19 July 2012

Sales Update - July 2012

It's been some time since my previous sales update, so I figured now would be as good a time as any to pull out some more statistics. To recap the previous figures, here are the stats from that previous post (as of October 30):

Heroes Die Young (released September 2008) had sold a total of 260 copies (print and e-book total).

Friends in Deed (released January 2010) had sold a total of 66 copies (print and e-book total).

Seeker (released December 2010) had sold around 50 copies (e-book only).

Dead or Alive (released in print, February 2011) had sold 22 print copies and 6 e-books.

The Cure (released in e-book, July 2011; in print, September 2011) had sold 29 copies (print and e-book total).

I’ve received the royalty statements from Champagne for the first quarter, but not yet for the second. ResAliens has supplied my royalty information for both quarters. In addition, two outlets I tend to sell a lot at (Kobo and Barnes & Noble) have not yet supplied any data through Smashwords for the month of June. However, I did find my initial royalty statement for my first book, so I’ve added those numbers into the total here. So, given all of those caveats, let’s get to the new stats:

Heroes Die Young has now sold a total of 390 copies (print and e-book total). As before, this includes copies that were previously sold, but not yet paid for by the vendor (such as Amazon). This also includes 100 copies of the book that were on my first royalty statement (covering about 3-4 months in 2008). Taking that into account, I’ve sold about 30 copies this past quarter compared with 29 copies in the previous three months. Taking the total number over the course of just shy of four years, that comes out to nearly 100 copies per year.

Friends in Deed has sold a total of 81 copies (print and e-book total), which means that 15 copies sold in the first quarter of 2012. So, with around 30 months under its belt, it’s roughly selling 30 copies per year. There are two main items I think could be contributing to this divergence from the first book. One could be that people are trying the first book (since it’s a series), not enjoying their purchase, and deciding to pass on the second book. One other thing is the difference in covers. The first novel has a far more enticing cover, in my opinion, and I often wonder if people even know what the image on the front of the second novel is. One never really knows for sure, though.

Seeker has now sold around 72 copies (99-cent e-book only), so about 22 copies have sold since the last update, compared to 8 copies over the previous three months. The book has been out for about 20 months, so averaging just over 3 copies a month. One interesting statistic is that I began selling copies of Seeker via a new outlet this past quarter (OmniLit), and unfortunately, have only sold 1 copy there. Amazon is still the major sales outlet, tripling the sales from Smashwords. Was it worth it to add another sales channel? Time will tell.

Dead or Alive benefited from an extended period where the e-book was on sale for 99 cents. It has sold has now sold 70 copies, so 48 copies sold over the past six months, compared to the 3 listed in my previous update.  The book has been out around 18 months, so running about 4 copies a month.

The Cure has now sold 55 copies (print and e-book total), so 26 copies have sold since my past update, compared to 16 copies during the previous update. Like Dead or Alive, this one benefited from a price drop down to 99 cents. This book has been out around a year, so these 55 copies per year is running almost double what Friends in Deed has achieved, but about half of what Heroes Die Young has done. Sales have dropped off a bit at the now-higher price point, though.

Death Brings Victory was released back in March, meaning this will be the first status I’ve given. As of now, 26 copies have sold, putting it right on par with The Cure for this past update period (but unlike The Cure, it’s been at the higher price point the entire time. This book has a bit going for it, though, in that readers who enjoyed the first two books were (most likely, even if it’s a guess on my part) already lined up to pick up a copy. 26 sales out of nearly 400 for the first book is still a bit disappointing, but time will tell.

My first Triple-Shot collection was released in November 2011. 21 total copies have been sold, meaning 13 copies sold since my last update (which sported 8 copies). I’ve just recently come out with my second Triple-Shot, so we’ll see how that goes. One thing I’m trying with this newest selection is whether the KDP Select program is of any benefit. My next update should be right around the time my 90-day exclusivity agreement expires, so an analysis will definitely be done then.

