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Chazemataz
10-14-2011, 06:27 AM
I'm sorry if this sounds silly or shallow in any way, but... long story short, I'm a broke college student with a couple of completed YA manuscripts sitting on my harddrive taking up space. I was thinking of uploading some to Smashwords as a source of supplemental income. Even if it's 20 extra dollars a month or something, I do not really care. I am mostly interested in the type of money people have made from this venture. Yes, I enjoy writing and all, but I also happen to be desperate for money and many people have said they enjoy my work, so I figured this was as good an option as any.

Thoughts? How much money have you made from, say, an average-selling e-book?

c.m.n.
10-14-2011, 07:54 AM
I also happen to be desperate for money

I haven't self-published yet (plans are still in the works) but your comment makes me ask: If you don't make your $20 a month goal, would you back out??

To get the most out of self-publishing it takes time. A lot of patience.


FYI: I'd also consider Amazon as well.

Little Ming
10-14-2011, 08:01 AM
Not a silly question, most of us want to make money from our writings. But what you're describing sounds more like self-publishing (which can be e-publishing), which is a lot more complicated and difficult than you may think. Unless you already have a reader base or are willing to do a lot of marketing and promotion, you're unlikely going to see $20 a month.

Check out the self-publishing section for more information.

Al Stevens
10-14-2011, 08:08 AM
Can't hurt to try. You're making zilch from your work now. Anything you made from a Kindle/Nook upload would be money you don't have. What can you lose? And, in the process, you'd learn all about what many see as the next big paradigm shift in publishing.

However, take some time and read everything you can find about how to do it right. Which is difficult to sort out since it's such a pioneering effort.

I don't think twenty bucks a month is an unreasonable expectation. If that's the best you think you can do.

Quiggs1982
10-14-2011, 09:34 AM
It could work out. Don't think you can upload a book and make magic money though. You still have to take the time to promote your work and get the word out there. Your success with self-publishing will be based on this.

Alitriona
10-14-2011, 12:30 PM
How long is a piece of string?

I know that isn't helpful but that is your answer, there is no way for anyone to predict the income you will have, if any. There are too many determining factors like, how good the story is? Is it edited well? Eye catching cover art(for the right reasons)? Is the formatting done well? Interesting blurb? Where is it for sale? Reviews? Price point? Promotion? Does it look professional? All these questions and more will impact on any income you receive. I would say you'll get out what you put in, but that's not always the case either.

If you are serious about self-publishing there is plenty of information around the boards here. You'll have to spend some time reading up and learning the process.

Terie
10-14-2011, 12:53 PM
The thing about self-publishing is that to sell any books at all, you have to do a lot of work. Too many people forget that time is money.

A couple of months ago, an AW member posted here that she was selling one or two self-pubbed e-books a day in her self-pub experiment. On the surface, that might sound like something you'd be happy with.

Only problem is, she was spending one to two hours a day promoting herself and her work. Without that time spent, she wouldn't have sold as much. As she herself said, that meant she was earning $0.25 an hour. Because it was an experiment for her, she didn't mind sharing this information. (And I hope that, in the months since then, her sales have gone up!)

So, as a broke college student (for which I have a tremendous amount of sympathy, believe me), is $.25 an hour a good return on your time investment? What could you be doing during that time that might be better for you in the long run? Studying? Working a minimum wage part-time job? At least with the latter (if you could find one where you worked only two hours a day), you'd made $10 a day instead of $20 a month.

Or are you already spending an hour or two a day on the internet that you could refocus onto self-promotion (instead of, say, surfing or gaming or something)? Do you want to learn the business of self-publishing? Because the only way to earn money at it is to treat it as a business. If that's something you're interested in doing, then the initial investment of nearly-unpaid time could turn out to be profitable for you in the long-run. But it still wouldn't solve your money problems right now.

The thing about writing is this: It's never been and never will be a way to earn a quick buck. If quick bucks are what you need, look for something else.

A writing career takes time to build, whether you're going for commercial publication or self-publication.

girlyswot
10-14-2011, 03:11 PM
Sure, why not? It costs nothing and you might make some cash. Be aware that both Smashwords and Amazon pay in arrears, and only when your balance reaches a minimum level. So don't expect to see anything for at least 3 months. I put my first story up on Smashwords/Amazon at the end of July and the second a month later. I've made well over $100 and am still selling steadily. I don't spend hours every day on promotion, though I have done some.

VoireyLinger
10-14-2011, 04:13 PM
E-publishing means a book produced and distributed in a digital format. Self-publishing is the DIY/publisher-free thing.

Now that we have that out of the way...

The first thing I want to stress is that you need to make sure the books are good. And before you get offended, please remember that if authors knew their stuff was a hot mess before putting it out there, there wouldn't be so many cringe-worthy self-pubs on the market.

Have someone who's not afraid to hurt your feelings and knows the publishing market go over them. A good edit is invaluable for self-pub. Edit problems can stymie sales.

I have ebooks both through a publishing house and self-pub. RE and FE are with a publisher and PYLM and AU are self pub.

Publisher first...

RE and FE both had big releases. People who buy from that pub regularly jumped on them. This publisher pays monthly so I had 2 decent months after each release... then it tapered to people who stumble upon them. My monthly check for both books now hovers just under enough to buy the family a meal at McDonalds.

PYLM was intended to be a free read. Amazon refuses to have it under .99 but it's free elsewhere on the web. I still get an occasional sale at AZ.

AU is a slow but steady seller. I admit to not pushing it much, but it's listed as my 'current release' in places. Actual sales on this .99 short average a book a week through Amazon. Smashwords sold crap. I'm not sure I want to bother there, anymore because it was a lot of hair pulling for three sales. ARe had been pretty even with Az until last month. PYLM was free there and drove sales but as the freebie dropped in downloads, the story sales did as well.

With ALL books, self- and house-pubbed... get a bump when I have a new book out. Modest bump at this point, but it's there. As i have more books out, more books will sell until over time, I'll reach a point where I am getting a significant check on a regular basis. I'm just not there yet.

Paychecks... AZ and SW do not issue payments under $100. ARe/Omnilit pays quarterly, no bottom limit. I get my royalties via PayPal there. The idea of getting a "monthly" check right off is probably a bit optimistic.

I'm looking at all publishing to be long-term investments. it might not pay this month, this year, or even next year, but eventually I'll have the backlist to produce decent pay on a regular basis.

My take...
Publisher books get more money than self-pub.
In digital format, time and backlist matter
Publishing sales in any format are inconsistent.
An editor is your best friend.
New releases bump old releases.
Self-pub can be like a tortoise - slow and steady.

Irysangel
10-14-2011, 05:29 PM
Also, if you go through Smashwords, even if you select all distribution levels, you won't be 'pushed' through to Amazon. They do not distribute to them at this time. Sales on Smashwords for the majority of people are in the 'few dollars a quarter' category. It's the distribution that makes it key.

The majority of my sales are Amazon (60%), B&N (30%) and All Romance (5%). The other 5% is the scatter of what Smashwords brings in through their distributors.

Al Stevens
10-14-2011, 06:16 PM
PYLM was intended to be a free read. Amazon refuses to have it under .99 but it's free elsewhere on the web.
There is a way to get Amazon to sell for $.0 if it is listed elsewere for that. I forget the specific procedure, but if you need it, I can look it up. As I recall, it has to do with their guarantee to match any published price.


Paychecks... AZ and SW do not issue payments under $100.
Not sure what all the initials are in your post, but if by AZ you mean amazon, they pay monthly and they pay amounts less than $100.

Al Stevens
10-14-2011, 06:22 PM
Only problem is, she was spending one to two hours a day promoting herself and her work. Without that time spent, she wouldn't have sold as much. As she herself said, that meant she was earning $0.25 an hour...is $.25 an hour a good return on your time investment?
If you figure that some of that time is spent learning a new paradigm, it might very well be time well invested. But I wonder what serious college student has one to two extra hours a day.

Terie
10-14-2011, 06:57 PM
If you figure that some of that time is spent learning a new paradigm, it might very well be time well invested. But I wonder what serious college student has one to two extra hours a day.

Which is pretty much what I said here:


Or are you already spending an hour or two a day on the internet that you could refocus onto self-promotion (instead of, say, surfing or gaming or something)? Do you want to learn the business of self-publishing? Because the only way to earn money at it is to treat it as a business. If that's something you're interested in doing, then the initial investment of nearly-unpaid time could turn out to be profitable for you in the long-run. But it still wouldn't solve your money problems right now.

:D

Alitriona
10-14-2011, 07:22 PM
Not sure what all the initials are in your post, but if by AZ you mean amazon, they pay monthly and they pay amounts less than $100.

Depends where you are in the world.

Annmarie09
10-14-2011, 11:08 PM
If you're thinking of going into self-publishing, amazon kindle is by far your best bet. Well, that's where I get 95% of my sales anyway. As for income, it all depends on the book, the work you put into promoting, and luck I guess. I'd rather not say how much I earn a month from my ebook, but let's just say that like you I'm using it to help pay my Uni fees.
Personally I would consider my venture into self publishing successful. Yes, I did put in a lot of time for promoting in the beginning, but now I don't promote at all and my sales have remained the steady. I would reconmend you to go for it. Yes, it's a risk, but you never know, it may be worth it!

ios
10-15-2011, 12:03 AM
To get the most out of self-publishing it takes time. A lot of patience.

This is important. Dean Wesley Smith says:


—Books are no longer produce. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=5257) This is vastly different from the old ways of thinking in publishing and how publishers still think about sales to bookstores. How a book sells in the first week or the first month means nothing in this new world of unlimited electronic shelf space. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=5257)
Slow sales and slow growth are what matters now. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=5257)
It's something worth keeping in mind. I still fall back to the old produce mindset myself, even though I am actively pursuing the self-e-pub route.

Jodi

valeriec80
10-15-2011, 06:15 AM
There was a thread a few days ago on Kindle Boards polling self-published authors of ebooks. I believe that about 65% of them were making less than $100 per month. The survey didn't break it down much more than that. And of course, it's self-reported, so people could be skewing their numbers higher. Also, it's a small sample of all self-published authors. Most KB-ers tend to be pretty active and serious, so that might be stating it a bit strongly. I'd guess that 80-90% of self-published authors are making less than $100 per month.

My first year self-publishing, I published four books. I grossed $600. After expenses (I did POD back then. Boy was that a waste of time and money!), I made $182. For the year.

The second year of self-publishing, I made $430. For the year. (Can't remember how much I grossed.) That year, I put out three or four more books.

This year, I've published six more books (two of them were written before I started self-publishing, and one of them is a novella). But I've grossed over $10,000. (I haven't figured out my expenses yet.)

My point is even to make waaay less than you'd make for a part time job, you have to be persistent, write like crazy, and be super patient. (Also, I think I might be close to qualifying for outlier status, which I guess means: Results not typical.)

That being said, I'm all for your doing it. Publish those suckers! (Unless, of course, you're pretty sure you'll never write anything else in your life. Then you might not want to blow your wad not getting a chance at traditional? commercial? trade? (what are we supposed to call it on here again?) publishing.)

izanobu
10-15-2011, 02:26 PM
Actually, the poll on the Kindleboards showed that about 65% were making MORE than 100 a month. But it is a self-selecting sample.

It took me about a year to get to the point where I was making more than 100 a month. Novels tend to do better than short stories though, so I think someone with a few novels might get there more quickly (I didn't have a novel up until March of this year).

If you want to get rich quickly, writing for publication is probably a terrible idea for you. If you are willing to give it five or six years and a lot of work (ie writing a lot of books), then you have some hope. Publish your books if that is what you want. Just expect that results will likely be slow and the money starting out will be very low.

veinglory
10-15-2011, 10:30 PM
The 'why not' might be that by self-publishing you make nothing, but by third-party publishing you would have made money--which is certainly possible.

MMcDonald64
10-16-2011, 06:20 PM
Paychecks... AZ and SW do not issue payments under $100. ARe/Omnilit pays quarterly, no bottom limit. I get my royalties via PayPal there. The idea of getting a "monthly" check right off is probably a bit optimistic.

Is this a new policy? Because my very first paycheck from Amazon a year ago July, was for ten dollars and some change. It went to my bank. I've never made more than $100 at Smashwords, but I've made enough to get a paycheck from all but maybe the first quarter my books were there. My next check should be $81 through SW, and I expect to get a notice that it has been added to my Paypal account.




I'm looking at all publishing to be long-term investments. it might not pay this month, this year, or even next year, but eventually I'll have the backlist to produce decent pay on a regular basis.

My take...
Publisher books get more money than self-pub.
In digital format, time and backlist matter
Publishing sales in any format are inconsistent.
An editor is your best friend.
New releases bump old releases.
Self-pub can be like a tortoise - slow and steady.

The OP can make some money on his/her books, but it depends on some very important factors. One, they have to be a good storyteller. YA is all about the story. People slammed Amanda Hocking because of her editing, but something about her storytelling resonated with readers despite some flaws in the grammar and editing. However, if you tell a good story, AND you have a clean, edited manuscript, your chances of success go up accordingly.

Get a good cover/title. There are a lot of people out there who can do covers, and some are very inexpensive. In fact, you might find a pre-made one, where the artist will just insert your title and name on the cover. Some are as low as $30. While it won't be the best cover, it should look professional.

Last week, my book sold 98 copies in one day, and I attribute it to the eye-catching cover and lucky placement. It was on the first page of the 'Also Boughts' on a book that was the Kindle Daily Deal. It has a bright, but ominous looking yellow cover, and it really stood out amongst the three other books also on that first page. Of course, it wasn't just the cover and luck, as I have a lot of good reviews on it, but you have to get the customer to see the book before they can ever read the reviews. Out of curiosity, I sort of kept track of the other three books showing that day, to see where their rankings went. Mine got down to about 750 in the store. The lowest the others got to, that I saw, was about 2,000, so I definitely think it was the cover that helped.

Marketing. Hmmm...yes, this can be time consuming, but if you're in college, I bet you spend a lot of time on FB, Twitter, or game sites anyway. Instead of wasting that time, use it productively. Create an author FB page. Most importantly, don't spam any sites with your books. That's a ticket to obscurity. Become part of any forum you feel would have members who might enjoy your books. Don't even mention the books for awhile, just post it in your profile. If you're well-spoken on the forum, people will check out your profile and if you have a link to a blog or webpage that highlights your books, you can generate sales that way. Go over to Kindleboards for more tips on marketing.

MMcDonald64
10-16-2011, 06:27 PM
There was a thread a few days ago on Kindle Boards polling self-published authors of ebooks. I believe that about 65% of them were making less than $100 per month. The survey didn't break it down much more than that. And of course, it's self-reported, so people could be skewing their numbers higher. Also, it's a small sample of all self-published authors. Most KB-ers tend to be pretty active and serious, so that might be stating it a bit strongly. I'd guess that 80-90% of self-published authors are making less than $100 per month.

My first year self-publishing, I published four books. I grossed $600. After expenses (I did POD back then. Boy was that a waste of time and money!), I made $182. For the year.

The second year of self-publishing, I made $430. For the year. (Can't remember how much I grossed.) That year, I put out three or four more books.

This year, I've published six more books (two of them were written before I started self-publishing, and one of them is a novella). But I've grossed over $10,000. (I haven't figured out my expenses yet.)

My point is even to make waaay less than you'd make for a part time job, you have to be persistent, write like crazy, and be super patient. (Also, I think I might be close to qualifying for outlier status, which I guess means: Results not typical.)

That being said, I'm all for your doing it. Publish those suckers! (Unless, of course, you're pretty sure you'll never write anything else in your life. Then you might not want to blow your wad not getting a chance at traditional? commercial? trade? (what are we supposed to call it on here again?) publishing.)

I'm also outside the norm, but just the fact that there are two of us right here on this board, plus many more on KB means it can be done and it isn't a pipe dream. My first year, which was actually just six months and just one book, I made about $750. So far this year, with two books out, I've made $28,000. Not bad for a part-time job. However, I would be surprised if I do that well next year. I had a really good few months in the summer. I expect next year, if I ever get my third book done (it isn't lack of time stopping me, it's a bad case of writer's block and plain old laziness) I hope to average about 2k a month.

Nick Russell
10-16-2011, 08:28 PM
I posted this on the E-publishing forum, but it might give you some ideas too. In late May I uploade dmy first novel, Big Lake, to Kindle. In the next few days I added four of my books on RV travel, that have been out in print for years. Here are my Amazon sales since then. Not nearly as impressive as MMcDonald64, but I have not put a lot of effort into promotion either, so to me it's found money. Go for it. What do you have to lose? Good luck!

