Indie Authors discussion

78 views
General > 2013 1st Quarter Sales

Comments Showing 1-35 of 35 (35 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ted (last edited Mar 21, 2013 08:08AM) (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments My total ebook sales for the start of 2013 are higher than anytime last year, with almost a week until the end of the first quarter, and is headed for a record quarter.

B&N still leads, with Apple a solid second, and Kobo fighting it out with Sony for 3rd. My ebooks for children remain very popular, as do a couple of my puzzle ebooks. This year I'm hoping to get more in the mood for writing additional ebooks for children.

One of the reasons Apple sales are particularly strong may be because I changed the cover size of 9 of my ebooks and changed the actual cover of 7. The cover size change was something I had been meaning to do for months following the announcement of Apple requiring a larger cover for display on their systems. Having smaller than requested covers meant 9 of my ebooks weren't available on Apple.

I have few reviews for any of my ebooks, a star rating between average and good for those that are reviewed/rated between 3 and 5 stars, and the sales of ebooks with 1 or 2 stars aren't hurt by the low ratings.

I checked my sales at Amazon, which has always lagged far behind sales through Smashwords, and so far this year I might as well not have had any ebooks on Amazon for the little amount of royalty collected.

I have no empirical data to back this statement, but I suspect KDP Select free book days are killing sales not just for me but for many other authors on Amazon.


message 2: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 354 comments For me, my sales are abysmal at the moment (I had one month with not a single sale), but generally, Smashwords is absolutely awful for me (I've had a baby's handful of sales direct, and about two from Apple, and that's it), and Kindle is much better. I've sold somewhere around 430 books since last May, and the percentage of those sold through Smashwords is so tiny as to be essentially non-existent.

It's strange how different author's have such different successes through each outlet. I wonder what the other authors here have experienced in this regard.


message 3: by Ted (last edited Mar 21, 2013 09:39AM) (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Yeah, it's weird. I've never had any success with Amazon, and you've had no success with Smashwords. Maybe it's because I write short works for children and that isn't in demand as much as long novels.


message 4: by Don (new)

Don Martinez (DesertCoyote13) | 4 comments Terrible sales regardless of the avenue here. I don't have time to promote other than what I do on Goodreads, so that's probably part of it ... the lion's share of my Smashwords sales have been reviewer freebies.


message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) | 260 comments Ted wrote: "I have no empirical data to back this statement, but I suspect KDP Select free book days are killing sales not just for me but for many other authors on Amazon.
"


Make no mistake of it. I know people with brand-new Kindles who claim that they've never paid a dime for a book.

I do far better with Smashwords and its outlets (in other words, ePub format) than I do via Amazon, by a factor of 100:1. I don't know why, but that is the case.


message 6: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments Amazon is still the primary market for me, sales wise, but Smashwords is starting to trickle some sales in from its other sites. Kobo and BN sales REALLY started to pick up once I put up "She Only Wore a Shirt to the Funeral" for free. I'm done with the idea of KDP Select free days, for me it's all about the one short I've gotten price matched. If the readers can't figure out if they like my writing from that one, it isn't going to help if I make a million other books free once every so often.


message 7: by Jill (last edited Mar 22, 2013 10:56AM) (new)

Jill Sanders (jillmsanders) | 46 comments #1 sales for me is Amazon
#2 Smashwords - B&N, SW, Sony, Apple, Kobo in order
#3 all others

My paperback sales are pretty much just friends & family so far.


message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments Oh, forgot to mention: sales wise, January was great but Feb/March have been a trough for me. These last two months have had half the sales volume at best vs Nov-Jan; most days have been just one sale, and even had a $0 day or two.

But it seems to be picking up a little this last week or so.


message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments #1 Amazon
#2 Smashwords
#3 Kobo (I go direct)
#4 other (DriveThru)...
I'm going to get that Amazon check (for the past 2 years, sigh) and Q1 from Smashwords... maybe I can go out to dinner with that, LOL!


message 10: by Ted (last edited Mar 23, 2013 07:09AM) (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Maybe the reason for my low sales on Amazon is my low prices, 99 cents or 1.99.

I would suspect that most Amazon Kindle authors price their works at 2.99 and above so they can earn the 70% royalty, and I wonder if Kindle owners perhaps view low-priced works as low-quality and don't purchase or don't even bother looking at a sample.

I have to sell about 6 times as many ebooks at 99 cents to earn the same royalty as an author on the 70% royalty program selling 1 work for 2.99.

But it doesn't make sense for me to charge 2.99 for the short, less than 45 pages, picture ebooks for children like I publish when other authors are offering 100,000+ word ebooks for 2.99-4.99 on Amazon.

I can't help think of that old cartoon in which a publisher is holding a large manuscript in the palm of his hand and moving it up and down testing its weight, then turns to the author and says "Feels like 14.95".


