Wednesday, May 01, 2013

April Numbers

Promised you an update for The Last Prayer, my silo story inspired by Hugh Howey's world of Wool.

During April I sold 750 (653 in USA, 78 UK, 10 DE, 8 CAN, 1 IT) at 99 cents each. Amazon pays a 35% royalty at that price, so you can do the math. But 30 of those sales were "borrows" from Amazon Prime Members and those actually pay more. So let's round up to about $300 in April. Plus I sold 21 of my other titles.

Some learnings.

1) The real story on Amazon is not the million sales/million dollar self-published break-out author. Although I'd sign up for that seminar, the real story is that tens of thousands of writers are making extra money to pay bills, saving for vacation/retirement, replacing that part-time job stocking shelves at midnight (been there), and even quitting their day job to write full time on a "normal" income.

2) For about a month I was selling an average of 21 books a day, so enough to pay for my daily coffee and danish. That put me in the Top 10'ish in the SF short story category in the Kindle store. I'm now sitting at about #30, so sales are down. This leads me to conclude that a second release (a "part 2") is key to continued sales/interest as the numbers start to decline. Two or three of the other silo writers have their 2nd installment out and they are still in the Top 10. So lesson learned.

3) Although I sold 21 of my other titles, I need more recognizable series ("branded" books) available for binge readers and others interested in "more by this author." Now my mesoamerican fantasy novella, Ulemet and the Jaguar God, sold 17, more than it has in the past. And one reason for that, I believe, is that I included the first chapter in the back of The Last Prayer. But TLP readers are SF fans, so I have the wrong teaser at the back...if I had an SF series to plug, I'd be better off.

3) Finding a niche or wave of interest and putting the book in the right category is critical as well. I freely admit I'm riding the coattails of Howey's blockbuster...with his blessing! That's been a boon for all us silo writers; Howey has us on his "fan fic page" and supports our efforts. Of course, a story/series won't last unless it's well written, so maybe the fact that I'm slipping in the polls is an indication of that!

4) Which leads to another point. Stories have to be compelling. I think readers want a good story well told - and will pay good money for something they enjoy. The 99 cent book is an impulse/throw-away purchase. If the book sucks, oh well. But to maintain fans, stories have to zing. And if books are up past 20k words (TLP was about 7k) then the new price point seems to be about $2.99 - and many readers don't mind paying that price for a good read. Plus, Amazon pays 70% royalty at that price...which gets me re-working the math...750 sales...hmm...more coffee...

At any rate, thanks for reading. As always, I appreciate your interest.

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