Sales Figures For May – A Decent Start

I started this blog at the beginning of April at the same time that I made my decision to self-publish. I thought I would document the process of an unknown, unpublished writer as they attempted to get noticed out of the near-million items in the Kindle Store.

People warned me that there was so much crap out there that I would sink to the bottom unnoticed. However, that just strengthened my belief that if you put out a professional product (well-edited, good cover, competitive price, catchy blurb, clever marketing), that you would stand out even more.

Right from the start, I promised to give you my sales figures, warts and all. There were times this month that I regretted that pledge. I went four days when I sold nothing at all in the US, and a whole week in the UK, but my sales pulled through in the end and I comfortably beat my targets.

Too often the talk in self-publishing is about people at the very top of the bestseller charts whom we have no realistic hope of matching, or people who don’t approach this professionally (i.e. poor editor, crappy design etc.), and sell nothing at all.

I don’t think either extreme is particularly useful for the average unpublished writer who is considering self-publishing.

What first made me sit up and take notice of self-publishing was the amazing figures being posted by people like Joe Konrath, Amanda Hocking, and John Locke.

However, what convinced me to take the plunge was the much more widespread success of previously unpublished writers on the next “tier” down: David Dalglish, Victorine Lieske, HP Mallory, Michael Wallace, Christopher Smith, Mel Comley, J. Carson Black, David McAffee, Sibel Hodge, Imogen Rose, and many more.

Robin Sullivan of Ridan Publishing regularly posts monthly totals of some of the top-sellers she has information for. But even more convincing than that was the monthly thread on Kindle Boards (like this one), where people published their totals whether they were selling big numbers or not.

Two things became clear to me. First, there were a lot more people making good money from self-publishing than I realised. Second, the sales curve for self-published work is completely different to traditional publishing.

In traditional publishing there is a massive push in the first week and the first month to sell as many copies as possible. Good numbers are crucial in preventing booksellers from returning the books to the publisher, so all the marketing push is focussed on those opening weeks.

If the first month is a good one, the hope is that momentum will carry the book through a few months good sales before it dies down to a trickle. If it’s a bad one (which is far more likely), the book is written off and destroyed.

However, in self-publishing, it is completely different. Virtually every writer who posted their sales figures had a slow build, with each month gradually improving before some kind of jump after five, six, or seven months.

None of them could really put their finger on what led to the boom, but many felt it was their cumulative marketing efforts finally finding their audience.

This is a great boon to self-publishers. It removes the insane pressure for instant success, and give you time to find the pricing and marketing strategies that work for you. It also negates the unrealistic expectations that hound trade published writers, where their book is deemed a hit or a flop in a matter of days.

All that said, it’s time for my figures.

I launched my first e-book If You Go Into The Woods on May 4 & my second Transfection on May 21. Both titles are short stories. The first has a length of around 4,000 words, the second, closer to 6,000. Both are priced at the minimum 99c.

I had some fears that I would sell only a handful because of the sheer amount of full-length novels, many from bestsellers, available for the same price.

Full Breakdown for May

If You Go Into The Woods (on sale since May 4)

Amazon US 88

Amazon UK 15

Amazon DE 1

Smashwords 4

Sub-total 108

Transfection (on sale since May 21)

Amazon US 40

Amazon UK 2

Amazon DE 0

Smashwords 3

Sub-total 45

Total 153*

*That total includes 13 copies gifted through Amazon, but doesn’t include free downloads on Smashwords or copies given away through other means.

“Real” Total 140

With both titles there was an initial burst of sales, then nothing, then a slow build (with ups and downs).

Neither title is in the Smashwords Premium Catalogue yet, which is cutting out 20%-30% of my sales channels (I am international so can’t list direct with Barnes & Noble and must go through Smashwords).

Sales of Transfection have been much stronger in the US. In fact, overall sales have collapsed completely in the UK, with only 1 sale in the last week of May. I haven’t figured out why yet, although 99% of my promotional efforts are focused on the US.

There was zero spend on advertising, until May 27, when I took out a cheap ad on the KU Forum which has had zero effect on sales.

