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View Full Version : What's the truth about Self-Publishing sales? What makes you a 'success'?



HoldinHolden
08-14-2012, 09:55 PM
I joined the world of Self-published authors in November, and before I began looking around at sales figures of others, I thought I was doing really well.

Since November (mid), I have sold approx 600 books (paperback and Kindle) and received 92 5-star reviews, and 3 1-star reviews (funny how people either love me or REALLY hate me). I was proud of this until I read that without "thousands" of sales (some claimed 'per month'), I am technically a failure.

What are your thoughts on stats and sales?

robertbevan
08-14-2012, 10:09 PM
where did you read that? the only number i've ever heard was something along the lines of "most self publishers don't sell more than 200 books... ever"... so i'd say you're doing alright. you're certainly kicking my ass, and i'm feeling pretty on-top-of-the-world right about now.

Tettsuo
08-14-2012, 10:17 PM
Success is what you say it is. If you're satisfied, then your a success. If you not, then your not.

stranger
08-14-2012, 10:31 PM
I'd say that 600 sales is well above average. Also you seem to be selling at a high price so that's the profit equivalent of many thousands of lower priced books.

With all those 5 star reviews, I'd also think that it had a great chance to take off at some point and sell a great many more.

HoldinHolden
08-14-2012, 10:41 PM
I should have specified, sorry! I am looking actually to get my self-published book agented and shopped to publishers.


I'd say that 600 sales is well above average. Also you seem to be selling at a high price so that's the profit equivalent of many thousands of lower priced books.

With all those 5 star reviews, I'd also think that it had a great chance to take off at some point and sell a great many more.

^^ This is exactly my thought, thought being the key word. When it comes to self publishing going the way of the mainstream publishing world is where I was told thousands upon thousands or I was someone no agent would ever even consider.
I think when it comes down to it, is that I had much different expectations- reach for the stars kind of dreams. It's not impossible, of course, but when you think things will happen one way, or you'll have this many sales in that amount of time and it doesn't quite work out that way- you (or maybe just I) tend to get confused about what reality actually is.

WeaselFire
08-14-2012, 11:05 PM
I should have specified, sorry! I am looking actually to get my self-published book agented and shopped to publishers.
Sorry to break it to you, but you won't. :(

Seriously, if you want an agent, send it to an agent before publishing. No agent really wants to see a book that's already been published. If your goal is an agented book through a trade publisher, do not self publish.

Jeff

triceretops
08-14-2012, 11:05 PM
You've got me beat, hands down. I'm only a week into it, but I feel I have a really slow start. But I'm a single book, no series and I'm on the Select program. I think you're above average sales wise. Time is on your side in this venture.

Continued luck with your sales and may they increase!

tri

stranger
08-14-2012, 11:17 PM
I should have specified, sorry! I am looking actually to get my self-published book agented and shopped to publishers.

Did you shop before selfpublishing? Generally selfpublishing isn't something that should be done as a gateway to mainstream but rather as an end in itself.


^^ This is exactly my thought, thought being the key word. When it comes to self publishing going the way of the mainstream publishing world is where I was told thousands upon thousands or I was someone no agent would ever even consider.
I think when it comes down to it, is that I had much different expectations- reach for the stars kind of dreams. It's not impossible, of course, but when you think things will happen one way, or you'll have this many sales in that amount of time and it doesn't quite work out that way- you (or maybe just I) tend to get confused about what reality actually is.

I think reality hits pretty much everyone who self-publishes after a while and it's usually with much less success than you have.

What I think you should do is to try and market/promote that book heavily and forget about trade publishing for now. Have you gone through Kindle Select for example? I just think that those reviews are more useful for sales rather than a trade contract.

HoldinHolden
08-14-2012, 11:38 PM
I have interest from an amazing agent right now and I have only queried 4- so I know the rumors are not 100% accurate that it "can't" happen. I think it's untrue if your platform is large enough, and the story good enough.

I never attempted to query beforehand. Self publishing always seemed natural for me because of my following online. Now I see the greater potential in it than what I have done. Unfortunately, what self publishing has done has been to close a lot of doors to me (as in, signings, media etc without those ridiculous figures you see as success).

I know what people say I should do, as i've been told by many before what can and cannot happen- but i've never been the type to let anyone tell me I can't. At the same time, I am going about pretty much every single way to see what sticks. I was never much a fan of the KDP Select program, though. I don't know what it is about it, but it just didn't feel like the right move.

