PDA

View Full Version : grayworld's self-publishing journey, in black and white



grayworld
12-22-2013, 03:06 AM
Hello!

I'm a long-time lurker here at AW who decided about a month ago to self-publish a pair of ebooks through Amazon. I've read all of the self-publishing diaries here, and they've all been very informative. I thought I would add my own thread to the mix in the hopes it's helpful to at least one person out there.

Last month, I uploaded my first novel to Amazon, then added a short story collection about a week and a half later. Going in, I was hoping to sell one or two novels a day, plus a handful of the short story collection overall. Well, it turns out that's exactly what happened, thanks to a last-minute surge of five sales right around the thirty-day mark.

Like a lot of other AWers mentioned in their diaries, I made most of my sales in the middle of the week, and hardly any outside the Tuesday-Thursday timeframe. But then again, I was getting the "we are experiencing a delay in updating your sales" message from Amazon for most of December. Also, the sales on the "Author Rank" page and the actual book page seem to be out of sync, which makes it really tough to gauge when exactly a sale was made. Judging from what I've read on the KDP message boards, this seems to be an ongoing issue.

Well, I think that wraps it up for my initial diary post. You can find much more detailed information about my first month in self-publishing by checking out the blog located at the bottom of my signature line.

merrihiatt
12-22-2013, 03:08 AM
Looking forward to following your journey.

grayworld
12-22-2013, 03:22 AM
Thanks, merrihiatt. I read about your roller coaster ride, and I hope I end up providing half as much useful info as you have.

Ann Joyce
12-22-2013, 03:57 AM
Glad to have you aboard, grayworld. I, too, will be looking forward to watching your progress. Here's to great sales!

Pushingfordream
12-22-2013, 04:01 AM
I'm excited to read your journey.

grayworld
12-22-2013, 04:03 AM
Hi, Ann Joyce. And thanks for the welcome!

grayworld
12-22-2013, 04:04 AM
Thanks, Pushingfordream.

Old Hack
12-22-2013, 12:50 PM
Welcome to AW, grayworld. I've added this thread to the index of self-publishing diaries.


Well, I think that wraps it up for my initial diary post. You can find much more detailed information about my first month in self-publishing by checking out the blog located at the bottom of my signature line.

If you want to direct AW's members to your blog like this, please stick to the blogging room. You're welcome to have a link to your blog in your signature, of course.

I know it's difficult to work out what's allowed and what isn't when you're new to a place as big as AW: if you're in any doubt, take a look at the FAQs room where there are all sorts of useful threads.

grayworld
12-23-2013, 12:24 AM
Thanks, Old Hack. As I read it now, that last line of my original post looks pretty spammy. I'll be more careful from now on.

I just wanted to add a little bit about the marketing and promotion I did for my books, what did and didn't work. When my novel went live, I did a one-time-only Shameless Facebook Plug on my personal page. That resulted in four or five sales from friends, and one offer (threat?) of an honest review on Amazon.

The same week I released the novel, I started a blog at Wordpress and a Twitter account, and I set up the blog to send a tweet when I update it. After reading the helpful self-publishing diaries here, I realize I should've gotten the ball rolling on the social media at least a month or two before the release date. Concerning the blog, my goal is to update it at least twice a week with what I hope are interesting tidbits about my self-publishing experiences, works in progress, and general writing stuff. So far, I've kept up the pace. As far as Twitter goes...I'm still figuring it out. A few things I know I need to do in the social media arena (thanks to what I've learned in the diary threads) are start an author Facebook page, learn more about / join Goodreads, and look into getting reviews, although it seems there's a huge backlog in that department.

I've kept the price of my novel at $3.99. Reading about price points here at AW and elsewhere, it looks as though the $0.99 and $2.99 price points have a bad reputation. Also, my novel clocks in at 112,000 words, so I think $3.99 is a fair price. I did drop the price of my short story collection from $2.99 to $0.99 after the first week, hoping the low price and the free sample would convince folks to take a chance on the novel. This doesn't seem to have worked, except maybe in the UK, where I had back-to-back sales of the short collection and the novel right after I dropped the price. Otherwise, I sold three at $2.99 and three at $0.99.

As for the future, I plan on releasing another novel around the beginning of February. At that point, I'll probably drop the first novel to $2.99, and possibly make the short story collection free through KDP Select. I plan on offering the new release for $3.99. We'll see how it goes...

FionnJameson
12-23-2013, 01:23 AM
Reading about price points here at AW and elsewhere, it looks as though the $0.99 and $2.99 price points have a bad reputation.

This makes me sad, because I think $2.99 is the sweet spot for novels under 80K, since it's not too low, but not too high that new readers won't want to take a chance on you.

With that said, $3.99 seems like a fair price for the word count you mentioned.

Thanks for posting and good luck with your future sales.

merrihiatt
12-23-2013, 01:31 AM
I've kept the price of my novel at $3.99. Reading about price points here at AW and elsewhere, it looks as though the $0.99 and $2.99 price points have a bad reputation.

I haven't read negative comments about the $2.99 price point. On the contrary, it has worked well for me. Low enough for readers to take a chance on an unknwn author, yet high enough to be pulled up from the $ .99 price point, which I have read negative things about.

Of course, you may also be referring to conversations about the perceived value of a higher priced book. That would make a $2.99 book look less appealing.

grayworld
12-23-2013, 01:53 AM
Hi FionnJameson and merrihiatt,

I read about the $0.99 vs. $2.99 vs. $3.99 argument here (from the Interesting Links sticky): http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new-smashwords-survey-helps-authors.html

The numbers only apply to Smashwords, so I'm not sure what they mean as far as Amazon ebooks are concerned. I've been tempted to lower the price of my novel to $2.99 to see if it increases sales, but I think I'm going to hold out until I release a new book in a month or so. I'm completely new to marketing/selling/etc., so this is one big experiment for me so far :-).

merrihiatt
12-23-2013, 04:11 AM
Oh, yes, I've read that information. You mentioned a "bad reputation" associated with the $2.99 price point. That is what I am particularly curious about.

oakbark
12-23-2013, 01:24 PM
Always interesting to follow a writer's journey.

Nice covers!

WriterBN
12-23-2013, 06:52 PM
Grayworld, good luck with your venture!

I'm experimenting with price points at the moment. Hopefully, I'll learn something and will post back here if I do.

Spell-it-out
12-24-2013, 04:50 PM
Bet of luck with your adventure!

grayworld
01-09-2014, 08:37 AM
A belated Happy 2014 to everyone! I was hoping to post my final December sales numbers this past weekend, but it turns out the internet doesn't work too well around here when it's flash-frozen and buried under a foot of snow. So here we go:

In December, I sold 16 novels (14 in the US, 2 in the UK) and 4 short story collections (3 in the US, 1 in the UK). This was a steep fall-off from November, when I sold 20 novels (18 in the US, 1 each in the UK and Canada) and 2 short collections (both in the US). However, those November numbers are based on a short month, since my novel went live on November 20th, and the collection did so on the 29th.

Since we're already a week into January, I'll submit a progress report. So far, I've sold 4 novels and 1 short collection, all in the US. I'm pleased to see the sales continuing, thus far at an eerily consistent (4 novels, 1 collection per week) yet very satisfying rate.

I have more (including a random social media encounter with Margaret Atwood!) to report, but since I've spent the past ten hours or so alternating between sliding all over the road and being stuck in snowdrifts, I'm a little burnt out. But I guarantee another post this weekend.

merrihiatt
01-09-2014, 09:19 AM
Thanks for the update.

grayworld
01-13-2014, 08:13 AM
Hi again. Just wanted to add a little bit to my previous post.

I lowered the price of my novel from $3.99 to $2.99 effective January 1st. So far, the book seems to selling at the same rate it was in December. I'll be sure to let you know if there are any significant changes, either up or down.

With the holidays and winter storms (and my own laziness) lately, I haven't been keeping up with my blog and other social media outlets the way I'd like to. But a few weeks ago I did have my first retweet ever, and it was by Margaret Atwood herself! There was a discussion of The Handmaid's Tale going on, and I mentioned how much I loved it. As a fan, I really got a kick out of the whole experience. Also, I think it was my first proper use of a hashtag.

grayworld
02-02-2014, 04:29 AM
First off, a Happy Groundhog Day/Super Bowl Eve to everybody :D.

My January sales fell off a bit from December's, but I still managed to reach double figures (barely) with sales of my novel. I sold 10 overall (8 in the US, 2 in the UK) to go along with 4 of my short story collection (3 in the US, 1 in the UK). Considering the lack of promotion I'm doing, I'm very happy with these numbers. It seems as though people are stumbling into the books, reading the samples, and taking a chance on them. This pleases me :).

Last weekend, I finally got around to uploading my books to Smashwords. No sales there yet, but I did have 19 sample downloads of the novel and 17 of the short collection. Also one copy of each was added to readers' libraries. I'm not quite sure what that means, but it sounds like a good thing!

matt marshall
02-02-2014, 04:43 PM
Good luck Grayworld, looking forward to reading about your progress!
Keep pushing with the marketing too.

All the best

WriterBN
02-03-2014, 12:59 AM
Good luck, grayworld. I think January was a bad month for a lot of authors.

grayworld
03-01-2014, 10:51 AM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement, matt marshall and WriterBN!

Eliot insisted that April is the cruelest month. Pfftt. February's pretty darn close.

Okay, I'm being overly dramatic. Though my sales were unimpressive, I made decent strides on the social media front in February. I'm more active on Twitter, updating my blog more frequently, and participating more often here at AW.

The hard numbers...

Seven total sales of my novel: Five via Amazon (three in the US, one each in Canada and Australia), and two through Smashwords. My short story collection tallied a goose egg.

Honestly, I'm not too disappointed with these figures. As a longtime lurker here and as someone who's read every one of the self-publishing diaries, I was expecting a gradual fall-off in sales over time. That said, I've also learned (again, thanks to you guys) that the best way to increase sales is to release a new book. Well, I've got one scheduled to go live on Tuesday, March 4th. The cover is my new avatar, and I'm going to post links with more info in the Blogging/Social Networking section if anyone's interested.

WriterBN
03-01-2014, 06:32 PM
Good luck with the upcoming release!

Mama Llama
03-01-2014, 07:56 PM
Best of luck to you with the new release. I think the cover looks good, and I'm anxious to see if the new book boosts sales of the others as well.

cwbrowning
03-01-2014, 08:56 PM
Best of luck with the second release, Grayworld! I'm enjoying reading about your journey! Keep your head up. I found that my second release did boost sales for my first novel. It wasn't earth-shattering, but there was an increase. Definitely keep writing and getting them out there! And keep us posted!

Wormwood
03-02-2014, 02:19 AM
B.P. I wish you the best of luck! I'm going to download the book as soon as I have a chance!

Micah

Ann Joyce
03-04-2014, 01:05 AM
Nice cover, grayworld. And releasing new titles does seem to boost sales. Hope it all goes well for you! Write on.

grayworld
04-02-2014, 09:41 AM
Well, the Signal Fire release (sales-wise, anyway) was less-than-impressive. When I published A World Gone Gray in late-November 2013, I averaged about a sale per day for the first month. Signal Fire? Not so much. The raw numbers:

Signal Fire: 8 total sales (6 via Amazon US, 1 via Amazon UK, and 1 via Smashwords)

A World Gone Gray: 3 total sales (2 via Amazon US, 1 via Smashwords)

I'd hoped Signal Fire's sales would match AWGG's debut, but that didn't quite happen. I'd also hoped that the release of the new novel would spark renewed interest in the old one. Again, that didn't quite happen.

Thankfully, not all successes are measured in sales. On the plus side, I added about 25 Twitter followers in March. I also received my first four reviews, most of which were positive. One of my ongoing goals has been to update my blog roughly twice a week, and I've managed to accomplish that over the past couple of months.

So all in all, I'm mostly pleased with March, 2014. If anyone's interested, I blogged in slightly more detail about the month that was on (coincidentally enough) my blog: http://bpbroome.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/march-after-action-review/

Ann Joyce
04-02-2014, 10:43 AM
I might be your first April sale of Signal Fire. I just picked it up. I have a few books to read ahead of it, but I should get to it in a week or two here. Looking forward to it!

grayworld
04-03-2014, 07:09 AM
Wow! Thank you so much, Ann Joyce! I really hope you enjoy it.

klswaim
04-04-2014, 12:53 AM
May I inquire about your book covers? I find them quite lovely. Did you use the Createspace service?

grayworld
04-04-2014, 08:40 AM
May I inquire about your book covers? I find them quite lovely. Did you use the Createspace service?

Hi, klswaim. I'm glad you like the covers. I actually purchased all of them (pre-made) through UK-based The Cover Collection. If you're interested, there's a little more information and a link to their site in this old blog post of mine: http://bpbroome.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/drum-roll-please/

cwbrowning
04-06-2014, 07:09 PM
I'd hoped Signal Fire's sales would match AWGG's debut, but that didn't quite happen. I'd also hoped that the release of the new novel would spark renewed interest in the old one. Again, that didn't quite happen.

Thankfully, not all successes are measured in sales. On the plus side, I added about 25 Twitter followers in March. I also received my first four reviews, most of which were positive. One of my ongoing goals has been to update my blog roughly twice a week, and I've managed to accomplish that over the past couple of months.

It's so discouraging when sales don't happen the way we hope. However, I have learned (and continue to learn) that we can't control sales at all and the sales do not necessarily reflect on us as writers. Sometimes, people just aren't buying. That doesn't help with the disappointment, I know, but I think it's true just the same. :)

And you're right on with the fact that not all successes are measured in sales! I would be ecstatic if I could add 25 followers to my Twitter or Facebook page! It seems like getting my name out there is kind of like hitting my head against a wall...repeatedly. So, kudos to you for achieving that increase in Twitterland! I also give mad props for achieving your goal of updating your blog twice a week. That is my weakest spot. Maybe I'll set myself a similar goal and see what happens...

Keep going and great things will come! :)

grayworld
04-12-2014, 02:10 AM
It's so discouraging when sales don't happen the way we hope. However, I have learned (and continue to learn) that we can't control sales at all and the sales do not necessarily reflect on us as writers. Sometimes, people just aren't buying. That doesn't help with the disappointment, I know, but I think it's true just the same. :)

And you're right on with the fact that not all successes are measured in sales! I would be ecstatic if I could add 25 followers to my Twitter or Facebook page! It seems like getting my name out there is kind of like hitting my head against a wall...repeatedly. So, kudos to you for achieving that increase in Twitterland! I also give mad props for achieving your goal of updating your blog twice a week. That is my weakest spot. Maybe I'll set myself a similar goal and see what happens...

Keep going and great things will come! :)

Thank you for the kind words, cwbrowning!

I've been on vacation this week, so I've had some extra free time to play around with marketing, social media, and all that good stuff. My brilliant plan for the week was to offer a 25% off coupon at Smashwords for my first novel, then tweet about it occasionally (without going all Spambot3000, hopefully), using appropriate hashtags. I've found that both reading- and writing-related topics trend pretty often, which is helpful. Oddly, Indianapolis (where I live) also trends nationally quite a bit, which means I can sometimes double-dip and (theoretically) reach lots of local readers. So far, I've gotten huge spikes in pageviews, along with modest spikes in sample downloads (which I consider a potential sale). No sales at Smashwords yet, but I've had three at Amazon (almost matching my total for all of March). Of course, there's no way of knowing if the Amazon sales are related to the extra tweeting, pure chance, more people buying books in general, or the alignment of the planets.

On a side note, I noticed the other day that I sold a copy of A World Gone Gray late last month through Apple. It was my first sale outside of the Amazon and Smashwords sites, and was a nice surprise.

cwschizzy
04-12-2014, 02:53 AM
Keep the good work up, and thank you for the great link to that covers site.

grayworld
05-03-2014, 09:36 AM
Keep the good work up, and thank you for the great link to that covers site.

Thanks, cwschizzy. I think they're a great find, too.

Just wanted to check in with my April review. Okay "wanted" isn't quite the word, but here we go:

April tied my personal record for fewest sales in a month. The hard numbers: I sold five copies of A World Gone Gray and two copies of Signal Fire (thanks again, Ann Joyce!) at Amazon, all in the US. Otherwise, nothin'.

This past month was actually a little disheartening. I had a rare week off from work in April, so I hit the social media scene (for me, that's Twitter and Wordpress) pretty hard. I created a $1-off coupon at Smashwords, then advertised both it and the Amazon incarnations of my books via Twitter. The results were...uninspiring. A grand total of nothing.

Oddly enough, I attracted over 300 Twitter followers in April, 90% of whom aren't offering me 1000 more followers for $29. Or catfishing or outright scamming. This uptick in followers has resulted in more Favorites and Re-Tweets, but no additional sales thus far. I'm actually in the midst of the longest sales rut of my "illustrious" five-month publishing career—almost two weeks now.

There is a bright side, though. Finances willing, I plan on releasing one of my mainstream/contemporary novels sometime this month. I'm a little nervous about the genre-shift (though it's not like I have a fan-base or anything), but I'm looking forward to it. Something different.

Ann Joyce
05-03-2014, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the update, Gray. Though I know it doesn't feel like it to you, I don't think those sales are that bad for a new author. For sure, you had a better April than I did. It's slow going when we're trying to build our brand. I hope things pick up for you in May. Write on!

P.S. I really enjoyed Signal Fire, and yes, it was me that left a review.

LBlankenship
05-04-2014, 06:20 PM
Go for it grayworld! Having your fingers in several genre pies isn't a bad thing.

cwbrowning
05-04-2014, 07:16 PM
Oddly enough, I attracted over 300 Twitter followers in April, 90% of whom aren't offering me 1000 more followers for $29. Or catfishing or outright scamming. This uptick in followers has resulted in more Favorites and Re-Tweets, but no additional sales thus far. I'm actually in the midst of the longest sales rut of my "illustrious" five-month publishing career—almost two weeks now.

There is a bright side, though. Finances willing, I plan on releasing one of my mainstream/contemporary novels sometime this month. I'm a little nervous about the genre-shift (though it's not like I have a fan-base or anything), but I'm looking forward to it. Something different.

That's a fantastic increase in your Twitter followers! :) I wouldn't worry too much about the sales slump. As Ann Joyce said, you're doing fine for a new author. The best way to increase sales is to get more work out there, so you're on the right track with your new release. I think its awesome that you're releasing in another genre! Best of luck!

klswaim
05-04-2014, 08:52 PM
I will admit that I bought your other book, but not your new book. I will remedy that shortly!

grayworld
05-05-2014, 09:13 AM
Thanks for the update, Gray. Though I know it doesn't feel like it to you, I don't think those sales are that bad for a new author. For sure, you had a better April than I did. It's slow going when we're trying to build our brand. I hope things pick up for you in May. Write on!

P.S. I really enjoyed Signal Fire, and yes, it was me that left a review.

Thanks so much, Ann Joyce. I'm really glad you enjoyed Signal Fire. The sequel should be ready to go around Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I have two mainstream/contemporary novels due out in May/June and August/September, respectively. One's a "summertime" book and the other's an election story, so hopefully the timing of their releases make sense.

And thanks LBlankenship, cwbrowning, and klswaim for the support. klswaim must be the one who broke my sales-less streak. I've already got two in May. Thank you!

SunshineonMe
05-07-2014, 04:37 AM
Here's my suggestion, (I hope someone hasn't already said this. Haven't read the whole thread) put a "sneak peek" in the back of your first book of the first couple chapters of your second book. Then a direct link to buy it. Congratulations btw~ You have amazing covers!!

grayworld
05-11-2014, 04:00 AM
Here's my suggestion, (I hope someone hasn't already said this. Haven't read the whole thread) put a "sneak peek" in the back of your first book of the first couple chapters of your second book. Then a direct link to buy it. Congratulations btw~ You have amazing covers!!

Thanks for the complement on the covers, SunshineonMe. I like them too :-) Your suggestion about adding back matter to the first book is a good one. I saw it recommended in one of the guides I used while formatting (I think it was the Smashwords version), but at the time I was just happy to cobble together a presentable book, considering my lack of experience with formatting. I was also a little self-conscious about tooting my own horn. I had one of those "who the hell do I think I am?" moments and decided against advertising the next novel.

I've found a dozen or so minor typos in A World Gone Gray in the meantime, so if I ever get around to uploading the cleaned-up copy, I'll add the back matter, too. I'm slightly less intimidated by formatting now. Slightly.

grayworld
06-02-2014, 06:04 AM
May turned out to be my worst month sales-wise, but I did manage to make inroads on other fronts. I'm steadily attracting Twitter followers, which is a good thing. Here are the raw numbers:

A World Gone Gray: 3
Signal Fire: 2

All sales at Amazon US. On the plus side, I recorded one sale of each of the above titles at Apple via Smashwords back in April, so those can be added to last month's figures. I'll take all the good news I can get :-)

I did slack a bit when it comes to my blog. I'd been steadily adding 6-8 posts per month, but only managed four in May. I've decided that the time spent on my blog would be better spent on my WIP. Those extra three or four thousand words might come in handy in actual books.

My one promotion this month was a $1-off offer on all of my books at Smashwords that I've been promoting through Twitter (close to 800 followers now). As with my last promo, I'm getting about 30 pageviews per tweet, a handful of free downloads, and zero sales. But I did get two last-minute sales at Amazon. I have no idea if there's any connection. But maybe that bodes well for June.

grayworld
06-08-2014, 06:07 AM
So I finally pulled the trigger on an unconventional romantic comedy I wrote about five years ago. I'd been wishy-washy about it for half a decade, but I happened to run into the perfect cover (the one in my avatar) for it last week and decided to go forward with it. If all goes according to plan, it'll be available at Amazon on June 13th.

Many more details here at my humble blog: http://bpbroome.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/and-now-for-something-completely-different/

Old Hack
06-08-2014, 10:33 AM
grayworld, I wish you luck with your new book: but please don't direct people to your blog like that. If you want to tell us something then do so here; sending us over to your blog to read a piece is far too close to spamming for comfort. Thanks.

Norman D Gutter
06-13-2014, 08:04 PM
gw:

I finally got around to reading this diary. Interesting journey. I think you're doing things right. If the long-tail theory of self-publishing and e-books is true, the sales will come. Keep writing and publishing.

Good luck,
NDG

grayworld
06-22-2014, 02:32 AM
Thank you for the support, Old Hack and Norman D Gutter. And sorry for the spamminess of my last post, Old Hack. Guess I got a little giddy about the new release. I'm still relatively new, and I'll try to dial it down.

Literateparakeet
06-22-2014, 02:54 PM
Congrats! I love the picture on your new cover. Best of luck!

grayworld
06-28-2014, 10:15 AM
Thanks, LiterateParakeet! It was a pre-made cover that happened to hit on a lot of the themes of the book. I lucked out.

grayworld
07-05-2014, 07:54 AM
Soooo, The Transience of Youth didn't quite set off the fireworks I'd hoped it would. On the bright side, A World Gone Gray keeps stumbling, fumbling, bumbling its way toward respectability. My other two offerings? A whole lot of nothin'.

Here're the raw numbers:

The Transience of Youth: 3 sales (all via Amazon). To me, my mother, and my father.

A World Gone Gray: 5 sales (3 via Amazon US, 1 via Amazon UK, 1 via Smashwords [country undetermined]).

Other Stuff I Self-Published: 0

Okay, I admit the outlook looks a bit bleak to the outside observer, but I'm not discouraged. I thankfully made other gains on the June front.

I'm still plugging away at Twitter. If I live to be 80, I may acquire a tentative grasp of this thing through osmosis. In the meantime I've somehow managed to attract over 1,200 followers, which seems to be a good thing. I'm also connecting with fellow writers and readers. That's cool.

Experience (most of it gained right here through AW) tells me Summer is a Bermuda Triangle of sorts for books sales. That's okay. I'll keep on keepin' on.

Here's to a more productive July!

benluby
07-05-2014, 06:47 PM
Soooo, The Transience of Youth didn't quite set off the fireworks I'd hoped it would. On the bright side, A World Gone Gray keeps stumbling, fumbling, bumbling its way toward respectability. My other two offerings? A whole lot of nothin'.

Here're the raw numbers:

The Transience of Youth: 3 sales (all via Amazon). To me, my mother, and my father.

A World Gone Gray: 5 sales (3 via Amazon US, 1 via Amazon UK, 1 via Smashwords [country undetermined]).

Other Stuff I Self-Published: 0

Okay, I admit the outlook looks a bit bleak to the outside observer, but I'm not discouraged. I thankfully made other gains on the June front.

I'm still plugging away at Twitter. If I live to be 80, I may acquire a tentative grasp of this thing through osmosis. In the meantime I've somehow managed to attract over 1,200 followers, which seems to be a good thing. I'm also connecting with fellow writers and readers. That's cool.

Experience (most of it gained right here through AW) tells me Summer is a Bermuda Triangle of sorts for books sales. That's okay. I'll keep on keepin' on.

Here's to a more productive July!

Not to make light of it, but my attitude when I launch mine this month is 1 sale is one more than the people that have their books stacked in a drawer, never to see the light of the publishing world, be it self published or trade. Congrats on the sales!

Mclesh
07-05-2014, 10:12 PM
grayworld, I really like the cover for The Transience of Youth as well as the blurb. It sounds like something for me. I couldn't find it on Amazon, though. (I don't have accounts with B&N and Smashwords.)

grayworld
07-09-2014, 08:25 AM
Not to make light of it, but my attitude when I launch mine this month is 1 sale is one more than the people that have their books stacked in a drawer, never to see the light of the publishing world, be it self published or trade. Congrats on the sales!

Thanks, benluby. My books had been sitting in the digital drawer for years, so I decided to give self-publishing a try. The results are mixed so far, but I wish you the best of luck with it!

grayworld
07-09-2014, 08:40 AM
grayworld, I really like the cover for The Transience of Youth as well as the blurb. It sounds like something for me. I couldn't find it on Amazon, though. (I don't have accounts with B&N and Smashwords.)

Hi Mclesh, and thank you for your interest in Transience. There's now a link to the Kindle version at Amazon in my signature. It seems to work, and I can't believe I forgot to add it when I released the thing last month. I'm hopelessly tech-unsavvy. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Mclesh
07-09-2014, 11:29 PM
Just bought. I look forward to reading it when I have a bit of time. ;)

grayworld
07-13-2014, 07:24 AM
Thanks so much for taking a look, Mclesh. I really appreciate it and truly hope you enjoy it.

I'm following your self-publishing thread, too, and it looks like you're much farther ahead of the curve than I was when I started. Great game plan. Best of luck to you!

grayworld
08-02-2014, 11:08 AM
Well, a member of the Simpson family could add up my total July sales using only half of his or her hand of choice. Here are the raw numbers:

The Transience of Youth: 1 (again, thank you, Mclesh!)
A World Gone Gray: 1

Both sales were via Amazon, American style.

As much as I'd like to chalk my record-low monthly sales up to the meh economy or the summer doldrums, I have to place the blame squarely upon myself.

Turns out that if you lag on social media for a few days or weeks, you sort of...disappear. As much as I hate to whine about real-life while dealing in fiction, I have to admit that the usual life-challenge stuff may have contributed to my less-than-heroic July stats.

As evidenced above, my sales numbers were atrocious. My Twitter numbers were, too. I stalled out around 1,200 followers. Hopefully due to the spambots and catfishers from months past cutting me free from their hooks. I'm trying to take a more professional approach to Twitter, following readers and writers rather than the random Tweeps I followed willy-nilly when I first signed up.

All in all, grrr. I'd hoped my sales would be on the happy side of the bell curve by now. The exact opposite seems to be happening, but I'm not easily deterred. I'm still not sure if that's a strength or a weakness.

Time will tell. :-)

Literateparakeet
08-02-2014, 12:36 PM
Sometimes LIFE does have a way of demanding our attention. :) Hang in there. I totally understand about very slow months. Just remember this is a marathon not a sprint. There's still time...

RevanWright
08-02-2014, 12:38 PM
You should include a link to your twitter, etc. in your sig or on your site. I had to go look you up, and I'm so, so lazy. Following.

I love the cover for Transience, and the fact that you used the word 'finagles' in the blurb. :)

grayworld
08-02-2014, 01:08 PM
Sometimes LIFE does have a way of demanding our attention. :) Hang in there. I totally understand about very slow months. Just remember this is a marathon not a sprint. There's still time...

Yes, real life can get in the way. And thank you for the support!

grayworld
08-02-2014, 01:20 PM
You should include a link to your twitter, etc. in your sig or on your site. I had to go look you up, and I'm so, so lazy. Following.

I love the cover for Transience, and the fact that you used the word 'finagles' in the blurb. :)

Thanks! I'm a fan of your cover, too.

I've always loved the word 'finagle,' and it just happened to fit in the blurb. You're right about adding a Twitter link to my signature (and my blog site). Excuse me while I Google BB code yet again...