I made a couple of mistakes, which had an effect on sales (not least running a competition on Twitter and sending 70 US readers to my Amazon UK listing – ouch).

I had a couple of breaks with some nice reviews in book blogs towards the end of the month which will hopefully lift sales (or keep them at this level) in June. I got a very nice review from SIFT Book Reviews two days ago, and I’m hoping that will have a positive effect.

Obviously, it’s too early to draw any conclusions, but the reviews are building nicely, and some people are starting to say some nice things.

Personally, I am delighted. It’s far more than I could have expected.

Out of all the promotional things I attempted, the second most effective was competitions. The first, by far, was releasing a new title. The sales of If You Go Into The Woods jumped when I released Transfection, even though they are different genres.

When I started on this path, I was unknown and unpublished (aside from few stories in magazines). I also had no platform. I started a blog in April about a month before my first release.

It grew pretty fast – I was hitting 1000 views a week by the release of If You Go Into The Woods, and it’s approaching 2000 views a week now.

My recommendation to anyone considering self-publishing is to start building that platform now. I only joined Twitter 3 weeks ago, and I should have done that a lot earlier. Blogging too.

There are tons of (free) promotional avenues I haven’t explored yet, and I am still experimenting with what is an effective use of my time. I should have a clearer picture in a few months.

But overall, I’m very happy with the way things are gone.

Cold Hard Cash

So what’s that in dollars? I make 35 cent per copy sold in the US, about the same from the UK, a little more in Germany, and a lot more from Smashwords. In total I cleared over $50.

I’m not driving a gold car yet, but it’s a good start. Remember, self-publishing is all about a slow build. To give you a comparison, John Locke made less than that in his first six months. He made $126,000 in April.

To put it another way, I covered 50% of the costs of the first story in 3 weeks. The second one was a little more expensive to produce and will take longer to cover costs, but then everything after that is profit. Forever. With no further costs on my side.

The plan is to use these shorts as a springboard to tap into the higher royalty rates. I’m never going to get rich making 35c per e-book.

My next project will be priced at $2.99 and that will make me over $2 a copy. The next release after that will be $3.99 or $4.99 (haven’t decided yet), and that will make me $2.79/$3.49 a copy.

I view the stories as “loss leaders” for the longer work (even though it looks like they will turn a profit). Longer work tends to sell much better, plus you get the 70% royalty rate instead of 35%.

The hope is that readers who aren’t sure whether to take a risk at a higher price, have a lower-priced alternative to sample my writing.

Plus, they will see the reviews of the lower-priced stuff (which has done well in that regard so far). Essentially, the short stories are like ads for the rest of my stuff which will come out this summer.

Also, I will bundle them into collection of 5 for $2.99 too, which will also tap into that higher royalty rate.

That’s speaking with my business hat on. I love writing shorts just for the fun of it too.

So, how do I feel overall? Well, I’m beginning to build an audience, I’m starting to get my name out there, and collect some good reviews.

But you know what? If $50 is all I ever make, if I never sell one more copy, I will be out about $140. Even if that happens, the experience (and the education) will have been well worth it.

I see these sales as the start, not the end. There is huge potential here. I just can’t wait to bring out longer work and see what level my sales could rise to.

June, here we come!

David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time he spends outside. He writes fiction under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.

43 Replies to “Sales Figures For May – A Decent Start”

  1. Well done… I look forward to you being in the black. Can you calculate in how much you would have spent sending paper copies of your work abroad to agents? That might mean that self-publishing has gotten you more readers for less money already.

    1. Hey Dave 1,

      I spent a lot of money on paper submissions alright. Comparable to what I spent publishing these two e-books, if not more. And that got me zero readers (aside from the intern in the agent’s office who read a couple of pages of my submission before binning it. If I count all the freebies I gave away too, I have around 200 new readers. That number is only going to grow, plus many of the old readers might buy my new titles too.

      But the greatest satisfaction is knowing that the book I am editing now will be on sale in a few weeks. If I went the traditional route, that would mean six months sending it out to agents (minimum). Then if I was one of the 0.1% that got picked up by an agent, I would be looking at six months going on submission to editors in publishing houses (on average). Then, if I was lucky enough to sell it to an editor, they would demand a few months (minimum) of rewrites. When they were satisfied, it would be another 18 months before the book would actually hit the bookstore. So, on average, almost three years! How many copies could I sell in those three years alone!

