Because the majority of my sales happen over the weekend, I always do the bookkeeping for Dancing Lights Press on Monday morning. This includes running various reports and checking sales figures for individual titles. Because it’s the end of the month, I’ve also started pulling together some data for the monthly reports. Based on those reports, I can see what’s selling and what isn’t. Over this past weekend, I had some huge jumps for a number of older titles. So if you will, allow me to brag about my best sellers.
The way the “metal level” best sellers work is like gold records in the music industry; it’s based on units sold, regardless of time, so theoretically any title can become a best seller given a long enough tail. The system only tracks non-zero sales, so freebies given away to reviewers or as promotions do not count. Best seller means that a notable number of people have paid cash money for the product. The higher the best seller level, the greater the number of people who have bought it.
Currently all of my titles are best sellers at DriveThruRPG. This doesn’t include bundles, which do not qualify for best seller status, but it doesn’t matter because all of the titles within the bundles are best sellers. Most Dancing Lights Press books hit at least the lowest level within the first week of release, often within the first few days they’re available.
Over the weekend, I saw a bunch of products jump up in best seller level. Many Copper products turned Silver, and a lot of Silver products went Electrum. Nothing Gold or Platinum — yet. The long tail factors in, yes, but considering that Dancing Lights Press has only been operating for 9 months, and that I spend zero dollars on marketing and advertising, I think that’s pretty damned good. It means that I’m putting out useful products, and I’m developing a loyal fan base because of it.
My goal is to keep growing that base, and putting out useful and entertaining products, so that books reach higher best seller levels faster. That means more sales, which translates to more money. Over time, that will mean a budget for new projects, and the ability to spend more time on larger, longer works rather than having to feed the necessary cycle of churn in order to make rent and keep food on the table.