Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Real world sales numbers, part 4

It's time for my twice-yearly update on self-publishing sales numbers by those of us who don't shoot into the stratosphere of popularity! Last time, the lingering questions were how will my novella with Dreamspinner impact sales and how will finishing my fantasy series impact sales?

The final part (#6) of Disciple went on sale in March, quickly followed by the Omnibus which collects the whole thing into one nice doorstop. I ordered a paperback copy of that just to have it on my shelf. :)

Hawks & Rams went on sale December 31, 2014, and I have gotten two royalty reports from Dreamspinner since then.

Let's see how the sales graphs are looking:

Sales by title, per month
Total sales, per month

  • Date range: October 2012 - April 2015. 
  • H&R sales are reported quarterly, so to avoid a huge spike I divided them evenly over the three months of the quarter.

Last time I posted, I had just had an October of zero sales. As you can see, they've bounced back well. The trend (red line in the bottom graph) is definitely upwards. March was my best sales month ever. H&R's sales have definitely made a difference so far.

One question I had as a self-publisher was how a small press would compare to my own efforts.
Sales by retailer
As you can see, despite the big spike in Amazon sales when I dropped both Disciple, Part VI and the Omnibus, Dreamspinner has been an excellent sales channel. 

So am I making a living yet? Well, let me put it this way: in 2013, I earned about $207 from my book sales. In 2014, I earned about $305. 50% higher! 

Is that awful? Well, in 2012, half of self-publishers were earning less than $500 a year. It's hard to say what that number is these days -- there's a lot of sketchy information about self-publishing out there. 

I don't mean for this to be discouraging if you're thinking about self-publishing. I'm just trying to show you that when we say it's hard, slow, and difficult, we aren't kidding. How would my numbers be different if I published four books a year? Ten? (I can't write that fast, it's not physically possible. But some people do.) What if I was writing in a hotter category than epic/gritty fantasy?

Who knows. Your self-publishing story will be different, I know that for certain.

Got questions? Feel free to ask.

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