Funding The Purple Crayon:
1st Quarter, 2002

This is a report on the commissions paid by Amazon and other web sites to The Purple Crayon, to show what progress has been made towards making it self-supporting.

Please note that 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: Amazon sold 262 items, earning the site $248.83. Powells sold 9 books, earning the site $11.38. I added Barnes & Noble's web site at the beginning of March, and the site earned $4.79 from the sale of 8 books. The other sites linked to from the Bookstore page collected 5 more sales, earning $22.87(these include,, and For the quarter, the site earned around $288, a good improvement over the last quarter of 2001.

Of the Amazon sales, 55 items were bought immediately after clicking to Amazon, earning The Purple Crayon a 15% commission. The rest were bought later, meaning a 5% commission. Most items bought at Amazon were books. These included 60 copies of my book and 35 copies of Children's Writers' and Illustrators' Market. People also bought six music CDs, 3 videos, one piece of software, and a magazine subscription.

How things were bought: Just under 20% of the items bought on Amazon were bought as a result of someone using the Amazon link on the Bookstores page. A few apparently came from search engine referrals (no, I don't understand that either.) The rest came by following links to individual books, either on my Resource Guide page, the Award-winning Books page, or on other pages around the site. This includes books linked to directly and books bought later on the same visit. There weren't enough purchases from the other companies to see any trends.

What this means: The more I learn about the Amazon system, the less sure I am about all this. More people clearly are using the Bookstores page, and that's good news. A good number of purchases are still being made from the Resource Guide, and a few were made from the Award-Winning Books page. Many of the purchases credited to the site, I think, happen because someone uses one of the links and then makes a purchase from Amazon while still online, without necessarily realizing that they are sending a commission to The Purple Crayon (which is good for the site, of course, and not bad for them.)

We've almost hit the magic $100 per month level, at which point my expenses and my time for minimal updates will be covered. This is progress!

Next steps: In spite of that progress, $200 per month--the level at which I can afford to spend more time on the site--is still some ways off. Adding new pages, such as the Award-winning books page, helps make traffic, but didn't do much for sales of the books listed. I am going to try to find other ways to increase the numbers of people clicking through to Amazon and the other stores. Unless they do that, there's no chance of any commission, of course. So I may add links in places where they would make sense, such as on the Publishing and Children's pages. I will still continue to keep the referral links low-key and graphic-free except for the logos on the Bookstores page itself.

And I ask you to 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.

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

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