An Elegant Puzzle by the numbers, five months later.

October 23, 2019. Filed under elegant-puzzle 8

An Elegant Puzzle was released on May 20th, 2019 by Stripe Press. In June, I summarized what I learned writing and publishing it: it was amazing. Now that the book's been in market a bit longer, I wanted to recap An Elegant Puzzle by the numbers across its first five months.


  1. One article in First Round Review
  2. One bookclub orchestrated by Charity
  3. One Atlas AMA on the Stripe Atlas Forum
  4. One mention in Forrester in Beware the Automation Paradox
  5. One other Stripe Press book released, the excellent Get Together
  6. One to two daily emails or DMs regarding AEP
  7. $2, roughly my share per book sold
  8. Two conferences talks mentioning AEP: Velocity, SRECon EMEA
  9. Six Q&As, fireside chats and so on at Atrium, Forward, Reddit, Salesforce, Square and Zendesk
  10. Twelve podcast episodes across 8 podcasts
  11. Thirty ratings (4.5/5 stars), twenty-two reviews on Amazon
  12. Hardcover sales rank peaked at 369 (I recall a slightly higher peak number, maybe this is average position over a day, but this seems close enough)

    Sales rank for hardcover on Amazon.

  13. Audible sales rank peaked at 992

    Sales rank for audible on Amazon.

  14. Kindle sales rank peaked at 1,231

    Sales rank for Kindle on Amazon.

    The June dip is a long story, but essentially a few folks reported typos in the digital verison which resulted in the Kindle verison being pulled from Amazon for 2-3 nerve-wracking weeks while we learned how to navigate Amazon's revised process for submitting updates. All's well that ends well.

  15. ~3,000 new Twitter followers (~4,000 to 7,337)

  16. 3,220 additional copies to sell to earn out the advance
  17. 12,780 copies sold from May 20th through October 22nd

    Period Units Sold
    2019Q2 7112
    2019Q3 4947
    Q4 to Oct 22 721
    Total 12780

  18. 27,000 copies printed
  19. In Q2/Q3, 60% sales were hardcover, 10% audio and 30% kindle. So far in Q4, 50% hardcover, 20% audio and 30% kindle
  20. Additional books I am considering writing: two, eventually

Altogether, I'm quite proud of these numbers. I'm certain they fall far short of many other books out there, but simply getting to share my work with folks has been life changing. It's resonated with the folks who I hoped it would resonate with. Similarly, it's annoyed a decent number of people, which I think is an important measure of quality in its own right.

As always, an obligatory mention that books don't do anything, it's rather the numerous people behind those books who make them successful, and all credit is due to Brianna, Tyler, Sasha, Shaun and the entire crew behind Stripe Press.