Epic Fantasy Analysis Jan 24, 2013

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My intention is to do these analysis every 15 days or so.  This is the second in the series and is from data as of 1/24/2013. To review previous data (01/03/2013 you can click here). Once again this is the data time I routinely track from the Amazon Kindle Epic Fantasy Bestseller List.

For readers, you’ll be able to see what authors are selling well and find some titles that are worth checking out.  For authors, you’ll be better informed when choosing between self-publishing and traditionally. My hope is that overtime we’ll see some new and interesting trends.

The following data was taken as of 1/24/2013.

  •  5% – Amazon Imprints & Small presses
  • 48% – Self-published
  • 47% – Traditional mainstream publisher

 

Traditionally Published Authors: 19 authors share 47 of the 100 spots. As in the past Robert Jordan dominates with 12 titles. Obviously this is bolstered by the final installment of the Wheel of Time release, but I’ve seen him topping the chart throughout 2012.  It’s also worth noting that the ebook of A Memory of Light isn’t available yet so it’s not one of them.  The following list shows the authors, how many titles they had in the top 100, and the prices for their books. Those that are omnibus versions (with more than one novel per title) or short stories is also called out. NOTE: na indicates a UK book that has made the list because of high overseas sales but is not available for purchase.

  • 12 – Robert Jordan (3 w/Sanderson):  $2.99(short), 6-$7.99, 2-$8.99, 3-$9.99
  •  7 – George R.R. Martin: 1-na, 3-$8.99, $14.99, $29.99 (omni), $39.99 (omni)
  •  7 – Brandon Sanderson (3 w/Jordan): $2.99 (short), 2-$7.59, 2-$7.99, $8.99, 2-$9.99, $20.69 (omni)
  •  5 – J.R.R. Tolkien: 1-na, $7.29, $8.02, $8.17, $8.32, $9.00
  •  2 – Joe Abercrombie: 2-$8.69
  •  2 – Peter V. Brett: $7.99, $12.99 (pre-order)
  •  2 – Justin Cronin: $7.99, $13.99
  •  2 – Michael J. Sullivan: 2-$7.99 (omni)
  •  2 – Brent Weeks: $9.74, $12.91 (omni)
  •  1 – Terry Brooks: $0.99 (short)
  •  1 – Jim Butcher: $9.99
  •  1 – Ted Dekker (w/Lee): $2.99
  •  1 – Terry Goodkind: $8.54
  •  1 – Deborah Harkness : $12.99
  •  1 – Tosca Lee (w/Dekker): $2.99
  •  1 – Stephen King: $8.99
  •  1 – Mark Lawrence: $7.99
  •  1 – David Mitchell: $11.99
  •  1 – Patrick Rothfuss $9.99

 

Analysis: Price for the most part went unchanged with the notable exception being Deborah Harkness’s book which went up $3 from $9.99 to $12.99 (Probably lowered during the holiday). Also of note a new book by two New York Times Bestsellers (Dekker & Lee) came out priced at $2.99.  Why the spiritual imprint of Hachette priced a book this low considering Dekker has more than 5 million books in print is interesting.  We’ll see how it plays out. Also two Tolkien titles went down by a few cents indicating this publisher is being crafty by activating “price reduced” triggers. I was very surprised to see that the Hobbit and its related books fell completely off the top and it’s only the “core” Tolkien works still in the Top 100.  Brent Weeks lost one title but added back another. Michael J. Sullivan, Terry Brooks and Joe Abercrombie all lost a title from the list, and Peter V. Brett gained one (the first in the series) as his release date for Daylight War looms closer.  Several authors including: Martha Wells, Weis/Hickman, Robert R. McCammon, R.A. Salvatore, Steven Erickson, and L. E. Modesitt Jr. fell off the list to be replaced by self-publishing counter parts.

 

Breakdown Traditionally Published by number of books: Once again much of the list was dominated by authors with multiple titles on the list. More than 82% (38 of the 47 spots) were occupied by traditional authors with multiple titles in the top 100. There were much fewer authors making the list with just one book this time around.

  • 59.0% (23 books) by 3 authors with 6+ books on the list (Jordan, Sanderson, Tolkien)
  • 31.9% (15 books) by 6 Authors with 2 – 5 books (Abercrombie, Brett, Cronin, Sullivan, Weeks)
  • 19.1% ( 9 books) by 10 Authors with 1 book (Brooks, Butcher, Dekker/Lee, Goodkind, Harkness, King, Lawrence, Mitchell, Rothfuss)

 

Small Press and Amazon Published Authors: Consistent with past performance, few of the small presses are getting their authors on the Top 100.  Out of the 100 books only 2 titles came from a small press and interestingly they were from the same author/publisher.  Amazon imprints have 3 titles one from, Jeff Wheeler who started out self and transitioned to traditional through them. And two titles from their flagship Mongoloid series where several big name traditionally published authors (Stephenson, Bear, and others) contributed together.

 

Self-Published Authors: This snap shots data looked much more like I’m used to seeing with regard to self-published authors. It seems that my prediction that early post-Christmas sales were going to the big names was indeed just a blip and we now see a makeup more consistent with what I’ve seen in the past when tracking the Epic fantasy list.  28 authors occupied the 48 available spots. The break down is as follows

  • 5 – David A. Wells: $0.99, 4-$2.99
  • 4 – M. R. Mathias: 2-$0.99, $4.88, $6.88
  • 3 – T.B. Christensen:  $2.99, 2-$3.99
  • 3 – David Dalglish: $3.99, $5,99, $7.99
  • 3 – Ben Hale: $0.99, 2-$2.99
  • 3 – Michael G. Manning: $0.99, $2.99, $4.95
  • 2 – John Daulton: 2-$3.99
  • 2 – John Forrester: $0.99 – $2.99
  • 2 – Joseph Lallo: 2-$2.99
  • 2 – Aaron Pogue: $0.99, $4.99
  • 2 – Julius St. Claire: $3.99, $4.99
  • 2 – Christopher Williams: $0.99, $2.99
  • 2 – Brian Rathbone: 2-$2.99
  • 1 – Lindsay Buroker: $2.99
  • 1 – Bushnell/Vossoughi: $2.99
  • 1 – Daems/Tomlin: $3.99
  • 1 – J. L. Doty: $4.99
  • 1 – Chanda Hahn: $2.99
  • 1 – Isaac Hooke: $0.99
  • 1 – G.J. Kelly: $3.99
  • 1 – Brian Kittrell: $3.95
  • 1 – Dean McMillin: $0.99
  • 1 – Toby Neighbors: $2.99
  • 1 – P. S. Power: $2.99
  • 1 – Jeffrey Quyle: $3.09
  • 1 – Jason Teasar: $2.51

Analysis: I was surprised to see no changes in prices for the self-published authors. I kind of expected there would have been some discounting (for Christmas) that were later returned to higher prices, but it seems as though all these authors thought their prices were well determined as they all remained exactly the same from the last list. A few self-published authors fell off the list from last time (5 books written by 8 authors), but a lot more were added (17 books by 15 authors).  Many (9) of the new books were from people who have been on the list before: Rathbone, Williams, Dalglish, Quyle, Forrester, Mahias, Power, Buroker, Daulton.  But there were 6 new faces added including: McMillin, Kelly, Hooke, St. Clair, Bushnell, and Vossoughi.

 

Breakdown by Prices: Successful self-published authors continue to keep their prices higher than the bulk of the self-published titles that tend to gravitate to $0.99 and $2.99.  We are even seeing prices that rival traditional counterparts with David Dalglish’s selling bundles at $5.99 and $7.99  and M.R. Mathias selling a single novel at $6.88.  A breakdown o price by category is below:

  • 20.8% (10 books priced $0.99) – down 7.2%
  • 41.7% (20 books priced $2.99 – up 4.7%
  • 37.5% (18 books priced $3 – $7.99) – up 2.5%

 

Breakdown Self-Published by number of books: The big sellers continue in the 4 -5 titles rather than the 7 to 12 titles of their traditionally published counterparts. The top-heavy aspect of traditional where 91% of the slots come from authors with 2 or more titles, is only 72.9% for self-published authors

  • 0.0% (0 books) by Authors with 6 or more books
  • 72.9% (35 books) by Authors with 2 – 5 books (Wells, Hale, Manning, Mathias, Dalglish, Forrester, Lallo, Pogue, Rathbone, Williams, Daulton, St.Clair, Christensen)
  • 27.1% (13 books) by Authors with 1 book (Hahn, Kittrel, Daems/Tomlin, Neighbors, McMillin, Kelly, Hooke, Doty, Teasar, Quyle, Buroker, Bushnell/Vossoughi, Power)

 

So there you have it. The second installment of data for epic fantasy as 2013 unfolds and a return to the types of numbers I’ve seen in the past. I’m going to try to keep doing these every 15 – 20 days so we can get a good picture across several snapshots. I hope you try some of the books by authors on this list as their sales are a good indication that they are writing fiction that many are finding enjoyable. And for those with multiple books on the list, it proves that people keep coming back for more than just the first one. We’ll see how things progress from here.

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