Transparency In Indie Publishing, Feb. 2012

February was an interesting month.

I opted both of my books, Into the Badlands and Walking At Night: A Collection of Horror, into KDP Select. In another post I discussed the reasoning behind this decision. It took a while for Badlands to come down from the other vendor sites, so I couldn’t opt it in until the last week of February.

KDP Select provides me with two tools: the ability to run free giveaway promos on a title and allows Amazon Prime Members to borrow the book. I used both of these tools in February. As an experiment I made Walking At Night free on Leap Day. I’ll get to that later. Both books are automatically available for borrowing once opted in to KDP Select.

Here’s how sales played out for both books in February:

Into the Badlands

  • 673 Kindle copies sold
  • 1 Nook copy sold
  • 10 paperback copies sold
  • 10 Kindle Amazon Prime borrows

Grand total: 684 copies sold, 10 copies borrowed

At roughly $2.00 per copy sold I earned $1,368 from sales of Into the Badlands. Depending on what Amazon pays out for the borrows (maybe $1.60) I made approximately $16.00 from borrows.

Not a bad payday at all.

Now keep in mind, Into the Badlands was opted into KDP Select for maybe a week and it still lent more copies than it sold at Barnes and Noble for the entire month of January. And that was my best month ever there. I make a little less per Kindle borrow, but I believe I’ll more than make up for it in quantity of borrows. I feel confident KDP Select was the right decision for me.

Now let’s take a look at Walking At Night, my collection of short horror stories.

It’s never really been a big seller. People who’ve read it seem to like it, so maybe it’s just tough to sell short story collections. I can’t say for sure. As I mentioned earlier, I made it free on February 29th. Every other day in February it was not free. Here’s how sales went:

Walking At Night: A Collection of Horror

  • 28 Kindle copies sold
  • 1 Nook copy sold
  • 1 Kindle Amazon Prime borrow
  • 398 Kindle free promo copies given away

At $.70 per copy sold I earned $20.00 from sales of Walking At Night. If Amazon pays out $1.60 per borrow than I made that on my borrow (actually earning more than my sale price).

But let’s look at the freebies. I did very little advertising about the free day. I made a post on my website, then made a post on Twitter and Facebook. By the time I woke up at 5:00 am on promo day, the book was already moving quickly. By the end of the day here were the stats on the promo:

In the United States:

  • 349 free copies “sold”
  • Ranked #765 in the overall US Free Kindle Store
  • Ranked #13 in Short Stories
  • Ranked #37 in Horror

In the United Kingdom:

  • 49 free copies “sold”
  • Ranked #629 in the overall UK Free Kindle Store
  • Ranked #10 in Short Stories

So what does this mean?

Well, for one thing, people seem to be interested in the content of the book. If not, why else would they take the time to download it, even for free? They might not want to drop the $1.99 cover price, but for free it was compelling.

I don’t make much on this book, so giving it away wasn’t much of a risk of jeopardizing future sales. But, by giving it away, it allows people to try me for free. I also included the first three chapters from Into the Badlands at the end of Walking At Night. If they like the short stories and the sample chapters it might drive a sale of Badlands.

As it stands now, nearly 400 people have a copy of my book sitting on their Kindle. I’ve now reached someone I might not have reached before.

Will it push sales over the moon? I think it’s doubtful I’ll see a material difference. But it was kinda cool to see the book rise through the ranks throughout the day and I like that more people are able to read my work now. Reaching readers is my first priority. Another thing to keep in mind here is that I’ve never sold a single copy of Walking At Night in the UK, so now I’ve finally gotten some needed exposure there too.

Overall, sales are down from January. Last month I moved 1,100 books. This month I moved 713. From what I read January was an exceptional month, with all the new Kindles sold over Christmas getting turned on and content downloaded. I imagine February might be more in line with what I can expect throughout the year. Still, selling over 700 books a month is a very nice place to be.

What will the future hold? I think I’ll see sales continue to drop until they level out to something more consistent. Into the Badlands has sold almost 2,500 copies so far, so a lot of people already bought it. Hopefully there are a lot more out there who haven’t.

They say nothing sells books like other books, so when “The Desolate” finally goes on sale (June 1, 2012) I hope I’ll see a spike in sales for both titles.

Over 700 books sold and over $1,400 earned in February…I couldn’t be happier about that. February was a good month, indeed.

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2 thoughts on “Transparency In Indie Publishing, Feb. 2012

  1. Pete Denton March 1, 2012 / 4:50 pm

    They are some great numbers. I hope March continues in the same way.

  2. Brian March 1, 2012 / 11:58 pm

    Thanks! I’m hoping so too. 🙂

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