Today is my last day in KDP Select, and I sat down to find out how I'm doing business wise with my books.
January 2012 39 books on Amazon, 8 books on Nook. Total royalties = $92.95
February 2012 260 books on Amazon (inc borrows). Total royalties = $505.94
March 2012 19 books on Amazon. Total royalties =$13.30
April 2012 (as of 4/27) 8 books on Amazon
Smashwords royalty payments from 2011 = $10.86
Nonfiction sales (sales of articles I still have available or new license sales on my non-exclusive content)
Yahoo Contributor Network : $1.54
Constant- Content : $25.25
Formatting Monies : $48.25
Total INCOMES : $698.09
Image for book trailer (9.99)
Animoto.com membership (1 yr) (30.00)
Hootsuite 4 months at $5.99 (23.96)
GoDaddy.com domain purchase (11.62) [hosting is an expense in Oct.]
StopNShop Office supplies (10.61)
Fire Depart (advertising for 6/22/2012) (75.00)
Ebookswag (advertising for 5/16/2012) (10.00)
Autocrit editing check 1 yr (69.30)
Nexgate Press (Kindle Book Review advertising, two ads in Feb and March) (45.00)
Best Buy for Wacom Tablet (223.09)
Cover art for Stone (100.00)
Total EXPENSES : $608.57
Of my expenses, $408.09 are for future business plans. STONE is not out yet, so that cover art is a liability until I write and publish that book. A good incentive to not abandon a project is to put a little bit of money into it. :) I am still learning how to use my Wacom tablet and while I don't plan to be making my own cover art any time soon, it is an investment into my business as I can use it to make banner ads, and fun images for my various blogs and online communities. Also, Cancelled has $85 in advertising that is out there, for next month and the month after. We'll see if I recoup the money.
I am not unhappy with where I am standing. I am only investing money back into my business as it comes in. I am nearing 500 total copies of Cancelled sold (116 U.S. ebook sales as of Jan 1). I have sold 6 paper copies of Cancelled. In the UK, my sales are handled my MWIDP, and I had 3 up until February, so we'll see if April was any better (I'm thinking, not).
My calculations are 459 total copies sold since its release 9/13/2011.
And now, I need to get working on STONE. :)
Cancelled has been released for 109 day (September 13, 2011). Barnes and Noble was a week late in getting the correct file because I messed up the upload.
When I was writing and planning my publishing career, I searched and searched for "newbie" sales figures. You can find established authors' sales figures, but very few new releases from unknown authors. This is where I come in.
I tweeted my book (I had about 300 followers, which has now grown to 1800) and I participated in three good marketing events. One of them, I made myself (And you can too!). I did not buy any expensive ads or stalk any forums.
Here is where I've landed (U.S. Sales only)
By price, the breakdown is interesting. I sold Cancelled for $2.99 from debut until Oct. 1. Then for 6 weeks, I lowered the price to $.99. In the middle of November, I raised it to $2.99, and December 1st, $4.99, and December 12th, down to $3.99. I'm currently happy with the $3.99 price.
Here's what's interesting. I did MORE promotion when the book was $.99. FAR MORE. But look at how the sales break down:
63 books sold at $.99
44 books sold at $2.99
4 books sold at $3.99
3 books sold at $4.99
54% of my books sold at $.99. 46% sold at $2.99 or higher. Am I opposed to the $.99 price point? No, not as a sale. But it confirms what I think about readers, because I am one. First thing that grabs my attention is the cover or premise of the book (I tweet my synopsis/selling points). Once I'm interested, then comes price. If the book is out of my price range, I check to see if there is an outstanding reason to buy the book anyway. After all, a good book is worthy of many reads/escapes for me! :) If it's in my price range, I buy it. At the lower price points, I think the book being a must-read is less vital to the reader, meaning sure, my book will be purchased as an impulse buy, but will it be read? I have a ton of $.99 books on my Nook I haven't read.
So that is where I'm at right now. Financially, the book earned $137.06 in royalties in 3 months (I've only been paid about $53.00 of that as royalties are paid 2 months after they are earned). I spent about $40 in pay for promotions, something I will not continue. One of those promotions was $5 and something like that I would do again. But in general, I am pursuing only free opportunities that are available OR making my own luck (Ebook cruise). And don't feel bad about eschewing paid advertising, most savvy book sites that are charging $25, $45, or $75+ for a promo or an ad are hooking up your book title to an affiliate link. They are making between 4-10% off each sale of your book to their readers. Not saying that those who volunteer their time to review and advertise books shouldn't be compensated for their time. They should. Just keep in mind how much in sales you really can expect to make (and don't buy whole stock into this concept of "exposure" you can make your own exposure with a well-run blog and coordinating sales and promos with other authors and bloggers) and check it against the fee for the marketing. The fee should be lower. And while you aren't in a strong negotiating position because indie authors jump at ANY marketing opportunity no matter how much it costs (I've watched it happen), you don't have to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge just because all of the people around you are doing so (unless aliens are attacking, which is a completely different story, and I'd be jumping off too!).
Sales of Cancelled for the Month of September (released 9/13/11)