HoldinHolden
08-14-2012, 11:44 PM
Sorry- platform for NONfiction. Not for fiction. I know the stipulations are much different there.

Old Hack
08-15-2012, 12:56 AM
Hello, Holden, and welcome to AW. I hope you continue to sell lots of books and I have to agree with others here that if you want to trade publish you should query widely, and probably not self publish. But I do think that many agents and publishers are relaxing their views on considering books which have already been self published, and it's not the dealbreaker it used to be. Obviously, the more sales you've made the more attractive your book will seem to many of them: but if you're book's stunningly good then a poor sales record isn't going to put them off now in the same way it might have done a couple of years back.

(While I have your attention I'd be grateful if you'd reduce the size of the image in your signature: we ask for a maximum image size of 400 x 400 pixels and while I've not checked yours, it looks bigger than that to me. Thanks.)

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 01:05 AM
Hello, Holden, and welcome to AW. I hope you continue to sell lots of books and I have to agree with others here that if you want to trade publish you should query widely, and probably not self publish. But I do think that many agents and publishers are relaxing their views on considering books which have already been self published, and it's not the dealbreaker it used to be. Obviously, the more sales you've made the more attractive your book will seem to many of them: but if you're book's stunningly good then a poor sales record isn't going to put them off now in the same way it might have done a couple of years back.

(While I have your attention I'd be grateful if you'd reduce the size of the image in your signature: we ask for a maximum image size of 400 x 400 pixels and while I've not checked yours, it looks bigger than that to me. Thanks.)


Sorry about that, i've been toggling but having issues with the dumb thing. Looks like i'll have to host it elsewhere after reducing the size in paint.

My hope is that you are right and that it's not a deal-breaker. It's ok if it is, I have no intention of letting it hold me back! In retrospect, I should not have gone the self-pubbing route, but I can't take it back now. I'm just going to push forward, see what happens, make some sales along the way.

Nightmelody
08-15-2012, 05:01 AM
With 600 sales and so many five * reviews I say write another book! It will only get better.

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 05:13 AM
I have a few more in the works! I'm not near ready to throw in the towel on this one (though I know lots of people say to piggyback)- plus with the blog, and keeping up Facebook and Twitter and raising two psychotic children- finding the time to sit down and really plug away at one of my book ideas is HARD to do!

merrihiatt
08-15-2012, 05:42 AM
Welcome to AW! Only you can determine which way you want to go with your titles (self or trade publish). It is possible to unpublish a book, if that is what you really want to do while you query agents and publishers, but your book has lost its first publication rights. Doesn't mean you won't be picked up if the book is good and your sales and reviews are good. I wish you luck in your endeavors!

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 06:00 AM
Thanks for the welcome! I am testing the waters. All of the waters! I'm open to just about anything. I believe in my work and at the end of the day- I think that's what really matters the most ;)

shaldna
08-15-2012, 12:05 PM
I joined the world of Self-published authors in November, and before I began looking around at sales figures of others, I thought I was doing really well.

Since November (mid), I have sold approx 600 books (paperback and Kindle) and received 92 5-star reviews, and 3 1-star reviews (funny how people either love me or REALLY hate me). I was proud of this until I read that without "thousands" of sales (some claimed 'per month'), I am technically a failure.

What are your thoughts on stats and sales?

600 sales is good compared to the average number a self published books will sell. But compared to a trade book it's pretty low.

Also, 95 5*s are brilliant - so long as they are real. I'm not saying they aren't, but if they are your friends and family etc then that's not a true reflection. I'm only saying this because I see a LOT of new self-publishers with a horde of 5* that are from their friends. If yours are all genuine, then cool, well done.


I should have specified, sorry! I am looking actually to get my self-published book agented and shopped to publishers.

That's going to be a lot harder for you now than it would have been before.

I'm not saying that it CAN'T happen, but I'm saying that since you've already self published the book you'll find it much harder.

That said, impressive sales figures, and I'm talking 5-10k in a couple of months, are likely to impress and attract attention of publishers etc - that's certainly been the case in many of the instances where self published books attracted publishers attention (Amanda Hocking for instance)


I have interest from an amazing agent right now and I have only queried 4- so I know the rumors are not 100% accurate that it "can't" happen. I think it's untrue if your platform is large enough, and the story good enough.

Stupid question, but does that agent know the book has been self published? Because if they don't then you need to tell them.


I never attempted to query beforehand. Self publishing always seemed natural for me because of my following online. Now I see the greater potential in it than what I have done. Unfortunately, what self publishing has done has been to close a lot of doors to me (as in, signings, media etc without those ridiculous figures you see as success).

I think 'success' is what you make it. Some people only consider a million copies and a Pultizer to be 'success' while others consider selling 100 copies as 'success'

Either way, good luck and welcome to AW.




**EDITED TO ADD***

(original edit removed)

Apologies - I was reading reviews on my phone and the Amazon site doesn't tend to display very well. I have to read them one by one and in doing so the name of the book had columated alongside the reviews so it looked like the reviewer was called 'Holdin Holden'.

I only realised this late last night when I was reading other reviews of a different book and it was doing the same thing.

I apologise unreservedly to all.

merrihiatt
08-15-2012, 01:32 PM
You may want to rethink responding to negative reviews (actually, any reviews). I've seen several authors do this and none have ended well.

Noah Body
08-15-2012, 05:00 PM
Wow, great reviews! You might notice your sales would increase quite a bit if you were to lower your asking price. Conventional wisdom says $7.99 for an ebook might be a bit on the pricey side.

G. Applejack
08-15-2012, 06:50 PM
*sigh*

Look. I just spent a few minutes combing through some of your "92 5-star reviews" and a couple of things jumped out me. Every single review I clicked on was by someone who had only reviewed your book, or just reviewed your book and one other item. Usually a baby toy. They also have strikingly similar names and have similar one-paragraph reviews.

You need to do better than this. I'm not talking about covering your tracks with better sock-puppeting, I'm talking about integrity.


Edited to add:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AVDGG09MPP8A5
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A5118D7A6QQ06
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3H7G8BSX36BX7
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A1BAPJWG8HTRL3/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2ZXUIGQAHGZAQ
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3AMK3J9W7IO16
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AT8R20SPXZ6UR

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 06:58 PM
I did rethink responding to negative reviews, hence to why I did not respond at all to the 3rd one- which was baiting me. I'm aware it was the wrong thing to do.

If you're implying the reviewers lied, you would be wrong. If you're implying I did it myself, you'd also be wrong. The reviewers are my "fans" (and I hate that word)- my Facebook Fan Page has over 17k followers. I encourage readers to leave reviews.

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 07:00 PM
And who is Beth? I am not Beth, and I did not review my own book or leave it 5-stars.

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 07:07 PM
Edited to add:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AVDGG09MPP8A5
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A5118D7A6QQ06
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3H7G8BSX36BX7
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A1BAPJWG8HTRL3/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2ZXUIGQAHGZAQ
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3AMK3J9W7IO16
http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AT8R20SPXZ6UR

Hate to tell you, none of those are me. I am actually legitimately offended. As if I would waste the time to create FAKE amazon accounts to review my own book? Seriously?
You don't know me, but FFS, that is incredibly offensive to even imply.

G. Applejack
08-15-2012, 07:14 PM
If you're implying the reviewers lied, you would be wrong. If you're implying I did it myself, you'd also be wrong. The reviewers are my "fans" (and I hate that word)- my Facebook Fan Page has over 17k followers. I encourage readers to leave reviews.

I'm not implying it. I'd lay money on it.

If your fans were coming over from facebook, a lot of them would have Amazon history of other reviews. They would have verified purchases of your book, sometimes verified names. They all wouldn't write down nearly the same review in one-paragraph format. They all wouldn't have similar simple names as their user name: Lindsey, Beth, MB, ect.

There would also be... more of a bell curve when it comes to your reviews. Even the most loyal fanbase has some people who would put down 4 stars.

Edited to add:


Hate to tell you, none of those are me. I am actually legitimately offended. As if I would waste the time to create FAKE amazon accounts to review my own book? Seriously?
You don't know me, but FFS, that is incredibly offensive to even imply.

I am sorry that you're offended. There are people a lot more savy and smarter than myself on this board, and if I'm in the wrong I will no doubt be told so. If you are correct and these are legit reviews, feel free to ignore me. From what I can see, however, these are your basic sock-puppeting reviews. I've seen it before.