May $107.53 (only had books uploaded for 10 days).
June $167.45
July $251.11.
August $289.05
September $422.50

Alitriona
10-16-2011, 08:35 PM
Is this a new policy? Because my very first paycheck from Amazon a year ago July, was for ten dollars and some change.


10 for US/UK/or Germany when payment is through EFT. For everywhere else payment is by check and for a check, there must be 100 in the pot.

shaldna
10-17-2011, 03:50 PM
10 for US/UK/or Germany when payment is through EFT. For everywhere else payment is by check and for a check, there must be 100 in the pot.

And in order to avail of the electronic fund transfer you must have an international bank account.

Noah Body
10-17-2011, 04:58 PM
My first titles went up in March, and so far I've made about $11,500, give or take. Went through a fantastic slow down starting in August, though. So yeah, you can make some coin...but don't count on it paying your mortgage or anything. (Though one royalty payment did just that.)

Cain
10-18-2011, 08:47 PM
This is important. Dean Wesley Smith says:


—Books are no longer produce.

This is vastly different from the old ways of thinking in publishing and how publishers still think about sales to bookstores. How a book sells in the first week or the first month means nothing in this new world of unlimited electronic shelf space.
Slow sales and slow growth are what matters now. (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=5257)It's something worth keeping in mind. I still fall back to the old produce mindset myself, even though I am actively pursuing the self-e-pub route.

Jodi

— Do no promotion.

That's my favourite bit. What he says makes a lot of sense, even if it's a lot of work. Enough to turn me into a short story writer...

It's also a reason OP should definitely publish his stuff, regardless of how little it might make in the short term.

James D. Macdonald
10-19-2011, 06:18 PM
How a book sells in the first week or the first month means nothing in this new world of unlimited electronic shelf space.
I suspect that in this brave new world the common fate of most ebooks will be the same as the common fate of most previous books: Ignored and forgotten.

veinglory
10-19-2011, 07:13 PM
I think opening sales can still mean a hell of a lot. My ebooks make more in the first month than the next two years combined and that initial jolt is what makes the income they produce significant and useful to me.

Carradee
10-23-2011, 04:37 AM
But I wonder what serious college student has one to two extra hours a day.

…I did, when I was in college. Even when I worked part time—and on that semester where I was taking 15 credit hours across 7 classes. I had time.

Now, on to the OP's money question:

Personally, right now I make about 1/2 sales through Smashwords & distributors, 1/2 through Amazon. Granted, I do tell folks that Smashwords is my recommended retailer and explain why; and most of my non-Amazon sales are to buyers outside the US.

I've made most of my own covers (including that one that's my avatar). Here's my price breakdown:
Book A: free as web novel, $3.99 e-book.
Book B: $2.99 e-book.
Short story C-E: $0.99.
Short story F: free (but a new release; not yet free on Amazon).

I don't hit your $20 per month goal, though I have some solid reviews. (Note: None of my sales have been to in-person friends or family, most of whom don't know I've self-published.)

However, I'm also not worried about promo, just yet; I'm focusing on building a backlist.

I've participated in a few promo events, most of them things where I was approached by the event organizer; otherwise, I happened to spot the event info while doing something else.

I've submitted review copies (Smashwords coupons) to a few book bloggers to increase awareness. Many book bloggers seem to be a good 5 months backed up. There are a few other things I'm working on that, theoretically, should increase buyer awareness, but nothing I can announce yet.

Why am I going into so much detail? To demonstrate what I've done, which may or may not be influencing where I am.

Some folks do worse than I am, selling 0 copies. Some do way better than me out the gate, selling dozens or hundreds. There really is no way to predict your sales.

But my advice is still to try it. I would, in your shoes—but you might want to research the reasons not to self-publish first, to make sure you can live with the downsides.

Noah Body
10-23-2011, 11:19 PM
I suspect that in this brave new world the common fate of most ebooks will be the same as the common fate of most previous books: Ignored and forgotten.
Then no reason not to try, I guess.

James D. Macdonald
10-24-2011, 02:49 AM
Then no reason not to try, I guess.

Ignored and forgotten with $5,000 in your checking account, or just ignored and forgotten. Your choice.

Noah Body
10-24-2011, 06:49 PM
I was mostly ignored by the traditional publishing industry with no proceeds from the endeavor in my checking account. Anticipate having about $20,000 in the account from 9 months of self-pub. For me, the choice is easy, but no one will every truly know which path is right for them unless they give both a whirl.

Of course, everyone's combat radius may vary.

Donna Brown
10-25-2011, 06:57 AM
Not meaning to be rude, but it irks me when someone thinks he or she can just throw something up on Smashwords and earn extra money just like that because I have worked so hard to make sure my e-books are wonderful in any and all formats. I think this is one of the reasons that some people do not take self-publishers seriously.

I am also very curious about those of you who are earning several hundred dollars per month via e-books. Can you please expand upon your marketing techniques? Did you have a fan base in place before you published an e-book? Please share your secrets.

MysteryRiter
10-25-2011, 07:16 AM
I agree, Donna. :D Noah, you seem to be having great sales. Any promotional tips? You've got my attention.

merrihiatt
10-25-2011, 07:56 AM
I'm listening, too!

thorjansen
10-25-2011, 08:27 AM
New business idea: used ebook store. Very small space needed.

Terie
10-25-2011, 11:52 AM
New business idea: used ebook store.

Not likely. It would soon fill up with pirated copies and get shut down.

shaldna
10-25-2011, 02:05 PM
Not meaning to be rude, but it irks me when someone thinks he or she can just throw something up on Smashwords and earn extra money just like that because I have worked so hard to make sure my e-books are wonderful in any and all formats. I think this is one of the reasons that some people do not take self-publishers seriously.

I also find myself exhausted when trying to explain to people that not everyone makes money self publishing, that it's not a get rich quick scheme and it takes actual work and actual talent.

Noah Body
10-25-2011, 08:01 PM
I also find myself exhausted when trying to explain to people that not everyone makes money self publishing, that it's not a get rich quick scheme and it takes actual work and actual talent.
It does, and it's not a way to get rich quick--I should know, because I've been at it since late February and I'm not exactly putting a down payment on a Gulfstream yet.

How it worked for me: I've been around a long time, and have been playing the agent/editor/publishing game for a while. Very early this year (2011) I decided to pack it in temporarily and give the whole self-pub thing a whirl. I published two shorts, then a novel I'd had kicking around which had generated some request for fulls but had eventually been turned down. My initial covers sucked; I'm not a graphic artist, and while I'm an exceedingly visual person, I do not have the skills to manipulate images to mirror what I see with my mind's eye. I was fortunate in that I found a very good cover artist who works for cheap, and he was able to give me some good work for the products I had for sale so far.

Actual numbers posted below, from my royalty statements. If anyone wants to have a discussion about how some writers obfuscate their income and blow it up to make themselves look more important, that's great--but my numbers are true blue, so I trust no one will be using me as an example of any nefarious intent.

I started out pretty well, from what I've been able to find on the innerwebs. First month royalties (and I'll only disclose Amazon here, since B&N and Smashwords don't even come close) came out to be $5.60.

Added a military-on-zombie thriller set in NYC in March, and it took off very, very quickly--but I still screwed the pooch with that one to a degree, because even though I had a good cover and a fairly-rockin' product description, I did something that casts a pall over all self-pubbers: I tossed it into the wild without it having been properly vetted. I've been lucky in that most reviewers overlooked that in favor of what they tell me is a strong story that moves along at a breakneck pace. Personal tastes might differ, but the coin tells the story: March royalties were $65.95.

A military-action novella was released in April. Readership was 36 sold, so it didn't add a lot to the bottom line. But it did drive home the fact that people want zombie stuff. April royalties: $593.93.

May: no new releases. Raised prices--was operating at "the Locke point" of .99 before. Royalties: $1,096.71.

June: released a follow-on zombie novella that picks up where the first novel left off, at the initial offer price of .99, very late in the month. 348 copies sold. Royalties: $3,321.44.

July: Added the thriller in my sig line at the end of the month. Did not make any appreciable impact in royalties. $3,182.52.

August: Sales are receding. No new releases to bolster sales, but I do let folks know that a sequel to the first zombie novel is in the works. Release teasers every now and then to gauge the appeal, and it seems to be off the chart. $2509.51.

September: My avaricious eyes get all watery from tears of despair. Sales slump continues, but it's not just me--other authors are having the same problem, only the "big" names continue to super-elevate. Royalties: $1,733.83.

October: Still no new release yet, but work continues on the new zombie novel. Also made a decision to have the cover for one book redone by a different artist, one of the big names out there...for a big price. Subtract $500 from the earnings so far, and another $600+ for editorial. But it's a business, you have to pay to make money. Anticipated royalties: maybe $1,200 or so.

I'm told I'm wildly successful. For the first year, I'm presuming I'll make about $15,000 net, and from a small business perspective, profit is a fantastic thing.

What I do to make it work for me:

Pimp my work. Even if I'd sold all the above properties to a trad publisher, I doubt they'd be able to pimp my work better than I could. I blog, I tweet, I join mail lists, I do interviews on other people's blogs. I give away free books, not just ebooks, but paper too--I've spent about $150+ on postage alone sending books to reviewers and fans. I can't say I ever had a fanbase before--well, not since I stopped dressing like Huggy Bear while running a call girl ring--but it appears I do now. It's mildly humorous at the honorifics people assign me, and extremely embarrassing at the same time. (But it's not like the main title for the movie Fame has become my theme song or anything.)

I've never paid for advertising, though I could afford to pop an ad in the NYT Book Review magazine if I thought it would help (really, very reasonable--only twenty grand!), but I don't think it would, so I have not yet done so. I considered going to Comic Con and buying a table and tossing my books out, but laziness prevailed, plus I'd spend all my time dry-humping girls dressed up as super heroines, so it was fated to be waste of time from the start. Never bought a Facebook ad, or a Google ad, or any other kind of advertising presence. Everything I've done has been on the cheap: Wordpress blog, Facebook, Twitter, Triberr, Goodread, Author's Den. I beg and steal to get reviews--most have been good. I answer emails, be they good or bad, salutory or critical. And I continue to scour the web and tap other writers to find new ways to get the word out there. It's part of the job. No one else will do it for me. People who whine that this stuff takes away from writing have a certain point, but unless you blow one out of the park, no one in the traditional publishing world will do it for you either. It's a 100% fallacy that traditional publishing has some sort of magical fairy dust to sprinkle around. For those that disagree, I merely leave you to it. I'm not evangelical enough to press the fight.

One thing: Got several offers to have the zombie book picked up. I made some overtures as well, to Permuted Press, but they went unanswered. I was surprised to find some big names sending me messages on Facebook about the property, and that was gratifying, but also very annoying: after I'd done all the heavy lifting, I'm suddenly an attractive prospect. Stated contractual requirements that were beneficial to me, all but one publisher dropped out. Went with that one, but will not do it again. Future paper releases will be done by me.

You have to work at this, folks. And you have to be able to determine if the market will be able to absorb your work, and if that work can become a platform. I'm oh-so-weary of flesh eating zombies, but I know if I keep at it, it will become something of a money cow. So for now, I'll grind them out, because it's a market niche I can reach easily. Find one of those strong niches, and exploit it like hell. And do so using the appropriate Twitter hashtags.

Write.

Get editorial help.

Get a great cover.

Write a wonderful description--or pirate the skills of someone else to do it for you, which is my personal fave.

Publish.

Blog.

Tweet.

Repeat.

I'm no Konrath. I'm no Hocking, and I'm no Locke. I'm no Crouch, I'm no Sigler, Thomas, or Larson. I don't expect to start making $300,000 a year right off the bat.

But I could, one day. And that's why I chose this path. I like the control, and I work for the best guy on the planet: Me.

ETA: Even my worst-selling ebooks have not been "ignored or forgotten". They just don't sell very well. But they make more money as ebooks than they ever did as submissions to traditional publishers. Or on my hard drive, doing nothing.

MysteryRiter
10-26-2011, 04:14 AM
Thank you for the advice, Noah!

thorjansen
10-26-2011, 04:50 AM
Appreciate the explanation, Noah. Spells things out very clearly and cleanly, and I think it is solid, real-life information untainted by sensationalism that will be invaluable to those considering self-publishing.

Noah Body
10-26-2011, 07:45 PM
Appreciate the explanation, Noah. Spells things out very clearly and cleanly, and I think it is solid, real-life information untainted by sensationalism that will be invaluable to those considering self-publishing.
Remember, it appears my experience is somewhat different from the "masses" of folks who try this. I can't believe I'm not on the median, because I'm usually not this fortunate. :)

old cowboy
10-27-2011, 07:49 AM
I'm sorry if this sounds silly or shallow in any way, but... long story short, I'm a broke college student with a couple of completed YA manuscripts sitting on my harddrive taking up space. I was thinking of uploading some to Smashwords as a source of supplemental income. Even if it's 20 extra dollars a month or something, I do not really care. I am mostly interested in the type of money people have made from this venture. Yes, I enjoy writing and all, but I also happen to be desperate for money and many people have said they enjoy my work, so I figured this was as good an option as any.

Thoughts? How much money have you made from, say, an average-selling e-book?

If as you said, your short of money then I don't think you can self publish your work. It is going to take money to pay the publisher. Any income from your work will take a while before you will see any of it. I have been a published author for over thirty years. I made over thirty five thousand on the first couple of books that were self published.

old cowboy
10-27-2011, 07:55 AM
If as you said your short of funds then I don't think you can self publish your work. You will have to pay the publisher up front and then wait for a while before the money starts to come to you.

merrihiatt
10-27-2011, 09:00 AM
I don't agree. If you do all the work yourself, there is very little outlay by the author. I am in the black already and have only been self-publishing since September of this year. Each person will have a unique experience, but I don't think it is accurate to say you need to have a lot of money to self-publish. You can spend a lot or a little depending on your skill level and how hard you are willing to work.

Old Hack
10-27-2011, 11:28 AM
If as you said, your short of money then I don't think you can self publish your work. It is going to take money to pay the publisher. Any income from your work will take a while before you will see any of it. I have been a published author for over thirty years. I made over thirty five thousand on the first couple of books that were self published.


If as you said your short of funds then I don't think you can self publish your work. You will have to pay the publisher up front and then wait for a while before the money starts to come to you.

My bold.

If you're paying the publisher to publish you then you're not self-published, you're vanity published.

Yes, I know I'm picking hairs, and that the lines are now blurring between vanity and self-publishing: but I don't want anyone to think that they have to pay someone in order to self-publish. It's just not true, and that could be a very expensive mistake to make.

If you're intent on self-publishing and have some money to spend on the process then spend it on high-quality independent editing (the books I've seen which have been edited by the various vanity publishers and/or self-publishing services were edited very badly) or a good cover, and not on a "publisher".

shaldna
10-27-2011, 04:39 PM
Given that you can physically produce a book for free, or, if you really must go for a pro plan, for under 50 bucks, then there's not much to loose in terms of initial outlay.

If you're willing to do the work and spend the time then you can, theoretically, publish a book for free.

But, as others have pointed out many times, you have to ask yourself how much your time is worth. How many hours are you spending promoting, or editing, or marketing, or, let's be honest, just fiddling about trying to get the formating right. All that takes time, and, as they say, time is money.

valeriec80
10-28-2011, 01:00 AM
I am also very curious about those of you who are earning several hundred dollars per month via e-books. Can you please expand upon your marketing techniques? Did you have a fan base in place before you published an e-book? Please share your secrets.

I think Konrath says it best when he says luck is a big factor. Here's what I think self-published authors can do to help get luck on their side--if making money is your goal, that is.

1. Write books that people want to read.

2. Having a series of books is a good idea. If your readers like the first book, they will jump to the second, then the third, etc.

3. For exposure, I think the best way to do things currently (and I'm not sure how long this will keep "working") is to set the first book of your series free on Amazon. (You have to make it free on smashwords, distribute to B&N or Apple, and wait for Amazon to price match.) You will make lots and lots of money on that series within a week. I have yet to read about someone who this hasn't worked for.

4. Capture reader's email addresses so that you can send out information to an email list when you have a new release. At the end of each of my books, before I put any blurbs/excerpts for my other stuff, I have a centered, bolded sentence that says, "Want updates, discounts, freebies and more? Visit my website to join my email list." Then I link to my website. On my website, I have my email list subscribe form at the top of the page, on my About page, and in my footer.