      Dave 2

  2. Good post. I’ve had many fewer purchases of my collection of short stories on and than you have had, but like you I feel very good about the whole thing. It’s worth it even if the results are puny. I should be self-publishing a novel in a few months; most everything should be in place by then. Like you, I’m looking long-term. Sure we’d all like to get rich quick, but that’s not my aim in life (it’s already too late for that in my life, anyway). I appreciate your honesty and willingness to help others. Good luck.

    1. The best thing about Easy Street is that it’s just around the corner from Skid Row.

      More seriously, these first few months aren’t really about sales (although they are nice). It’s about finding the best price for your work, finding which marketing strategies are a good use of your time, and, most importantly, finding your audience. All of that takes time. I don’t know of one self-publisher (that didn’t have a previous in trade publishing) that was posting big numbers right out of the gate. All of them – David Dalglish, Michael Sullivan, John Locke, Amanda Hocking, Victorine Lieske – all took about 6 months before they took off.

      Also, all of them (with the exception of Victorine) needed multiple titles out before they found their audience.

  3. These are the numbers I want to see! It’s hard to see myself up there with Konrath and Hocking, but it’s just as terrible to think of being down with those who sell only ten a month. Somewhere in the middle and slowly building? That’s what I’m hoping for when I self-pub mine this month.

    Thanks for sharing – not just these numbers, but everything else you’ve done on the blog, too. I spent most of yesterday reading through your posts and I feel like I learned a lot. You’re a gem and you deserve the success! 🙂

    1. Thank you very much Heather.

      I’m very pleased with this start. But if I had only sold 10, I wouldn’t have given up. It takes time to find your audience (and for them to find you). A slow build is just fine.

  4. I can’t imagine you’ll stop at the $50 mark. I have confidence. 😉

    I am amazed at how many page views you get per week! Of course, your blog has a theme with information people want to read. Whereas mine is about as disjointed and eclectic as I am. lol But I have to say I’m pretty please with the fact that I went from having about 1 view per month (for the last two years) to over 250 views in April (when I started seriously blogging) and more than double that in May! Hopefully it doubles again by the time Kissed by Darkness comes out end of June.

    I really appreciate you sharing your numbers. As you say, Konrath’s number are awesome. As are Hocking’s. But seriously, most of us will never reach those numbers, nor do we need to. Yes, I’d like to make a living doing this, but I don’t need $600k a year to make a living. It’s great to get the perspective of someone who, like me, is just starting out and is building his audience slowly but surely.

    1. The blog views are something else. I’m coming up to 10,000 views in less than 2 months.

      I guess writing about a “hot” topic helps, and there has been a healthy dose of luck (when a couple of people with huge twitter followings started tweeting some of my posts).

      If I was to be really self-critical, I would say that perhaps the blog is more of a networking tool, and that it’s audience is more writers than readers. And while writers are readers too, you need to find where readers hang out and interact with them. To put it another way, if you are getting 250 views from readers who are going to buy your book, that’s better than 2,500 who won’t.

      I’m hoping my next title will tap into some of the blog’s success. We’ll see. And anyway, while blogging is a great promotional tool, it’s not essential. John Locke didn’t update his blog for six months and in that time his sales went from virtually zero to 300,000 a month.

      1. There’s definitely a bit of luck involved. You can do everything you’re supposed to do and still not find an audience. Fortunately I plan on living to be 120, so I’ve got time. 😉

  5. Nice going David, definitely a very solid start. I find it particularly interesting how you found sales jumped after releasing your second – but very different – story. It supports the idea that simply getting more work out there is a huge promotional tool in itself.

    1. Hi Matt,

      I have no doubt whatsoever that the single greatest promotional tool available to a writer is new work. Nothing beats it (unless you can get on Oprah).

