Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2018 sales thus far...





Ironically speaking, the summer (for me anyway) is always a slower time for book sales. You would assume with all those beach readers out there that the opposite would hold true, but I guess people spend less time indoors and therefor they don't have their faces stuffed in a book like they would in the winter months.

In any case, the question of sales came up the other day with my agent, Sam, and for the fudge of it, I decided to make at least a cursory check on what I had sold thus far in 2018. I'd never really performed a data check before because like my dad used to say, you should always be making money and striving to make more, so why bother checking on what you've already done? But then, by seeing what's selling and what's not, you're better able to make adjustments to certain books. If they are indie books, you might want to take them out of wide and put them back in KU for instance. That sort of thing.

Keep in mind, these number DO NOT INCLUDE paper (both hard and soft), nor audio, nor page reads (for those books in Kindle Unlimited). Nor do they include the numbers I did with the publishers I am presently working with. They do include my "rounded out" Thomas & Mercer numbers however. The numbers are not exact but as close as I could get without actually printing out statements.
 
Kindle Direct Publishing and Apub: 17,500+/- units
Draft2Digital: 2,100+/-
Publish Drive: 52 units (This is Google Play which I just joined last month)

Okay so for the first half of the year we're looking at around 20K sales. When you include the paper and audio,  etc. it's probably more like 22-23K, again not including the numbers from two publishers, nor the hundreds of thousands of page reads at .0045 per page read. Price points range from 0.99 to 7.99.

What's it all represent? Most romance writers would laugh at these numbers, or assume they read the opening wrong and I'm just talking about one month (although I have had instances where I've done these numbers in a single month). But then, for a hard-boiled writer, these are pretty respectful numbers for a half year. It means there are authors doing far better and probably plenty more who are doing a lot worse. For certain, my indie numbers have picked up a lot from last year, and that's what counts since this is a long game, not a sprint. It's also not a zero sum game, meaning I'm not competing with anyone. I'm competing with myself. It's also a living.  

I also have some income from the occasional journalism piece, three novels from the Chase Baker series that I produced and bestselling author Ben Sobieck wrote, plus there's the course I did for Writers Digest. 

The takeaway? Constant production and constant publishing over multiple platforms, both indie and traditional, remains of paramount importance. So is having a very good agent. I haven't done much with subsidiary rights this year but I plan to in the coming months. I also use AMS ads, FB ads (to a degree), apply for Book Bubs as often as possible, run a couple of flash sale promos per month, actively build my subscriber list with a permafree book (Moonlight Falls), and recently I've added a marketing dude to my team of editors and artists. We'll see if he delivers the positive ROI he promises.

But for those who believe it's impossible to make a living writing thrillers should think again. It's very possible if you're willing to work at it and treat it like a business. But then, in all honesty, I'd do it for free.

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