Cartoonist Lars Martinson submitted the first installment of the Kameoka Diaries to Reddit. As a result, his website, which gets about 100 visitors a day, had 48,342 visitors in a single day. He thought he might sell a couple hundred more ebooks than usual because of the new influx of visitors. That was a gross overestimate.
I once heard something to the effect that when you offer a free webcomic, you’re lucky if 1% of your readership buys something from you. Now, I’m paraphrasing so I might be getting the exact details wrong, but either way, it’s a just a sliver of the whole.
So when I saw all the people that visited my website, I wasn’t expecting any miracles. But still, I couldn’t help but run the numbers: if just half a percent of the visitors bought something, that’d mean hundreds of sales… it was hard not to get just a little excited.
But alas, the 48,342 people that visited my site resulted in an additional 23 e-comics sales compared to the previous day. So about 0.048% of the extra visitors made a purchase.
Hey, don’t get me wrong; an extra 23 books sold is better than a kick in the seat of the pants. And I’ll admit: out of all the hundreds of sites I personally visit, only very rarely do I buy anything from them. So it totally makes sense, it’s just a bit sobering to see the hard numbers.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects