I thought I would post a quick overview of the numbers from my first year of self publishing. Nothing amazing or mind blowing, but in their small way I find them encouraging. The titles involved in this analysis are short stories, novellas, and one poetry collection.
These numbers range from when I started last March through this February. Advertising has been limited to establishing an author page on Facebook, AuthorCentral, GoodReads, this blog and infrequent forum posts. I do have an ad that runs on Facebook for the Facebook page, but it does not draw a lot of attention.
I started with 1 title on Amazon and have since built up to a total of 11 titles available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords Premium. The below chart shows my (somewhat erratic) publishing schedule:
Number of Titles
As you can see I had a slow start, preloaded a little for the summer, and then played catch up all fall, trying to maintain a 1 title per month standard. However, I was able to generate an 1100% overall increase in saleable product. I also have a short non-fiction chapbook that is available for free, so I’m not counting it in these calculations.
Total sales from March 2011 through February 2012 are 35 copies. April resulted in 2 sales and February ended with 8 sales. This shows a 400% increase in sales. When compared with saleable product (if I’m doing the math right) the result is that sales increase at 36% the rate of sales. Hmmm…
Out of my 35 total sales, 16 are from a single title (George and the Dragon). 8 of those 16 sales were in February (i.e. all my sales that month were from the one title). So I don’t know how much the additional product has contributed to my overall sales, since one title is carrying roughly 50% of my total sales. Incidentally, that title was published in October, so about halfway through the period being analyzed.
I don’t find much evidence in my statistics to support the concept that increasing product increases sales. I’m not trying to refute any theories that it does (the one I know best is Dean Wesley Smith’s). I think there are more driving forces to sales, such as cover quality and resonance, blurb quality, and the title’s actual visibility in the market.
The important conclusion to draw from these statistics is that as a completely unknown self published author my business has not stagnated. It hasn’t boomed. But it is growing and growing fairly strongly. I’m not making a fortune, for sure, but after a year of part time on again, off again work, I have a growing publishing company.
In my eyes, that ain’t too shabby!