The reason I'm bringing this up is not to call you out or embarrass you (though I'm sure it must be embarrassing, and I do apologize), but because you're trying to launch a career and gain professional representation. Pulling this kind of move does not look good, and it's easy to spot from a mile away. Let your book stand on its own merits.

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 07:19 PM
I'm not implying it. I'd lay money on it.

If your fans were coming over from facebook, a lot of them would have Amazon history of other reviews. They would have verified purchases of your book, sometimes verified names. They all wouldn't write down nearly the same review in one-paragraph format. They all wouldn't have similar simple names as their user name: Lindsey, Beth, MB, ect.

There would also be... more of a bell curve when it comes to your reviews. Even the most loyal fanbase has some people who would put down 4 stars.


Most of them actually are verified purchases, but obviously that doesn't matter to you.
Clearly there is not going to be any convincing you, and I'm not actually interested in convincing you. I don't understand what agenda you have to claim that I would actually take the time to create 90+ fake email addresses and leave 90+ fake reviews on Amazon. That's pathetic. Not me- you.

You turned a thread that was meant to ask about self-publishing sales and turned it into a troll attack. I won't be responding to anything further you have to say, because it's all bullshit and disrespect.

Note, for anyone else- yes I responded to negative reviews. It was a mistake. I stopped doing it once I realized that.
NO, I have never reviewed my own book. Not once. Period.

robertbevan
08-15-2012, 07:26 PM
They all wouldn't have similar simple names as their user name: Lindsey, Beth, MB, ect.


what's so similar about those names?

shadowwalker
08-15-2012, 07:35 PM
Not wanting to get into a debate here, but one of the 'triggers' for fake reviews is seeing that the 5 star review is the only book they've commented on. If you have a lot of your blog readers coming over and leaving a review, that may be why they only have one review - and 5 stars at that. Unfortunately, that will look suspicious to 'veteran shoppers'.

G. Applejack
08-15-2012, 07:39 PM
what's so similar about those names?

Granted, not the MB, but a lot of them were female first names only, again not verified. Lindsey, Nicole, Ashley, Lacey, Mo, Renee, ect.

I'm not stating that every purchase has to be verified. The weight of so many similar names, non-verified purchases, the reviews being markedly similar and the non-review history do tip the scales for me that these are not legit.

robertbevan
08-15-2012, 07:49 PM
If you have a lot of your blog readers coming over and leaving a review, that may be why they only have one review - and 5 stars at that.

that's exactly what i was thinking. and if her blog readers are mostly mothers (which stands to reason, given the subject matter of her book), then it doesn't seem all that unrealistic that they'd have female names.

Katie Elle
08-15-2012, 08:31 PM
Mommy Blogs are very cultlike. I don't find those numbers implausible at all.

J. Tanner
08-15-2012, 08:57 PM
Me either. But unfortunately for the OP, the results of her somewhat unique situation appear very much how G.Collins says so he probably won't be the only one to question the validity. Two other points which haven't been mentioned:

There are an unusual number of reviews of the POD paperback version that are unverified. This is highly unusual for a self-pub book. Where did these people get paperbacks if not from Amazon? (Not asking for an explanation since there are several; just pointing out the question that will be asked by the skeptics.)

And the groups that show up to shout down each negative review are problematic. They appear as if the author with a following is broadcasting each negative review out to their loyal followers (some will assume sockpuppets rather than followers) which intentionally or not drives them to show up and dogpile on another customer. Some here will remember Hugh Howey who went through some very similar growing pains with customer reviews and having a rabid following that he communicated with perhaps a bit too openly.

So while I wouldn't go as far as G.Collins and accuse the author of sockpuppetry the end result of mobilizing her fans looks almost identical on the surface to books/authors who've been "proven" to have done exactly that.

shadowwalker
08-15-2012, 09:31 PM
Yes. I'm not saying it is or it isn't gaming - only that it has the appearance of, and that could prove problematic.

LStein
08-15-2012, 09:41 PM
I'd personally believe that the 92 5-star reviews were from your blog fans but then you threw me off with this blatant lie:



NO, I have never reviewed my own book. Not once. Period.