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments Ted wrote: "Maybe the reason for my low sales on Amazon is my low prices, 99 cents or 1.99.

I would suspect that most Amazon Kindle authors price their works at 2.99 and above so they can earn the 70% royalt..."


LOL, Ted!
Yes, I totally see your point about pricing. I also price according to lenght, and most of my books are short in spite of being for adults. I don't write 100k novels (my max in 90K, which is short for average fantasy books), so my most espensive novel is 4.99 because it's 90K (AND published 2 years ago).
I'm trying to avoid the single short stories at 99cents though. And if you have the printed version of your book (done via CreateSpace) it makes even more sense - have you tried the printed version or is it only e-books?


message 12: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Barbara, I only print ebooks. I looked at CreateSpace for my picture ebooks for children but it didn't make sense financially. I felt the final print price was too much for such short works.

My picture ebooks for children contain images I Photoshop, not hand-drawn works by an illustrator, and believe purchasers would want more artistic involvement to warrant a price reflecting the artistic content.

Hiring an illustrator for a print version will be an option once one of my picture ebooks for children reaches 100,000 sales, as that will show a proven demand for the work. But until then I'm going to stick with ebooks.


message 13: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Tarn (barbaragtarn) | 1194 comments Ted wrote: "Hiring an illustrator for a print version will be an option once one of my picture ebooks for children reaches 100,000 sales, as that will show a proven demand for the work. But until then I'm going to stick with ebooks. "

makes sense... but you know, there are cheap illustrators on DeviantART as well - maybe they're art students, maybe they're experimenting. You don't have to sell an arm and a leg to pay for illustrations... and sometimes even doing them yourself, even if you can draw only stick figures, is good enough for children! :)


message 14: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Great suggestion, Barbara. Thanks. I'll look into that.


message 15: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Morris (kathleenmorris) I have had steady sales through B&N and apple. It is really surprising me. Since I put my full length novels up to $4.99 more people seem to buy. I have shorts for 2.99 and a play for 2.99 that is doing good too. I also have one free book (it's a collection of short stories) and that seems to help.

With Amazon, the only thing selling is my play for 2.99 but it's an Easter play so that's probably why right now.

I do much better on all the other sites through Smashwords but I also have five books out now and just finished writing my 6th book. It's a full length. The edits should be done soon so I'll get that up there in April. I find the more you have up there, the better you do with sales.

I also am part of a facebook marketing group that has helped sales a lot.

I have also done a lot of reviews for other authors and that gets my name out...so over-all it has been a great quarter for me. Looking forward to the next quarter :) Now to just solve the EIN problem. Still have to find out how to get one so I can finally get paid;) ...but that's another thread altogether. Haha;)


message 16: by Jill (new)

Jill Sanders (jillmsanders) | 46 comments Ted, it does help to have a book at 2.99. My first book in a 4 part series is .99 (takes forever to make $) my 2nd is 2.99 (most of my $ comes from sales here) my next 2 books I will price at 4.99 or around there.

Most people who have multiple books do the low price for the first to introduce you as an author. I can tell you, if they buy my 2nd book, most go back and get the first because of the low price.

If they get the first & like it, they buy the 2nd, and so on.

Hope this helps.

Oh, and when I do giveaways on one book, I see sales on the other. That's another nice thing about having multiple books.


message 17: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments I can see where your pricing program makes sense for novels but I publish mainly short length picture ebooks for children, and puzzle ebooks when I'm not in the mood for writing for children.

In the future I will look into what Barbara suggested, hiring an artist, and then will consider higher prices.

I thoroughly agree with you about multiple works. I think that is why my ebooks for children do well; I publish a couple of very popular free ebooks for children which have shown they attract purchasers of my fee-based works.


message 18: by Ken (new)

Ken Haramiru (haramiru) | 68 comments You feel bad about doing a 45-page childrens' book at $0.99? Check out what a Dr. Seuss printed book costs these days... I just looked up "Oh the places you'll go", which is 56 pages and costs $9.50.

Parents want something which engages their children while they read them to sleep. If your book accomplishes that, it's worth $2.99 at a bare minimum.


message 19: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Odd isn't it how some people get great sales on venue and lousy sales elsewhere and for others it is the reverse. I wonder if it is linked to genre, or which venue was the first.

I have not long had my book on SW and I am yet to see any sales but I am not sure how the reporting from the other avenues is reported, I know it isn't daily.

My sales on Amazon are not spectacular but reasonably steady and I never expected hundreds so I am fairly happy with them.

I have been promoting the SW channel now but not sure if I am doing something wrong or just being impatient.


message 20: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Alexandra, on the Smashwords Dashboard you'll see on the left side of the page a link titled Sales & Payment Report. Click on that link and you'll find out how sales are reported. Apple reports daily.

