Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Gazillions sold: 1 1/2 years of peddling eBooks

First, let me define gazillions. It is not as high as a bizillion. And yet not as low as umpteen. There, now that we have that out o' the way, here are my latest stupendously interesting eBook sales findings.

You may or may not remember that my last posting was at the one year mark where I was basking in the glow of selling 1785 books in a month. Here it that post: click these highlighted words and be amazed.

A lot has changed since those heady days. In fact sales have slowed to a factor of umpteen dozen. Here are the books I have for sale (with clickable links because, well, we live in a highly clickable world):


Aren't they pretty? Don't they just say purchase me and save the universe? Anyway, things have gone downhill since my last update. This can be illustrated in a very fancy chart:

Okay, first thing to notice is that nearly 8000 books have sold since I started this experiment. That's a big Woo Hoo! Second thing to notice is that those little columns that represent monthly sales are getting smaller and smaller (that's a big sniff sniff). September of 2011 and January of 2012 are my two biggest sales months. The reason for that is I used the "free" method. That's where I'd give away a book for free on Kindle. Then when I switched it back to "paid" status it would rocket up the charts (DUST made up most of these's the blue colour in the columns). Alas, that "free" method is mostly dead. Due to several changes in Amazon's algorithms books don't tend to get the same bounce after being free. It may be helpful if you have a very specific genre novel that has the name Shades of Grey Throney Games, but otherwise the free method is not so helpful. Also it used to be if you sold a .99 cent book or a 9.99 cent book they "weighed" the same on the charts. But now the higher priced books get a higher placing on the charts. So it's not just numbers sold but it's the price of books that makes a difference in where you end up in the rankings. Why not price all my books at 9.99? Well, because then there aren't as many sales. I'm still trying to find that happy medium.

Hey speaking of sales, here's what they were for the last six months:

Wow, there is a downward trend. Part of that is timing. People buy more books in the Fall, not so many in the Spring and Summer. So I do expect sales to pick up starting this month. And generally I'm making about $200-300 a month from books that were out of print or weren't being sold in foreign markets. Since I make the majority of my income from my traditionally published books this eBook income is still a nice stipend to receive every month. And I don't seem to have to do that much more work to get that $. Someday I hope to do no work and receive trunkloads of money, but that's not happened to me yet.

So, there's my update. Live long and prosper, everyone. Or is it party hard and prosper? Hmmm.


P.S. I've also gone back into the vaults and released two of my unpublished novels. But since they were written for a "grown up" audience (swearing, sex, and well... gore) I decided to put them out under the name Stephen Shea. I published them totally to satisfy my own curiosity about how these novels would be received by an audience that didn't know me. I have touched them up a bit, but tried to keep them as true as possible to the writer I was back then.

Damage was written in my Stephen King phase. Much later I took the frame of the story and turned it into Draugr.

And The Not So Simple Life was written during my Tai Chi/Martial Arts/Comedy stage. Doesn't everyone have one of those stages?

Anyway, I have been having fun with the books. And I was particularly pleased that Not So Simple Life has received a few great reviews. From people I've never met before and they aren't even related to me!


Catherine Stine said...

Hey, this is always so interesting and illuminating, so thanks for being so open about the innards of your publishing saga.

Unknown said...

I agree. Many authors are too timid (or under contract) to release numbers. I hope sales return to the thousands. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Interesting article, thanks! Of course I had to re-read the part after you said:

"Shades of Grey Throney Games"

Could not stop laughing--see? There I go again.

Thanks also for the fill in on the last two books, I was wondering about those as I didn't know them.

Will be interesting to see what my Arthur Slade Week will do--besides be a whole lot of fun.

Unknown said...

You're welcome! And I'm just trying to shed a bit o' light on the great mystery that is ebooks.

Sorry about the Shades of Grey Throney Games, Deb! Looking forward to the Arthur Slade week. Whenever that is!

Doreen Pendgracs said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Art. It's terrific that there are authors like you who are willing to share the light and darkness of self-publishing and e-book sales. Even though I've done some research into it all, I'm still feeling like I'm in a fog.

Anonymous said...

Hey there Mister Fella!
Just had to pop on and say I'm really enjoying and appreciating your posts. You are my book selling hero/guru!

Not that I have managed to APPLY any of your wisdom yet - but just you wait !

Unknown said...

I hear you, Doreen. It's all a fog. Not the fog of war, but the fog of ebooks!

Great to hear from you Pam. Gosh, calling me a guru. I'm more of a geekru!

Marianne Paul said...

I've come to this blog posting through the TWUC list serve. I'm just about to embark upon posting an e-book of previously published short stories - thanks to you, and other TWUC folks, I found the "writing courage" to attempt the task. No better way to get your e-feet wet than to jump write/right in.... so thanks again for sharing your experiences.

Unknown said...

Thanks Marianne, Glad to share the info. Jump right in and step right up! ; )