Is this not you? Because you have the same name there as your AW name.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/customer-reviews/stars-5-0._V192240867_.gif Holdin Holden (http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/ABFI5KYA8PHK2/ref=cm_pdp_rev_title_1?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview#R294S476A2QR7U), July 6, 2012
Loved your book felt like I been In ur shoes as a single mom all on my own I think.. I'm always looking for if blogs in am just for a good lol ur book is the first one I've bought in 9 yrs after my Lil one was board...completely on love w enjoyed it tremendously!!! Ur. Great mom keep up the great work!!!



http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/ABFI5KYA8PHK2/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp?tag=vglnk-c1189-20

LStein
08-15-2012, 09:45 PM
Your book seems really funny and the cover is great. But this does discredit you somewhat.

I understand the urge. The anthology my short story is in has no reviews on Amazon. I've thought of creating an account to "review" it in order to get some interest. I stopped myself because it's unprofessional and, more importantly, unethical.

Old Hack
08-15-2012, 09:45 PM
I've looked at the reviews for Holden's book and can see one--just one--review which looks like it might have been written by her. But I'm not sure it was.

She's said, in this thread, that she's already realised it was a bad idea:


I did rethink responding to negative reviews, hence to why I did not respond at all to the 3rd one- which was baiting me. I'm aware it was the wrong thing to do.

Let's not stomp on her for something which she might have done, just once, and has agreed was a bad idea. It's not constructive and it doesn't add anything to the conversation, does it?


*sigh*

<snipped>

You need to do better than this. I'm not talking about covering your tracks with better sock-puppeting, I'm talking about integrity.

Collins, if you're going to imply that one of our members is lacking integrity you're going to need a lot more concrete proof than a handful of links to a few Amazon reviews from people with first names. Please don't do it again.


You don't know me, but FFS, that is incredibly offensive to even imply.


That's pathetic. Not me- you.

You turned a thread that was meant to ask about self-publishing sales and turned it into a troll attack. I won't be responding to anything further you have to say, because it's all bullshit and disrespect.

Note, for anyone else- yes I responded to negative reviews. It was a mistake. I stopped doing it once I realized that.


Holden, you're new to AW and were under a bit of pressure when you wrote those posts, so I'm going to cut you some slack. But just so that you know in future, I won't put up with name-calling here. If you see a post which is offensive to you please use the Report Post button in future, which is the red triangle with the exclamation mark in it. Let the mods handle it. Don't resort to name-calling and snark because you'll end up at risk of a time-out or a ban, which would be a shame.

You wrote,


NO, I have never reviewed my own book. Not once. Period.

Is this Amazon review (http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/ABFI5KYA8PHK2/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp) from you?

Reviews
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,963,507 (Learn More) - Total Helpful Votes: 1 of 3


Musings of a 20-something Mom, and the perils of being a Mommy Blogger by Jenny Schoberl
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Holdin Holden, July 6, 2012
Loved your book felt like I been In ur shoes as a single mom all on my own I think.. I'm always looking for if blogs in am just for a good lol ur book is the first one I've bought in 9 yrs after my Lil one was board...completely on love w enjoyed it tremendously!!! Ur. Great mom keep up the great work!!!

I ask because the reviewer titled their review with the user name you use here. It's no big deal if it was you: as you said, you've already realised it's not a useful thing to do and I think you're right there; but if it was written by you, I would prefer it if you'd not pretend otherwise here. Thanks.


I am sorry that you're offended ... The reason I'm bringing this up is not to call you out or embarrass you (though I'm sure it must be embarrassing, and I do apologize), but because you're trying to launch a career and gain professional representation. Pulling this kind of move does not look good, and it's easy to spot from a mile away. Let your book stand on its own merits.

I'm glad that you were trying to help Holden here; but it would have been nicer all around if you (and others) had been a little less eager to point fingers, ok?

Now. I think we all get the message that reviewing one's own books is a Very Bad Idea. So let's get back to the discussion in hand, which is meant to focus on the levels of self published sales required for a book to be considered a success. I'm sure we have some good things to say about that. Thanks, all.

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 09:57 PM
That is not my review. I don't understand how that got my name- but it isn't me. My name on Amazon is JENNY, not HoldinHolden.

Edit- this is my account. https://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/ATR5NG3FMWIKJ?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr_rev_detpdp

My only guess would be someone changed their name to that after leaving the review, as I have never even seen that name pop up in the reviews before.