5. Understand the importance of Amazon rankings as it directly relates to also-bought lists. You can't force your way into also-boughts, but you can be sure that if your book is climbing the rankings, it will continue to climb (until it levels out) and that if your book is falling in the rankings, it will continue to fall. This is all part of the way Amazon figures rank and tries to keep new content in front of readers.

My experiences:
-My series originally climbed the Amazon ranks over a period of two years. It peaked around July--a really stellar month for me. But this was back when Amazon's ranking were a little "stickier," and they've changed the algorithms to (as mentioned) keep the content changing up more often. This means that slow rises like that are less likely these days. Instead, you see more really quick rises and really quick falls.

-When my rankings plummeted on Amazon, I set the first book in the series free and jumped back up the rankings again. That was in September. I can't quite tell if I'm about ready to take another nosedive soon or not. The free book is currently in the 500s in the Free Kindle store, and the second book is holding steady in the 6,000-8,000 range. In September, it was around 2,000, so it's definitely dropping. In my experience, once you drop below 15,000, it's essentially over and you're not getting any exposure from Amazon. Then your ranking can start doing crazy stuff like flipping from 80,000 to 30,000 in an hour, because below 15,000, you're selling very few copies.

I don't know if any of this is helpful or not. Though I haven't made below a grand a month on self-publishing since May, that's not very long. I basically figure that this could all stop completely at any moment. In other words, I don't have any secrets. There aren't any secrets. Making money at writing has always been a crapshoot. I think it's less of a crapshoot with self-publishing, but that's probably because I could never get an agent or editor to send me anything besides form letters, and now I'm paying my rent with my writing. So I'm coming at it from a highly subjective place. If there were a way to duplicate success by following certain steps, everyone would be successful.

Someday I'm going to follow my own advice and stop worrying about how much money I'm making and just have fun making stuff up. That would be easier to do, of course, if I didn't have this nagging dream of making a living from writing, and if it didn't seem like I was starting to get close to realizing my dream. But truthfully, I need to recognize how little control I have over everything except writing. For my sanity and mental health. So. I will. One of these days. I swear.

merrihiatt
10-28-2011, 02:53 AM
3. For exposure, I think the best way to do things currently (and I'm not sure how long this will keep "working") is to set the first book of your series free on Amazon. (You have to make it free on smashwords, distribute to B&N or Apple, and wait for Amazon to price match.) You will make lots and lots of money on that series within a week. I have yet to read about someone who this hasn't worked for.

I'm the person it hasn't worked for in terms of making "lots and lots of money on that series within a week." I've had over 500 sales from the other two books in the trilogy, but that has not equated to "lots and lots of money." Enough to cover my expenses for the entire trilogy and then some. I am in the black.

valeriec80
10-29-2011, 02:42 AM
Royalty on 500 sales, if your books were priced at $2.99, would be about a thousand bucks. I'd consider that lots and lots of money.

But since I realize lots and lots of money is an extremely subjective term, I suppose what I really meant was I've yet to see someone try it and not dramatically increase their sales and income. (And I apologize for my imprecision. :)

c.m.n.
10-29-2011, 03:04 AM
FYI:

I self-published through Smashwords and Amazon last Wednesday. I made sure everything was perfect and had 6 beta readers over the course of 8 months before putting it out.

It's been over a week and I admit to doing hardly any promo (other than that little linky on my siggy).

I've only had 6 sales, one of them was a freebie to a friend, and I've only made $9.
So, experience does vary a lot :)

merrihiatt
10-29-2011, 04:52 AM
I've yet to see someone try it and not dramatically increase their sales and income.


Got it. I agree! My books are priced at $.99 cents. The $2.99 price would definitely bring in more revenue (70% royalty rate vs. 35% royalty rate).

merrihiatt
10-29-2011, 04:56 AM
I've only had 6 sales, one of them was a freebie to a friend, and I've only made $9.

For your first week, with no promotion, I think that's good. We were talking about offering one of the books in a series/trilogy free and then watching as the number of sales increases for the other books. I don't think it is realistic to expect really high numbers when you first put a book up for sale. Directing traffic to the book is key.

c.m.n.
10-29-2011, 05:50 AM
For your first week, with no promotion, I think that's good. We were talking about offering one of the books in a series/trilogy free and then watching as the number of sales increases for the other books. I don't think it is realistic to expect really high numbers when you first put a book up for sale. Directing traffic to the book is key.

I wasn't expecting glamorous sales either, haha.

Donna Brown
11-14-2011, 02:47 AM
I think the series plan is excellent for those people who write series . . . I don't (and there is no way that my current book could be a series!), the give the first book away plan cannot work for me.

I continue to be jealous AND highly impressed of and by those of you who are making good money at this.

triceretops
11-14-2011, 02:57 AM
Since my publisher dropped the e-book version of Gate Walker to .99 about three weeks ago, I think I've made about 20 sales or so, and that's from a stagnant pace. Strangely enough, those sales are NOT reflected on Amazon, since my publisher lists with about nine other outlets. I suspect that all the sales, like its debut (65 sales) came from Fictionwise, and maybe a few other stragglers at other e-book stores. In my book, Fictionwise rules and Amazon totally sucks.

It's an improvement any way I look at it, so I'm quite happy about the income/outcome.

Tri

merrihiatt
11-14-2011, 04:43 AM
Donna, I checked out your website and books. Have you considered writing a story about three friends or three curses or three anything? I could see three stories in your genre working very well together. Even three parts of one spell/curse that are not revealed until one spell/curse is lifted. Just a thought.

merrihiatt
11-14-2011, 04:45 AM
Congratulations, Tri!

GodOfABF
11-16-2011, 06:37 AM
Interesting thread (especially Noah Body's comments, which confirm for me that "there's no easy way to do this"). (BTW : Kudos to Mr. Body... nice to see that somebody's actually making some moolah in exchange for all the hard work.)

So far I've sold less than 50 copies (all told, including both e-Books and conventional paperbacks) of my own Angel Brings Fire series, the first of which was self-published in April of this year... but, largely due to having to contend with a series of "real life getting in the way of semi-pro authorship" problems (such as, most recently, a basement flood...), I've had zippo chance to go out and do any real self-promotion, other than for handing out demo copies to anyone who's interested in the book(s).

How do all the rest of you find time in which to do it, that is, attend all of these book fairs, set up readings, etc.? I have a quite demanding day job as well as all sorts of other commitments. I can hardly find time to walk my dog, much less attend a day-long convention!

It's much more fun to write, than to get people to read what you've written, I suppose... :Shrug:

Cheers

izanobu
11-16-2011, 07:48 AM
I don't, GodOfABF. I find it far more productive (and good for sales) if I spend my time writing more books and doing the work to get them ready for the world. I put all my time and energy into that. It seems to boost sales to just release more work.

That, and putting up something free for a limited time, are what have started to pay off for me. I've earned just over 1k in the last 3 weeks, which will pay my rent once the money comes in (takes 60 days or so, alas, at least for Amazon to pay). It's a slow build (been doing this for over a year), but this method lets me focus on what I enjoy doing, which is the writing.

merrihiatt
11-16-2011, 09:28 AM
I second what Izanobu said. I have been at this a shorter period of time (since September, 2011) and the two things that seem to work well for me are offering the first e-book in a trilogy free and writing more books. I'm working on another trilogy now that is slated for release in February, 2012. The first drafts are almost done, but I will need time to edit, edit, and edit again and then submit to beta readers.

J. Tanner
11-16-2011, 08:53 PM
It's a slow build (been doing this for over a year), but this method lets me focus on what I enjoy doing, which is the writing.

This.

Success stories happen. But when you look at the details, it's not quick 99% of the time. You should be getting into it for the long haul. (I started out thinking 5 years...)

Noah Body
11-18-2011, 06:59 PM
Interesting thread (especially Noah Body's comments, which confirm for me that "there's no easy way to do this"). (BTW : Kudos to Mr. Body... nice to see that somebody's actually making some moolah in exchange for all the hard work.)
A piddling $1,170 for October 2011 (http://knightslanding.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/sales-october-2011/), so don't start singing the praises yet. :)

And I don't do anything special with regards to advertising. Would never go to a book fair or do a reading--really, would anyone want to hear me belt out a story about flesh-eating zombies in my basso profundo?--there's just not enough ROI there. (Notice I did pass up Comic Con, which was likely the best opportunity for this kind of stuff...if I was truly interested, that is.)

Izanobu has it right. Write more books. That's the best thing for you.

And don't fall into the Book Country trap. ;)

Noah Body
01-11-2012, 05:50 PM
Sorry for the unholy thread resurrection, but I've posted my 2011 sales right over here. (http://knightslanding.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/sales-2011-in-review/) Numbers cited are for only 8 months of 2011, as I won't receive royalties for November and December until 2012. Final take was just over $15,000. For what it's worth.

shaldna
01-11-2012, 07:18 PM
Thanks, that's interesting, and well done.

merrihiatt
01-12-2012, 04:25 AM
Great news! I was hoping for 1,000 sales a month to give me $2,000 a month in income. That's my first goal.

Celesta
01-12-2012, 05:10 AM
I have 6 books/collections self-published and I make about $200/mo. So depending on how popular your books become you could make that much. But I think part of the issue these days is marketing your book(s). I have friends who market like crazy and they make more than I do.

Celesta
01-12-2012, 05:12 AM
Sorry for the unholy thread resurrection, but I've posted my 2011 sales right over here. (http://knightslanding.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/sales-2011-in-review/) Numbers cited are for only 8 months of 2011, as I won't receive royalties for November and December until 2012. Final take was just over $15,000. For what it's worth.

Wow! That's awesome! Good for you!

J.S.F.
01-16-2012, 05:05 PM
I've had two e-novels published (both last year) and I've sold maybe thirty of the first and ten of the second (it's only been out a couple of weeks). I have no illusions of massive sales although one always has to have hope but the thing is, some did sell and I've gotten a couple of decent reviews, so there it is.

If I've learned anything, it's not to expect too much. Sure, I wish 500000 people would buy my books and wouldn't it be great...but this is reality and not fantasy. All it means is I have to work a lot harder, write better, and keep submitting.

hughhowey
01-16-2012, 08:56 PM
Remember, it appears my experience is somewhat different from the "masses" of folks who try this. I can't believe I'm not on the median, because I'm usually not this fortunate. :)

I've had the same experience so far. Completely agree with everything you've posted. The key is to keep writing and producing and to balance this time with social media promotion. The fear is not knowing how long it will last. I keep waiting for that downturn. I hope it will hold off for one more month or two.

Kudos on being generous with your advice and transparent with your earnings. I know I'm not the only one who appreciates it. And mega-congrats. I hope you continue to earn a decent wage with your work (and that you get that Gulfstream one day).

astonwest
01-22-2012, 12:49 AM
I hope you continue to earn a decent wage with your work (and that you get that Gulfstream one day).
Congratulations to both of you! I look forward to a day when I can reach those types of sales numbers. So far, nowhere close.

And you could always get a Citation for less than a Gulfstream... ;-)

Noah Body
01-25-2012, 05:05 PM
Nah, if I have to go mid-size, I'll do a Lear 60XR.

John G. Hartness
01-25-2012, 08:16 PM
I've generated a bunch of titles over the past 18 months, in short story and novel format. My results in detail are available here (http://johnhartness.com/2012/01/06/2011-by-the-numbers/).

In short, I made about $40K last year from self-publishing, the vast majority of that in ebooks. It's a little less right now, down to about $3K per month, but that's been consistent for several months now and I'm leaving my day job in Mark to pursue this full-time.

I'm no Konrath, and in fact have signed with Bell Bridge Books for one of my most popular properties to gain insight into how to tell a better story and craft a better novel, but I'm more than thrilled with the way the last couple of years have gone for me.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

Noah Body
06-07-2012, 01:48 AM
Sorry for the thread resurrection folks, but I thought I'd do a quick drive-by update.

Firstly, as most of us know by now, Mr. Howey has ascended and now sits beside God. No, he hasn't died, but he's gone where no other indie writer has gone before, and that's Hollywood.

For myself, I want to report that May 2012 generated Amazon-only earnings of about $10,700. June has obviously just started, but forecasting daily averages should kick that close to $15,000. My two new releases have done a great job in generating lift for the two previous zombie releases, and they're doing great business once again, after falling into the low 100s for monthly sales.

Sales of non-zombie titles have ticked very slightly upward, but not enough for me to get all worked up over.

Pleasant surprise: B&N finally became a four digit earner for me.

That is all.

Nick Russell
06-07-2012, 05:39 AM
Wow, that's very cool, Noah! Congratulations, and keep up the good work.
Nick

Dungeon Geek
06-07-2012, 07:00 AM
Congrats, Noah! Great numbers!

Jay Jennings
06-07-2012, 10:49 AM
My two new releases have done a great job in generating lift for the two previous zombie releases, and they're doing great business once again...

So the people who say zombies are "old news" now are wrong because apparently, Zombies. Won't. Die.

Jay

(Dusting off "Zombies Ate My Poodle" after having shoved it to the back burner a while back...)

merrihiatt
06-07-2012, 11:26 AM
Great news! Thanks for the update.

EngineerTiger
06-07-2012, 03:37 PM
Terrific news, Noah.

Noah Body
06-07-2012, 03:47 PM
Wow, that's very cool, Noah! Congratulations, and keep up the good work.
Nick
Ha-ha, says the man whose earnings dwarf mine! :D

Noah Body
06-07-2012, 03:51 PM
So the people who say zombies are "old news" now are wrong because apparently, Zombies. Won't. Die.

Jay

(Dusting off "Zombies Ate My Poodle" after having shoved it to the back burner a while back...)
It's funny, because unlike vampires--and I have a vampire novel that's crackling good, if I do say so myself--zombies show almost no sign of slowing down. Even the poorly-written stuff sells well. I think my numbers are indicative of that, and not the fact that I'm some Hot-Assed Writer With Mad Skillz.

I would guess the other arenas where folks can scrape up some coin are paranormal romance and, in a narrower spread, science fiction. And of course, if you're like Nick and bang one out of the park, mystery is a good candidate as well.

My next book is a science fiction adventure piece set in the modern day. I'd love to think it's going to find a home, but it might very well be summarily ignored... unless I add a zombie or two.

Noah Body
07-16-2012, 08:11 PM
June sales: $15,074 on Amazon alone.

July started off with a bang, but after the Fab Fourth, I followed everyone else off the Dog Days of Summer cliff--I expect to come up a couple of grand short this month, call it $13,000 in projected earnings.

My experience through 2011 was that this downward trend will continue through November, when the approaching holidays will generate more interest in ebooks.

Of course, I'll have a couple of additional titles available by then, so maybe I'll jump the shark and start earning more sooner. :D

Nick Russell
07-16-2012, 09:15 PM
Congratulations Noah. I a thrilled for you. You are way ahead of me, I plunged right off that Summer cliff into a steep nosedive. It's a feast or famine business.

merrihiatt
07-17-2012, 04:47 AM
Congrats, Noah. Making over ten grand a month is a wonderful thing.

shaldna
07-17-2012, 01:21 PM
That's absolutely brilliant Noah.

Noah Body
07-17-2012, 07:46 PM
Congratulations Noah. I a thrilled for you. You are way ahead of me, I plunged right off that Summer cliff into a steep nosedive. It's a feast or famine business.
It's very weird, but having gone through it last year, I kind of knew what to expect. That said, it doesn't make it any more welcome, of course!

Blenia
07-18-2012, 03:23 AM
Congratulations!
But man, do forums like this make me feel like a failure at self-publishing. Guess there's nothing for me to do but write the next book.

Old Hack
07-18-2012, 10:16 AM
No, Blenia, please don't feel like a failure! You might enjoy this thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245555), which is very supportive and encouraging.

robertbevan
07-18-2012, 11:36 AM
Congratulations!
But man, do forums like this make me feel like a failure at self-publishing. Guess there's nothing for me to do but write the next book.

don't feel like a failure. i don't know if anyone has said this before me, but at least one guy told me that after reading it, he printed it out and taped it to his wall above his monitor...

we can't fail in self-publishing. the worst we can do is succeed very very slowly.

(yes, i realize that may not be the case, depending on your own personal definition of success and how much of your own money you spent on things like editors and cover art, but it makes me feel good to think this way.)