  6. Well, I’m certainly glad that sales are going so swimmingly for you, David. That’s just great.

    Not so sure about the “boom” at the end of five, six, or seven months. I’m in my ninth month and just had my worst sales month ever. Meanwhile, I’ll soon be prepping three other works for self-publication . . . right after I finish my current work and get it off to my agent.

    Anyway, best of luck with ever-increasing sales. Hope you sell a ton.

    1. Hi Doug,

      You’re right, I should have qualified that. What I meant to say was that previously unpublished writers that see big numbers never see them right from the start, it always takes time to find their audience. In almost every story I have read it takes 5/6/7 months. Some are quicker, some take longer.

      When you break down the factors that made them a success, it appears the ability to bring out a number of titles in quick succession in those early months was a big help. If you have just one title, you are limiting your chances – but it’s not impossible.

      There are no guarantees, of course, but more titles will certainly increase your chances. The more titles you have out, the more opportunities you are giving a reader to find you. And that’s the biggest threat we all face – obscurity. But with each new title, and each promo effort that goes with it, and all the accompanying reviews, blog mentions, etc. you are cornering off another little part of the internet just for you and your work.

      Each title increases the chances a reader will find some of the little breadcrumbs you leave all around forums, and blogs, and facebook, and google, and twitter, which will lead them to your amazon listings.

      Best of luck with your new titles.


  7. Those numbers aren’t too shabby. You have a good base to work from and it should help later this year with your future works. Was it what you expected?

    How many copies per month do you think mid-list indie authors sell? Or what is a realistic number? Does it depend on format (short story, novella, novel, series) or genre? To get mid-list numbers do you need to have many titles? Sorry if the question is redundant. I guess I’m trying to get a sense of range and proportion. Plus, mid-list sounds better than starving artist :).

    1. That’s kind of like asking how long is a piece of string!

      Firstly, there are no hard numbers in the self-publishing world. All you can do is get an idea from places like Kindle Boards, but that’s not very scientific, as it is all self-reported numbers, and only includes the tiny percentage of people that do report sales.

      It also depends on how you define “mid-list” which is the subject of some dispute. There is no doubt that most self-published work only ever sells a handful of copies. However, most self-published work is awful, and is presented in an unprofessional writer, so that’s not particularly useful for someone who takes writing seriously, and approaches it professionally.

      What I can say is that longer work sells far better than shorter work. Novels outsell short stories by anything from 5-10 times or more. But it really depends on the writer, the genre, and the story itself, it’s tough to draw hard-and-fast conclusions.

      Out of the big successes we have seen so far, many of them write in a series, and most of them have a number of titles on sale. But there are lots of exceptions too. As a whole, digital self-publishing is too young, hard numbers are too hard to come by, and the market is growing too fast, to make any real pronouncements on things like that.

      One thing is for sure – the more titles you have out, the more opportunities readers have to discover your work.

      In terms of my own numbers, it is above expectations, for sure. I knew I would sell some to family and friends, and maybe a handful to some people who read my blog, but I really had no idea if either title would sell beyond, say, the first week. I tried to make a rough estimate on the first title, and gave myself an outer limit of 6 months to cover costs. I covered 50% of costs in 3 weeks – so that’s great. Sales have been marginally stronger of my second title (per day), but it’s way to early to draw conclusions.

      1. Hi Dave (1),

        Great post and a really cool idea to let people share you experience. Your blog hits are pretty impressive for having been live such a short space of time, go you!

        Let me add a bit of info & weight to your theory. Saffina Desforges was in exactly the same boat as you on Christmas Day 2010.

        Unpublished, unheard of and no idea how the ‘self-pub’ thing would work.

        Exactly 5 months later (sales as close of play 31st May 2011) we hit 62,500 copies, with ONE book.

        We sold 20,300 of those in April and over 85% of the sales are on Amazon UK, not .com.

        We are on target for reaching 75,000 sales of Sugar & Spice by the end of June.

        We have spent a small amount on a cover and a few quid on some editing services, but we pretty much broke even in February.

        Our next title is due out at the end of July and another (in a different genre) at the end of October.

        We are hoping to gross 150,000 sales over the three books by the end of the year (we are hoping it will be a lot more).

        All of that in the time it would take for an agent to decide whether they dare represent it and send it off to a few publishers.

