Prepare yourself for graphs and stuff...

This is the third blog post in my self-publishing adventure. If you'd like to read them in order click the links:



I recently released the third and final (?) book in the Amber Fang series. I am both thrilled with and frustrated by the results. My first goal was to break even. Goal achieved! But barely!

OK, let's start with the money first. This is what I spent on all three books.

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And this is the income generated...

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And because I promised a graph...

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I really like pie. But I don't like pies where I only get a sliver of a piece. And if I want to feel sad, I can go..."Oh, I wrote three books and made $642.00." Ah, but who wants to feel sad? Besides Eeyore that is?

The books made an okay amount of money. Not the yacht-owning, oil-rig spurting amount I had been promised by my imagination. The books should have made more. Here were my mistakes:

1). Having a year pass between book 1 & 2. Oh, I thought I could write faster, but life got in the way. That time lapse meant that the first book fell way off the charts by the time the second book came along. And it's much harder to push an "older" book back up the charts. Next time I'll write and release all three books within weeks of each other.

2). Going Wide (to start). If I'd started with Amazon only, I would have been able to test out the Kindle Unlimited audience (where an author gets paid for page reads). After sales slowed down on Amazon I could have taken the books to Kobo, iBooks, etc. I didn't do this at first because I didn't want to disappoint readers who don't use Amazon. But it is much harder to now take them off all the other vendors and just put them on Amazon.

3) I spent too much on ads on Book 2. Most of those ads didn't convert at a rate that was helpful to the launch (and to making my money back). Amazon rewards books that are new by pushing them up the charts faster. If I'd had all three books ready to go and spent the ads on book 1 then book 2 and 3 would have mostly taken care of themselves.

There are other things I'd change. But that's a start. Still, I'm learning. 

Hey, must be time for another chart. Here is a breakdown of the sales by vendor.

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That's a pretty big drop off. Book 1 had 4000 sales. But 2 had 400. And 3 had 141 (now those two books just came out in November and February, so they're not quite done selling). Again, if I'd had all three books ready to go I think there would have been better sales across all three. Readers like reading their sequels immediately. Not a year later.

My Big Fat Takeaway

It was worth it in terms of understanding how the "system" works. Don't make my mistakes! But also these books are completely paid for now. So every single book that sells from here on in is a profit. And I have several options to kickstart the series again...from trying for a Bookbub in the US or moving all the books into Kindle Unlimited (or even giving them new ASIN's so they look like brand new books on Amazon). I do believe there are still plenty of readers out there who would enjoy this series.

So that's the final update. 

And it's all been training for my next experiment. This:

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The launch of this series is coming March 20th. Watch the skies...or at least the bookshelves.

Never give up. Never surrender.

: )


P.S. Click this lovely image to learn more about the Amber Fang books.

"Don't be scared. My story is a happy story. Unless you're a murderer. In that case do be scared. Because, I'll eat you."

"Don't be scared. My story is a happy story. Unless you're a murderer. In that case do be scared. Because, I'll eat you."



How to Sell 500 Books in Three Days (Hint: Bookbub!)

Amber keeps on biting a chunk out of the market.

Amber keeps on biting a chunk out of the market.

In my ongoing self-publishing experiment, I've always wanted a Bookbub. What's a Bookbub you ask? It's a "featured deal" that appears in the Bookbub newsletter (which is sent out to millions of subscribers). And it's a brilliant way to sell a great number of books in a short period of time (at a reduced price, I should add). There are authors who have hit the USA Today Bestselling list with the help of Bookbub. A huge volume of authors apply for a featured deal and a much smaller volume are accepted. If you want to read more about that process then read How the Bookbub Selection Process works.

I applied for Amber Fang, my vampire/librarian/assassin novel and was accepted for Bookbub's International featured deal (which basically means the ad would run everywhere but the US. That's not as big as having both US and International...but it's still a great thing to happen). I quickly paid my $112.00 US before they changed their minds. The book was featured in the Sept. 29th, 2017 newsletter (alas, I wasn't subscribed so don't have a screenshot of the ad itself). I had lowered the price to 99 cents (instead of $2.99) because I wanted to get as many readers as possible. Here are the results (prepare your eyes for a graph! A graph!):


So that gives you an idea of the sales in the first five days. And a general breakdown per platform. What you want another graph? Okay, you asked for it.


So, as you can see the number of sales for the first five days was 546 copies and the income was $213 US. Which means I made my money back (my first goal) and that the book also found 546 more readers (perfect timing since I'm preparing book 2 for release). I'm really pleased with that number of sales. Bookbub's own chart suggested the average for "supernatural suspense" is 390 copies. So Amber Fang is above average! Amazon, of course, was where the majority of sales were for the book, but Kobo also scored high. The sales on all markets were mostly to Canada, UK and Australia (as shown by the handy Kobo graphic):


And finally in terms of bestseller lists the book hit #27 on Kindle in Canada and #319 overall on Amazon.UK. The book burned bright, then fell back to its more regular 1 or 2 sales a day (at $2.99). But my hope is with the next book these readers will return (especially if Amazon is kind enough to nudge them with an email) and purchase book two at full price.

There. That's it!


P.S. Oh, wait, it's not complete without a screen capture of me and Stephen King:

Hanging out on the UK charts...

Hanging out on the UK charts...

Modo Lives! (in softcover)

I'm so pleased that Orca Books will be releasing Modo: Ember's End in softcover in February of 2018. For those who followed the creation of the novel it was launched on Kickstarter and Indigo back in 2013 and released in 2014 in a slick, cool limited edition hardcover. It was all such a great experience. But there is one problem with Kickstarter and that's how to get the book into schools, libraries and bookstores. Problem solved: the brave and mighty Orca Books has stepped up to release a softcover version of the story.

I just received the Advanced Reading Copy and it looks great!



I can't wait until February! Click HERE to read more about the book. Or HERE if you live in the U.S.