Can I ask you where you got the Amazon, Twitter, etc. icons in your sig? They look great.

RevanWright
08-02-2014, 08:13 PM
Can I ask you where you got the Amazon, Twitter, etc. icons in your sig? They look great.
Google images. Just search 'twitter icon png' or 'facebook icon png'.

morrighan
08-04-2014, 10:30 AM
Just stumbled upon this thread today and bravo for publishing your books! I've been hemming and hawing for years and now am finally dipping my toes into it - granted I actually finally finished a novel in 90 days that's not fan fiction. I've got a digital cover done so far but that's about it.

Your journey's very inspiring and thank you so much for sharing.

Norman D Gutter
08-05-2014, 06:37 PM
Sales doldrums are standard for the self-publisher. Plow your way through it as best you can.

NDG

grayworld
09-02-2014, 08:08 AM
Thanks RevanWright, morrighan, and Norman D Gutter, for the support. Trust me. I need it.

One is the loneliest number...

Unfortunately, one sale is all I managed in August. Granted, I've been lagging on all social media fronts lately, but I was still hoping for a crooked number. No such luck. On the plus side, I recorded a belated July sale via Apple/Smashwords, thereby padding my stats for the previous month. Here's the laughably-easy-to-read hard number:

The Transience of Youth: 1 (Smashwords).

That's it. Like I mentioned, I've been lazing it up the past couple of months marketing-wise. But I'm still new to the self-publishing game and I don't know if the poor sales numbers are due to a) natural sales fluctuations, b) Amazon's fluctuating regulations, c) summer, or, d) fluctuations in the quality of my writing.

I wish I had more to offer, but as per usual, I'm clueless. If I ever figure it out, I promise to let you know.

SunshineonMe
09-02-2014, 08:47 AM
Thanks RevanWright, morrighan, and Norman D Gutter, for the support. Trust me. I need it.

One is the loneliest number...

Unfortunately, one sale is all I managed in August. Granted, I've been lagging on all social media fronts lately, but I was still hoping for a crooked number. No such luck. On the plus side, I recorded a belated July sale via Apple/Smashwords, thereby padding my stats for the previous month. Here's the laughably-easy-to-read hard number:

The Transience of Youth: 1 (Smashwords).

That's it. Like I mentioned, I've been lazing it up the past couple of months marketing-wise. But I'm still new to the self-publishing game and I don't know if the poor sales numbers are due to a) natural sales fluctuations, b) Amazon's fluctuating regulations, c) summer, or, d) fluctuations in the quality of my writing.

I wish I had more to offer, but as per usual, I'm clueless. If I ever figure it out, I promise to let you know.


I just want to encourage you that since Amazon rolled out KU I've been hearing that everyone had terrible sales for August. Here's to a better September! ((((hugs))))

RevanWright
09-02-2014, 09:50 AM
Yeah, August has got a lot of indie authors down. :(
Keep plugging away, Gray. Keeping our spirits up is the best thing to do, and keep writing!
I have hope for fall, and it's not just because of football and changing leaves and cool weather and Halloween and Pumpkin Spice lattes...:Coffee:
Seriously, fall can't get here fast enough.

Old Hack
09-02-2014, 12:02 PM
August has always been a slow month for sales for as long as I have worked in publishing, which is (OMG) over thirty years now. That includes both books and computer games. Try to keep the faith.

grayworld
09-03-2014, 09:47 AM
Thank you for the kind words and encouragement, Sunshine, Revan, and Old Hack. I'm looking forward to Autumn, too. At this point I'm more than happy to trade humidity and insect swarms for frost and anything pumpkin-based.

And thanks for the information about August sales. I've read that summer is typically slow. I released my first book around Thanksgiving of last year, got better-than-expected sales, then wrongly assumed each successive release would see equal (maybe even slightly more impressive) results, spark interest in previous titles, etc. So wrong. It's been Right Side of the Bell Curve City.

But I'll keep plugging away, because that's kind of what I do. Here's to a successful September for us all :-)

Literateparakeet
09-03-2014, 08:16 PM
Have you tried a giveaway at Goodreads or LibraryThing to get your book out there in front of people?

Or perhaps a .99 sale with advertising on all those websites/email lists that do that sort of thing?

grayworld
09-08-2014, 08:47 AM
Have you tried a giveaway at Goodreads or LibraryThing to get your book out there in front of people?

Or perhaps a .99 sale with advertising on all those websites/email lists that do that sort of thing?

That's definitely in the playbook. I'm not registered at Goodreads as a member (but just found out someone has listed me as an author, along with my all of my books [!]). Naturally, this surprised me. I'm not very familiar with LibraryThing either, but I'll look into it.

I've considered offering my books for .99 or free on all platforms for a while now, just for the exposure. But after a brutal run (as in I can't remember the last time I sold a book at Amazon) I'm starting to wonder if Amazon and all the other outlets are even worth it. I'd planned on releasing my latest title this month via KDP, but what with the slow sales, I may as well just send the Word file to the handful of family members who would've bought it anyway and save them a few bucks. It may be time for me to dust off my ancient copy of Writer's Digest and do some real grunt work...I'm officially perplexed.

But, as always, thank you for the advice and support :-) I'm sure I'll figure this out.

grayworld
10-02-2014, 10:27 AM
Well...

I managed to double my month-to-month sales in September. Sadly, that means I sold two books as opposed to one. Here are the gory details:

A World Gone Gray: 1 (Amazon, US)
Like Life Itself: Ten Short Stories: 1 (Amazon, UK)

Any sale is cause for celebration in my book (ha!), especially when said sale occurs in a country in which I do not reside. For some reason, I get an extra kick out of selling a book in a foreign country, so that sale in the UK (my first sale of LLI in forever, to boot) means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy it, intrepid reader...

Social media-wise, I've been lagging a bit on my blog over the past few months, but I made a point of upping my Twitter presence in September. As noted above, it didn't result in many sales. I did manage to pick up 200 or so followers, bumping my total to 1,500+. That's about 1,500+ more Twitter followers than I ever thought I'd have.

So, mixed results. Then again, I'm still relatively new to self-publishing. I figure it'll be years before I collect enough info to actually know what I'm talking about. But I promise to share that info the second I'm privy to it :-)

Moldy
10-02-2014, 05:43 PM
Well...

I managed to double my month-to-month sales in September.

It's still sunny and warm outside, just wait till October :) The summer-doldrums can't be underestimated; even ebay business crashes and dies in the summer for a lot of people. I tried selling some craftwork from a friend this summer and it was impossible to move, when every other season was fine.

SunshineonMe
10-04-2014, 12:00 AM
Hey doubling a month is something to celebrate! Here's to every month doubling from now on! Congratulations!

grayworld
10-05-2014, 06:02 AM
It's still sunny and warm outside, just wait till October :) The summer-doldrums can't be underestimated; even ebay business crashes and dies in the summer for a lot of people. I tried selling some craftwork from a friend this summer and it was impossible to move, when every other season was fine.

Thanks for the encouraging and informative words, Moldy. I released my first ebook around Thanksgiving last year and racked up some impressive (to me) sales numbers. Those numbers stayed consistent through February, then dropped off the table when the weather warmed. As much as I despise shoveling snow, I'm hoping the colder weather attracts more readers :)

grayworld
10-05-2014, 06:06 AM
Hey doubling a month is something to celebrate! Here's to every month doubling from now on! Congratulations!