        This self-publishing lark is starting to become a no-brainer!

        That said, we would NEVER discount a traditional offer with the right terms.

        My point: the ball is in our court guys, so get slamming some aces in! 😉

        Saffina Desforges – Sugar & Spice

        1. Hi Saffina,

          Thanks for sharing that information – some astonishing numbers. Really amazing. Well done!

          To everyone else: that’s a #1 bestselling author speaking, someone who tells the exact same story – a slow build and then an explosion after 5 months. Don’t be downhearted with your initial sales numbers. Keep working hard, keep promoting, and most importantly, keep writing!

          (And of course, it should be noted that instead of Saffina chasing agents, she put her work up for sale, made a ton of money, and now they are chasing her.)

      2. I knew I was probably asking the impossible question, but you’re so good at feeling the boundaries of those nebulous ideas that I thought I would throw it out there.

        Good information.

        I think you’ll do well in the next year.

      3. Sorry my son jerked my hand when I hit reply and ended up commenting on Saffina’s post. Sorry Saffina and Dave for the confusion.

        1. Don’t worry!

          Let me throw out some really rough numbers. At the moment, if someone is averaging a rank of 5000 on Amazon US, they are probably selling in the region of 15-20 a day. Let’s say 18 copies. Over a year that’s 6570. Factor in a little extra for the holidays, and we can say 8000 copies. Assuming that’s a $2.99 title, that’s $16,000 a year in royalties.

          I would say that if someone has 3 titles out, doing that well, I would call them midlist – it’s $48,000 a year in royalties. Other people’s definitions may vary.

          But the problem with these rough figures is that rankings fluctuate hugely all the time. I can be up at that level one day, and down at #60000 a few days later.

          But, if you were going to put a gun to my head, and give me five seconds to answer, I would say 1000 copies a month is mid-list levels of success.

          Ask me tomorrow and I may say something totally different!

  8. Thanks for sharing your numbers, Dave. My story hasn’t been out a week yet, so it’s hard to tell if my experience will match yours, but so far it seems comparable. Getting that next work out…and then the next one…and the next one…does seem to be key in most cases (Victorine Lieske excluded).

    1. Without a doubt.

      Joe Konrath has pretty much tried every promo trick in the book. He says nothing comes close to new work.

      There will always be exceptions. But I bet even Victorine Lieske wished she had a couple more titles out when she was selling 20,000 copies a month. What I mean is, even if you can hit those levels of success with one title, it’s always better to have more than one out, as readers tend to buy several of your titles if they liked the first one – the buying habits are a little different from print where they are more likely to go one title at a time.

  9. David,

    You’re having a pretty good start, in my estimation. Given the length of your e-books, I ‘m inspired. Here I am revising 80,000+ word manuscripts I wrote a couple of years ago and you’re out in the market doing well with short stories. I’ve always been far more comfortable writing shorts and novellas.

    Your report and the Kindle Boards help me realize I need to embrace the paradigm that it’s not necessary to have a novel-length book to self-publish successfully.

    1. Hi Werner,

      I’m pleased overall. There were a couple of times I dropped the ball – I screwed up one competition and sent 70 interested US readers to my Amazon UK page – and I lost a lot of potential sales. But you could go round and round thinking about that stuff and it won’t help one bit. Learn the lesson, move on. Plus, if they were interested one day, they will be interested the next time they hear about it.

      Novels sell better than shorts, there’s no doubt about that. But shorts can be a great way for readers to test your writing without committing too much money. Also, one thing that people forget, is that people’s most valuable resource is time. Shorts allow people to commit a small amount of time in return for a story they may like.

      I’m a big believer in giving the reader as many options as possible. I’m going to give them novels, short stories, and stuff in a few different genres. I’m even releasing a non-fiction title next. Conventional wisdom says to stick in one genre. I think we don’t give readers enough credit, and that they like a good story above all else.

      In your case, you should publish short stories, novellas, and novels. Why not? You are giving the reader so many different ways to find you, and to like your writing.


