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"Amazon best seller didn't net me money."

Couple of possibilities there.

1) The publisher's accounting is lagging, and, for example, those payments were for Jan-July, I.e. before the book went viral.
2) Some creative accounting regarding reserves against returns is going on.
3) That was a REALLY bad contract.
4) The publisher is lying through their teeth.


Or, more likely, it just doesn't take *that* many sales to land on the best-seller list for a short amount of time. Presence on the list has more to do with how many copies are sold in a specific amount of time than how many copies are sold, period. If you've got a really good marketing blast that convinces, say, 4,000 people to buy your book all on the same weekend, you'll end up on that list pretty fast. You'll vanish right off of it, sure, but that's where you'll end up until something else takes your place.


If the guy sold 4000 copies and got $12,000, that's $3 per copy - not a bad deal when some writers get pennies per copy. Not that I know the format or price, but that's still in the ballpark for what a writer should expect.

The point I took from it is that when non-writers think of bestselling authors, they think of Stephen King and J K Rowling and assume that bestselling means lots of money, but actually bestselling could just mean something as simple as selling 4,000 books in a week and having enough money from it to do things like put your kid in daycare.


Myth Weaver
What I got out of it was:

1. The book must not have been all that good if it only sold 4,000 copies with that amount of exposure.
2. The guy wasn't ready to take advantage of the press he received.