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.
Anne Marie :)