Here’s a second check-in on the numbers behind the Primacy publishing project. You might look at it as a result of the sum of my efforts or as a meaningless pattern in the randomness. Most likely it’s some of both, if that’s possible.


Number of days the book has officially been on sale as of this writing: 48


Initial wholesale sales lay-down: 4,749

Total number of hardcovers shipped to date: 5,974

Returns to date: 7


Number of hits to the Verbitrage home page: 6,312

Number of hits to the Buy Now page: 563

Number of copies I’ve sold directly from the Verbitrage website: 11

Number of these who were friends or acquaintances: 11


Direct sales at a private party in Washington, DC: 45

Direct sales at a private club event in Wilmington, DE: 25

Sales at a local bookstore appearance: 16

Number of those sales that went to a visiting friend: 8


Number of Facebook ad impressions: 1,765,965

Number of clicks on those ads: 448

Click-through expressed as a percentage: 0.025%


Number of customer reviews on Amazon: 6

Average number of stars on those reviews: 5

Number of customer reviews on Barnes & Noble: 4

Average number of stars: 4.5


Hardcover sales rank on Barnes & Noble (morning of 10/18/11): 291,092

Nook sales rank (morning of 10/18/11): 185,216


Best Amazon hardcover ranking so far: 34,273

Best Kindle sales ranking so far: 15,467


Number of radio interviews so far: 16

Total minutes on air: about 220

Biggest radio market appearance: Boston


Number of airport stores carrying the book: 185

Number of friends reporting they saw it in an airport: 5

Number of friends reporting they didn’t see it: 2


Number of ratings on Goodreads: 14

Average rating: 4.14 stars

Number of Goodreads members who have marked it as read or to-read: 305

Number of members who have marked it as a top-fifty-of-all-time science thriller: 1


Number of times I’ve been told Primacy should be a movie: 18

Number of planned movies based on Primacy so far: 0

Odds of a movie deal some day: 1 in 4


Last week: Publishing Primacy — Folio 30: Radio, Radio

Next week: Publishing Primacy — Folio 32: Being Asocial

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Visit the Verbitrage website.

Publishing Primacy posts every Wednesday by 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

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J.E. Fishman, a former Big Six book editor and former literary agent, is author of the thriller Primacy, which Publishers Weekly called "appealing" and Kirkus called "good, boisterous fun." His mystery novel, Cadaver Blues, was serialized in 2010 on TNB and you can still find it here if you dig deep enough. It's now available in ebook and paperback. His financial thriller, The Dark Pool, was published this year, and his new series of police thrillers, Bomb Squad NYC, will be published in February 2014. He blogs here and at the Huffington Post. Please visit and follow him at his very fancy and expensive official author website.

4 responses to “Publishing Primacy — Folio 31: Primacy Numbers (2)”

  1. Don Mitchell says:

    Wow. I’m surprised by the low return rate. What’s that all about? Or is it too early for “normal” returns?

    I’m also surprised by the low number of purchases from your site. I would have guessed a lot more from there.

    And what’s that 11 out of 563 all about? It seems an awfully low percentage, considering that the person clicked through.

    • J.E. Fishman says:

      The low return rate is undoubtedly due to the fact that the book has only been out for six weeks. Alas, I expect it to increase going forward.

      Regarding purchases from the site, I’ll share lessons learned in my concluding post, scheduled for December. The Verbitrage site is a little clunky for ordering, which may be part of it. And I think consumers are increasingly resistant to purchase from a publisher’s site when they know other places with the same product already have their cc information. But these are, to some extent, just conjectures. I, too, have been surprised by the low numbers on direct sales.

  2. dwoz says:

    Here’s one takeaway: With the fairly high level of visibility your work has had on TNB, it’s clear that marketing on “preaching to the choir” sites like this does not translate to direct sales.

    Have you tried going out on PETA-sympathetic websites? To other anti-vivisectionist leaning sites? Vegan sites? animal researcher sites?

    Not to beat an already-well-flogged mule…but one of the things that launched “The DaVinci Code” was a wellspring of outrage and furious flurry of debunking from “experts” in the field of christian research, and a “discouraged” rating from the pope himself.

    just random thoughts…where do we market what is essentially an LAX-to-BOS page-turner?

    • J.E. Fishman says:

      The Facebook ads were largely keyed to people with an interest in animals, Dwoz. These ads directed people at first to the Verbitrage website and later — when I saw we weren’t generating direct sales that way — to Amazon.

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