Monday, February 07, 2011

One Thousand Ebooks Sold and Counting!!!

Yesterday, I hit a milestone in my indie publishing career. I have now sold over 1000 ebooks since I went "live" last August. Only in my wildest dreams did I ever really believe I would sell so many. Snort. So many. My numbers are minuscule compared to Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath, Zoe Winters, Karen McQuestion and many more who hang out on the blogs where I lurk. But for me, it's quite an accomplishment and I'm very pleased. Especially considering I only hit the 100 mark total in December.

Here's how it all began:

I started out with one book, my Traditional Regency MIDNIGHT MY LOVE on August 6, 2010. I priced it at $2.99 so I would get the 70% royalty from Amazon. It was extremely gratifying to get my first sale on Smashwords literally minutes after uploading it. I sold about 6 on Smashwords and 9 on Amazon during the month of August.

I uploaded my second book, THE DOCTOR WEARS A STETSON, the third week in September. The price was still at $2.99 and for the whole month I only sold 4 on Amazon (total for both books) and 3 on Smashwords. A little disheartening, but not totally disillusioning.

I was determined to get my entire "backlist" up and running. I figured the books would find more readers and make more money than just sitting on my hard-drive.  I was learning so much about formatting and unformatting, ebook publishing and POD. I invested $99 on Adobe Photoshop Elements and learned the basics of cover making. What a learning curve!!! My middle-aged brain's been chugging along at a brisk pace these past six months, let me tell you!!!

In October, I dropped the price of MIDNIGHT MY LOVE to 99 cents as an experiment and left the other book at $2.99. Sales picked up and I sold 17 copies of the Regency and 7 copies of the Western.  Smashwords sales were few and far between. I probably sold about 5 copies that month.

Not really wanting to sell my book so cheaply, I raised the price back up for November. As a result, I only sold 9 books (total for both books) on Amazon; maybe 3 or so on Smashwords.

Everyone in the Indie Author Community was excited about December with the explosion of holiday sales of Kindles and Nooks. I remember I was eagerly waiting to hit that 100 ebook sales mark.

On December 12, I released my third book, THE COWBOY'S SURRENDER. Biting the bullet, I dropped the prices on all three books to 99 cents to see what would happen. BOOM!!! Sales rose dramatically. At this time, I also uploaded all three books directly onto B&N's Pubit! instead of going through Smashwords. Immediately, I began selling more books for the Nook than Kindle.

I sold over 200 books in December. Could it get any better? Oh yeah.

In January, I released a fourth book, ADAM'S TEMPTATION. Price? Well, I started out at $2.99. After a week of no sales, I dropped it to $1.99 then to 99 cents. That book is still finding its way in the ranks, but the other three books went through the roof!!!  I sold 643 books in the month of January, twice as many at B&N than on Amazon.  I'm still reeling!!!

I feel like I'm in a dream. A very pleasant dream. And now it's February and I've sold 120 books the first week. And I hit the 1000 mark last night. OMG!!!

Many people scoff at the 99 cent price tag, saying it cheapens your work. I have to admit, I'm not too crazy about it either. But it's much more fun and gratifying to see 10-20 sales a day (or more) rather than one lonely sale every couple of days. Will I keep my prices this low forever? No, that's not my plan. But for now, I'm gaining readers and my books are working themselves up in the ranks of Amazon's and B&N's algorithms. They are getting onto the "Customers who bought this item, also bought this" lists. Great advertising and promo, right? The 99 cent price is a strategy. I'm hoping to get deeply entrenched in those all-sacred algorithms. Then I'm going to start writing like crazy, add more titles and hopefully start selling books at the $2.99 price tag.

Self-publishing still holds a stigma of sorts. That's changing quickly for some/slowly for others, but changing all the same.  The publishing industry is in a great state of flux right now. Dean Wesley Smith calls this the Dawn of the Second Golden Age of Fiction comparing it to the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction.

All I know is that it's a great time to be a writer.  I can write what I want, how I want and share it with readers immediately. It doesn't get much better than this.

Happy Writing!!!

Anne Marie   :)


Emma Lai said...

Congrats Anne Marie!

Skhye said...

Woohoo, AM! You know I think you're doing a great job. Told you. Told you. Just keep releasing those babies. Keep us posted. Okay, post here. You better call the minute there's a change. I want to know!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Whooo Hooo! Congrats, Anne Marie. YOU GO GIRL!

Ginger Simpson said...

WTG, Anne Marie. I'm proud of you. I'm self-pubbing my next book. Just have to get it finished first. :)


AnneMarie Novark said...

Thanks, Emma!!!

Good luck with your publishing ventures!!!

AnneMarie Novark said...

LOL, Skhye!!!

My goal is to write as fast as you!!!

Thanks . . .

AnneMarie Novark said...

Thank you, Anna Kathryn!!!

Your new release is on my TBR pile!!!

AnneMarie Novark said...


Thanks!!! Hurry up with that book!!!

Happy Writing!!!

Maggie Dove said...

Congratulations, Anne Marie! Keep up the good work!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Thanks, Maggie!!!

Chuck said...

Other than adjusting your prices, how did you stimulate the market for your novels?

Suzan Harden said...

Congratulations on your milestone, AnneMarie!

Melissa said...

This is awesome! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing!! :)

Linda Barrett said...

Your hard work paid off in many ways, Anne Marie. Good for you. In today's publishing world, the author has more power than ever before, and you're proving it by taking control of your own career. I love how you experimented with prices on Amazon, with using Smashwords and acting on your observations. Bravo!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Hey Chuck!!!

Thanks for the shout out on the loops!!!

I'm not real into promo, so you know how glad I am that Dean Wesley Smith says to just write, publish and forget. I love it!!!

When I uploaded THE COWBOY'S SURRENDER, I did do a few things all across the board for all the books at the same time:

1. I tweaked and expanded the blurbs and excerpts for each book on the Amazon and B&N sales pages. I figured you need to capture the reader's attention quickly and make it easier for them to decide to buy in as few clicks as possible. So maybe they will just buy and not just click the sample.

2. On Smashwords, I expanded the samples to 50% for each book.

3. For each release, I posted an announcement notice on the Kindleboards in the Book Bazaar. I update this once a week.

4. After each release, I posted on appropriate threads in both the US and UK Kindle Forums. Then forgot about them. (I'm a lurker, not a poster. I am working on this.)

I believe the price drop was the most effective. I know $2.99 is low, but for voracious romance readers 99 cents seems to be better. (At least, for an unknown author like me.)

I would much rather be making these sales at the $2.99 price point, but getting the volume of sales puts my books on those all-important Amazon lists.

And like JA Konrath says: First and foremost, you must write a good book, an enjoyable read. An attractive cover helps. Make sure your blurbs grab the reader's attention. And have a low price.

Hope this helps.

AnneMarie Novark said...

Thanks, Suzan!!!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Thanks for dropping by, Melissa!!!

AnneMarie Novark said...

Thanks, Linda!!!

Chuck said...

Heya, Anne Marie, that sure does help. In fact, you might post as your next weekly blog!

Thank you!

Connie Mann said...

Thanks so much for the peek into HOW you reached the 1000 mark. Congratulations!!