MMcDonald64
08-15-2012, 09:58 PM
I think success is hard to define because there are so many factors. I consider my series of thrillers successful, but what I've made could be chump change for someone with a hugely successful dystopian series such as Wool by Hugh Howey.

stranger
08-15-2012, 10:01 PM
I'd personally believe that the 92 5-star reviews were from your blog fans but then you threw me off with this blatant lie:



Is this not you? Because you have the same name there as your AW name.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/customer-reviews/stars-5-0._V192240867_.gif Holdin Holden (http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/ABFI5KYA8PHK2/ref=cm_pdp_rev_title_1?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview#R294S476A2QR7U), July 6, 2012
Loved your book felt like I been In ur shoes as a single mom all on my own I think.. I'm always looking for if blogs in am just for a good lol ur book is the first one I've bought in 9 yrs after my Lil one was board...completely on love w enjoyed it tremendously!!! Ur. Great mom keep up the great work!!!



http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/ABFI5KYA8PHK2/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp?tag=vglnk-c1189-20

I think the name Holdem Holden is the title of the review and the reviewer is written by a BethS.

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 10:02 PM
I see why you think it was by me. The NAME of the girl's review is "Holdin Holden" not her username. Her username is Beth S.
My name is Jenny.

LStein
08-15-2012, 10:06 PM
Ah, you're right. I'm sorry, Jenny. I misread it, thought the subject of the review, Holdin Holden, was the name. Sorry again.

Old Hack
08-15-2012, 10:08 PM
That is not my review. I don't understand how that got my name- but it isn't me. My name on Amazon is JENNY, not HoldinHolden.


I think the name Holdem Holden is the title of the review and the reviewer is it was written by a BethS.

I was just coming back here to point that out. Thanks for clearing that up for us all, Jenny/Holden. My apologies for doubting you.

Now: let's move this conversation on. Thanks, all.

MMcDonald64
08-15-2012, 10:21 PM
What I meant to add to my above post but got called away at work, was that non-fiction is a whole 'nother ballgame. For one, people are not only used to paying more for non-fiction--they tend to not trust a non-fiction book that is bargain basement price, so your book seems to be priced well according to your market. I would say 600 is pretty good as far as sales go. It's not a breakout bestseller though--at least not yet. You never know though because the one thing about self-publishing is it often starts out slower than trade publishing, but kind of builds up steam and momentum. Six months from now, it could be a runaway bestseller...or it may not, but one good thing about self-publishing is that there is no expiration date. There's no reason why your book can't sell at a nice pace for years--especially if you continue to add to your line of books. It sounds like you have a really large readerbase already and that is half the battle. Good luck!

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 10:30 PM
What I meant to add to my above post but got called away at work, was that non-fiction is a whole 'nother ballgame. For one, people are not only used to paying more for non-fiction--they tend to not trust a non-fiction book that is bargain basement price, so your book seems to be priced well according to your market. I would say 600 is pretty good as far as sales go. It's not a breakout bestseller though--at least not yet. You never know though because the one thing about self-publishing is it often starts out slower than trade publishing, but kind of builds up steam and momentum. Six months from now, it could be a runaway bestseller...or it may not, but one good thing about self-publishing is that there is no expiration date. There's no reason why your book can't sell at a nice pace for years--especially if you continue to add to your line of books. It sounds like you have a really large readerbase already and that is half the battle. Good luck!

Thanks! I tried to price it low enough to sell, but enough to where I would make a little something. CreateSpace has a "minimum" price they'll let you sell for, and that minimum is basically paying them back but you get nothing. I do have sales now and then!

I think what someone said much earlier rings true- success is what you think it is, and the self-pubbing world is definitely a hell of a lot different than being published by a house.
For me, i'm not there yet, so i'll keep trying and see what happens.

shadowwalker
08-15-2012, 10:45 PM
Yes, you can't let other people define success for you, especially with self-publishing. You set your goals based on what you want and go from there. Comparing yourself to others in anything is usually self-defeating.

MmeGuillotine
08-15-2012, 10:59 PM
I'd agree that success is entirely subjective and, in part, down to what your expectations were. I expected to sell maybe a dozen copies of my first self published book and have just shifted my 15,000th copy so in that respect, I feel like I've achieved something quite good but on the other hand, I don't really feel like a SUCCESS quite yet because I think I have a really long way to go and a lot of developing to do as a writer before that happens.