Now for the analysis of this latest period:

As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, sales have drastically increased when I dropped the price from $2.99 to 99 cents. The royalties suffer, though, so it’s sort of a crap shoot. I was speaking with Lyn Perry from ResAliens press about price points, and he brought up the idea of pricing them even higher, to project the idea of the books having more value. I’m considering some plans to find out which theory holds more water. More to come…

Since my latest update (February), I've sold 202 books (not counting the extra 100 found on my missing royalty statement) for an average of just over 40 books per month. This compares to the 75 books (and 25 books per month) from the previous update. I also added an extra book in this past update period. Again, this bolsters the idea that putting out additional titles helps boost sales figures. Time will tell if my latest Triple-Shot contributes to additional sales in the next update.

I notice that most of my books (other than Friends in Deed) are selling around 20-30 copies every quarter. An interesting statistic, if I do say so...

One other thing that can’t be garnered from the raw statistics, but something I should keep in mind for myself. I often feel, when watching sales numbers and sales rankings day-by-day, that all of my efforts are for naught. It tends to lead one to get depressed about writing and publishing. However, when I pull together these statistics, it gives me hard numbers to look back and say “it was a pretty good update period,” especially since the numbers are trending upward. These aren’t stellar numbers, of course, because I’d really like to be selling hundreds or thousands of copies per month…but 40 books per month is nothing to sneeze at. I’ll take it, at least.


  1. Nice job! Numbers seem small when compared to the big boys who sell hundreds of thousands, but for a small press, that's not to shabby.

    If you want something to compare too, my book, Aristeia: Revolutionary Right, has sold 161 total copies as of May. 111 of those are ebooks, mostly Amazon, and 32 were at two local Cons.

    It's priced at $4.99. We've done some $2.99 sales and a brief period at $0.99. There weren't any real noticeable jumps in sales during those.

    I did start out in the Kindle Select Program and had a few free days. Had a total of 667 free books given away, vast majority of those in one day. The last few were just a trickle.

  2. Interesting...I'm planning on doing my first free giveaway this weekend. I'm never one to jump in all the way without testing the water, so this first Triple-Shot will be my indicator of whether it's useful for future (or current) titles.

    Also good to know about the higher price point...that would tend to support Lyn's premise about people assigning value based on the price. Perhaps I've been doing myself a disservice by pricing my self-published titles this low.

  3. Have you noticed that indie and self-published authors tend to be very closed mouth about sales? I spent several (pointless) hours searching for sales data and found very little available. I would so love to have a "measuring stick" to go by. Especially when, like you mentioned, the Amazon sales ranks fluctuate so wildly.

    I'm planning on writing a post similar to yours, but for what it's worth, "Dremiks" has had one weekend at 99cents and has been "on sale" during July at $2.99. Otherwise it has been priced at $3.99. I did notice a slight uptick in sales at 99cents, but nothing spectacular.

    "Dremiks" released on March 20 and has sold (ebook and paperback) 97 copies as of this morning.

  4. I've noticed that folks don't think the 99-cent sale price helps. I'm wondering, though, if it matters for the duration. As mentioned, DEAD OR ALIVE saw a huge spike in sales, but it was at the lower price for several months.

    It's definitely good to have a measuring stick, though I've heard many times over we shouldn't compare to each other. But it's human nature, so I'll still do it anyway. ;-)

  5. Thanks for being public about your numbers Mr. Hunter, a great service to the writer community. Best of luck on continued and greater numbers.

  6. I'm certain these are piddly numbers to many, but I do like the ability to make comparisons... :-)

  7. Very interesting post, and you have inspired me to have a look at my sales and do some analysing.

    As for pricing, it just seems to be such a headache. There's some people who won't go near 99 cents (or pence) books because they think they'll be rubbish. Then there's others who think 99 cents is just fine. THEN there's other people who never actually buy books, they just download the free ones!

    I think we authors who aren't making big bucks (or even medium-sized bucks in my case) can get a little depressed but we just have to keep on going.

    I've not had a great experience with Kindle Select, but every author has a different experience with it. Some do well, others do not so well. C'est la vie.

    Good luck with the giveaway!

  8. I figured I'd try it out for this one, and see if it helps at all. Granted, that's how I ended up getting into self-publishing in the first place. :-)

    I've been tracking sales for years on my "traditionally" published books as well, since I do a lot of selling at conventions and such. It also comes in handy when doing my taxes...

    Thanks for stopping by!


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