Old Hack
07-18-2012, 12:02 PM
Robert, I wish that were the case. I've been sent many self published books for review which were absolutely hopeless. It makes me sad.

I wish there were something I could do about it but by the time I get those books it's too late: and many are just so bad that there is nothing that could be done to make them good enough. Gah.

Noah Body
07-18-2012, 04:23 PM
Congratulations!
But man, do forums like this make me feel like a failure at self-publishing. Guess there's nothing for me to do but write the next book.
You shouldn't feel that way at all. My first three releases did nothing... maybe twenty sales per month on Amazon, one or two elsewhere.

And that was at 99˘.

It wasn't until I released the first zombie book, which I had written expressly for Permuted Press on a lark, that things took off. By the time the book was finished, they were closed to submissions, so I put it out on the usual sites to see what would happen. It just so happened to take off.

If you're serious about self-publishing, I can tell you it can be rewarding. But it's also maddening at times--I see unedited stuff full of horrible grammar and literally ridden with more typos than there are Taliban in Afghanistan, but they chart higher than my stuff and the authors make a ton of money. (Of course, I still get my stuff edited and reviewed by several proofreaders... I'm not going to join the race to the bottom on issues like readability.)

Yes, the very best thing for you to do is to write and release your book. If you know your target audience, then that could make things a little easier. But the only way to avoid failure is to outlast it.

Blenia
07-18-2012, 08:46 PM
You shouldn't feel that way at all. My first three releases did nothing... maybe twenty sales per month on Amazon, one or two elsewhere.

And that was at 99˘.



Sorry, that didn't help much. Haha. Mine was on for 99˘ for several months before I gave up and put the price back to where I had originally wanted it. And it took me a year to get 20 sales. -.-'

But you guys are awesome. Thanks for all of the encouragement. I try not to compare myself to others success, because everyone is obviously different. I'm just really happy there are success stories out there so that I know it can happen and maybe someday it will happen to me as well. :D

Wesley Kang
07-19-2012, 07:13 PM
Instead of feeling like a failure, threads like this give me incredible hope. Because I know that this route CAN BE viable. Does it mean it is viable for everyone? Of course not. There are no guarantees in any arena of business. Ultimately, it takes a lot of hard work, a bit of savvy, and of course, a great product. That is the conclusion I am coming to anyhow.

But seriously, I couldn't be prouder to be part of this community, and I'm excited to begin the journey with all of you VERY SOON.

Congrats on all your successes and good luck to everyone.

Noah Body
08-08-2012, 05:11 PM
Looks like I was right on the money, no pun intended... Amazon sales will be just over $13,000 for July. Will report final sales numbers once the statement is released later this month.

I am anticipating another $2,000+ slide in sales for August, though. So begins the drought!

Nick Russell
08-08-2012, 05:22 PM
Congratulations, Noah, that's a good month!

Wesley Kang
08-08-2012, 05:38 PM
Wow Noah! Congrats!!!

MMcDonald64
08-08-2012, 05:46 PM
My next book is a science fiction adventure piece set in the modern day. I'd love to think it's going to find a home, but it might very well be summarily ignored... unless I add a zombie or two.

I, for one, love science fiction set in present day such as Robert J. Sawyer type stuff, so shoot me a PM when your next book is published.

Btw, I see you went through Permuted Press--my editor works with them as well as freelancing. :-)

Noah Body
08-08-2012, 06:07 PM
Congratulations, Noah, that's a good month!
Well, not as good as June! Which of course, leaves my avaricious little eyes welling with soon-to-be-shed tears. How're the sales for the Big Lake sequel doing?

Noah Body
08-08-2012, 06:08 PM
Btw, I see you went through Permuted Press--my editor works with them as well as freelancing. :-)
No, I've never gone with Permuted... every time I think to submit something to them, they're closed to subs. :)

Wesley Kang
08-08-2012, 06:27 PM
I read an awesome book from Permuted, 14 by Peter Clines. I looked them up but I was very surprised to find that they pretty much exclusively publish zombie, apocalyptic, and survival horror stuff. Very one-note for a publisher. And the odd thing is that 14 really didn't have any of that. There was a little bit of the apocalyptic aspect, but it really was a small part of the book.

Anyways good luck with your contemporary sci-fi book. I like my sci-fi and fantasy contemporary, personally.

Noah Body
08-08-2012, 06:43 PM
So you won't be reading my forthcoming space opera tome complete with robot hookers from outer space? Damn!

MMcDonald64
08-08-2012, 06:52 PM
So you won't be reading my forthcoming space opera tome complete with robot hookers from outer space? Damn!

Haha! Hey, you never know. ;-) I am also a fan of The Lost Fleet series, which is military sci-fi. I tried to read some other books that leaned more towards space opera, but I couldn't get into them. Maybe the robot hookers will be that added twist that will hook me. (no pun intended!)

Noah Body
08-15-2012, 04:56 PM
According to the latest Amazon royalty statement which arrived today, my take for July 2012 was $13,649.46. I can live with that, but still remember June's statement quite fondly. :D

Nick Russell
08-15-2012, 07:45 PM
That is wonderful Noah! Congratulations.

Noah Body
08-15-2012, 10:30 PM
Yeah, I made in a month what HH makes in three days. :D

Still, the result does make one more motivated to write.

merrihiatt
08-16-2012, 07:03 AM
Congratulations, Noah!

Kit Walker
08-16-2012, 11:28 PM
Yeah, I made in a month what HH makes in three days. :D

Still, the result does make one more motivated to write.

Or, to look at it another way, you made in a month nearly $10,000 more than I made in the past six months at my crappy part-time retail job. No joke.

Yeah, it is kind of motivating, isn't it? ;)

Sheryl Nantus
08-16-2012, 11:40 PM
Yeah, I made in a month what HH makes in three days. :D

Still, the result does make one more motivated to write.

Is that over one book or many?

thanks!

Noah Body
08-17-2012, 12:02 AM
Or, to look at it another way, you made in a month nearly $10,000 more than I made in the past six months at my crappy part-time retail job. No joke.

Yeah, it is kind of motivating, isn't it? ;)
Listen, whether you go through the more traditional channels or direct to the consumer like I'm doing, there's no guarantee that you'll realize financial success. Right now, at the halfway point in August, I'm seeing about midpoint sales of just under $4,000--and that can only trend further downward, because a lot of markets out there pay only a 35% royalty. Amazon doesn't break out geographical sales data very far--for instance, I have no idea what my sales are in Canada or Australia or Singapore. Many territories don't net me the full 70% royalty, so actual earnings tend to be between 5-10% less than my estimates.

Working retail blows. Write a lot, keep leaning forward in the foxhole, and keep at it. Know the marketplace you're trying to reach, and if you happen to find one by accident (like I did), figure out how to keep the trend alive. It might be extremely boring to have to write similar properties back to back for a while, but the cash flow will keep you off the sales floor and behind the keyboard. That's what counts.

Noah Body
08-17-2012, 12:04 AM
Is that over one book or many?

thanks!
Three novels and one novella make up the bulk of the sales--the rest of my properties together might account for $500 monthly. Still a good take, of course, but in comparison? I'd rather have more of the former, please.

The title in my sig line has sold 9 copies so far this month, and it was the most expensive to produce.

Rubay H.
08-17-2012, 07:28 AM
I just made my first two dollars.

http://assets0.ordienetworks.com/images/GifGuide/dancing/sunny3.gif

I'm going to go and blow it all on a slurpee at 7'11. Size: 16oz!

juniper
08-17-2012, 09:32 PM
Know the marketplace you're trying to reach, and if you happen to find one by accident (like I did), figure out how to keep the trend alive. It might be extremely boring to have to write similar properties back to back for a while, but the cash flow will keep you off the sales floor and behind the keyboard. That's what counts.

This ties into something I've been wondering about. Do certain genres sell better in self-publishing than others?

I have a few friends who are going the self-pub route and are finding it quite hard. Very low sales, spending too much time marketing. Genres are YA and historical fiction. Another one has just released a historical fiction.

I've got a YA paranormal on the back burner, thinking it might be suitable for self-pub once I get it going again, but I don't know.

Noah seems to have found a niche that does really well. Oh, and Noah, are most of your sales ebook or print? I'm guessing ebook.

J. Tanner
08-17-2012, 11:01 PM
This ties into something I've been wondering about. Do certain genres sell better in self-publishing than others?

The numbers wouldn't be publicly available so it's guesswork, but I doubt it. I don't think readers identify genres differently based on self-publishers vs trade publishers. They just look for good books in their prefered genre in their price range.

I do think certain genres do better in ebook form, but again, I'm not sure you could find any publicly available numbers to support it. It's just sort of from watching genre rankings, and anecdotal reports from authors.

Erotica, romance, epic fantasy, zombie horror, SF, and thrillers seem to do well. Series seem to do well. But there are both breakout hits and abject failures in every genre too so just write what you want to write because passion for the material is probably more important than coldly calculating what is more or less salable.


I have a few friends who are going the self-pub route and are finding it quite hard. Very low sales, spending too much time marketing.

That's typical, and is exactly what you should expect. Though there are different schools of thought on marketing--I fall into the camp that says writing the next book/story is more valuable marketing than pestering the same small circle of people via social media or spending money on worthless advertising. ie. Marketing has potential value, but most of what self-publishers are doing to market their material is of little to no value.


Noah seems to have found a niche that does really well. Oh, and Noah, are most of your sales ebook or print? I'm guessing ebook.

You guess correctly.(Steve has published his typical numbers on his blog in the past, so I can answer for him. :) ) Like everything else though, there are zombie books that seem to sell terribly based on their rankings too. Writing a zombie book is no guarantee, and I'd venture to guess writing a good zombie book is no guarantee even though good tends to be a prerequisite for any kind of success.

Noah Body
08-21-2012, 07:02 PM
JAT's right, print doesn't even come close. Over three months or so, maybe made $800, according to Lightning Source.

Noah Body
08-22-2012, 03:59 PM
I just made my first two dollars.

I'm going to go and blow it all on a slurpee at 7'11. Size: 16oz!
Hey, you're on your way. My first royalty check was for like $10.65, or something like that.

Nightmelody
08-23-2012, 06:37 AM
This has been my best month yet, no idea why.

Noah Body
08-23-2012, 04:25 PM
That's awesome! My sales are off by over 50% from last month alone at this point; the drop-off in the past week and a half has been extremely precipitous. Oh well. :)

WeaselFire
08-23-2012, 05:39 PM
This ties into something I've been wondering about. Do certain genres sell better in self-publishing than others?
My gut feeling is yes. But it's probably in proportion with how genres do across the board. YA outsells memoirs for example.

On the other hand, I do believe that some genres, and many themes, are over-represented in self-publishing. There seem to be a bazillion Urban Paranormal Romances out there. There may be more total sales, but fewer individual book sales.

Jeff

Calle Jay
08-23-2012, 08:12 PM
That's awesome! My sales are off by over 50% from last month alone at this point; the drop-off in the past week and a half has been extremely precipitous. Oh well. :)

Mine are down about 20%, but are starting to rise. I was able to get Amazon to set the first novella to free by price matching BN, and I'm seeing greater interest in the books I excerpted at the end of it. Hoping the next week will be better.

Ian Isaro
08-24-2012, 10:54 AM
This ties into something I've been wondering about. Do certain genres sell better in self-publishing than others?
If we're looking at ebooks, I think there's evidence this is definitely the case. Many people tend to read only a few genres, and it makes sense that certain communities would read books in different ways.

My evidence for that is somewhere in this lecture (http://writeaboutdragons.com/home/brandon_w2012/lecture-10/), where Brandon Sanderson sketches out the overall shape of self-published ebooks. He's repeating conventional wisdom in most cases but he is speaking from real numbers in his genres: e-published epic and heroic fantasy aren't selling much, relatively.

There's also the fact that if you look at lists of bestsellers, a few genres (romance, paranormal, mystery) account for a disproportionate percentage of the list. I can't find the list where I originally noticed this, but this one (http://selfpublishingsuccessstories.blogspot.com/2012/03/self-publishing-success-stories_27.html) seems pretty comparable.

That doesn't prove any conclusion, but hopefully it's a bit of an answer.

Nightmelody
08-27-2012, 01:14 AM
So now I know a little more why my sales are up. I was in an Amazon email for futuristic romance, very great. Also I guess somewhere on the Kindle boards some readers were talking about my series. I couldn't find it though. I avoid those boards, they scare me!

popmuze
08-27-2012, 05:18 AM
I'm beginning to get suspicious of Book Baby, which does my ebook. I've had my comic novel up there since the beginning of the year and they've yet to report a single sale. I paid for something called Book Buzzr, too. My non fiction ebook rarely sells more than one or two a month at Amazon and nothing anywhere else. I'm thinking of releasing a couple more books (reissues of my out of print hard cover books) but I'm feeling like, why bother? I can't get sales OR reviews, although maybe they go hand in hand.

Libbie
08-27-2012, 05:42 AM
After a little less than a year, my one self-published book is now steadily bringing in about $800 per month with no effort on my part. It's been such a favorable experience that I plan to self-publish everything for the foreseeable future. I'm really enjoying the process, the quick feedback from happy readers, and the monthly boost to my income.

It did take several months to get to $800/month, of course, so it's by no means a "get rich quick" scheme.

At least 99% of my money comes from Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. That's simply where the most active and eager readers are. I do have accounts with Smashwords, etc. as well as Createspace for paperbacks, but those sales can't hold a candle to my Kindle sales.

Libbie
08-27-2012, 06:33 AM
I am also very curious about those of you who are earning several hundred dollars per month via e-books. Can you please expand upon your marketing techniques? Did you have a fan base in place before you published an e-book? Please share your secrets.

Old thread and I'm not sure if Donna's still reading it, but this might be useful info since I already tossed my two cents in above.

Or maybe it won't be useful, because I'm doing nothing to promote my book. When I first self-published it almost a year ago I asked a few popular reviewers on Goodreads if they would read it and share their honest opinions on the book. I do interact a lot on Goodreads in relevant group threads (historical fiction, etc.) but I don't talk about my book unless it comes up naturally in the conversation. My sales have grown slowly over the year, but all through word of mouth. Readers like my book. That's what sells it.

I'm releasing two more self-published books in a few weeks here and I expect I'll see a jump in the first book's average weekly sales when I do. Another historical novel will come out in the spring as well as a second literary novel. My expectation is that the historical fiction will make more money than the lit stuff, but that's the way it goes in traditional publishing, too.

Sorry my story doesn't have any secrets to help other self-publishers, but "Write a good book that readers love" is pretty much the only thing you can do to effectively make money. If you book isn't up to snuff, no amount of money or time spent will make it popular with readers.

Nightmelody
08-27-2012, 07:05 AM
Libbie, I for one am always thrilled to hear of writers who are selling and not spending tons on advertising or hours 'marketing.' I would much rather write the next book!

Libbie
08-27-2012, 08:03 AM
I'd much rather write, too! Plus having lots of books available seems to be the one thing a writer can control in determining success. That, and not writing a sucky book in the first place. haha.

I self-published this book as an experiment, just to see what the heck would happen if I did. I'm going at future self-publishing with more focus and more of a game face on. I do have a plan for some moderate promotion for the next two books, using popular blogs and a few other ideas I have yet to refine. I expect the more aggressive promotion will help get me to my goal of writing full-time faster, but "more aggressive" doesn't mean aggressive by any means. I just don't see, by reading other self-publishers' blogs and forum posts, that marketing or promotion really do all THAT much to make a significant difference in sales. Time, quality, and quantity seem to be the biggest factors, so my effort is going to be more profitable in the long run if I put it toward writing. Which is fine with me, because I loves me some writing. :)

merrihiatt
08-27-2012, 08:39 AM
Sorry my story doesn't have any secrets to help other self-publishers, but "Write a good book that readers love" is pretty much the only thing you can do to effectively make money. If you book isn't up to snuff, no amount of money or time spent will make it popular with readers.

That is the best advice and it's not a secret! And, write another good book.

Unimportant
09-01-2012, 06:04 AM
After a little less than a year, my one self-published book is now steadily bringing in about $800 per month with no effort on my part.
I bought and read the book, and I can see why it's doing so well. A very enjoyable, well-written book with a vividly realistic setting and very well-rounded characters. So, thanks for the heads-up!

Rubay H.
09-01-2012, 10:41 PM
Royalties earned for my first month of self-publishing my two short stories?

$ 10.01

And I swear these are completely honest figures. But I will be happy to provide screenshots for those who doubt the magnitude of my success.

