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As of Jan 19th 2010, these are the sales on SHIVERING SANDS, the POD collection of essays and bits that we released on Nov 4 2009.

Shivering Sands Print: 664

Shivering Sands Download: 44

Total: 708

Now, I’m going to forestall the sperglord filibuster that "a PDF isn’t an ebook" by saying "shut the fuck up" and also that we offered it as a "download edition," and didn’t optimise it for whatever ebook-reader you have today. Most people don’t have ebook readers.

Profit has been made, but, obviously, no-one’s getting rich on those numbers. I’m far from unhappy with them — I’ve monetised old work that I wrote for free on the internets, and I’ve managed to collect a bunch of old work in a handy searchable form, too. But I think some people had unrealistic expectations of what this book was going to do.

We’re into the Long Tail part of the exercise now, and will see what the numbers look like by this coming November.

Published in shivering sands


  1. Alessandro Alessandro

    I’ve found the “book” interesting because there were in it a lot of excerpts and ideas that I found later in reading your comic books – the first thing I rember is “Comics & Ideas”, where you can find some concepts confluited then in Doktor Sleepless (tags and wikia), but there are many others examples that now i can’t recall.

    The only con, i’d say’s the price, as you afromentioned, it’s “just” a collection of old work, I payed/paid 5€ for the ebook with a grin of clenched teeth of rage.

  2. Warren –

    Beyond the Bad Signal mailing list, posts on your site here and Whitechapel – what sort of publicity and marketing have you done for the book?

    Because if it was just those avenues (minimal effort) – and you’ve sold this many copies via POD – then I would call that a big win.

    In addition, if you haven’t formatted for the myriad readers out there then yes, this is the big win for a book with a small roll out.


    I’d be interested in hearing from the people who purchased it – what prompted them to buy it? The announcement here or on Bad Signal? In other words, where did Warren’s sales come from?

  3. Of course, the fact that this post is the only mention of said book on the front page of may be indicative of a sub-optimal marketing strategy.

  4. And I did buy the book – it’s just nice to have a paper copy of “Rupture”. :-)

  5. _Lasar _Lasar

    Make that 45 downloads. Pruchasing the PDF (in addition to the paper version already gracing my shelves) for its searchability.

  6. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    Fair comment, but we weren’t really all about the marketing on this project. It was really a test case.

  7. Jeff Patterson Jeff Patterson

    Might wanna mention that Lulu is having a pretty sizable sale right now.

  8. Ron Ron

    An interesting contrast would be to reveal how the paper version of Freakangels did, given that it’s also content that’s freely available on the internet. Care to share?

  9. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    As I’m not the publisher, those aren’t stats I have immediate access to or immediate permission to share.

  10. Thanks for sharing those stats, Warren.

  11. Abdullah K. Abdullah K.

    I’ve had nightmares trying to run the book off of my iphone kindle app.
    whyyyyy did you choose adobe digital whatsitsface? (or was that Crooked Little Vein? cannot remember. bought both as e-copies)
    was on the verge of ordering a paper copy of this.

    still it was a lovely read since i’m new to Whitechapel, and haven’t had the luck to find Bad Signal anywhere near me.

  12. Brian Czarski Brian Czarski

    I purchased it mostly to “micropay” for the amount of time I spend on this site. It seemed to me a nice way to put some duckets directly into the hands of a madman and have a nice physical reminder of times I have spent way to much time reading Mr. Ellis’ Twitter feeds and articles. Worth every penny in my mind.

  13. Looking at the long view is the only way for a self publisher to not drive into a brick wall. MOPED ARMY took 2 years to break even, and B.P.M. took just under a year. That said, I loved having all that text in one place.

  14. Paul J Paul J

    It would be interesting to see what kind of bump the numbers get after this post. It inspired me to overcome my sloth and click a few links for the ebook. If it’s a pdf, I have to read it on some kind of electronic device, so ebook works for me.

  15. #556 on Lulu’s “bestseller” list right now. I’m searching Lulu’s site for 555 things better than your book but can’t find them. ;)

  16. Tal Tal

    My hardcopy arrived this week. Devoured it instantly and regurgitated contents to friends. P.O.D intrigues me.

  17. MarcGeorge MarcGeorge

    Nicely done Warren…and thank you for sharing this exercise with us. Just goes to show what we can do ourselves – if we want it badly enough.

  18. michael aubert michael aubert

    Bought a hard copy as a gift, none for myself.

  19. I bought a copy because I like the permanence of print and I’m willing to pay for it. I would imagine you made about a thousand bucks on this – not fantastic, but essentially found money, so I hope that many other comics writers / bloggers do similar collections.

  20. Hmmm…. Warren, maybe you should see about fitting this in the sidebar too? I needed to reference this for someone and had to search on “Lulu” since the title escaped me.

    I’m sure you’ll also remind everyone of this once the iPad is out there? If they don’t screw up PDF on that (an unknown quantity right now!), I think you’ll see the sales go up greatly.

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