Transparency In Indie Publishing, Dec. 2011

Last month I started a series I’m calling “Transparency In Indie Publishing”. The purpose: to provide insight into one independent author’s experiences. Back in November’s post I mentioned how things had gone up to that point and where I thought things would go in December.

I’m glad to report that my predictions were way off.

I predicted I might sell 300 copies of my novel, Into the Badlands within the month of December. I felt that was a generous estimate. Turned out, it was low. In total I sold 411 copies across all channels in December, more than the prior three months combined.

Virtually all of those were sold through Amazon. Nook sales did increase a little, but in the end Into the Badlands only sold 5 copies, an increase of 1 from the prior month. The Nook continues to disappoint compared to Amazon.

Daily sales of Into the Badlands hovered around 13 to 15 copies up until just before Christmas. Christmas day it sold 7 copies. After Christmas, however, sales jumped to 25 to 30 copies a day, holding solid through the end of the year. All those Kindles sold during the holiday season are apparently being put to good use.

Another incredible thing happened in the final days of 2011; Into the Badlands landed in the top 100 bestseller list for the “Psychological Thrillers” category at Amazon. It made it to #74 at one point. To see my book in the same list as Joe Konrath, William Golding, Dean Koontz, and Jeff Lindsay was surreal. I could never have predicted that would ever happen.

In other news, I revamped my short story collection in December. I renamed it from The Signal: A Collection of Tales to Walking At Night: A Collection of Horror. I removed the Sci-Fi story so that all 9 stories would be horror-themed. This allowed me to better categorize the book. I also gave it a new cover which I’m very happy with.

I can’t say for sure if the makeover or the holidays were responsible, but sales jumped from 7 copies in November to 17 copies sold in December. I’d bounced around with price points, but none of that seemed to help. Eventually I landed on $1.99. I’ll likely leave it there since it’s selling better than ever. I like to think the makeover and renaming is responsible for the increase in sales, but time will tell. The numbers are small, but it’s still a more than 200% jump in sales. I’ll take what I can get.

So, through 12/31/2011, Into the Badlands had sold 682 copies. So far in 2012 it’s averaging 25 copies a day. I’m not sure how long that trend will continue, but if it does then I could sell over 700 copies in January alone. We’ll see how that plays out.

I expect to sell more copies of Walking At Night: A Collection of Horror than I did in prior months, but I don’t expect sales to skyrocket.

I’m currently at work on two new manuscripts, one being the sequel to Into the Badlands. I think it has potential to sell as well as its predecessor.

I’m almost ready to release Into the Badlands in paperback. I’m waiting on the proof to arrive. If it looks good then I’ll give the word to put it on sale. Pricing is going to be in the $13.99 range; that’s about as low as I can go and not lose money. Paper has a lot of overhead.

I also received the manuscript for Into the Badlands back from my editor. I incorporated the edits and have released it on the Kindle and the Nook as a “second edition”. It’s not fundamentally different; just cleaned up a little. The Kindle and Nook versions are live with these edits; other versions (including paper) will receive them shortly. The next two books will be fully edited before they’re released.

Overall, I’m ecstatic. As of today I’ve sold almost 780 books in all, earning roughly $1400. I’ve now upgraded my writing from “hobby” to “part-time job”. While selling at these numbers is kid stuff for a big name author, it’s huge for small fry like me. Big enough for me to consider it a part time job.

What will January hold? I’m not sure. Sales will probably slack off, once all the gift cards are spent and Kindles are full of books. Amazon did sell a lot of Kindles though, so maybe we haven’t even seen what’s possible. I’ll be watching to find out.

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2 thoughts on “Transparency In Indie Publishing, Dec. 2011

  1. jerened January 3, 2012 / 1:55 pm

    Well done, Brian! I am thrilled for you!

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