Libbie
09-13-2012, 10:52 PM
I bought and read the book, and I can see why it's doing so well. A very enjoyable, well-written book with a vividly realistic setting and very well-rounded characters. So, thanks for the heads-up!

Thank you very much! I appreciate the feedback and the plug. :)

Halfway through September and I'm on track to make over $1000 this month from this book alone (let's call it Book A)...still doing zero promotion. Another book under a different pen name comes out in a couple of weeks (Book B) and the sequel to Book A (Book C) comes out on October...I hope, if all goes well with formatting. We'll see how each release affects sales of the first book. I will update this thread to let interested parties know.

I suspect that Book B won't impact sales of Book A all that much, but I'll see a little jump. I do think that Book C will have quite a large impact on A, for obvious reasons.

Nick Russell
09-14-2012, 12:42 AM
Well done, Libbie!

merrihiatt
09-14-2012, 08:20 AM
Congratulations! Looking forward to reading more about books A, B and C!

triceretops
09-14-2012, 09:58 AM
Well, by yimminie, there's hope for me yet! Sold nine copies in three weeks, I think it's been. Very slow go, but upward and onward, wot? The last two weeks have been very dead, though--all five current titles have seen the slow down. I have one self-pubbed novel and two trade novels and two trade shorts.

I've had one trade published short story sitting on Amazon and other sites since July 5th, and it has sold zero. Now that's pathetic and it's priced at .99. And I've pushed it like mad. It's the better of the two shorts, longer, more intense, but the first short has sold over a 150 (maybe more since all the stats for the other e-tailers are not in yet). The big difference: the first short (same publisher) used up all of its free days and I think that's what generated the sales--it was priced matched. The second never went free, cause there's something wrong with Amazon matching lately. So I can say with definite proof that going free, at least for a short, had a tremendous difference on rank and sales.

Funny thing is, when you're trade published and self-published, you can actually watch the two bitch slap each other for sales and rank. I've promoted all of them evenly, and they all seem to sell about the same numbers--the novels, I mean.

I often wondered if a trade published book would outsell a self-published book, or the other way around if they were identical. I'm in a position to find that out since the self-pubbed title is a cleverly disguised back-list title.

Does Amazon treat self-published books any differently than trade published books, as far as exposure, listings, algorithms and other such things?

tri

Old Hack
09-14-2012, 10:35 AM
Tri, the difference should be that your trade publisher is also promoting your books, so your efforts are doubled which reflects in your sales. However, some smaller trade publishers (and I'm talking about teeny-tiny presses, not "smaller" as in Canongate) don't promote as effectively as they could, or don't have the same reach that the bigger boys do, which can result in smaller sales for the books they publish.

I'd be interested to see what results you see: it might well be a good illustration of where the benefits-breakpoint comes between self publishing and working with small presses.

(I hope that makes sense: it's clumsily worded, I fear; and I don't mean to suggest that you're published with a worthless or ineffective press, but it's early, I need caffeine, and I'm doing my best!)

Noah Body
09-14-2012, 06:06 PM
Amazon just released the royalty statements for August, and I was worried about what I'd find after India had been added to the mix. Earnings for Amazon in August were just over $9,100.

That having been said, the drop off in September is much worse for me. :)

triceretops
09-14-2012, 08:47 PM
Tri, the difference should be that your trade publisher is also promoting your books, so your efforts are doubled which reflects in your sales. However, some smaller trade publishers (and I'm talking about teeny-tiny presses, not "smaller" as in Canongate) don't promote as effectively as they could, or don't have the same reach that the bigger boys do, which can result in smaller sales for the books they publish.

I'd be interested to see what results you see: it might well be a good illustration of where the benefits-breakpoint comes between self publishing and working with small presses.

(I hope that makes sense: it's clumsily worded, I fear; and I don't mean to suggest that you're published with a worthless or ineffective press, but it's early, I need caffeine, and I'm doing my best!)

No, no, you make perfect sense. Now, my SF publisher really did get behind the book in the beginning three months, which catapulted it into numerous best-seller ranks. He took it to conventions, bought a PR firm press release service, and designed a book website--he also makes periodic announcements on FB, Twitter and his publisher's website. So saying this, yes, the publisher actively pushed the book and the sales in the beginning were very brisk. My second trade publisher is trying, and doing a fairly good job--that book is holding superior ranks at the smaller e-tailers.

Even these small press trade publishers know how and where to list the books, at least mine do. They also hunt down guest blog spots and interviews. So in that capacity they have me beat hands down. I'm also confined to the Select program, so I cannot list with any other book listing/selling site, and this might have a lot to do with it.

But after awhile, the trade people cool down somewhat or altogether, and that's where I have to take up the slack. I'm at that point now, dividing my social networking time between the three books. And I'm watching them very carefully. The only difference I've seen so far between the two types is that Amazon will notify me of special placements, or advise me to revise my profile or add special features, and when I do this they give me a small plug. That doesn't happen with the trade books. So I'm guessing that Amazon shows a little favoritism toward the self-pubbed titles, or they get a few extra perks. I don't know this for a fact, and I wish I did.

tri

Old Hack
09-14-2012, 09:33 PM
Tri, those things that you list that your publisher does for you: it all looks to me like stuff you could do for yourself, given time, money and a following wind. What do they do to market your books that you couldn't do for yourself? Do they get your books widely reviewed, in places which count? Do they get your books into the best sales channels?

Are they e-publishers, or is there a print edition of your books? If they're e-publishers only this isn't an issue for you: but if there is that print editon, getting it into bookshops and keeping it there is a really big deal for both physical and online retail figures. And it's something you really can't do effectively for yourself.

COchick
09-14-2012, 09:41 PM
The entire summer has been rather dismal for me, and September isn't looking much better. But May...ah, I look at May rather fondly. If only I could go back to those days...

triceretops
09-14-2012, 10:02 PM
Tri, those things that you list that your publisher does for you: it all looks to me like stuff you could do for yourself, given time, money and a following wind. What do they do to market your books that you couldn't do for yourself? Do they get your books widely reviewed, in places which count? Do they get your books into the best sales channels?

Are they e-publishers, or is there a print edition of your books? If they're e-publishers only this isn't an issue for you: but if there is that print editon, getting it into bookshops and keeping it there is a really big deal for both physical and online retail figures. And it's something you really can't do effectively for yourself.

One of the publishers has a hardback version which came out first. He went after major review sources, picked up some small ones, but not any of the large media reviewers. He has no distribution and book store placement. I've landed it in a few libraries. The other publisher is bringing out a paper version but I think this is only a default practice--they have no book store placement or distribution either. Trade paperbacks won't move if there's no distribution or book store presence--the big six and large indies can move print titles much more efficiently, and this often includes the library market. The library market is reached by favorable reviews in places like Library Journal and Kirkus.

I think for a combo of paper and e-book, including hardback, you can't beat the large publishers. I'm beginning to think that self-publication serves the e-book market best, or in some cases, exclusively.

Libbie
09-14-2012, 11:58 PM
I have limited experience with self-publication, but I agree with you that right now it's serving the ebook market best. That hasn't prevented me from making decent money off my book -- I sell around 20 ebooks per day at the moment and the number has been on an upward trend for many weeks. It would be nice to get print-copy distribution to brick-and-mortar stores, but that just hasn't happened for me with three different attempts over three years. It'll happen some day. For now, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much money and how many readers there are in ebooks! I didn't expect this kind of success when I self-published this book as my own little experiment.

Old Hack
09-15-2012, 08:38 AM
One of the publishers has a hardback version which came out first. He went after major review sources, picked up some small ones, but not any of the large media reviewers. He has no distribution and book store placement. I've landed it in a few libraries. The other publisher is bringing out a paper version but I think this is only a default practice--they have no book store placement or distribution either. Trade paperbacks won't move if there's no distribution or book store presence--the big six and large indies can move print titles much more efficiently, and this often includes the library market. The library market is reached by favorable reviews in places like Library Journal and Kirkus.

I think for a combo of paper and e-book, including hardback, you can't beat the large publishers. I'm beginning to think that self-publication serves the e-book market best, or in some cases, exclusively.

My bold.

Tri, there are small publishers with proper distribution. And you're right: without it, you can't shift those printed editions in anything like a reasonable number because without that distribution, you can't effectively get the book in front of your readers.

What's significant is that around 40% of online sales are made after a book has been selected in a physical store. So if you have that bookshop placement your online sales--including those of e-books--are going to benefit significantly from it.

Which is a long-winded way for me to say that it's always best to ensure that a publisher has full distribution before you get involved with them.

This might mean that you have to choose between only working with publishers with full distribution or not getting your books published: but I know which one I'd choose.

Captcha
09-15-2012, 03:39 PM
Amazon just released the royalty statements for August, and I was worried about what I'd find after India had been added to the mix. Earnings for Amazon in August were just over $9,100.

That having been said, the drop off in September is much worse for me. :)

Noah, I don't mean to blow your anonymity, but are you one of the authors of the book in your signature? Is the $9 100 coming from writing you've done under that name, or another name?

Nightmelody
09-15-2012, 06:37 PM
August was my best month yet, $1400 on two books. Toward the end of August I pubbed three out of contract paranormal rom novellas.

Sept started out good, similar to August. One of the paranormals that sold nothing with the publisher in 2010 has sold 28 copies, so that was an unexpected delight. However, since Wednesday I've only sold a few books, a slow down I hope the weekend will fix.

I have one more out of contract to release and plan to have book 3 of my SFR series out the end of October. *Fingers crossed*

Noah Body
09-16-2012, 04:09 AM
Noah, I don't mean to blow your anonymity, but are you one of the authors of the book in your signature? Is the $9 100 coming from writing you've done under that name, or another name?
I only write under one name at this point in time, so all the cash comes from that.

Noah Body
09-16-2012, 04:11 AM
What's significant is that around 40% of online sales are made after a book has been selected in a physical store.
My experience is far, far different from this.

Old Hack
09-16-2012, 10:27 AM
I've read the studies behind the statistics, Noah, and they're sound.

I'm not sure what point you're making here. Do you have experience which shows that readers don't tend to select books in bookshops then buy them online? Or are you talking about your own book, which judging from its Amazon listing doesn't have a print edition so won't be able to benefit from this effect?

Terie
09-16-2012, 11:07 AM
My experience is far, far different from this.

Anecdotal evidence of one authors book(s) doesn't nullify actual research results. Old Hack didn't say 100%, she said 40%. That your work falls into the remaining 60% doesn't mean the statistics are wrong. :)

Noah Body
09-16-2012, 05:31 PM
I've read the studies behind the statistics, Noah, and they're sound.

I'm not sure what point you're making here. Do you have experience which shows that readers don't tend to select books in bookshops then buy them online? Or are you talking about your own book, which judging from its Amazon listing doesn't have a print edition so won't be able to benefit from this effect?
I have books in print, in stores, and I might have misunderstood what you meant. I'd been unaware more folks still shop in stores. :) Can you point me to this study?

Old Hack
09-16-2012, 06:33 PM
I have books in print, in stores, and I might have misunderstood what you meant. I'd been unaware more folks still shop in stores. :) Can you point me to this study?

I didn't say that "more folks still shop in stores", Noah. I'm sorry if that wasn't clear.

What I meant to make clear was that a study reported in The Bookseller magazine last summer (my subscription has lapsed so I can't give you a link to it, and even if I did, you wouldn't be able to read it unless you had your own subscription, otherwise I'd point you to it) showed that 40% of online sales were made after those buyers first chose the book in a physical bookshop.

As far as I remember it, the survey was conducted online so if anything, it was skewed in favour of online buying.

This meant that books with a good presence in physical bookshops would automatically enjoy a reasonable number of online sales without the author or publisher having to do anything more to promote them; and it suggested that books without that online presence were missing out on a chunk of their potential online sales.

What was clear was that books which were only stocked in a small number of physical bookshops didn't benefit from the same effect: those books had to be in bookshops nationwide for it to work, so self publishers without the reach of a trade publisher's distribution network couldn't take advantage of it.

Books which weren't stocked on the shelves, but which were available through special order, did not benefit either. Obviously.

Since I read the report I've asked a number of booksellers about this and they have all confirmed that a huge number of browsers now come into their shops and leave without buying anything from them--but that many customers now look books up on Amazon while they're there, and buy the books that way.

You probably know that there are apps which allow you to scan an ISBN into your phone and find the book on Amazon: they're used, and widely. To the extent that two of my friends, who each own their own independent bookshops, are now investigating ways to block iPhone connections in their shops: they're tired of paying for a shopfront for people who only intend to buy from Amazon.

Noah Body
09-16-2012, 07:10 PM
Thank you for the info, ma'am, and thanks for taking the time to educate me further on this.

Sheryl Nantus
09-16-2012, 08:15 PM
The funny thing is that I take my Nook all the time to my B&N and if I see a book I like I see if it's available in ebook form and at what price. It's easier for me to sample the book in person by flipping through it than take the first XXX pages offered in sample form, which usually consists of little more than the table of contents and, if I'm lucky, the first chapter.

Libbie
09-16-2012, 09:16 PM
As much as I love Amazon, I've always been grossed out by the shoppers who actually use that app in book stores. At the very least, if you MUST use it, BUY SOMETHING FROM THE STORE. Sheesh. Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this because I really loved my bookstore-workin' days. I just think it is so tacky take advantage of a book store's storefront and not financially support them.

Medievalist
09-16-2012, 09:27 PM
As much as I love Amazon, I've always been grossed out by the shoppers who actually use that app in book stores. At the very least, if you MUST use it, BUY SOMETHING FROM THE STORE. Sheesh. Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this because I really loved my bookstore-workin' days. I just think it is so tacky take advantage of a book store's storefront and not financially support them.

I absolutely agree.

I don't know how to solve for inherent selfishness though.

Sheryl Nantus
09-16-2012, 09:31 PM
As much as I love Amazon, I've always been grossed out by the shoppers who actually use that app in book stores. At the very least, if you MUST use it, BUY SOMETHING FROM THE STORE. Sheesh. Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this because I really loved my bookstore-workin' days. I just think it is so tacky take advantage of a book store's storefront and not financially support them.

Which is why I only buy from B&N.

I won't support Amazon. They're not a bookstore, they're a corporation that happens to sell books on the side.

:)

Libbie
09-17-2012, 12:26 PM
Well, being that Amazon is keeping a ton of people in my community employed during this craptacular economic crisis, I can't hate on them too hard. And they built their corporation off of selling books...bookselling is what they founded their business on. They still do the best job of it, as far as I can tell. They know how to give readers what they want.

But that's neither here nor there with regards to this thread, I suppose.

I do think that B&N is being very forward-thinking in allowing direct purchases to Nooks from their storefronts. That gets people interested in coming in to browse and shop but still supports their ebook-buying habits. They've kept incentive to come to the storefront and figured out a way to still stay competitive as such a large percentage of readers switch to ereaders. Genius!

I wonder if more book stores will begin to follow that model...make their storefronts a hotspot for buying ebooks, and maybe have the most popular titles available for browsing in paperback format there? Maybe the collectors can order a print copy after seeing it in person? Hmm...who knows what the future will look like, but it's fun to speculate!

eggs
09-17-2012, 12:44 PM
Don't hate too hard on the Amazon-in-a-bookstore users. Two of my kids (9&10) are hard core readers, they read in the Hunger Games, Gone, etc, YA books. They read at least one book a week each, sometimes two. Even if I buy nothing for myself, that's 2-4 books a week. Here in Australia a new release paperback is somewhere between $18-$30 (US dollars). You bet I'm standing right behind them with my amazon app open on my iphone. If there are no geo-restrictions and I can get it for $10 as an ebook, that's what I'm buying.

I used to think it was worth "supporting my local bookstore" until the chick behind the counter revealed that they ordered most of their paper books from Amazon as it was cheaper to buy them retail from Amazon than wholesale from an Australian distributor. I don't mind paying a 50% mark up on Amazon to keep my local bookstore open, but when they are charging me 100-300% over Amazon, I have no scruples!

Old Hack
09-17-2012, 01:12 PM
Well, being that Amazon is keeping a ton of people in my community employed during this craptacular economic crisis, I can't hate on them too hard.

But in the process, Libbie, they're putting many people out of work elsewhere. I know of at least four great independent bookshops here which have closed as a direct result of Amazon's business habits: before they closed, the owners of three of them told me that they were suffering horrible downturns in sales from people using the Amazon app in their bookshops.


