Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Do Ghost Sales Count?

Did you know that if an author buys books from their publisher to resell, those sales don't "count;" they are considered ghost sales? Neither did I, until I published a book.

I used to think, sales are sales. If I sell 5,000 copies of Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top myself and Amazon and Barnes and Noble only sell 4,800, it's still 9,800 books sold, right? Not necessarily.

How The Publishing World Counts Sales

In the publishing world, it's 4,800 sales through conventional channels and 5,000 ghost sales. Perhaps the reason they don't count the ones I buy as "real" sales is that in the past, authors have bought thousands of copies of their own books to manipulate sales numbers, making them appear larger than they really are, so they can brag about their sales figures to the next prospective publisher.

                             Making Jesus Laugh
Of course, I would never do that. In fact, I am sold out now, and awaiting my fourth shipment of books. These babies are not gathering dust!

So even if the publisher doesn't count them, Jesus does. In His world,when I tell others via my book about His bottomless grace, unending favor, and sweet surprises, He chuckles. And His laughter is better than any sales figures I could add up.

What do YOU think?

Had you ever heard of ghost sales, or have you imagined Jesus laughing?


  1. Congratulations on your sell outs! (My only book was published years ago by Victor Books. At that time, I just figured it was as easy to let them handle the sales - which they did quite well. When I spoke at events, I let the committee do the ordering, etc. Times have changed radically in the book publishing business, I think.)

  2. Thanks for clarifying this. I could never understand why "ghost sales" (a term I've never heard)didn't count toward total sales. This I do know. I sell a lot at my speaking events and I'm thankful to sign each one and put a personal message to the buyer. To me, sales are sales. I'll leave the rest up to God.

    Congrats on selling out, Jeanette. May God bless your Chuckles and Scoops!

  3. I have never heard this--thank you for telling us about it.Like you--I think Jesus really doesn't care--just that what you needed to say for Him gets out there!

  4. That's news to me, Jeanette. Didn't know it worked that way.

    And yes, I have imagined the Trinity laughing. Isn't that how we know how to do it? :) They've done it first.

  5. Such an interesting subject of ghost sales. Thanks for sharing it.

    I love that picture of Jesus laughing. I've seen it before, and it always makes me want to laugh with him.

  6. Yes, I believe the Trinity laughs, too. It's one of the Churche's best kept secrets, isn't it?

  7. Jeanette:
    I hadn't really thought of the term but I wondered about the process and how they counted those sales. I didn't know it had a name.
    Yes, I thought of Jesus laughing. At times, something will happen and we say, "God, has a sense of humor."
    I,too, would think that a sale of a book is a sale of a book.

  8. Yes, I knew about ghost sales, and I suppose it's logic makes sense when there is no way to officially verify the statistics on how many books are actually resold.

    I'm sure Jesus has a sense of humour, and I love that sketch! Somehow I doubt He cares about sales numbers as much as making sure the book gets into the hands of those who will most benefit by reading it.

  9. congratulations ... fantastic sales and another printing. yeah.

  10. I didn't know they're called ghost sales but I did know that if I buy my books at a discount from my publisher, I won't get royalties. AuthorAuthor is a great site to use, or a local bookseller.
    Congrats on needing more books!!

  11. I just recently heard about this term. I can understand it to some extent, but think it is rather silly in the case of authors like you. Oh well, sales are sales, and your book IS selling. Congrats, Jen! Everything you put your hand to is blessed! :D

  12. Oh sweetie, I know Jesus is laughin'...He's got to have a grand sense of humor to put up with us mere mortals! Heeehehe!

    Woohoo!!! Your books have wings and are flyin' off the shelves straight into the hearts of folks near and far.

    Nope, I lead a sheltered life. I've never heard of ghost sales before. Good to know!

    God bless ya and enjoy your evenin' sweetie! :o)

  13. I knew they didn't count, but never heard them called ghost sales. So happy for you that sales are booming!

  14. Hi, Jeanette,
    I hadn't heard of the term "ghost sales" either -- and I have bought some copies of my debut novel. I like to give them away when I'm speaking at MOPS groups or whatever ...
    I love your attitude about the sales publishers don't count. I think I'll adopt it.
    And I came over here from Jill Kemerer's blog. So nice to visit. Won't be my last time by.

  15. Hi Jen,

    Think of all the lives you touch with your books. I'd say that's worth a lot more than worrying about ghost sales.

    If the children in our lives bring joy and make us laugh, why wouldn't He take pleasure in His kids?

    Susan :)


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