Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sales Update (AKA show me the numbers)

Rite of Rejection has been solidly out in the world for a little over a month now so it's about time I give an update on how all my marketing efforts have paid off so far.

But first, I want to announce the winner of my blog tour giveaway!

Congrats, Chelly Pike! An awesome reader survival pack full of awesome swag will be making its way to you shortly. Also, I held a secret giveaway for a second awesome reader survival pack for all of my awesome blog tour participants (see the full list of tour folks here). Congrats to Jaclyn of JC's Book Haven and thanks again for all your help with my debut release!

Now, on to the update.

My first goal post publication was to get 50 Amazon reviews in the first month. Because this book is indie, I don't have the official stamp of approval from a traditional publisher that lets people know this is a quality book. Though, technically, I do have that approval since I did get an offer, readers on Amazon or other distributors don't know that. Instead, I need reader validation to give these readers peace of mind.

Fifty is just the number I felt would make a statement. A book with a good rating and 50 reviews is one I would take seriously as a browsing book buyer. I didn't base this on any algorithms or book buying studies (though I would have if those were available). I just want to put that out there so authors don't assume something magical happens at 50 reviews. It doesn't. It just makes me feel good.

And the good news is that I hit my magic number with a few days to spare! Yeah, cake and ice cream for everyone (bring your own). I'll be talking more about reviews in the future, but there's no room for that here. Stay tuned.

My next goal is to recoup my initial investment in three months. This was a scarier goal for me since I have less control over it. I can keep asking a million people to leave reviews until I hit my 50 and hand out free books to reviewers until I'm blue in the face. I can't force people to pony up and actually buy the book.

More good news, people are actually buying the book. I have to assume that eventually the thrill of seeing sales numbers daily will wear off. I'll let you know when that happens. The best part is that at this point, I know that all the people who were going to buy the book because they are my friends and just want to support me, already did it. So now, the sales coming in are from strangers. Just people who think it looks good (and feel safe because of all my review) laying down a few bucks to buy my book. If you've yet to publish, let me just assure you that this might be the best feeling in the world.

Well, second best. Fan mail (I've gotten a few) is maybe slightly more awesome.

Anyway, payments run behind a month on Amazon and several months behind on Smashwords, so I've only gotten one check so far from the sale of the paperbacks that went live before the release date. But I can see an unofficial accounting and I'm a good two thirds of the way toward hitting my goal. I'm hesitant to call that ahead of schedule since trends aren't necessarily predictive when it comes to book buying. Still, I'm getting there and sales are steady. I'm not blowing anyone out of the water yet, but I'm also feeling good about where I'm sitting.

My last goal was to sell 1,000 books in my first six months. Again, this is so hard to tell because I've only got a little over a month of data to go on and who knows what my sales will look like months from now. Also, I can only see a very limited view of my non-Amazon sales right now (some ebook retailers only) so there's no telling what those sales are like. Still, with what I can see I'm over 1/4 of the way there. This sounds good, but I also have to imagine that the launch created a big push that might not be duplicated in the following months. I hope to have a better picture of this in February and will, of course, keep you posted.

So that's where I am with my goals. I am still working on marketing though not as much as the initial push. It's important to know when to promote your book and when to ease off so your followers and fans don't get sick of you. I do have some exciting efforts lined up that I'll share with you guys when the time gets closer.

I'm also hard at work on the next book. I finally figured out the emotional angle that was missing from book two over my Christmas break so I'm doing a bit more finagling with the outline and hope to finish this one up soon. Ideally, publishing book two will bring in some new readers which lifts book one sales and brings me closer to my goals. You know, in theory. Don't mind me crossing my fingers over here.

Then I really need to figure out what I'm going to do with a book three. Seriously, I have no idea. I'm the opposite of JK Rowling who always knew from the very beginning what the last line of her last Harry Potter book would be. I'm like, hmmmm...book three, book three. Any ideas. Any ideas at all.

Never fear, courageous readers, we'll get there somehow.

So that's it for now. My goal in sharing this information is that it helps all of you get a picture of what publishing looks like from behind the scenes and determine what marketing efforts you want to invest your time and money in. Plus, it's just interesting. I don't have tons of date, especially this early, but if there is something else you'd like to know, just ask.

Also, since 2014 is in the books, I'd like to open up the comments today to anyone else who published in 2014 to share their book with us and let us know how it's going for you.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your data, Sarah! I'm looking to self-publish in 2015, so it's great to see your journey.

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  2. Sarah:
    This is excellent information.
    I had similar goals as an author for our novel, The Paragraph Ranch, which came out in September. We published with Indie publisher, Booktrope. It's so good to find another author on a similar path.

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