Writing over at TNPS, Mark Williams reported earlier this week that Paul Abbassi's (AKA Data Guy's) 5-year-old Author Earnings Report website had been down for a couple weeks. Williams notes that it's been 14 months since the last installment of the Author Earnings Report, and asks whether it's dead.
Today Bookstat, the body that Author Earnings morphed into, appears to be still active, but as the data is locked away behind a $10 million paywall and the last update was six months ago it’s hard to be sure.
But the Author Earnings Report site has progressed from neglected and gathering cyberdust, comments ignored, promised updates not delivered, to, this past week or two, HTTP Error 500 status.
Whether this is just a tech ‘problem being ignored or a convenient way to remove the controversial reports and the mess of contradictory numbers from the public eye – or perhaps the corporate eye of Bookstat subscribers – is anyone’s guess right now.
While I disagree with how Williams covered this story, I do still think he is at least half right.
I had a sneaking suspicion when the last Author Earnings Report was released in January 2018 that the start of BookStat meant the end of the Author Earnings Report. The thing about that report was that it was very light on detail. It mainly consisted of what looked like screensnaps from BookStat's back-end, and included very little analysis compared to what we had seen previously.
That thin Report gave the appearance that now that Abbassi was selling the cow, he would no longer be giving the milk away for free, and the past 14 months with no new Report would tend to support that conclusion.
BTW, the last thing published on that site were the slides from Abbassi's presentation at the Nebula awards last May. While it did contain useful info, it still fell far short of the highly detailed Reports we had seen previously.
Launched in early 2014, the Author Earnings Report spent four years going through the classic cycle of "first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then then attack you, and then you win".
Only in this case, after Abbassi won, his earliest supporters - indie authors - were thrown overboard. The authors who gave Abbassi the sales data required to build and refine his models, who spread the word and brought him to the attention of the wider publishing industry, have little to show for it.
Abbassi, on the other hand, has a business called BookStat.