You won't get many sales from the Smashwords site itself because it is not as well known or have as large a membership as Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc. It's been my experience that purchasers view samples on Smashwords and then leave to buy where they already are a member and have their credit card info there.

Find the links to your works on B&N, Kobo, and Apple and promote them along with link to Smashwords. I find those three retailers to be the most popular for my works.

If you haven't done so already, read the FAQ's, Marks' ebook marketing guide, and other info/data Mark has provided on the site.

And (a little self-promotion here) drop by the Smashwords Forum and check out the information there, or post a question/answer a question.


message 21: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Thanks, I have the Barnes and Noble link I should find the apple one and the kobo one. I joined the SW forum here as well.


message 22: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Ok where do I find the i-books link? All I get is do you want to download the app. Well not really I doubt I will ever buy anything from there.


message 23: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments I have the Kobo link now.


message 24: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments Ah, let me count up my 2013 Q1 sales from Smashwords...

1

Via Apple.

I need to get a new book out...


message 25: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments :)


message 26: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Alexandra, iBooks are available through iTunes. While you yourself may not buy anything from iTunes, having your work available to around 1 billion people downloading from iTunes for their iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac etc. is advantageous.

Apple has an iTunes link maker you can use to find the links to your works. The iTunes Link Maker.

Thanks for joining our Smashwords Forum. I'll go there now.


message 27: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Thanks. Someone was kind enough to help me so now I have those links too.


message 28: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Andrew, how does your Apple sale compare with Amazon?


message 29: by Don (new)

Don Martinez (DesertCoyote13) | 4 comments Ted wrote: "Alexandra, on the Smashwords Dashboard you'll see on the left side of the page a link titled Sales & Payment Report. Click on that link and you'll find out how sales are reported. Apple reports dai..."

This hasn't been the case for me. Again, most of the sales I've had from Smashwords have been reviewer free copies: I've only sold two through other avenues (one through Barnes & Noble, one through Blio), and all the rest went through the main Smashwords site.

Then again, all of my sales are dismal anyway, so I don't think this is going to sway anyone any.


message 30: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 35 comments Ted, I've sold about 10 Amazon copies so far in 2013...

I think it's fair to say the mad hype for my book has died down somewhat.


message 31: by Ted (last edited Mar 25, 2013 07:32AM) (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Don, Andrew, I've been publishing ebooks through Smashwords and Amazon for about 3 years now. Before that I published free PDF books through my own websites for about 5 years total.

It took almost 2 years of offering my free PDF ebooks on my sites before I began to get a steady 40 -100 unique visitors daily.

After the ebook craze started I closed my free sites and worked on creating new material for a new site for works I'd eventually distribute through Smashwords and Amazon. I opened my new site and let it run for several months to regain steady visits before offering my first work, a free ebook, through Smashwords. A few months later I published that same work on Amazon.

Perhaps the only difference between my sales and yours is the length of time we've been attracting viewers to our works. I started building an audience years before I offered my first ebook for sale, so I already had a following for my style of writing and my personality.

I've seen an uptick in sales of my ebooks for children whenever I've concentrated on social media, like goodreads, for more than the usual hour or so a week I usually spend on social networks.


message 32: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments Just checked my sales report on Smashwords. Found it has been updated and royalties are the highest ever, with a significant amount of royalties in the "Accrued Sales
(reported, not yet payable by retailer)" still to be added. This is the way to start a new year. Whoopeee!!!

I sold more on Apple last week than on Amazon in the past 6 weeks. Looks like my Kindle royalties are going to be in 5th or 6th place for this quarter.


message 33: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Nice. I am still waiting to get any SW sales. What is the secret there?


message 34: by Ted (new)

Ted Summerfield (ted_summerfield) | 144 comments No secret, Alexandra. I publish inexpensive ebooks for children and have for 3 years. I give away free ebooks for children to promote my works, I do some marketing of links to my works at B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon, on Twitter and Facebook. I visit social networks now and then and post/reply to 'stuff' there.

I'm not competing with tens of thousands of other authors because none of my works are in popular genres like vampires, sci-fi, erotica, romance, YA, etc.

I have a brand name because for years before I started publishing ebooks I had a blog or web site or forum to promote my name and style.

The main 'secret' I believe is I publish inexpensive - 99 cents - ebooks for children which don't sell well on Amazon but do extremely well elsewhere.

I'm not suggesting you, Alexandra, should offer your works for 99 cents. If you're works are selling well on KDP at $2.99 or above then you've found a price which works for you, just like I found a price which works for me.


message 35: by A.L., Stormy Chronicler (last edited Apr 18, 2013 10:43AM) (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 998 comments Fair enough:) It may well depend on genre and such. Thanks for the advice:) Some people seem to have a lot off success there, some don't.


back to top