Eight books that won the Immerse or Die contest. See why they won! But the deal is almost over...
What? Where did those two years go? Back in February 5th of 2011 I launched my novel DUST as an ebook (for sale in the US and UK, because those are the countries where I owned the rights myself).
Well not much has changed in the last six months. Overall I've sold 8406 copies of my ebooks. Last year that grossed me around $6000. That's like sixty iPods! I could wear them as an iPod suit. Anyway, I expect my ebook income to drop this year. Why? Because as I've noted before there has been a downward trend in my sales since my last report. Here's an amazing graphic to show that...
Hey, that number in the bottom keeps going down each month. 249 copies seven months ago. 53 copies sold last month. I do think there is much more competition out there now and that there was a big blitz on sales while everyone and their pet got an eReader then filled it up. And the drop in sales is also because of the algorithmic changes Amazon made to how they weight the price of books on the sales chart (if you sell a 9.99 book, it'll jump higher up the sales chart than a .99 cent book). It became harder for my books to climb the charts and get noticed by buyers.
Yet, I'm happy with the sales. It's still passive income for me that will go on as long as there are eReaders in the world. I really don't do much extra work to earn that income. And I'm very much a less work for more money kind of guy! Art As a public service I'll attach these clickable links to my books, including the two "grown up" books I've published under the name Stephen Shea. If a book isn't available in your area as an ebook, it's because I'm still negotiating the erights for that book. So sorry for any confusion.
No major news this month on the ebook front. But I do have an amazingly interesting graph:
I'm always looking for a clever title for these updates. If anyone has any clever titles please send one my way. I can't keep using Stephen King in my title! He'll come to my house and challenge me to a write off! I can't keep up with that guy! I figure people like the $$$ sign so maybe I'll just keep using that.
Anyway, here's the report on my ebook experiment for October. What you say? You're late! Well, I decided to move these reports to the middle of the month because that's when Amazon sends me my monthly sales records (up until that point it's a bit of guesswork as to exactly how many copies I've sold). So here is your first chart!
Aha, you say. Your sales dropped in October! Ha, so much for that yacht you were dreaming about when you sold all those copies of DUST in September. But wait, I say, let's celebrate the good news first. There have now been over 3000 copies of my self-pubbed books sold. As we speak 3000 people could be reading my words. Or playing games on their iPad. Anyway, that's a nice milestone to pass. It's also important to note that October was the second highest sales month so far.
I did expect sales to slow down after that first bump that I received in September. Mostly that's because I raised my prices. Dust was no longer $1.49 but was bumped up to $2.99. At that price I get the 70% royalty from Amazon. So for each 1.49 book I am making .52 cents (because any book priced at .99-2.98 is a 35% royalty), but for each 2.99 book I'm making $2.09 (or 4x as much). That means I only have to sell 1/4 of the number of books to make the same amount of money. That's math even I can do!
Ah, so let's talk about the money. And about the beautiful American dollar and the lovely British pound. Doesn't the image above make you all teary eyed? Anyway, wipe away the tears. In September my income from U.S. sales on Kindle was $557.64 and from UK Kindle £216.49 which, once converted, adds up to about $897.98 US (I won't further complicate this by converting to Canadian since our dollar is nearly the same as the US). That's a nice tidy sum for very little work (err, if you don't count the weeks it took me to figure out all the various ways to convert files and upload all that ebook "stuff"). So I made $898 dollars by selling 1467 books in September. In October I made $251.96 from US Kindle store and £339.35 from the UK Kindle store for a total of $785.12 U.S. Except this time I only sold around 493 copies. And obviously it's easier to sell fewer copies than it is to sell more.
Two other short observations. One is that the October sales were partially propped up in the UK store because I was giving The Hunchback Assignments away for free for two weeks of that month. The second is that I'm starting to have more sales through the UK store because I have 10 books available there and only 7 in the US (I'm publishing my three Hunchback Assignments books in the UK Store but they are published through Random House in the US).
The only problem with higher prices is that you drop out of the bestseller charts faster and therefore fewer eyes are seeing your books. Already I see that my November sales are slowing. I have yet to have a book "stick" in the charts for a long period of time.
What you want another chart? Look I don't just have charts up my sleeve! Oh, wait there's one right there:
This is the Amazon ranking for The Hunchback Assignments on UK Kindle charts. As you can see it was selling a copy every once in awhile, thus the zig-zag pattern. Then it went "free" on Sept. 23rd (creating that straight line) and became "paid" around October 16th and jumped up to about 1000th spot on the charts (which made it one of the bestselling kids books for a few weeks). It's continuing to slowly decline but it pops back up every once in awhile.
Does anyone have any glue? I'd like to stick it in the top 500 at the very least.
Until Kindle sticky glue is invented, I'll keep on keeping on!
P.S. I do refer to Kindle a lot. My books are sold on other sites. In October I sold 1 book on Kobo, 1 Book on iBooks, and 5 books on Barnes and Noble, so obviously it's easiest to talk about Kindle.
Well a few posts ago I told you how I miraculously sold more books than Stephen King (in a 48 hour period)!
February: 12 copies March Sales: 43 copies April Sales: 377 copies May Sales: 273 copies That's a drop of over 100 copies since last month. Here's the handy dandy graph (the different colours match different books...DUST is the blue book):
The drop for sales between April and May is even bigger than it appears because 70 of those copies in May (of Draugr--more on this later) were free copies given away as a promotion. Many epublishers reported a drop in sales last month, partially due to Amazon having a massive giveaway of free ebooks and, about mid-month, Amazon changed their format for "tagging" books. Well, actually they deleted the way books are tagged, so this affected which bestseller lists my books appeared on. One assumes the tags will return with a revamped tagging system in the future.
All in all I'm happy with the sales. April was a bit of an anomaly because DUST had several mentions in influential kindle websites and that really affected sales. I still hope that the book will, over time find traction on its own (and my other books, of course). Plus I think the YA/Kids market is still a year away from reaching its true potential. I am pleased that I now have an account with Barnes and Noble, so my books can be bought and read on the Nook (love the app for my iPad). The Nook market isn't as big as Kindle, but it's the second largest of all the markets. Plus they have a really easy interface for keeping track of your books and sales.
Also, for the month of June, I am giving DRAUGR away for free. So if you go to iBooks or Smashwords you can download it for nada. I can't lower the price past .99 cents on B&N nor Amazon (though Amazon may drop the price to zero once its "robots" recognize the book is on sale in other places). It should soon be free on Kobo, too. This is my way of introducing readers to the series (and hope that they pick up the second and third book). Plus, if you've never downloaded an ebook before, there's no risk in downloading a free one.
Update over. Art out.