I sympathise about the reviews by the way. My blog has quite a large following (although I write fiction rather than non fiction based on my blog) and they can get a bit er rabidly fannish at times. I've learned now not to EVER mention any less than stellar reviews that I may have had because a few have the tendency to pile on the unfortunate reviewer. I've also had to explain that although it's lovely that my readers want to leave five star reviews, very few books on earth are THAT good so maybe they could um rein it in a bit. I could honestly have kissed the first person who gave me a three star review as it felt, I dunno, REAL and went a long way to making me feel like a proper writer. :)

HoldinHolden
08-15-2012, 11:08 PM
15k, congrats! How long has your book been self-published?

I'm learning, more and more, that when it comes to selling books and writing books and who will read it, who won't; who will love it and who won't; and peoples opinions on what works and what doesn't- there is no one right way.
I guess it's a lot like parenting in that respect.

I'm thankful for the 5-star reviews, though I have never specifically asked people to only leave markings that high. I noticed the same even goes for a best-selling blogger turned author like The Bloggess. Most of her reviews are 5-star, and 1-star, with not much in between (and she has far more reviews and reads than I)

MmeGuillotine
08-15-2012, 11:21 PM
Thanks! I first published it in March 2011 but it took a few months for sales to really take off. As I'm always saying, I do this for fun not glory so I'm more than happy with how things are going but I know I'm never going to be a big mega success. :)

Oh absolutely - it's dependent on so many factors, many of which just can't be predicted or manipulated so yes, it's exactly like parenting. :)

I'm not a parenting blogger myself but I know a lot of the UK ones so have seen how intense the whole scene can be, although I believe it's rather less so than the US parenting blogging scene. The five and one star with nothing in between reviews don't really surprise me at all in that respect.

WeaselFire
08-15-2012, 11:40 PM
Sorry- platform for NONfiction. Not for fiction.
That changes everything. For many non-fiction books, 10,000 copies is a best seller. I've had trade-published non-fiction that sold less than 500 copies total. Even though it didn't sell through the advance, I still got an advance. :)

Jeff

James D. Macdonald
08-16-2012, 12:37 AM
I stopped myself because it's unprofessional and, more importantly, unethical.

Unprofessional, unethical, nearly certain to come out ... and useless.

HoldinHolden
08-16-2012, 12:57 AM
Thanks! I first published it in March 2011 but it took a few months for sales to really take off. As I'm always saying, I do this for fun not glory so I'm more than happy with how things are going but I know I'm never going to be a big mega success. :)

Oh absolutely - it's dependent on so many factors, many of which just can't be predicted or manipulated so yes, it's exactly like parenting. :)

I'm not a parenting blogger myself but I know a lot of the UK ones so have seen how intense the whole scene can be, although I believe it's rather less so than the US parenting blogging scene. The five and one star with nothing in between reviews don't really surprise me at all in that respect.

Well I have to say I aspire to have sales like yours- so that's something! I would be pooping myself happy with that many sales ;)
I also have really huge aspirations (story of my life).

It's funny you say that about parenting blogs because that's one of the main messages in my book! They (other parents) can be like feral cats. It's been a weird journey thus far, that's for sure.

MmeGuillotine
08-16-2012, 01:04 AM
Aw, thanks. I'm sure you will more than outsell me in time and I hope you do! :)

Yeah, I used to be vaguely involved in the whole thing (why? I write a history and art blog but because I have children and I also blog, I somehow ended up running with the parent blogger pack for a while) and got really turned off by some of the stuff going on. Nowadays I just keep my distance and watch the cat fighting from afar! :)

HoldinHolden
08-16-2012, 01:11 AM
Well thank you- we will see what happens!
I've learned the ins and outs of the Mommy Blogging world... I also learned to moderate comments and ban people on my page. Arguing is a waste of energy that could be used positively elsewhere! Once I figured all of THAT out- it's a breeze.

valeriec80
08-22-2012, 12:45 AM
Honestly, a lot of us around these parts come from a fiction background, as do I, so I'm not sure how much help I'll be. The kind of numbers I've seen thrown around for fiction are at least 5,000 to 10,000 within a year or so to interest an agent in a self-pubbed book.

But fiction is a different animal entirely than non-fiction. You've got this kind of self-help/memoir thing going on there (your sample is positively engrossing, btw), and you've obviously got an audience, so I really think you should just go for whatever you want. Rules are changing these days, and, even if they weren't, I think people who are tenacious about getting what they want eventually do, one way or another.

Noah Body
08-22-2012, 04:00 PM
What makes you a success? When your fans make trailers for you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0lGTYWBdno

I got a kick out of this.