Don't hate too hard on the Amazon-in-a-bookstore users. Two of my kids (9&10) are hard core readers, they read in the Hunger Games, Gone, etc, YA books. They read at least one book a week each, sometimes two. Even if I buy nothing for myself, that's 2-4 books a week. Here in Australia a new release paperback is somewhere between $18-$30 (US dollars). You bet I'm standing right behind them with my amazon app open on my iphone. If there are no geo-restrictions and I can get it for $10 as an ebook, that's what I'm buying.

I used to think it was worth "supporting my local bookstore" until the chick behind the counter revealed that they ordered most of their paper books from Amazon as it was cheaper to buy them retail from Amazon than wholesale from an Australian distributor. I don't mind paying a 50% mark up on Amazon to keep my local bookstore open, but when they are charging me 100-300% over Amazon, I have no scruples!

You could always use your local library if you have one. That way you wouldn't have to pay for anything.

Consider: you go to your local bookshop, which has to pay for rent, insurance, heat, lighting, and so on, and you use it to select the books that you and your children want to read.

The bookshop's staff help you find titles that might interest you, and make sure that things are shelved in the right places so that you get the most out of your browsing experience.

The books that you browse slowly become shopworn, and so the bookshop can't sell them, and either has to take a loss on them (so reducing further the profits they make) or it has to return them to the publisher (thereby costing the publisher money).

The staff members spend time helping you which they could have spent with people who would actually spend money in the shop, so supporting the shop and allowing it to stay open.

If you're not going to contribute to that shop's finances by buying something from it, then don't use its services. Browse online. If you want to continue to be able to browse real books thanks to your local bookshop, you have to support it by spending real money there. Because if you don't, and if no one else does either, you will lose it.

I think it's really great that your children are avid readers. You've done a brilliant job raising them if that's the case, and you should be proud of yourself. But please don't treat bookshops so thoughtlessly because if they go, both readers and writers will lose out in the long run.

Nightmelody
09-17-2012, 05:11 PM
I occasionally go to a coffeshop/bookstore where I buy coffee and magazines I don't want a subscription to. The last book we bought was a car repair manual. My entire family either reads on Kindles or iphones, my college kids text books are all on kindle. We're not deliberately trying to force bookstores out of business, we just prefer e--and it is our money.

MMcDonald64
09-17-2012, 05:27 PM
As much as I love Amazon, I've always been grossed out by the shoppers who actually use that app in book stores. At the very least, if you MUST use it, BUY SOMETHING FROM THE STORE. Sheesh. Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this because I really loved my bookstore-workin' days. I just think it is so tacky take advantage of a book store's storefront and not financially support them.

I don't have a bookstore near me, so I haven't been in one in over a year since Borders closed, however, it's not just Amazon shoppers using the apps. I've read so many times about Nook users browsing on Amazon because it's easier (just repeating what they say--I have never shopped on B&N so I can't speak for the ease of use personally), and then they go to the B&N site to buy the books. I'm not sure how that is any different than someone using an app in a store.

anthonysunderland
09-17-2012, 11:44 PM
There are people who will buy your stories for $250 each. depends how desperate you are because that's all you see for giving up all rights to them.

Go to Duotrope.com for a list of paying markets, usually shorter stories. I did some research on sites that buy 1st rights for audio. They will handle narration, production, everything and you still have print rights.

KalenO
09-18-2012, 12:05 AM
There are people who will buy your stories for $250 each. depends how desperate you are because that's all you see for giving up all rights to them.

Go to Duotrope.com for a list of paying markets, usually shorter stories. I did some research on sites that buy 1st rights for audio. They will handle narration, production, everything and you still have print rights.

Its important to note though that most short story markets purchase rights for a LIMITED duration, not for the lifetime of the work. For instance, most of the professional sf/f genre markets return the rights to you after a year or such, which makes them an excellent opportunity for getting your name out there, while still affording you the chance to self publish them once the rights return to you.

Sheryl Nantus
09-18-2012, 12:06 AM
There are people who will buy your stories for $250 each. depends how desperate you are because that's all you see for giving up all rights to them.

As with everything, it depends on the contract.

My short story, "The Project", was sold in 2005 to GRIT Magazine for $250. I have reprints rights and put it out a year or so ago on Amazon and Smashwords.

Read your contract.

Medievalist
09-18-2012, 12:08 AM
As with everything, it depends on the contract.

My short story, "The Project", was sold in 2005 to GRIT Magazine for $250. I have reprints rights and put it out a year or so ago on Amazon and Smashwords.

Read your contract.

And it's OK to ask for reasonable changes.

Libbie
09-18-2012, 01:48 AM
Yep, every short story I sold has returned to my own control once more. It all depends what's in the contract.

JSSchley
09-18-2012, 02:08 AM
As much as I love Amazon, I've always been grossed out by the shoppers who actually use that app in book stores. At the very least, if you MUST use it, BUY SOMETHING FROM THE STORE. Sheesh. Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this because I really loved my bookstore-workin' days. I just think it is so tacky take advantage of a book store's storefront and not financially support them.

Someone literally did this to me on Thursday. Her daughter wrote down the ISBN of the book she needed for school incorrectly, so my manager, who used to be a buyer for the college division, and I spent over a half an hour scouring Bowker for what the ISBN could have been, then figuring it out, and locating the book.

We didn't have a copy in the store. The woman ordered it on Amazon on her phone right in front of me as we were standing there. She had the good manners to at least look sheepish, but I was just floored.

I later calculated that since my manager gets paid a lot more than I do, that half-hour cost the store around $20 in salary to the two of us.

And then people wonder why brick-and-mortar tend to charge more...

[/thread derail, but just in case people were thinking this kind of thing wouldn't happen...]

MMcDonald64
09-18-2012, 07:06 AM
Someone literally did this to me on Thursday. Her daughter wrote down the ISBN of the book she needed for school incorrectly, so my manager, who used to be a buyer for the college division, and I spent over a half an hour scouring Bowker for what the ISBN could have been, then figuring it out, and locating the book.

We didn't have a copy in the store. The woman ordered it on Amazon on her phone right in front of me as we were standing there. She had the good manners to at least look sheepish, but I was just floored.

I later calculated that since my manager gets paid a lot more than I do, that half-hour cost the store around $20 in salary to the two of us.

And then people wonder why brick-and-mortar tend to charge more...

[/thread derail, but just in case people were thinking this kind of thing wouldn't happen...]

I don't think there is a good answer for any of this. On one hand, you went out of your way to find a book, but you didn't have it in store. The daughter may have needed it sooner than you could get it there, so the mom might have been stuck--but she should have at least waited until she wasn't in the store.

On the other hand, I can think of several books that I wanted to read as soon as they came out. I spotted them on Amazon and didn't want to wait for them to be shipped, so I drove out to the bookstore to buy them. This was a few years ago though, before the bookstore closed and before I had a Kindle.

JSSchley
09-18-2012, 07:41 AM
Oh, I agree that if she needed the book, it made sense to get it (there are a lot of things I think B&N should really, REALLY fix.) Of course, I think people ought to look ahead when they need a book, too. :D And truth be told, we could've rushed it to her, too...but since she pays $80 a year for Amazon Prime instead of $25 a year for B&N, Amazon had the lower shipping price (which she'd already subsidized).

But at the same time, it's stuff like that which contributes to the cost of brick and mortar. Amazon could not have done what we did. She would've just been stuck with the incorrect ISBN, hunting and hunting and hunting. She'd already searched for the book on Amazon multiple times and hadn't been able to find it. So basically, she used our service (real people with real brains and real knowledge), to fill a gap that Amazon doesn't have to fill, and therefore doesn't have to charge for.

The cost of her hunting for her book, however, gets passed on to everyone who buys a book in the store. So, it is a problem.

Old Hack
09-18-2012, 10:16 AM
I occasionally go to a coffeshop/bookstore where I buy coffee and magazines I don't want a subscription to. The last book we bought was a car repair manual. My entire family either reads on Kindles or iphones, my college kids text books are all on kindle. We're not deliberately trying to force bookstores out of business, we just prefer e--and it is our money.

Of course it's your money, and you get to spend it how you like.

But if you want to only buy and read e-books, don't use physical bookshops to browse for those books. Use an appropriate online bookshop so that you don't cost those physical bookshops money while browsing--money you have no intention of reimbursing by buying the book from them.

Kriven
09-18-2012, 01:05 PM
What's wrong with browsing? I figure it's the same as going to different stores and price matching, then choosing the best deal.

RichardGarfinkle
09-18-2012, 01:58 PM
What's wrong with browsing? I figure it's the same as going to different stores and price matching, then choosing the best deal.

Because you are using the brick and mortar stores as showrooms for the online sellers. They are paying for the space and display and the sales people who (hopefully) know about the products.

They pay for those resources in the hopes that customers will purchase from them. If you use them to gain the information then purchase elsewhere you have gained an advantage they paid for.

It's one thing to go into a store with potential intent to buy, decide the prices there are too high and buy elsewhere. It's another thing to go into a store and order from that store's online division. Both of those are honest uses of the store's resources.

It's a third thing entirely to go into a store with no intent of buying from them and use the resources they are paying for to help you decide which product to buy from another source entirely.

ZaWolf
09-18-2012, 03:55 PM
Because you are using the brick and mortar stores as showrooms for the online sellers. They are paying for the space and display and the sales people who (hopefully) know about the products.

They pay for those resources in the hopes that customers will purchase from them. If you use them to gain the information then purchase elsewhere you have gained an advantage they paid for.

It's one thing to go into a store with potential intent to buy, decide the prices there are too high and buy elsewhere. It's another thing to go into a store and order from that store's online division. Both of those are honest uses of the store's resources.

It's a third thing entirely to go into a store with no intent of buying from them and use the resources they are paying for to help you decide which product to buy from another source entirely.

I sort of agree in principle, but I don't understand how it makes a difference to the store owner.
Other than his/her store being slightly emptier for my hypothetical absence, what tangible effect will it have on him/her if I choose to never step foot in the bookshop, and rather browse online, at home?

For the record, I don't browse at brick-and-mortar stores with the intention of making an online purchase elsewhere, because it just seems rude. I'm just not sure, aside from etiquette, what the big deal is?

Old Hack
09-18-2012, 04:07 PM
I don't understand how it makes a difference to the store owner.
Other than his/her store being slightly emptier for my hypothetical absence, what tangible effect will it have on him/her if I choose to never step foot in the bookshop, and rather browse online, at home?

For the record, I don't browse at brick-and-mortar stores with the intention of making an online purchase elsewhere, because it just seems rude. I'm just not sure, aside from etiquette, what the big deal is?

It's already been explained in-thread:


Someone literally did this to me on Thursday. Her daughter wrote down the ISBN of the book she needed for school incorrectly, so my manager, who used to be a buyer for the college division, and I spent over a half an hour scouring Bowker for what the ISBN could have been, then figuring it out, and locating the book.

We didn't have a copy in the store. The woman ordered it on Amazon on her phone right in front of me as we were standing there. She had the good manners to at least look sheepish, but I was just floored.

I later calculated that since my manager gets paid a lot more than I do, that half-hour cost the store around $20 in salary to the two of us.

And then people wonder why brick-and-mortar tend to charge more...
[/thread derail, but just in case people were thinking this kind of thing wouldn't happen...]

My bold.

For every dollar a bookshop pays out in salaries, it's likely to pay another dollar or two as a cost of employing those people. So that visit probably cost the bookshop $40 or more.

You don't have to be helped by the staff to cost a bookshop money: just handling the books makes them look less new, and more likely to remain unsold; you're relying on the shop to provide heat, light, and premises, all of which cost that shop; you're relying on the shop to order those books in, and shelve them, which incurs real staff costs; and so on and so forth.

Meanwhile Amazon can sell books at lower prices because it doesn't have to provide that physical shopfront on expensive high streets, and it doesn't have those same specialist staff to help people find the books they want, and so on and so forth. So while Amazon relies on bookshops to provide its shopfront, it saves money while simultaneously costing its competitors real hard cash. When bookshops close, readers and writers lose out. It's a huge problem, which we should all be more aware of.

bearilou
09-18-2012, 04:13 PM
For the record, I don't browse at brick-and-mortar stores with the intention of making an online purchase elsewhere, because it just seems rude. I'm just not sure, aside from etiquette, what the big deal is?

Seriously? ZaWolf, read what Richard said again.

Using brick and mortar stores as showrooms before purchasing online, something online retailers don't have the benefit of and letting someone else foot the bill.

What Old Hack said:


Consider: you go to your local bookshop, which has to pay for rent, insurance, heat, lighting, and so on, and you use it to select the books that you and your children want to read.

The bookshop's staff help you find titles that might interest you, and make sure that things are shelved in the right places so that you get the most out of your browsing experience.

The books that you browse slowly become shopworn, and so the bookshop can't sell them, and either has to take a loss on them (so reducing further the profits they make) or it has to return them to the publisher (thereby costing the publisher money).

The staff members spend time helping you which they could have spent with people who would actually spend money in the shop, so supporting the shop and allowing it to stay open.

If your comparison shopping is done all online, then no, it makes no difference (other than lost revenue, which is what any business suffers when someone shops somewhere else) to the store owner that you've never stepped foot in their store. You're not using them to purchase online.

Foot traffic is a big deal with stores.

ZaWolf
09-18-2012, 05:22 PM
It's already been explained in-thread:



My bold.

For every dollar a bookshop pays out in salaries, it's likely to pay another dollar or two as a cost of employing those people. So that visit probably cost the bookshop $40 or more.

You don't have to be helped by the staff to cost a bookshop money: just handling the books makes them look less new, and more likely to remain unsold; you're relying on the shop to provide heat, light, and premises, all of which cost that shop; you're relying on the shop to order those books in, and shelve them, which incurs real staff costs; and so on and so forth.

Meanwhile Amazon can sell books at lower prices because it doesn't have to provide that physical shopfront on expensive high streets, and it doesn't have those same specialist staff to help people find the books they want, and so on and so forth. So while Amazon relies on bookshops to provide its shopfront, it saves money while simultaneously costing its competitors real hard cash. When bookshops close, readers and writers lose out. It's a huge problem, which we should all be more aware of.

I did see JSSchley's response, but it wasn't pertinent to what I asked. That was an example of someone behaving, in my opinion, inexcusably. My question had nothing to do with people actually seeking assistance from the staff at a bookstore, and then using the information gained to shop elsewhere. That is a terrible breach of etiquette, and the financial burden of such behaviour to the store is pretty obvious.
I was simply curious about browsing, and then ordering elsewhere.

I do get what you're saying about the potential damage that I might do to books while browsing, and I agree, but I don't agree with the assertion that, in this example, I would be relying on the benefits provided by a physical store. Taking advantage of a convenience that they offer, free of charge? Yes. Relying on it? Maybe, but it seems like a stretch.

People browsed bookstores with no intention of purchasing long before Amazon existed. Thus damaging the product.

It's a breach of trust between the retailer and those he/she views as potential customers, for sure, but it just seems from my point-of-view that the impact of it has been overstated.
I can see how the existence of online retailers would be hurting physical stores, but I don't think that the uncultured behaviour of shoppers as a result of their existence is as big a deal as has been implied (aside from examples like JSSchley's, of course... But there are always going to be jackasses who go a step or two too far).

I know you know more about pretty much every aspect of the publishing industry than I do, so maybe you know how many copies of the average book (I know, I know, "the average book" hahaha!) a physical store will order when they first stock it?
Could they not pull a video store tactic, and have a spare copy on the shelves for the purpose of browsing? It would require restructuring of their stores (more space in back would be required, obviously).
This might be a ridiculous idea, and I accept that, but the burden should not be on the customer, but rather on the retailer to protect their own interests and keep up with the competition. Bookstores are awesome (though, I prefer the second-hand variety) but they are still businesses, not charities.


Seriously? ZaWolf, read what Richard said again.

Okay, I've reread what Richard said. Now, you can reread what I asked.



Foot traffic is a big deal with stores.

Does foot traffic beget foot traffic?

MMcDonald64
09-18-2012, 06:02 PM
While it was rude of the shopper to buy the book for her daughter from Amazon right in front of the B&N employee, providing good customer service is never a bad thing. Hopefully that woman will remember the help and will come back for other books later. In fact, she may already be a frequent customer--maybe she browses on Amazon and buys at B&N?

As far as the cost difference between Amazon's Prime and B&N service (not sure what they call it), it's like apples and oranges.

