Funding The Purple Crayon:
4th Quarter, 2001

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 165 items, earning the site $181.75. Powells sold six books, earning the site $6.33. None of the other retailers linked to had any sales credited to us, though in early January sold a book, earning The Purple Crayon the magnificent sum of 93 cents.

Of the Amazon sales, thirty-four 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 were books. These included 48 copies of my book. People also bought one toy, two pieces of software, two CDs, four DVDs, and two items from Target.

Some examples: One person bought Webster's 3rd International Dictionary, yielding the site $12.50 on a 15% commission. Several paperbacks bought for $5 or so yielded 25 cents each. Someone bought a pillow and a thermometer (those were from the Target store within Amazon). I think the most surprising purchase was of a $2000 piece of development software. This must have been ordered from a work setting. Unfortunately, Amazon caps commissions on non-book items at $10, so that's all this purchase yielded for the site.

How things were bought: There were three routes to Amazon from my site. I have a substantial list of recommended books based on the resource guide in my Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. About 85% of the orders came from that page, either of an item from that list or an additional book on the same visit to Amazon. About 15% of the orders came through the Amazon home page link on the page where I explain the program. So far as I can tell, no one bought anything via the links from individual books mentioned elsewhere on the site.

What this means: I'm struck by the fact that so many purchases came from the recommended book list. I think this confirms a comment I received when I asked why there weren't more purchases via the home page link. People mostly come to this site for information, not to buy things. That book list is different. It recommends books, and once someone knows they might want a book, they might act on a link that will allow them to buy it.

Next steps: I had hoped that the site would be receiving more funding from these commissions by now. I can not take more time away from my freelance work and family until it does. Right now, the $60 per month coming in covers my expenses and not much more. The site needs to generate at least $200 per month for me to be able to spend more time on updates and new materials. So, I ask all of you to please remember to come back to the Amazon page on my site when you are doing online book shopping. In the long run, the more people who bookmark that page, the larger the number of purchases that will be credited to the site.

I also hope to put up a page listing all the ALA awards, due to be announced this coming Monday. It will be interesting to see if such a page generates more commissions. If if does I might develop some more lists of recommended books.

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

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