Thanks, SunshineonMe. I wish the same on you! :)

SunshineonMe
10-05-2014, 06:14 AM
Thanks, SunshineonMe. I wish the same on you! :)

*big hug* thank you so much!!

Ann Joyce
10-09-2014, 02:49 AM
Hi Gray, I haven't been around for awhile, but I decided to pop in to see if anyone had anything at all to say - good, bad, or indifferent about KU (I think that's right).

Anyway, I'm glad to see you're still here. For sure, I see more unfamiliar names than familiar ones now. I wanted to let you know that I'm still anticipating that sequel to Signal Fire. Are you doing any writing on it? I remember you saying it would be coming out this fall, and I want to be sure and get it when it does.

I hope things pick up for you soon. You're a good writer. Things have been moving slow for me too, lately. A few sales here and there; nothing to write home about (pun intended). ;) Blessings!

grayworld
10-11-2014, 08:32 AM
Hi Gray, I haven't been around for awhile, but I decided to pop in to see if anyone had anything at all to say - good, bad, or indifferent about KU (I think that's right).

Anyway, I'm glad to see you're still here. For sure, I see more unfamiliar names than familiar ones now. I wanted to let you know that I'm still anticipating that sequel to Signal Fire. Are you doing any writing on it? I remember you saying it would be coming out this fall, and I want to be sure and get it when it does.


I hope things pick up for you soon. You're a good writer. Things have been moving slow for me too, lately. A few sales here and there; nothing to write home about (pun intended). ;) Blessings!

Hi, Ann Joyce! It's nice to "see" you too :) I still can't thank you enough for your generous review of Signal Fire, and I'm honestly shocked to hear you're still interested in its sequel. High praise, indeed.

Amazingly, you just predicted the topic of this weekend's blog post. Unfortunately, the past six months or so have been brutal on the financial front, and I've had to push the release dates of both I Like Mike (original release scheduled for Summer, 2014) and Rift Valley (Thanksgiving-ish, 2014) forward indefinitely. I'll be updating my various author profiles to reflect this...

Mike is done (circa 2012). I just need to save enough cash for a decent cover. Sadly, my usual cover provider (who I was more than happy with) has ceased operations until 2015, at least. So I'll be shopping. On the actual writing front, Rift Valley is still a work in progress. It's been slow going, but I'm ten chapters in. Unfortunately, that translates to about 25% of a first draft.

Realistically, RV'll be done in early 2015 at the earliest. But its release date is predicated upon a) my financial status and b) my ability to locate solid (and cheap) cover art. Same for Mike (though I'd hoped to time its release with the mid-term elections in the US. Grrr...).

I honestly don't know how KU has affected my sales. I released my first book around Thanksgiving last year and had decent sales which evaporated as the weather warmed. So I'm not quite sure if it's a KU thing, a weather thing, or what.

Thanks so much for the interest and the complements, Ann. They really mean a lot to me. Best of luck (and many sales!) to you, too.

Ann Joyce
10-12-2014, 12:13 AM
Hi, Ann Joyce! It's nice to "see" you too :) I still can't thank you enough for your generous review of Signal Fire, and I'm honestly shocked to hear you're still interested in its sequel. High praise, indeed. You're very welcome, gray. I wouldn't have written the review if I hadn't meant it, believe me. I do know the darn things are scarcer than hen's teeth.


Unfortunately, the past six months or so have been brutal on the financial front, and I've had to push the release dates of both I Like Mike (original release scheduled for Summer, 2014) and Rift Valley (Thanksgiving-ish, 2014) forward indefinitely. That's a tough break. So sorry to hear it and I hope things turn around for you soon.


It's been slow going, but I'm ten chapters in. Unfortunately, that translates to about 25% of a first draft. I hear you on the slow going. I was on track to publish one novel and one short story each year, but it doesn't look like I'll make that goal for 2014. I have never been able to figure out how some of these authors keep pumping out new titles every month. Total writing machines. I do have about 1/3 of the sequel to my first novel written, and some starts on others, including one non-fiction, but nothing even close to finished.


I honestly don't know how KU has affected my sales. I released my first book around Thanksgiving last year and had decent sales which evaporated as the weather warmed. So I'm not quite sure if it's a KU thing, a weather thing, or what. I've never done well with e-sales, so I don't know either. I have sold 2 copies of my romance novel this month. Look out world!


Thanks so much for the interest and the complements, Ann. They really mean a lot to me. Best of luck (and many sales!) to you, too.Please let me know when that sequel gets published. I will buy, read, and review! The best of everything and many sales to you as well. Blessings!

grayworld
11-02-2014, 02:37 AM
Thanks, Ann Joyce, for all the support. You're just awesome!

I've stolen the "April is the cruelest month" line more than I care to admit, so I'll just lead off with this: October Sucked. In capital letters.

Suckitude is subjective, of course, and I'm probably being melodramatic (surprise, surprise), but I failed to sell a single book in October. I'm no expert, but I think thems qualify as sucky sales. This is my first month-long shutout, so forgive me if I'm a little devastated. Miraculously, I'd managed to ward off the "Big 0" for nearly a year. This past month? Not so much.

On the plus side, I received my first review for Like Life Itself. It was on Amazon's UK site and it was four-star. So it goes without saying that's awesome. I also managed to attract 250-ish Twitter followers. That's also awesome.

So it was a win-lose type of month. Mostly lose. But I'll keep on keeping on. It's pretty much what I do.

Celeste Carrara
11-02-2014, 03:02 AM
Sorry about the lack of sales in Oct. Just focus on that awesome review & more followers on Twitter ;)
I'm sure Nov will be much better! Keep on keeping on is a great attitude to have. :)

grayworld
12-02-2014, 11:14 AM
Sorry about the lack of sales in Oct. Just focus on that awesome review & more followers on Twitter ;)
I'm sure Nov will be much better! Keep on keeping on is a great attitude to have. :)

Thanks so much, Celeste. I truly appreciate the support :).

November went a little better than October, which isn't saying much. I sold two copies of A World Gone Gray, both at Amazon, one each in the UK and the US. As always, I'm grateful for every sale I can muster. At least two readers out there are more adventurous than I am when it comes to unknown writers :). Many thanks to them. And I hope I didn't disappoint you too much...

I'm still lagging with my blog, but I've been active on Twitter. I'm safely over the seemingly-arbitrary 2,000-follower threshold. For the time being, at least.

Also, I have my first year-over-year numbers available for crunching. AWGG went live around Thanksgiving last year. Incredibly, it sold 20 copies during the final ten days of November, 2013. Then it predictably nose-dived from there.

I recorded one sale of the aforementioned ebook during the same time period in 2014. Clearly, there's been a fall-off since then. I'm not sure if it's due to random fluctuation, Kindle Unlimited, Amazon's algorithms, my crappy writing, or what. Only time will tell. Or not.

This month marks my one-year anniversary in the self-publishing game. Honestly, I still have no idea what's going on. Check back next year. I might (but probably won't) have a clue. Until then, keep on writing :).

grayworld
01-03-2015, 05:15 AM
One is typically the loneliest number. Case in point? My sales number(s) in December. One intrepid reader risked $3.99 of their hard-earned cash on an unknown author. Whether that reader was rewarded or horrified, only time will tell. Here're the gory details:

A World Gone Gray: 1 (AmazonUS)

Thems that, as far as numbers are concerned. On the plus side, I attracted about 150 Twitter followers. Other than that? Umm, well. Yeah. It's looking a bit bleak on the self-publishing front.