WeaselFire
09-18-2012, 06:11 PM
Because you are using the brick and mortar stores as showrooms for the online sellers.
Yep. And the trend is showing its effects. Electronics stores are harder hit than bookstores, and now they are reducing the floor space to account for it. Even Walmart, Kmart, Target and clothing stores are victims.

Stores will need to adapt or die off. Newspapers are sort of adapting, to radio, television and now the internet as news options.

I'll patronize local restaurants over chains because I can get similar products at similar prices. That's no longer true of book stores. They'll need a different model to make it in the next decades. Strange how B&N is the only one that embraced ebooks and now they're the only one left standing.

Jeff

Nick Russell
09-18-2012, 06:15 PM
I read a lot of e-books. I also spend a lot of time browsing in bookstores. Keep in mind that a lot of books are still not available in e-book format. Especially reference books. We publish an RV travel newspaper and I am always on the lookout for regional interest and local history books, which I find by browsing bookstores.

MMcDonald64
09-18-2012, 08:01 PM
I used to buy a lot of books at bookstores, then they got rid of a lot of the variety I was used to. I think this happened sometime in the 90s. I would browse and find new authors all the time, then suddenly, the genre sections were filled with a dozen copies of the same book with most of the titles by a handful of bestselling authors. Sure, some of them I liked, but others weren't to my taste and the variety was gone. The front tables were full of the books I called The Oprah Books. Unfortunately, Oprah and I don't share the same taste in books. ;-)

Filigree
09-18-2012, 10:55 PM
The market has changed, and browsing patterns are one reason why you see diminishing stock and variety of stock at local bookstores. If fewer people buy things, the store can't afford to stock as many things. Yes, brick and mortar stores are more expensive. I go to see the product, maybe even discuss it with employees. I certainly wouldn't go if I had no intention of buying.

Two stories, both true:

I used to work at a local art supply store. The owner had enough of people using scanning software on their phones to check online prices of our merchandise. If she caught repeat offenders doing it, she'd ask them to leave. When they got huffy, she pointed at our 'We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone' sign. When they threatened to never buy anything from us again, she told them "You weren't going to, anyway. You're wasting my time and my employees' time, and we won't be your personal shoppers. Get out." Our loyal customers came to us for more than just prices, though we did our best to give them the best price possible.

A friend of mine worked for an extremely high-end audio store, with luxury speakers and other components priced higher than many cars - and some houses. A very wealthy customer had a bad habit of scouting the store's showroom for hours to listen to and gather information about his favorite systems. Then he'd go to another cut-price dealer operating out of a basement, and order the components at a lower cost. When the customer boasted about this to my friend at a third-party store, my friend called the owner of the component company. In front of the customer, my friend explained the situation. The company owner revoked the basement guy's dealership license on the spot, banning him from selling that equipment. Within days, other dealers had followed suit.

So, yeah, sometimes the customer isn't always right - sometimes the customer is a pushy jerk who needs a lesson in subtlety, at least.

TroyJackson
09-19-2012, 02:42 AM
Yep. What can it hurt? The worst thing that will happen is that no one buys it and you're back to square one. Well, I shouldn't say that. If you publish complete rubbish then it can hurt your reputation. But you wouldn't do that, now would you? :)

adrianstaccato
09-19-2012, 02:48 AM
I shouldn't say that. If you publish complete rubbish then it can hurt your reputation. But you wouldn't do that, now would you? :)

This is what pen names are for ;)

M.Macabre
09-19-2012, 03:58 AM
This thread...


The market has changed, and browsing patterns are one reason why you see diminishing stock and variety of stock at local bookstores. If fewer people buy things, the store can't afford to stock as many things. Yes, brick and mortar stores are more expensive. I go to see the product, maybe even discuss it with employees. I certainly wouldn't go if I had no intention of buying.

I would probably go bananas if I worked in a bookstore. Though ''online browsers'' don't bother me as much as those kids who dog ear comics while sitting on the floor or parents who drag their kids to the children's section because they believe the bookstore operates as a children's library because there's tiny furniture.

Libbie
10-01-2012, 12:36 AM
Just a quick update to this thread. Sales for September exceeded my expectations, I am happy to say! I made $1340 and some change off my single historical novel. I released my second book (under a different pen name) on the 28th and sales of that title are already looking very encouraging as well.

I am still doing zero promotion with the historical novel, relying only on readers' recommendations to one another to sell this book.

I will be doing some promotion with the other (contemporary, not historical) novel, the one I just released, including running some ads on a related radio program and podcast, networking with book- and other bloggers who focus their blogs on topics related to the issue my novel deals with, etc. The only money I am spending on promotion is the $90 I paid for six professionally produced radio ads. They will run every other week on this weekly radio show. We'll see whether the ads help drive more sales!

Still feeling beyond excellent about my decision to self-publish. At this point it would be very difficult to convince me to give it up for trade publishing, although enough money could certainly convince me! But I am really enjoying the things self-pub has to offer. Based on September's sales and the strong first few days for the second book, my fiance and I had a discussion and set a specific sales target; when I reach it I'll quit my day job and write and self-publish full-time. I am happy to say that the target looks to be comfortably in sight.

Hooray!

Nick Russell
10-01-2012, 12:42 AM
Congratulations Libbie. While one can make a living self-publishing e-books, it takes a lot of work, and some months can be wonderful and others not so much. My sales this past winter were in the low five figures, which was still amazing. This summer I've been making anywhere from $2,300 to $3,000 a month. Still very good, but a decided difference.

KalenO
10-01-2012, 01:01 AM
Congratulations Libbie. While one can make a living self-publishing e-books, it takes a lot of work, and some months can be wonderful and others not so much. My sales this past winter were in the low five figures, which was still amazing. This summer I've been making anywhere from $2,300 to $3,000 a month. Still very good, but a decided difference.

Plus with all the talk about 'can you make a living self-publishing' lately, I think its VERY important to be conscious of how wide a range that is. It depends on how much a person needs to sustain their lifestyle as much as it does how much they make self-publishing. For instance, I'm 28 and used to living on a couple grand a month, max. That's a far cry from someone with a mortgage or kids to feed, etc, and so my saying I make a living self-publishing shouldn't be taken the same way by someone who needs to pull in five grand a month or more.

merrihiatt
10-01-2012, 02:38 AM
Congratulations, Libbie!

Yes, there is a lot to consider when quitting a day job to write full-time. Health insurance, pension, and taxes come to mind immediately (not to mention the paid sick leave days and vacation that are lost).

MMcDonald64
10-01-2012, 02:41 AM
Plus with all the talk about 'can you make a living self-publishing' lately, I think its VERY important to be conscious of how wide a range that is. It depends on how much a person needs to sustain their lifestyle as much as it does how much they make self-publishing. For instance, I'm 28 and used to living on a couple grand a month, max. That's a far cry from someone with a mortgage or kids to feed, etc, and so my saying I make a living self-publishing shouldn't be taken the same way by someone who needs to pull in five grand a month or more.

That is so true. In my day job, I am at the top of my pay scale because I've been in the profession for 26 years. (not that the pay scale is all that high!) This year, I'll earn about half that amount with my books. That is as much as my dh was earning before he was laid off from his job back in 2008, so basically, my book earnings replaces his full time job.

I'm going part time within the month, I hope. I wouldn't be able to afford to take the chance except that I'm lucky that I can pick up extra hours in my day job--not just at the hospital where I work, but if I get desperate enough, I can pick up hours at a couple of other hospitals in the same network. I live like in the center of a triangle of them, so none are too far way. I also volunteered to take an indepth computer class to be a trainer for our charting system, so that will be another way I can add hours if I want--without having to commit to full-time if my books are doing well.

I'm so glad all the places like Amazon, Pubit, etc, pay on a two month delay. That means if my November stinks for sales, I can see that my January payment will be low, and have plenty of time to get on the schedule in January.

bearilou
10-01-2012, 02:54 AM
:hooray: :yessmiley Libbie!

Libbie
10-01-2012, 03:13 AM
Yes! I have been reading much about the big fluctuation in income that one can expect from self-publishing full-time. We factored that into our target for quitting the day job. I'm not going to quit until I have about a year's worth of money saved up as "cushion" money. But for the first time since I started writing in 2008, I can actually see that goal in sight! It feels great.

JSSchley
10-02-2012, 12:29 AM
Read this on the bus this morning on my phone, so I didn't reply--auto-correct tends to make me look illiterate. But congratulations, Libbie! I'm so glad to hear it's going so well!

triceretops
10-02-2012, 12:41 AM
Sold about 12 copies in seven-eight days after going back to paid status. Had my first two library borrows, too. Only had less than 700 downloads, and most of that was on the first day. I'm beginning to think that for me, at least, a second free day is not really necessary. At least some readers are interested.
Small change, but change that it never had before.

tri

Libbie
10-02-2012, 08:03 AM
The biggest boon I can see to doing free days is the chance of getting up on the Free rankings in the Kindle Store, so the more days you offer something for free the more likely you can get onto that list and stay there for a little while. That way browsers are more likely to notice the book. I haven't tried any free experiments yet, though, so who knows. I could be totally off base there.

triceretops
10-02-2012, 09:05 PM
That makes sense, Libbie. I've heard of a few that go the full five days and get tremendous downloads. I might have to try that for the next round, provided I reenlist for the Select program.

tri

kaitie
10-02-2012, 09:22 PM
What I'm wondering is if you're falling down in searches. In other words, if I set a lowest-highest price point or search free books, does Amazon put the most recently free books nearer the top?

I know I flipped through a lot of books a year ago and found a lot of them in order by the most recent. I'm not sure if this is still factored or if it's just the way I tend to search, but if there are enough people doing free sales or adding free books, it could bump you down in search results. Anyone know if this is a factor? It would explain why the first day you'd get some exposure and the next day you wouldn't.

Libbie
10-02-2012, 09:25 PM
I am totally up in the air about Select. I might give it a whirl when I release the sequel to the book that's selling so well right now. I don't love the idea of taking the book off other platforms, but on the other hand, 99% of my sales are via Amazon anyway, so it won't hurt me much at this point. I definitely won't do it with the first book in the series...it's selling too well as it is now; I don't want to do any free days with it or restrict its potential income. But a new book will be perfect for experimenting with Select! I know I can un-enroll it at any time, so if I get a lot of complaints from readers about not having it available for Nook or whatever, I can take it out of the program. We'll see. I don't love the fact that Amazon requires it to be exclusive to them. I think that's short-sighted of them; I doubt their program would suffer at all if they allowed books to be available on other sites. Kindle readers are already devoted Kindle readers, you know? Just because a book is also available for the Nook, that doesn't mean everybody's going to abandon their Kindles!

kaitie
10-02-2012, 10:04 PM
I think it's about depriving Barnes and Noble the ability to sell a product and thus increase the chances that they will fail and Amazon will remain the go-to for ebooks and the ereader. Readers don't know why a book isn't available everywhere--just that they're inconvenienced when it isn't.

Rubay H.
10-03-2012, 05:15 AM
September was bad for me.

I made $5.00 across all platforms. I netted 389 free downloads of my free short and got some reviews out of it - but it didn't really translate into sales. I'm guessing it's because the free story doesn't lead into a series and my other book is a stand alone novella.
Hopefully, more content will give me a boost in sales for October.

Libbie, congrats! Very exciting to watch!:D

triceretops
10-03-2012, 05:36 AM
Don't feel too bad, Ruby. I have stand-alones and they're all in different genres--both trade and self-pubbed. It just makes it hard for them to feed off each other since they are so unrelated. I've learned three very important things that stand out: more content, stay in your genre, and series really do elevate and create a larger reading fan base.

thethinker42
10-03-2012, 05:48 AM
The biggest boon I can see to doing free days is the chance of getting up on the Free rankings in the Kindle Store, so the more days you offer something for free the more likely you can get onto that list and stay there for a little while. That way browsers are more likely to notice the book. I haven't tried any free experiments yet, though, so who knows. I could be totally off base there.

No, you're right on the money.

And for the hell of it, my free reads experience:

One of my ebooks was free for 2 weeks in late 2011. It was one of my backlist titles that had been out for 18 months. It was downloaded 7,500 times, and sat at #1 on the genre's best seller list for better than a week. Two weeks later, I had another book come out, and it sold significantly better than any of my other titles (about 4,000 copies in the first few months on Amazon alone, if I recall correctly off the top of my head).

Earlier this year, I did an experiment to see if a free book helped my other pen name. The book was free for its first week, and was downloaded about 14,000 times. I think it peaked around #80 on the free Kindle list. Though it hasn't sold all that well since it went back to $2.99, I have seen an uptick in sales activity for my books under that name. Still waiting on royalty statements from that period, but all of my books under that name have been consistently higher ranked on Amazon (those numbers don't mean a whole lot, but when a book has been hovering around #300,000 for two years and suddenly camps itself around 40,000, it's an improvement) and have shown a moderate increase in activity on Goodreads.

Now, I did also have a book under the same name start selling like mad right around the same time after a series of positive reviews on Goodreads, and I released a title a couple of months later from a publisher whose sales are generally higher anyway, so it's entirely possible those are affecting my numbers more than the free reads. Still, I would definitely offer up another free read if given the opportunity, if only because it did get my books into the hands of 7,500 and 14,000 readers who could, if they're so inclined, come back and buy off my backlist.

Sorry to be so longwinded! TL;DR version: my experience with free reads has been a good one, works best if you have an existing backlist.

Libbie
10-03-2012, 06:02 AM
No, that is helpful info. I am planning a couple of different freebie experiments (one I already mentioned, putting Book #2 of the historical series out with Select) to see whether they have some impact on my own sales. I expect there will be at least some effect.

COchick
10-03-2012, 07:13 AM
I've found that free runs with Select have mixed results. I've gotten a few reviews off them, and sales on my other stuff tends to pick up...but for the most part, I don't think it does much for me. It seems like a lot of people tend to scoop up the free books, hoard them, and then it's a complete gamble if they'll ever actually read it.

Just my own experiences, of course. A free run may have much different results with books in a series.

Libbie
10-03-2012, 07:33 PM
Just my own experiences, of course. A free run may have much different results with books in a series.

That's my suspicion. When I try Select, I'll be using the second book in a series as the freebie. That way, if the hoarders ( :) ) do get around to reading it they'll have to buy Book #1 first!

stranger
10-03-2012, 09:02 PM
That's my suspicion. When I try Select, I'll be using the second book in a series as the freebie. That way, if the hoarders ( :) ) do get around to reading it they'll have to buy Book #1 first!

That doesn't seem likely. Hoarders will likely just move on to another free book they have downloaded. (Or read book 2 without first reading 1--I guess that could make them want to check out book 1 afterwards.)

If I ever finish the series I'm working on at the moment, the plan is to make book 1 free often, maybe perma-free and never make the later books free. If they like the first one, they'll have to pay to read more.

MMcDonald64
10-03-2012, 09:50 PM
That doesn't seem likely. Hoarders will likely just move on to another free book they have downloaded. (Or read book 2 without first reading 1--I guess that could make them want to check out book 1 afterwards.)

If I ever finish the series I'm working on at the moment, the plan is to make book 1 free often, maybe perma-free and never make the later books free. If they like the first one, they'll have to pay to read more.

That strategy has worked well for me. I tried one time to give the second book away, and it was a bust. It was shortly before book three was going to be available so I thought it would drum up interest, but I can't really say if it did or not. Book three has done well, but I can't say it was because of the limited number of free downloads of book two.

As far as people reading free books, it's hard to tell, but I get quite a few emails, fb comments and reviews from people who say they got the first book free and then went on to buy the others. The fact that book three was my best seller last month (excluding borrows of book one and two), that's saying that people do go on to read subsequent books if they like the first freebie. (book one was free at the end of August, so it seems people read it, then book two and then book three.)

Libbie
10-05-2012, 02:42 AM
yeah, I've heard so many stories going either way (free = increased sales of other titles/free = no difference in sales), I guess it's the kind of thing a writer just has to fiddle with to see if it makes a difference.

triceretops
10-05-2012, 02:50 AM
It's totally an experimentation process--setting different price points and staggering free days. I just dropped my price to $1.99--it wouldn't let me go for the .99 price. I had to figure out that my novel was too big for that price point. Just great. Now I have that working against me. I would have rather had the .99 deal since I've never had any book at that price. Just experimenting, of course.

