Funding The Purple Crayon:
All of 2002

This is a report on the commissions paid by Amazon and other web sites to The Purple Crayon for 2002 as a whole, the first full year I've been working on this. My aim is to bring in money that will pay my web hosting expenses and pay me a reasonable stipend for the time I put into the site. My goal is $200 per month, though more would be better. For the year, the site earned $1,618. This averages out to a little more than $150 per month, which is 3/4 of the way to my goal.

As I announced previously, I am going to post annual reports like this on the web site. Quarterly reports will go out by email via my announcement service, and will be available in the archive of that service.

Please note that, as usual, I know only what has been sold, for what price, and with what resulting commission. I do not know the customers or anything about them.

Overview: Not surprisingly, the bulk of that income was from Amazon: $1,365, for 1,503 items. I am not going to look at numbers of particular items as I did in the quarterly reports, but glancing over the long list I got from Amazon tells me that almost all of that was for books, and that my Idiot's Guide and the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market were the two biggest sellers.
Other stores totaled $253 in commissions. The Barnes and Noble web site,, contributed $33.50., the bookstore of Portland's independent bookstore, added $55.50. The remainder and sale book store,, brought in $90. The two used bookstore networks, Alibris and, together accounted for $56, and gave $8.50. No other store--and I did experiment with a few--brought in any amount over a dollar.
What I've learned: Putting in links to individual books is time-consuming, but it does increase the number of books sold. I think people coming to the site like the convenience of being able to buy a book I've just recommended without having to go through the added step of searching for it.
I've also learned that links to non-book-related stores don't seem to be useful. I am trying two news ones right now--Earthlink, which is actually the company that does both my Internet access and my web hosting, and Questia, which is an online reference library. Both are more directly related to the site than some of the others I've tried (Office Depot, Apple) but if they don't work either, I'll concentrate only on book-related sites.
Next steps: I've decided to work towards having three kinds of pages on the site. A few key pages, such as the links pages and Articles page, will have small graphics at the top of the page. I won't put ads like that on a lot of pages, however, and certainly not on the home page. Other pages will have links to individual books, such as the list of recommended books from my Idiot's Guide, and the award-winning books page. And on some of the other pages on the site, especially the most visited, I will put text-only ads at the top of the page. I think I've done about as much as I want to overall....
Please note that I am trying not to make the site look commercial, or to add material with the only purpose of raising money. When I put in links to buy individual books, I try to do so only when the books are ones I can recomment or that are relevant to the subject being covered in the page in which they appear.

Please remember to come back to the Bookstore page on my site when you are doing online book shopping. In the long run, the more people who bookmark and then use that page, the larger the number of purchases that will be credited to the site. You can also promote it by linking to it from your site, or by linking to any other page or pages that interest you.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about any of this.

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