At some point during the pre-publishing process for my first novel, I said that I wanted to be relatively transparent about how well my books did.
Well, it’s been over three months since I published The Warden of Everfeld: Memento. I’ve already talked about how my PPC campaigns performed. Now, it’s time to have a quick look at how they and my other marketing efforts helped me actually sell books.
I don’t really know where to begin with this, since I’ve never talked about book sales before, so…
Have a graphic!
That there is my personal sales tracker. I have much more complicated and detailed charts, but that’s the gist.
55 sales is fucking awesome. I had no clue what I might achieve going into this. I was secretly aiming for 100 sales in my first push, just because it’s a clean number and it seemed pretty ambitious for a first-time self-published author. But believe me, I am not disappointed with 55 in the slightest.
100 is now my next goal 🙂
By the Numbaaahs (cue Matt Damon Boston accent)
Let’s start with totals. I sold more books directly to friends and family than I did online. That’s amazing. I’ve said this before, but I did not expect the outpouring of support from the people around me for my novel.
That being said, the direct sales number sort of skews the others. Without those 27 direct sales, that 55-book total drops to 28.
Still, 28 books sold online is pretty solid, I think. That’s just about 51%.
I wasn’t sure how each version of my book would perform on Amazon, so it’s interesting that the Kindle version sold consistently better.
Of my total sales, 29% were Kindle, and 21% were print.
Now, the month-over-month trend is exactly what I expected: biggest sales coming in July, the month of publication, and then petering off from there.
My primary marketing push was early July to mid-August. I knew that I would see a drop-off after that. I just didn’t know how big or how soon.
Five total sales since September 1 is not great, but I have to consider a few factors:
- My marketing efforts effectively ended before September began
- I did not receive the initial push of online reviews I had hoped for from early readers
- I purposely did not plan any marketing events for October
Numbers 1 and 3 are clearly related. No, I did not market my book after my launch campaign, but that was by design. I wanted to see how sales would go by just continuing to write about my book, and not using any more of my marketing budget.
I have my answer: not well.
Number 2 is basically out of my control. Several of my friends and family read my book within the first month or two, which is amazing. However, I’ve had only two reviews on Amazon and GoodReads.
Apparently, not everyone writes reviews online. Who knew?
Some Lessons from My Q1 Sales
Selling direct is easier than selling online.
Maybe that’s because I was selling to people I knew, but I have a feeling that putting myself out there, literally in front of readers, will help my sales a ton. Hence, Awesome Con 2019.
Don’t count on other people to get the word out for you.
I had hoped to get more reviews early on, but all I can do is ask for them. Whether people actually write them is completely their prerogative. The point is, I need to look at other buzz-generating avenues and let the reviews come in naturally.
My sales are limited by my profile.
I’ve been blogging for four years, with something like 400+ followers, many of whom probably actually follow Jessie. I have an incredible support system of friends and family. I have already connected with other authors who are more than happy to give me a helping hand.
Still, in the grand scheme, no one knows who I am. I need to get my name and my writing out there more. Awesome Con will help. Publishing my myths will also help.
It’s a process. For now, even with my drier autumn, I’m just happy to be in the process.
2 thoughts on “A Quarterly Sales Report, and Other Things I never Thought I’d Write”
This is very helpful information for writers to look at… It isn’t easy being “discovered” and marketing usually turns out to be the hard part, but your attitude is great and inspiring. I do think that getting to “know” you as an author is a selling strongpoint because you are immediately relatable. You should talk to bookstores (especially local) about doing an author signing, and maybe giving a talk on your publishing process… I see crowds in your future! Sales may well follow…
Thanks so much! I always hope that my blogging is useful or at least interesting to other writers, so that’s great to hear. I’ve considered talking to local bookstores in Baltimore about selling my books there on consignment, doing a signing day, etc. I just haven’t really pursued it yet. My next phase of marketing will definitely be more about getting my name out there, rather than just paying for placed ads online 🙂