Royalytics: Tracking the Indie Publishing Revolution

Royalytics: Tracking The Indie Publishing RevolutionBeware the Black Battlenaut. Earthshaker. Dolphin Knight. Day 9. Each of these indie-published e-books has sold many copies for author Bob Jeschonek. But until recently, he had no idea just how many copies, or how their sales compared to other titles.

The distributors who sell Bob’s books–Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, and more–don’t utilize standardized reporting. Reports from each distributor are all formatted differently, and their formats change on an irregular basis. This has made it hard for Bob and thousands of indie authors like him to merge sales data and come up with combined reports.

According to Bob, this lack of global sales intelligence has made planning and decision-making a challenge. The result: lost opportunities in a growing marketplace. Increasing numbers of people have bought e-reading devices, leading to huge gains in e-book sales–but author-publishers have not always made the most of the revolution because of the challenges in obtaining viable sales intelligence.

Author-publishers like Bob lost something else, too: time spent doing what they loved most: writing new e-books. To manage sales information and get a look at the big picture, they had to work out elaborate spreadsheet systems that enabled them to match up disparate data. This took away from whatever writing time they’d worked into their busy schedules.

A Cloud-Based Service

After struggling with the issue for a while, Bob approached a company called CloudMuse and asked for a solution. With input from Bob, the company released Royalytics, a cloud-based service that generates global sales reports for indie authors and publishers. The results can be seen at www.royalytics.com.

Royalytics provides a way to track indie publishing sales without wasting time agonizing over spreadsheets. Unified numbers presented in dynamic reports provide insights that might not be obtainable any other way.

Users simply upload sales reports from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Overdrive, Smashwords (which includes Apple, Baker and Taylor, Kobo, and Sony) or paperback distributor CreateSpace. Once the reports have been uploaded, Royalytics does the rest, conforming the data from the different distributors into a unified database. If duplicate records are uploaded, Royalytics recognizes and reconciles them, ensuring that each record exists only once in the database.

Robust Reporting

When uploading is complete, the system taps the database on demand to whip up a range of reports illustrating sales from different perspectives. Users can view reports of sales according to units sold, revenue, distributor, or geographic location. The reports feature dynamic tables that can be rearranged by clicking on column headings, as well as interactive charts that provide pop-up details when users mouse over nodes on a plotted line.

Royalytics enables users to view sales reports for single or multiple titles. The system also includes a record management tool that lets users add, delete, or adjust individual records at will. The tool can also be used to enter additional information and images for each title, creating a centralized repository for ID numbers and other data related to users’ publishing lines.

Anytime/Anywhere Access

Royalytics: Tracking The Indie Publishing RevolutionLaunched in early 2012, Royalytics has attracted a healthy cohort of subscribers, and response has been overwhelmingly positive. The service has earned high marks for ease of use, customer service, and accessibility.

This accessibility is a defining feature of the system. By operating in the cloud, Royalytics provides users with access to reports and functionality at all times from any web browser anywhere in the world. This anytime/anywhere model frees users from being locked in to a single software installation on one device, a limitation which has characterized other indie publishing sales tracking tools.

Security and Confidentiality

Another strength of Royalytics is the way it manages data security. Sales data stored on a single device, like a home computer, can be susceptible to loss in the event of a virus attack or system crash. Data submitted to Royalytics, on the other hand, is stored and regularly backed up on secure remote servers, ensuring its safety and integrity. In addition, all data for each subscriber is compartmentalized and kept entirely separate from the data for other subscribers, so privacy of sales information is maintained at all times. The Royalytics team sees this as a high priority, as customers want to ensure the confidentiality of their data.

Affordable Pricing

Affordable pricing is also a priority. Royalytics offers two levels: “Starving Artist” subscribers pay $7 per month to track up to 15 titles; members in “The Novelist” tier can track an unlimited number of titles for $16 per month.

The Royalytics team set up the two-tier pricing structure to meet the needs of high volume author-publishers at a higher price point while including a low-cost alternative enabling those with fewer titles and/or limited resources to utilize the service’s features.

Big Plans In Store

Royalytics: Tracking The Indie Publishing RevolutionThose features will continue to expand in months to come, according to CloudMuse. The service will grow to process reports from a wider range of indie publishing distributors. Royalytics will also incorporate additional functionality that will enable users to do even more with their data. The creation of a mobile app for smartphones and tablets also lies ahead.

Whatever changes occur, Royalytics pledges to stay true to its core priorities: ease of use, anywhere/anytime accessibility, data security, affordability, and customer service.

That’s just what Bob, the author-publisher, wants to see happen. As his Pie Press publishing line approaches 100 titles sold through an ever-growing list of distributors, he needs Royalytics more than ever.

Bob’s goals–maximizing sales and revenue–can only be accomplished with a steady influx of accurate global sales intelligence. Spotting trends enables him to make adjustments to his line, like publishing sequels to a successful title or commissioning a translation for a book that shows signs of life in a foreign market.

As the indie publishing revolution continues, he’s convinced that Royalytics will help him stay in the forefront instead of lagging behind the times.

Royalytics url: www.royalytics.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Royalytics

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