Last March I posted the sales numbers from the first year of my self-publishing adventure. I figured I’d make it a two year tradition and do it again.
Please keep in mind the following about my numbers:
- Most titles are short stories. One poetry collection and a few novellas are mixed in.
- No promotion, with one exception (See ‘Changes’ below).
- This covers from January 2012 – December 2012.
- I have been unable to determine any link between blog traffic and sales. *shakes head* You lousy freeloaders!!! 🙂
- I began 2012 with 9 titles published on Amazon, Pubit, and Smashwords. My goal was to publish one title per month of 2012.
It is tedious to list the paltry numbers for twelve months in a row, so here is the summary:
- In April, September, and October I managed a great big goose-egg. No titles published. Period. So (-3) to my goal.
- In June caught up with April and published two titles. So (+2).
- All other months I met my goal and published one title. So (+8).
- If you follow my screwy numbering system (hey, I’m a writer not a mathematician!) you will realize by the end of 2012 I had published 10 titles, 2 less than planned for. That means I had 19 titles published and for sale in December 2012.
I totaled 62 sales across all titles for 2012. Not quite the 5 sales per title that Dean Wesley Smith calls for but it is a 248% increase from 2011. The chart below tracks my sales across the year.
As you can see, sales climbed throughout the Spring, peaked in July and then declined through the Fall with a slight uptick in December. Also readily apparent is that February and July account for 20, or 32%, of total sales. What isn’t shown on this chart is that my two best sellers accounted for 30, or 48%, of my sales. If you’re like me, you want to know why…
Changes from 2011 to 2012
Covers: My covers became much better. I sub-contract a lot of them to darling wife (which can get tricky but overall she does an amazing job), but I’ve done a few more myself and gotten a lot better. I spent a lot of time in bookstores staring at traditionally published covers. It felt kind of weird but seems to have helped.
Exception to No-promotion: I participated in Smashwords July sale. Basically, I made all my titles free on Smashwords for the whole month of July (to the tune of 100 some downloads. Downloads, not sales.) Does this account for the sales peak in July? I think it is to early to tell, especially since June was a strong month as well. I plan to participate again this year and see what happens.
Note: For February (and June) I have no explanation. I wish I knew why sales peaked then, but I really don’t. Something must have aligned properly in the stars.
Unlike last year, this year I feel that as I publish more titles, I get more sales. I noticed slump in sales during the months I neglected to publish anything, which seems a trifle coincidental. Of course, if I looked hard enough I could probably predict the end of the world off an ancient illegible calendar…
Cover quality, blurbs, and visibility seem to remain as the big factors. But a large number of titles, frequently popping up, handles visibility well enough for me. In the end I reported ~$47 on my tax return, so no quitting the day job yet.
I tried, and failed, to finish a full length novel last year. This year is the year to get it done (I’m editing right now) and see what happens. Word on the street is that novels out-sell everything because of the larger market. I’m also practicing on writing more active blurbs to pitch a better sell, and I’m looking into options to improve my cover art. Naturally I’m continuing writing and practicing my craft as well. If things continue off the last two year trend, I’ll be able to report 100% – 150% upward growth next March.
Lastly, I’m trying to avoid checking obsessing over sales and focus on enjoying writing my stories. So far it seems to be working. And guess what, it’s fun!
- How to self-publish (jblog.universal-nexus.com)
- Self publish? Why yes! (storytellerlilly.wordpress.com)
- How to self-publish an e-book (reviews.cnet.com)