures...

anne frasier said...

bill, hush seems to be a book that stores continue to carry and sell. it definitely has the most traditional plot, which makes me thing that gives it broader appeal.

jason, it will be interesting to see how it does for the entire month of september. once october is over, that will be about it. some stores might continue to carry it, but not that many. these things have the shelf life of yogurt.

bernita, i hope you enjoy it!!

emeraldcite, i'll have to look into that. i know some organizations even use bookscan. i'll have to see how that works. editors have also been known to pass figures on to their authors, but sometimes you don't want to draw attention to those numbers!

Bill Cameron said...

Here is my report from Powell's today. They didn't "have it" at the Hawthorne store again, but they could get it from the warehouse by tomorrow. They have four new copies and one used copy listed at the Beaverton store, and three copies at the main store downtown. I thought, "one used copy?! Wha-?!" The warehouse had 168. I think I remember the warehouse having 264 on Sept 5, with 6 on the shelves. So you've sold almost a hundred through Powell's. Unless they sold a ton and re-ordered, which I wouldn't be able to tell from looking over the info desk guy's shoulder at his computer screen. But one can hope!

anne frasier said...

bill, that's fantastic!! i doubt there was a reorder, but i'm happy with those figures!

thanks so much for the report!!