A lot of very sensible advice from Bob Mayer, who has been in the game for a long time. Well worth a read for any writer, published or not.
It’s come to my attention that there’s a bug/feature in the Paperwhite that means it displays many, many ebooks in a tiny, unreadable font which the user can’t change. Unfortunately Amazon are claiming this is working as designed, so the only thing we authors can do is reformat our books and reupload them.
And that’s what I’ve just done–a new version of Ascension Point is now live on Amazon.
So, to anyone who has bought the Kindle edition of Ascension Point, and owns a Kindle Paperwhite: please delete the current copy from your device, and redownload it to pick up the latest version.
This has been a public service announcement. THBAPSA.
Lindsay has a great post on her blog where she gives her views on how indie author-publishers might want to price their books.
Her rationale for pricing a novel happens to be exactly the same as mine, though I’ve never quite managed to express it this succinctly:
“I personally think about $5 per full-length novel is a fair price all around. It gives you far higher per-book earnings than traditionally published authors are receiving (even those whose ebooks are selling for $10+), it gives the readers a deal when compared to most traditionally published ebooks, and it’s often considered a fair price by those who feel that digital books should cost less than the dead-tree variety since paper, ink, and shipping aren’t a part of the equation.
“Lastly, it separates you from the legions of indie authors charging $0.99, $1.99, and $2.99 for their novels (often on the belief that they won’t be able to sell at a higher price because they’re not established names — I started out at $2.99 for just that reason). A lot of readers still walk warily around self-published books, so it can only help if you’re not giving obvious clues that your book was never vetted by a gatekeeper.”
December has rolled around, which means I’ve reached the end of my first month as a published author. As many of you who follow this blog are writers as well as readers, and might be considering taking the self-publishing route yourselves in the future, I thought it might be interesting, and maybe useful, if I shared my sales numbers along with info on what promotion I did to get there.
So, without further ado…
Sales and Earnings
- Copies sold: 34 (Kindle – 16, Paperback – 16, Kobo – 2)
- Earnings: $92.70
- % to Profit*: 8.0%
(* How much I’ve earned back so far of the cost of producing the book.)
Now for some caveats:
- These figures aren’t for exactly one month: the e-book edition of ASCENSION POINT was available from October 21st, while the paperback wasn’t out until November 7th. Close enough for my purposes, though.
- I’ve recently discovered that it takes Smashwords up to two months to report sales from the retailers that it distributes to (Barnes and Noble, Apple, etc). I could have sold a few there, but I won’t find out for a while.
- A LOT of these sales were to friends and family, probably as many as half. That isn’t going to happen every month, of course, so it wouldn’t surprise me if December’s numbers were lower as a result.
Not a huge amount, to be honest. Here’s a breakdown:
- I talked about the book a lot on this site, of course, which I think generated a few sales.
- I posted to my private Facebook profile that the book was out, which got a lot of interest from friends. I sold ten copies in the two days after that post which I can directly attribute to it, I think.
- I bought an ultra-cheap five-day run as an ‘Indie New Release’ on Flurries of Words for $5. Hard to tell what impact this had, as it overlapped with the bump from the Facebook post.
- Every time the book got an Amazon review, I tweeted it, e.g. ‘Another 5* review for #AscensionPoint’ then the link to the review. No idea if these prompted anyone to buy a copy.
So all told, a decent start to my writing career. I’m very happy, and I’m looking forward to seeing what December brings!
This made me laugh. It doesn’t take much to climb the Bestseller Rankings for the Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store, it seems. Yesterday ASCENSION POINT was languishing at #251,110. But then…
SOMEONE BOUGHT A COPY.
Yup–it’s stormed up to #30,554 on the back of that single sale. You have to assume that it takes a few more sales than that to be ranked in the top, I don’t know, ten thousand. But it’s still nice to see the line going upwards 🙂
Early days, folks. Early days.
I completely agree with the Atlantic’s conclusion:
“Policing reviews could take time and alienate some customers, both self-published authors and reviewers, but to let reviews continue unregulated might alienate far more of them.”
Both authors and readers–but especially readers, of course–need to have faith in the honesty of the review system, for the simple fact that it’s often the prime driver behind making a purchase.
And to offer a non-literary equivalent, how happy would you be to find out that, say, Samsung had paid ten thousand people $15 each to write a five-star review of a new TV they’d brought out?
Not happy, I’d imagine.
Kris Rusch gives the legacy publishing doom-mongers an absolute skewering on her blog here, using only the power of actual facts and figures.
“For many in traditional publishing, the world is ending. Their clout is vanishing and their ability to understand what is going on is vanishing with it. They’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, wondering why it has suddenly gotten so cold. Yeah, they may survive in the future, but they’ll always remember the night they hit that iceberg—and the surprise they felt.”
More mainstream media analysis of the self-publishing phenomenon from io9 here.
While the headline is the big sellers’ numbers, though vaguely interesting they’re not really relevant. They aren’t what any new author could practically aim for – except maybe “B.V. Larson, who writes both sci-fi and fantasy, has sold some 250,000 copies of his 25 titles“. The key element there being twenty-five titles – if you stick at it, and write that many novels which are that good, you’ll sell a lot of books.
I also take issue with a couple of things in the article. Read more…