I've gotten a few emails asking about my book progress. How it is doing? If I can share stats.
Sorry I haven't been connecting as much. With spring break and Rt convention (which was amaz-balls) and a tummy virus in my family - a good month has gone by.
I realize I haven't done one in a while and anything I have accomplished, I owe to you. It's always a bit awkward posting numbers because you don't want people to judge you for being arrogant or for having sucky numbers. So it takes a while for me to build up my nerve. The traditional side doesn't talk number as freely as the indie side so it's just awkward. :)
So here goes:
Sales to date
- Untraceable almost 6,200 copies in 6 months. I would say 85% are ebook sales and 15% are paperback. 65% have been sold on Amazon, 30% on B&N, and 5% other
- On the Bright Side - 500 copies in 3 months. (80% amazon, 20% B&N. 90% ebooks, 10% paperbacks)
- The Indelibles Anthology - about 15,000 downloads.
I have broken even so I have more than earned out in my mind. :)
Not too shabby for an experiment but it's been a tough and hard road for many reasons.
As expected On the Bright Side (being MG) is not selling as well as I'd hoped. I knew it was ahead of indie pubbing curve and most self pubbed books tend to reach a different audience (more ebooks) than traditionally published books. I'm hoping MG will get bigger in ebooks in the future.
- Unspeakable - a Grace eshort releasing outside of Anthology in May
- New Sci Fi eShort called "Suffocate" releases in June.
- Uncontrollable, Book 2, releases in aug/sept (I am taking requests for blog tour and review copies now. Sign up here.
- Unstoppable (Book 3) is scheduled for Dec 2012 just in time for xmas :)
Lessons Learned Along the Way
Thought I would break down some lessons learned along the way over the last 6 months.
First, let me say that everyone has a different strategy so it doesn't mean it will work for me. But I will share with you everything I have done so it can maybe help you to - some will help
Things that did not do as well as I planned:
- I paid 199$ to drop a press release - waste-o-money. I was not happy and was surprised at lack of results. I've done press releases for clients in the past with great results.
- Paperback. I love the paperback but it has not been a huge seller. 90% of my sales are ebooks. But I love having it. As soon as I get my distribution set up - maybe I will focus on that.
- Giveaways are nice but they don't necessarily drive up sales. But they do drive up word of mouth.
- The stigma is real and gets me every time. I have had some wins but also some hard rejection. It's part of the road. I'm less sensitive to it now b/c I feel I am proving myself but it was hard in the beginning.
Things that worked well:
- I priced my book lower to capture impulse buys. I must say - I hate it when my book is priced at 99 cents - b/c I think my book is worth more. But being a new author it got me noticed.
- I have totally done grass roots effort - bloggers. I LOVE them and they have been very supportive. I bet you I have contacted about 500 bloggers and have been featured in some way on 1/2 of those.
- I have not scrimped with my free ebook copies to bloggers or giveaways - I'm hoping for word of mouth
- My focus was not money. My focus was/is rankings and buzz to get noticed.
- My ad and cover investments have helped. Especially my cover - it was worth every penny and more.
- Starting The Indelibles - it has been a huge support system when things get tough and the stigma kicks in. It has also been a great cross promotional group.
- The Indelibles Anthology - it definitely got me sales and teased people on my book. IT was a great marketing tool.
- The Kirkus review was very good for me. Not necessarily in sales but opened doors by adding credibility. Maybe it just gave mt the confidence to know I was good enough. It was what kicked me off on the right foot in my mind.
- Blurbs from traditional authors helped to open doors as well. I think Kimberly Derting's blurb opened up many - especially with bloggers who normally didn't review indie books.
- Kind Nation sponsorship was a great return and I probably broke even on the ad vs copies sold. But it got my rankings up. (made money back). I think when you do ads, it helps to mark your book on sale to grab some people who might not normally pick up your book.
- POI - Love Pixel. They are the best yet! (made money back plus some). It pushed me over the top and got me noticed in rankings and kickstarted big sales for me.
- efrugal reader - I saw no difference :(
- Kindle Fire Department - definitely saw an uptick in sales and ranking but I dont think I made my money back.
Channels that are best:
- BLOGGERS! They are #1 in my eyes. Invaluable and I <3 them.
- Email ads seems to be the best - whenever I do an ad that includes an email distribution to subscribers, I see an uptick. More so than if it is just Facebook or twitter.
- Twitter ads are great for click throughs and in building awareness about my book but it does not translate to direct sales.
- Facebook - I have not used this yet. But I hear it can be effective. It can just get costly.
- Goodreads giveaways - I can't measure it in sales but the giveaways definitely get my book added to shelves which to me is awareness. Since it takes 7 times for someone to see something before they buy it - this helped.
- Conferences/conventions - These don't seem to pay off in sales vs cost. (Though I did sell tons of copies at RT. But the networking and building awareness is invaluable. Plus the more you speak, the better you are. In addition, I have gotten asked to 2 additional places because they heard my talk was good. So never underestimate word of mouth. I also use these reference when approaching larger ones about speaking. It gives credibility that you can do it.
- Social Networking - I will say I think my platform helped. I started building relationships three years ago and I had so must support from everyone. Just know if you start building your platform, you may not see immediate returns or a sales impact. But the support and friendships have been priceless.
- Contests - I have entered contests and gotten nominations which has been great for PR and media interest.
What I would do differently:
- Send out review copies much sooner. At least 3 months in advance.
- Submit to places like Kirkus, PW, ALA much earlier. They require a huge advance time in doing reviews.
- Would not play with price so much. Be more strategic about when book is on sale vs when it is not.
- Roll out paperback and ebook in separate releases. It's hard to do it all at once.
- Spend more time up front creating detailed plan and making sure all channels of distribution were ready to go.
- Spend more time targeting some micro markets that my book would be of interest too. I have focused on larger markets and have probably missed opportunity.
- Gotten an intern sooner. I have an intern helping me with stuff now and I already adore her.
Any Questions or suggestions? Maybe things that you heard work well? I'm all ears :)