Oh, well, wherever you go, there you are...

tri

Libbie
10-05-2012, 08:54 PM
I just found out I'll be doing another radio show and podcast to promote the literary novel...I mentioned in my query letter how hungry the non-religious are to see their lives and stories depicted in the arts, and nobody in the publishing industry (who I queried, anyway, and I queried A LOT) believed me. Now I've got all kinds of exciting offers from prominent shows and blogs to help promote this book. It's great to see so much enthusiasm from people who are likely to enjoy it and give it good reviews, and I am eager to see what difference media exposure makes in selling books.

I have all my sales figures from the historical novel's early days in a spreadsheet, and I'm going to chart the figures of this book's early days against it, and try to see how much of an impact a targeted media campaign makes. Of course, it could be like comparing apples and oranges in the end and it might not tell me anything useful. But I like making charts in spreadsheets.

G. Applejack
10-05-2012, 08:59 PM
I just found out I'll be doing another radio show and podcast to promote the literary novel...I mentioned in my query letter how hungry the non-religious are to see their lives and stories depicted in the arts, and nobody in the publishing industry (who I queried, anyway, and I queried A LOT) believed me. Now I've got all kinds of exciting offers from prominent shows and blogs to help promote this book. It's great to see so much enthusiasm from people who are likely to enjoy it and give it good reviews, and I am eager to see what difference media exposure makes in selling books.


Count me as one of the hungry. This is great news. All of the good vibes to you. :)

WildScribe
10-08-2012, 09:51 PM
That's my suspicion. When I try Select, I'll be using the second book in a series as the freebie. That way, if the hoarders ( :) ) do get around to reading it they'll have to buy Book #1 first!

Any time I see that the free book I am considering is not the first in the series (and if the first is not also free), I pass. It feels like too much work, and I feel like someone is trying to put one over on me. I think the big bumps come from the FIRST book in a series being free.

Libbie
10-08-2012, 10:15 PM
Any time I see that the free book I am considering is not the first in the series (and if the first is not also free), I pass. It feels like too much work, and I feel like someone is trying to put one over on me. I think the big bumps come from the FIRST book in a series being free.

You're probably right about that. I'll have to think about this carefully before I do it (if I do it at all...I don't feel like I necessarily HAVE to try Select.)

WildScribe
10-08-2012, 10:24 PM
You're probably right about that. I'll have to think about this carefully before I do it (if I do it at all...I don't feel like I necessarily HAVE to try Select.)

Part of the reason I do this is that I AM a book hoarder, and I don't want to have to remember to go back and buy the first one, or which one GOES first, or anything else. I want to be able to just open up the book when I get around to it, and start fresh.

Diane
10-08-2012, 11:05 PM
As someone who checks the Amazon bestsellers lists, both paid and free, quite often, I'll tell you that there's no way I'd bother with the second novel in a series, even if it were free. If it's a book that I'd be interested in (say, a contemporary mystery) and it's the first in a series of 3 or more, I might download the free book to check it out. But one in the middle of a series? No.

Libbie
10-09-2012, 07:49 AM
Part of the reason I do this is that I AM a book hoarder, and I don't want to have to remember to go back and buy the first one, or which one GOES first, or anything else. I want to be able to just open up the book when I get around to it, and start fresh.

I completely understand that mindset. The second book in the series actually does stand on its own (back when I was working with agents, when the first one failed to sell we tried to sell #2 as #1, so I rewrote it to stand alone, and now #1 is just a separate prequel to the overall story.) But there's no way to make that clear in the product description that wouldn't sound stupid. Or maybe there is. I'll have to see what I can come up with.

Medievalist
10-09-2012, 08:14 AM
"this stand-alone novel set in the same [universe/etc] as . . . "

Katie Elle
10-09-2012, 05:42 PM
I would think the first in a series is the one to do freebies or loss leader pricing on. You want to get people onboard.

Libbie
10-09-2012, 08:56 PM
"this stand-alone novel set in the same [universe/etc] as . . . "

Ah! Good idea. I don't read a whole lot of series myself, so I'm not familiar with the kinds of descriptions these things have. Thanks!


I would think the first in a series is the one to do freebies or loss leader pricing on. You want to get people onboard.

The only problem I have with that is that the first in the series is currently selling 40 copies a day. If that number stays steady, it could possibly earn me close to $3000 this month. It will almost certainly earn around $2000 at least. If I give it a significant stretch of free-ness, I'll have to wait 60 days to begin seeing an income from that title again. That's why I was thinking of trying a free experiment with a newly released book, not one that's already established and selling well. My day job pays crap; I need as much money as I can get out of these books, quite badly!

On the other hand, the literary novel is getting some fantastic exposure on blogs and I expect its sales to take off soon, so I may be able to afford to experiment with making the first book in the historical series free. I'll just have to wait it out and see how things go this month.

kaitie
10-09-2012, 09:29 PM
Honestly, if you're already selling that well, why not go ahead and sell the second and save a freebie for a book in another universe? I think it's more of a tool to gain readers when your book isn't selling, right?

Libbie
10-09-2012, 09:35 PM
Could be; I started self-publishing purely as an experimental thing, to tinker around with stuff like promotion, timing, etc. So I'm still very much in that "Let's just play around and see what happens!" mindset.

However, now that I am actually (and unexpectedly) making good money from it, and now that I've decided to stick to it for future books, I should probably nail down a better approach. ha ha.

Medievalist
10-09-2012, 09:45 PM
Honestly, if you're already selling that well, why not go ahead and sell the second and save a freebie for a book in another universe? I think it's more of a tool to gain readers when your book isn't selling, right?

I think this is super advice.

What about putting the first few chapters of book 2 (< 5) on a Website, possibly one per week leading up to the release of the second book?

Libbie
10-10-2012, 01:33 AM
That is a KILLER idea. You are a genius.

horrorshowjack
10-11-2012, 01:38 AM
I think this is super advice.

What about putting the first few chapters of book 2 (< 5) on a Website, possibly one per week leading up to the release of the second book?

Make sure you register your copyright before doing that. It will speed things up if Amazon's infringement software flags your book due to the blog posts.

Diane
10-11-2012, 02:42 AM
Make sure you register your copyright before doing that. It will speed things up if Amazon's infringement software flags your book due to the blog posts.

Do you have any more information about this? Is this something that other writers have run into with Amazon?

Austin Wimberly
10-12-2012, 04:39 PM
I published the Kindle version (and so far the only version) of Sobornost yesterday. So far, I've got 3 confirmed sales (including me).

Think I'll get myself a Venti this morning instead of a Grande.

jana13k
10-12-2012, 05:41 PM
Libby - when you have 3 or more books available in your series, make the first free and see if you can get it picked up by Pixel of Ink and other websites. That will give you a huge boost in downloads. Assuming readers like the first book, sales of the subsequent books WILL soar.

I was also making "good" money on five backlist books (about $9k/month average), then when I was releasing the first in a new series, I made the first in an old series free. That month, I cleared over $38k, even with one book free. It made that much of a difference.

Katie Elle
10-12-2012, 11:04 PM
Do you have any more information about this? Is this something that other writers have run into with Amazon?

Occasionally they will find a copy on the web and request that you confirm that you are the copyright holder. Generally, all you need to do is say you are really the copyright holder and that's that. I've never heard of anyone needing to produce any evidence or a registered copyright.

Libbie
10-12-2012, 11:32 PM
Libby - when you have 3 or more books available in your series, make the first free and see if you can get it picked up by Pixel of Ink and other websites. That will give you a huge boost in downloads. Assuming readers like the first book, sales of the subsequent books WILL soar.

I was also making "good" money on five backlist books (about $9k/month average), then when I was releasing the first in a new series, I made the first in an old series free. That month, I cleared over $38k, even with one book free. It made that much of a difference.

Good info! Thanks. :) The third in the series should be out around February; I'll give that a shot when it is.

Noah Body
10-18-2012, 02:38 AM
September sales on Amazon will net me a little over $6,000. Which is still cool. Again, almost all of it derived from the zombie titles.

Nick Russell
10-18-2012, 06:55 AM
Great Noah! That's about three times what mine will be. Keep up the good work.

Libbie
10-18-2012, 07:49 AM
Fantastic, Noah!

bearilou
10-18-2012, 02:49 PM
September sales on Amazon will net me a little over $6,000. Which is still cool. Again, almost all of it derived from the zombie titles.

That's fantastic! :hooray:

Noah Body
10-18-2012, 04:12 PM
Great Noah! That's about three times what mine will be. Keep up the good work.
What! How can that be? Didn't you just release another Big Lake book?

Libbie
11-05-2012, 08:48 AM
Well, October's sales exceeded September's by $1000. (hooray!) However, sales peaked around the middle of October and have been declining a little more each day.

Fortunately I have the next book in the series coming out very soon. It will be interesting to see how long after its release it takes to spike sales up again (if they do spike back up at all!)

defyalllogic
11-05-2012, 07:08 PM
at least in America, there are the October / November long weekends.

I know before I go on vacation I go through my maybe list or my comics to-read and download madly so I have choices when there's no wi-fi or everyone is watching football.

Choosing books to bring (virtual or otherwise) is part of the pre-packing.

Libbie
11-06-2012, 05:45 PM
Good point. I wonder if that affected it. Hmmm.

Noah Body
11-15-2012, 05:11 PM
$4669.14 for October, all Amazon, and presuming I got the foreign exchanges correctly.

On the brighter side, the Kindle Daily Deal offer I accepted will mean that November's sales will be about double that. Despite the income inconsistency and the fact I'm a talentless hack, the self-pub thing is working out for me.

defyalllogic
11-15-2012, 06:17 PM
$4669.14 for October, all Amazon, and presuming I got the foreign exchanges correctly.

On the brighter side, the Kindle Daily Deal offer I accepted will mean that November's sales will be about double that. Despite the income inconsistency and the fact I'm a talentless hack, the self-pub thing is working out for me.

Woah. Talent and Profit needn't be mutually exclusive in a proper Free Market system.

Ann Joyce
11-15-2012, 07:08 PM
Libby, Congrats on your wonderful sales!

Noah, I don't think I'd call your awesome sales figures that of a talentless hack...congratulations!

Noah Body
11-15-2012, 08:17 PM
Woah. Talent and Profit needn't be mutually exclusive in a proper Free Market system.
One can never overestimate the luck factor. And the fact that I have the military-on-zombie market cornered.

Until Craig DiLouie writes another book, that is. Though I see D.J. Molles's latest is kicking my ass all over the place. :)

Nick Russell
11-15-2012, 09:42 PM
$4669.14 for October, all Amazon, and presuming I got the foreign exchanges correctly.

On the brighter side, the Kindle Daily Deal offer I accepted will mean that November's sales will be about double that. Despite the income inconsistency and the fact I'm a talentless hack, the self-pub thing is working out for me.

Talentless my butt! You don't get those kind of sales by lack of talent, Noah. Congratulations, and keep on rolling. I'm thrilled for you.

Noah Body
12-12-2012, 10:46 PM
$9,940 from Amazon for the month of November, most of that driven by the Kindle Daily Deal I participated in on November 2. An amazing and most welcome late year windfall for me, though I won't actually get the cash until the end of January.

On the other hand, sales for December are outright dismal. I expect some elevation as the holidays encroach, but not like what I had in November. I'll have a science fiction adventure book released in early January, so unless I can whip up a 50 Shades of Noah book before Christmas, I'm basically stuck in the mud.

By the by, I just had this thought: I'm not posting these numbers to brag or show off, or even beg for sympathy. It's difficult to get a transparent look into what self-publishing can do--or not do--for a writer, and I'm hoping exposure of my Amazon-related sales can help inform followers of this thread. I should also mention that sales in other venues--Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Pubit, etc., don't even come close to this--as a matter of fact, all my print sales to date (around $3,000 or so) are greater than all the others combined.

Nick Russell
12-12-2012, 11:23 PM
Congratulations Noah! Way cool!

kingsley
12-14-2012, 12:14 AM
$9,940 from Amazon for the month of November, most of that driven by the Kindle Daily Deal I participated in on November 2. An amazing and most welcome late year windfall for me, though I won't actually get the cash until the end of January.


Noah, thanks for sharing all this with us. It's inspiring and informative.

During your 2012 sales decline, have you published any new books? Do you have any other theories as to why you've declined? Zombies going out of style?

Nick Russell
12-14-2012, 06:26 AM
Many authors I know have seen sharp declines in the last few months, myself included. I blame the huge number of free books for the problem. Why buy a book when there are thousands you can download for free?

I have released four new books since August, one in my Big Lake mystery and three nonfiction travel books. Now, with 11 books out I am averaging 15 - 20 sales a day total on Amazon. This time last year one of my books, Big Lake, was selling hundreds a day. My best day was Christmas Day, when I sold 1800 books.

cleaverton
12-14-2012, 07:03 AM
Holy moly! That's very impressive. I can't wait to get mine done, published & one sold! You are officially my self pub hero :)

SDBmania
12-14-2012, 11:40 AM
Many authors I know have seen sharp declines in the last few months, myself included. I blame the huge number of free books for the problem. Why buy a book when there are thousands you can download for free?

I have released four new books since August, one in my Big Lake mystery and three nonfiction travel books. Now, with 11 books out I am averaging 15 - 20 sales a day total on Amazon. This time last year one of my books, Big Lake, was selling hundreds a day. My best day was Christmas Day, when I sold 1800 books.

That's nice Nick!

I feel almost like I'm starting over again and I'm rushing to finish the novel I am working on, I just got over 37k words tonight and I'm on track to hit my 70k word goal by January!

I'd be happy to get a 15-20 sales total, congrats!

GeekTells
12-14-2012, 12:12 PM
I'm not posting these numbers to brag or show off, or even beg for sympathy. It's difficult to get a transparent look into what self-publishing can do--or not do--for a writer, and I'm hoping exposure of my Amazon-related sales can help inform followers of this thread. I should also mention that sales in other venues--Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Pubit, etc., don't even come close to this--as a matter of fact, all my print sales to date (around $3,000 or so) are greater than all the others combined.

I personally appreciate this info. Just wanted to say so. :)

Carradee
12-14-2012, 04:39 PM
Many authors I know have seen sharp declines in the last few months, myself included. I blame the huge number of free books for the problem. Why buy a book when there are thousands you can download for free?


My own sales have increased in the past few months.

kingsley
12-14-2012, 05:06 PM
My own sales have increased in the past few months.

That's great! Love these stories. :)

Ann Joyce
12-14-2012, 07:00 PM
Nicholas...you and me both! Talk about inspiring. I love logging in each day to see what's happening in the world of self publishing. I'm so happy for everyone who finds a measure of success, be it large or small. Write on!

Noah Body
12-14-2012, 08:14 PM
Noah, thanks for sharing all this with us. It's inspiring and informative.

During your 2012 sales decline, have you published any new books? Do you have any other theories as to why you've declined? Zombies going out of style?
Sure, I published The Rising Horde (two books, actually) and I made the most money ever off of them. Last year, I made a little over $15,000...this year, it's more like $60,000, though I should probably tot everything up and provide an actual number. I might start a separate thread on that, and see if we can get anyone else to chime in with their spread.

I don't think zombies are going out of style...at all. The Remaining series does fantastic business, the Zombie Fallout series is a consistent winner, works by John O'Brien, Talluto, Chesser, and Blackmore bring in very steady revenues, and Apocalypse Z is currently ranked at #67 on Amazon. So no, while trade publishers think the genre is, eh, dead, the numbers being generated by independents seem to prove otherwise.

Now, I should take a moment to point out that not all of these books are very good--some are even unedited and present the reader with a remarkable series of hurdles to overcome, from poor grammar to lead characters who do stupid things because it's convenient for the author. (I'm accused of this myself.) But the fact remains: there is a ravenous market for this stuff, the same way there's an even greater market for fiction in the vein of 50 Shades.

As far as the decline goes, I have no real understanding of the cycle. My stuff is extremely military-heavy, whereas most of the other works are about individuals or small groups of people who band together and survive, a la The Walking Dead. Because I went specifically into the Special Forces arena, which requires a lot of functional detail regarding weapon systems and tactics and techniques, ranks, the explanation of special skill sets, etc., etc., that likely turns off a lot of folks--and I have the bum reviews to prove that. :D (I also get bum reviews about things regarding how forward looking infrared can't be used for piloting helicopters, when that's exactly what the AH-64 Apache uses at night, and always has. I guess I was taught incorrectly at Fort Hood.) It can make for some dense reading, and requires the reader to consider imagery that isn't usually discussed in the genre. But other than that, I have no real idea.