Finances 2: Revenge of the Numbat

As we’re at the start of a new month and prepping for our next issue, it seems like a good time to do another post about The Numbers, aka The Numbies, aka an insectivorous Australian marsupial called the numbat.

See? Math! (Photo by Martin Pot, Martybugs at en.wikipedia)

First Things First

Let’s start with the bottom line. Across both issues combined, Wyngraf has lost a grand total of $52.05. Which, considering we’ve put out two great magazines and paid all the writers and artists involved, is pretty darn good.

The Breakdown

Here are the straight-up sales numbers as of the end of November 2022.

  • Wyngraf #1
    • 99 Kindle sales
    • 113 print sales
    • $1053.51 gross profit
    • $211.37 net profit
  • Wyngraf #2
    • 36 Kindle sales
    • 51 print sales
    • $439.48 gross profit
    • $263.42 net loss

Well, Actually…

(It’s a well, actually)

That accounting doesn’t account for (ha) the money spent on our Friday Flash series. If you’re curious, we spent $304.82 on 42 stories over the course of 28 weeks (plus a special edition celebrating issue 1’s launch day). That includes two tales the authors insistently refused payment for, one I wrote myself, and one we bought at half rate because it was a reprint.

(By the way, yes, our flash series is on hiatus. It’ll be back at some point, most likely once I’m done with grad school. I’d tell you to ask my advisor when that’ll be, but she doesn’t know either.)

I’ve debated whether to count the flash fiction money in the magazine budget. On the one hand, it was spent on a separate fiction series. On the other, Friday Flash gave us something to post about and drove traffic to our website, which (presumably) helped sell copies of the magazine—it was advertising, in a way. Ultimately I decided to leave it out.

So Where’d the Money Go?

In a nutshell: issue 2.

It hasn’t done as well as #1. It had fewer preorders (though it also had a much shorter preorder window, a product of a rather chaotic month prior to release). More meaningfully, it sold fewer issues in its first month: 73, compared to 98 for issue 1. It even had a slightly steeper month-to-month dropoff: issue 1 sold about 77% fewer copies in its second month, whereas issue 2 slowed by about 81%.

But I don’t want to paint too gloomy a picture! Wyngraf #2 has earned a healthy $439.48, or about 62% of its budget, in its two months in the world. I’m confident it’ll earn out in good time.

But Here’s What’s Interesting

I don’t plan to do a huge breakdown like the first numbers post, but I do want to highlight one trend I find fascinating. While issue 2 has sold slower than hoped—especially considering our social media presence has only continued to grow—Wyngraf #1 has outperformed expectations in every way. Not only was its second month better than issue 2’s, it sold better in #2’s second month than #2 did!

Our first issue released seven months ago. Through the last five months, it’s steadily sold around twenty copies, earning about $90, per month. That’s why our overall loss is so small, despite issue 2 underperforming thus far.

Combined with our steady growth on social media, this suggests that as people discover Wyngraf, they do the exact opposite of what I’d expect. When I find a new magazine, I always buy the most recent issue. I want to see what’s new—how the mag is presenting itself today.

Are most readers not like that? Do folks prefer to start at the beginning? Will #1 carry on as our bestseller once a third issue hits the stands? I’m so curious.

What do you do?

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