That's prompted me to drop the price of each of my humble offerin's to $0.99 at Amazon and Smashwords (and friends, if/when they catch up). Through January, for now. Depending upon sales, more changes will be a-comin' anon.

grayworld
02-05-2015, 11:16 AM
I realize I'm a bit late with my monthly report, and I apologize. I place all blame squarely on the excessively-padded shoulders of the National Football League. Whose brilliant idea was it to schedule the Super Bowl on Groundhog Day Eve, anyway? Needless to say, my early-February routine is all out of whack...

Last month, I decided to lower the price of each of my humble offerings to 99˘ in an attempt to increase sales. The result? I sold more ebooks in January than I had in the previous four months combined. Although it sounds impressive, it really isn't, in the grand scheme of things. But it did warm my heart significantly to see a crooked number as the 31st morphed back into the 1st. Here are the easy-to-follow details:

A World Gone Gray: 6 (all at Amazon, US)

Nothing follows.

Though my just-over-one-year of self-publishing sample-size is decidedly small, some constants are starting to emerge: ninety percent of my sales thus far have been via Amazon (mostly US), and 90 percent of my sales have been AWGG. This tells me I should probably concentrate 90% of my marketing efforts on hocking AWGG on Amazon. So, reluctantly, that's what I intend to do in the coming months.

The plan is to unpublish my stuff on Smashwords and Friends in the coming weeks and go exclusively with Amazon. This will give me access to KDP Select's alleged benefits (marketing, KU, etc.). Of course, I'll bump my books' prices back up to their pre-2015 levels beforehand in anticipation of any potential lending/borrowing revenues surpassing actual sales. It might sound like I know what I'm doing, but trust me, this is all theoretical. I'm officially entering uncharted (by me, anyway) territory.

In other news, I'm still plugging away at Twitter and lagging away at my blog. On the plus side, I've probably written more new fiction already this year than I did all of last year. That sequel to Signal Fire may actually see the light of day before year's end. I'm also seriously considering offering AWGG in print (through Createspace) later this year, and my semi-trunked political satire thing might make an appearance in ebook form before the next guy or gal announces his or her candidacy for president. Maybe.

M. H. Lee
02-05-2015, 06:44 PM
Way to keep at it grayworld!

In terms of going into Select, you'll probably do this without realizing it, but make sure that when you put your books in they're priced at $2.99 or above. Otherwise, you won't have the option to do a Countdown deal and won't be able to do one until the book is at $2.99 for at least thirty days. I think this issue has gone away with the new VAT changes, but also make sure that the UK price is high enough to do a Countdown in the UK. Stupidest thing in the world, but at least last year if you let Amazon set the UK price, it was often just below the price allowed for a Countdown deal which meant you could do one in the US but not the UK.

Good luck with it! (And be careful with Smashwords that all of your books are down before you go Select. I've heard some horror stories...)

slhuang
02-05-2015, 08:25 PM
Good luck with Select! I'm very curious as to what the results will be. :) And congrats on those January sales.

Ann Joyce
02-06-2015, 05:54 AM
I'm so glad to see you're still hanging in there, Gray. I haven't been around for quite some time, but just thought I'd pop in and see what's going on. I didn't get a single thing published in all of 2014. It was really an off-year for me in so many ways. I am glad to say I am starting to write more again now, in fact, am working on two novels on and off. it would be a delight to get them both out there in 2015. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, still keeping my eyes open for that sequel. Meanwhile, write on and continue to keep us posted on your progress. Blessings!

WriterBN
02-07-2015, 12:02 AM
Good luck, grayworld. January was the worst month ever for me (and I've heard a few other who've said that as well). No place to go but up, right? :)

grayworld
02-07-2015, 11:22 AM
I'm so glad to see you're still hanging in there, Gray. I haven't been around for quite some time, but just thought I'd pop in and see what's going on. I didn't get a single thing published in all of 2014. It was really an off-year for me in so many ways. I am glad to say I am starting to write more again now, in fact, am working on two novels on and off. it would be a delight to get them both out there in 2015. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, still keeping my eyes open for that sequel. Meanwhile, write on and continue to keep us posted on your progress. Blessings!

Thanks so much, Ann. Rift Valley has been comfortably in my head for about three years now, but life keeps getting in the way of me putting it on paper (or, these days, digital...).

I'm actually making some major progress on the writing front, though. I've been averaging 1,000-2,000 words per day recently, which gives me hope my writer's block is, well, cleared. That said, my best guess for Rift Valley's release is early- to mid- summer, 2015.

I guess the key is to keep on writing, and I'm glad to see you're doing that, too. It's so easy to give up, but so hard to keep on keeping on. Best of luck to you, too. Your support and interest in my books means a lot to me.

grayworld
02-07-2015, 11:29 AM
Good luck, grayworld. January was the worst month ever for me (and I've heard a few other who've said that as well). No place to go but up, right? :)

I've been doing the self-publishing thing for over a year now, and I still can't figure out a pattern as far as sales are concerned. Your guess it as good as mine. But I'm with you. Upward bound. :)

grayworld
03-03-2015, 11:06 AM
Despite the unbearable weather (or perhaps because of it), I managed to convince eight awesome readers to spend 99˘ on A World Gone Gray in February. As per usual, all sales were recorded at the American incarnation of Amazon.

I finally said goodbye to Smashwords a few weeks ago. I'm a fan of their business plan and their distribution channels, but I hadn't recorded a sale there in almost six months. It just made sense (in my case) to go exclusively with Amazon and KDP Select and take my chances there. We'll see how it goes.

I'm still active on Twitter, and I'm still impressed with the amount of talent out there. Social media can be a double-edged sword, but it also gets a lot of people out there who wouldn't ordinarily be, well, out there. As far as my blog goes, not so far. I'm still lagging in that department.

My writing is still hit-and-miss. I'll put down 1,200 words one day, then half a paragraph the next. Still struggling to get into that all-important groove. But here's to March thawing those words out.

grayworld
04-02-2015, 09:28 AM
So this is the price I pay for posting my monthly sales thingy a day late — bleeding retinas :) I'm kidding of course. I love AW's traditional April Fool's Day page. So through tears not of sadness but of necessity, I present March's numbers.

I didn't sell a single book last month, but I'm not crying about it. Quite an accomplishment, considering the color scheme and font I'm presently squinting into.

Seriously, though, the lack of sales didn't bother me because I managed to convince six KDP Select subscribers into risking a borrow on my books. Better yet, two of my books were "checked out" in three different countries, effectively ending A World Gone Gray's reign of terror at AmazonUS. Here are the encouraging details:

A World Gone Gray: 4 (3 at AmazonUS, 1 at AmazonUK)
Signal Fire: 2 (1 at AmazonUK, 1 at AmazonCA)

Certainly not record-breaking numbers, but close to what I saw sales-wise in January and February when I was offering my works for 99˘ apiece. The KDP Global Fund thing will probably bump my "income" (keep in mind we're talking peanuts here) up a bit. That's nice, of course, but I'm clearly not doing this for the money at this point. I figure any and all exposure is worth more than a few bucks in the ol' bank account right now.

I'm still tweeting almost daily and blogging almost never. I'm also writing fiction almost never, which is problematic when you're trying to pass yourself off as a writer of fiction. Pretty sure my inter-office emails saw a higher word-count than my WIPs did last month. I'm really hoping the warming weather wakes my writerly mind in April. Then I hope it tells me to cut down on the alliteration.

AndreaGS
04-04-2015, 03:40 AM
Good luck with the writing in April! Hope you're able to get more words down. Hang in there :) And the site made my retinas bleed, too. Our eyes can bleed in solidarity.

As for sales, at least it's not a brown bar of shame. Anything is better than that brown bar of shame.

grayworld
05-05-2015, 09:47 AM
Well, the crooked-number streak continues, sales-and-borrows-wise. Not nearly as encouraging as last month, but encouraging in its own right. Here are the mixed results:

A World Gone Gray: 1 sale, 3 borrows, all at AmazonUS.

I also had a mysterious phantom sale of Like Life Itself. There's no mention of a sale/return in my records, but the collection's ranking got a bump. Sadly, I'll take that.

More (probably most) importantly, someone took the time to buy/borrow, read, and review AWGG at the American incarnation of Amazon. For those of you keeping score at home, it was of the three-star variety. It was also the first review of any of my stuff in at least six months, and it's greatly appreciated.

I'm still hanging in there on Twitter and still neglecting my blog. I plan on test-driving one or more of KDP's promotional tools this month, and I'm leaning heavily toward uploading the political satire manuscript I've been messing around with for the past few years.

Dhewco
05-07-2015, 01:38 AM
I'm curious...how much does it cost to self-publish on Amazon? I think I missed the part on the Amazon page that had anything about money. It says free, but then I read posts where someone was talking about costs. What costs? Marketing?

Abderian
05-07-2015, 02:25 AM
It doesn't cost anything to self-publish on Amazon. There are optional costs for professional editing, covers, marketing etc. outside of uploading a book to Amazon.

grayworld
05-07-2015, 09:57 AM
I'm curious...how much does it cost to self-publish on Amazon? I think I missed the part on the Amazon page that had anything about money. It says free, but then I read posts where someone was talking about costs. What costs? Marketing?

Exactly what Abderian said. Uploading your work to Amazon is completely free. The cost of accessories via outside sources (covers, formatting, professional editing, etc.), should you choose to go that route, can range from reasonable to exorbitant. As a member of the non-percent myself, I've spent less than $200 on my self-publishing venture thus far, exclusively on covers.

Over the years, Absolute Write has taught me there are plenty of unscrupulous folks out there willing to take your money. My best advice to you is to just do your research. A lot of what you're looking for can be found right here. Bewares & Background Checks is an invaluable tool.

Best of luck to you.

grayworld
07-04-2015, 07:59 AM
Wow. Take a month off from boring the Absolute Write community with your monthly updates and they go and change the whole website on you :).

I’m about as receptive to change as that kid in my elementary school who got cornered and pelted with bicentennial quarters that one day, but I’ll try to adapt and overcome. Here goes.


May was rough on several fronts, but I managed to convince five awesome readers to look at my stuff. Here are the straightforward totals:

A World Gone Gray: 5 (4 at AmazonUS, and 1 at AmazonUK, all via KOLL).

I continued to do the Twitter thing in May as well. I also stumbled upon (after a year and a half of tripping over my own feet, Twitter-wise) the brilliant concept of adding a cover image to my tweets, which seems to have had no effect on sales. Yes, users retweet and click on my cover art, but they rarely click on the link to my fiction of questionable merit. So including a photo with my tweets seems to be a wash, sales-wise.

In June, I (apprehensively) decided to play around with KDP’s promotional tools and did a Kindle Countdown thing to promote AWGG at the US site. The results were about what I expected; I enjoyed a temporary spike in sales and borrows which fell off right after the promotion ended. Very much expected. Here are the actual numbers:

A World Gone Gray: 7 (3 sales, 4 borrows, all at AmazonUS).

Signal Fire: 1 (borrowed via AmazonUS).

AWGG continues to be my flagship of sorts, but it was nice to see Signal Fire get a little love last month.

Thanks to the relative success of June’s Kindle Countdown promotion, I’ve decided to try the same thing in the UK market in July. I’m sure the numbers will be a bit smaller, what with the smaller population and my limited writing skill and whatnot. But I’ll be sure to share the gory details in August.

grayworld
08-08-2015, 10:38 AM
Remember that UK Kindle Countdown promotion I unveiled early last month? Neither does anyone else. In a word, failure. In all fairness (to my fragile writerly psyche), I have to admit the pricing/timing thing doesn’t translate too well when taking the whole currency exchange thing into account. I ended up with a 24-hour sale divided into two pricey 12-hour bits. But enough whining.

On the bright side, I have some huge numbers to report. But only because KDP Select changed their approach to payment. Here are the middling details:

A World Gone Gray: 1765

Isn’t that an impressive number? Unfortunately, that only represents the total number of pages read by readers of AWGG via Kindle. Fortunately, however, readers read 1765 pages of my book last month. Which is awesome.

Here are the more traditional numbers:

A World Gone Gray: 2 sold, 4 (presumably)* borrowed via KOLL

The Transience of Youth: 74

That Transience number looks somewhat impressive too, doesn’t it? But keep in mind it was fueled by a three-day free-download event. If memory serves, I peaked (after checking my numbers after doing the work thing, anyway) at #44 in General Humor. I also had downloads in Italy and Germany for the first time in my writerly-ish career, so that was nice.

A similar three-day free-download event involving Like Life Itself is winding down as I type, and the preliminary numbers suggest a 4:1:2 ratio regarding day-to-day, three-day free downloads holds true. I have no idea why that is. Or isn’t. Keep in mind that’s a small sample size.

*—Amazon, kindly include a separate KOLL borrow column so writers don’t have to stalk themselves while trying to determine how many readers are chucking their Kindles into stagnant ponds in disgust halfway through. Thanks.

grayworld
10-04-2015, 05:57 AM
I’m about a month late on my update, so here’s a two-fer — August and September at the usual price...

I’m still not sure what to make of Amazon’s KENP thing. Sure, I’m making more revenue-wise (remember we’re talking peanuts here) than I have since I uploaded my first novel and got that 90-day bump nearly two years ago, but this past August and September were as different as night and nite in the way they went about doing business. Here are the discombobulating details:

August:

A World Gone Gray: 4 sold, 442 pages read via AmazonUS
Signal Fire: 1 sold via AmazonUS
Like Life Itself: 20 free downloads (15 US, 3 UK, 2 Canada). Also, 43 pages (via KOLL) choked down before (I can only imagine) being disgustedly tossed into the business end of the nearest operational wood-chipper (AmazonUK)

September:

AWGG: 1 sold, 4201 pages read (2903 US, 1298 Canada)
SF: 1 sold, 547 pages read (all AmazonUS) Also, a very-much appreciated and much-too-kind five-star review.

So for the most part, it seems readers who are borrowing my humble scribblin’s are sloughing through them (except for the disappointed [or, more likely, disgusted], borrower of LLI in the UK. Sorry...), which is a good thing, since actual sales have fallen off the table recently. If memory serves (I have no desire to check the archives), I had a grand total of zero sales in October of last year, so I can’t in good conscience say I’m looking forward to the month that shall not speak its name.