  10. Great numbers David: congratulations.

    I have no doubt that I’ll eventually cover the costs of putting up my first short story collection ($10 advertising), but really my only goal was to get at least 1 reader that isn’t buying my book because they’re a friend or family member. And I’ve succeeded!

    My numbers aren’t quite what yours are (I’m in the dreaded “ten a month” category after publishing on the 26th of April) but I can’t help but feel that there will be an upward trend, provided the work that’s released is of decent quality. I don’t think I can afford paying for professional editing and cover design yet, but I have no doubt that it does help with the numbers – especially after checking out your awesome covers.

    Your blog and twitter profile, and your whole attitude to the writing and self publishing scene is quite professional and that no doubt plays a part in your success so far. Congrats on the sales so far, and good luck going forward.

    P.S. A string is twice as long as half it’s length 🙂

    1. String theory aside, thank you very much Brett, that’s very kind of you!

      Ten in the first month is not too shabby at all. As you said, you have already made the first sale outside of friends and family (who always buy less than you might think, or at least can be slow about it!), and most self-publishers never even get that far. So you are already ahead of the curve, and in your first month too. I have no doubt that my covers are responsible for a significant number of sales, and without those covers, I could probably count my sales on my hands (and maybe toes).

      Covers are the #3 reason why people buy a book (#1 is read something by the author before, #2 is a recommendation from a trusted source). I was extremely lucky that I had a great designer who worked for free. (So far!)

      But you’ve got something you can build on. Some people sell nothing. That’s pretty tough to build on.

  11. Hi David,

    Thank you for posting your numbers. It’s a good article. I have a feeling that you are going to really take off once your novel and guide book are released. The numbers will go up and you will be a happy dude.

  12. Hi, this is an interesting blog. Don’t be worried about raisings your price even if you sell fewer books you make more money. My husband and I started a blog to try to draw in people interested in gambling since that is the audience for our book. We’ll see how that goes. I really like hearing your story. I think that you are doing great.
    Cara B

  13. Congratulations and thanks for sharing the numbers.
    From all I’ve read, selling books is a cumulative thing where you really start picking up steam once you have several titles out there and are increasing your exposure. I’d say you’ve done pretty well in a very short time! Best of luck.

  14. I think David is right:

    write, write and write some more!

    After our two biggest months of 20,000 and 17,000 sales, we have seen a dip. The best cure for that is to get another book out!

    Snow White: Book One of The Rose Red Crime Series will be available from the end of July/beginning of August. I will report back and let you know how initial sales go and what effect it had on the first book.

    Good luck David (and the rest of you!)


  15. You have an excellent attitude which will do wonders for your success. I am so happy for you David. I am a fellow Smashwords author who is newly published, and my sales are slow and steady too. I’ve released just one book so far about my time travelling Australia but I’m hoping to get my next book out soon. I see we both have something in common in that respect! Congratulations and well done!

  16. Hi, David and congrats! It’s nice to see an another author reaping the benefits of hard worl.

    As an e-pub author, who recently started selfpubbing on her own, I’d have to agree whole heartedly with the write more statements. I started out, even with e-publishers backing my work, doing piddly numbers each month on Amazon. As my number of titles increased, those numbers multiplied and I’ve even hit some category lists. I am not by any means in the ‘Honey we need a new house’ category-yet-but I am making enough encourage me to keep at it. And pray at this point that we won’t have to re-mortgage the house to put the kids through college ;p

    I also agree that a professional look is very important. When I made the switch, none of my fans even seemed to notice I’d gone from publisher to indie. I hired the same editor and cover artists that my epublisher used, and luckily made those costs back in short order. I applaud those who jump into the indie deep end first. Personally, I needed the writing growth and confidence I got from the epubs who took a chance on me. But now, more confident and at ease with the whole writing process, I am loving the control over my creations.

    Have a great weekend everyone. Happy reading too 🙂

  17. Great start, David! You’ve got the perfect attitude about this. Too many people get frustrated and give up too quickly. The author of “Not What She Seems” sold seven copies her first month. I think the book has now passed the 100,000 mark.

    Keep writing, keep learning. The rest will follow in time.

  18. Well done David and congrats! Please keep us updated on your progress. I have enjoyed so much your blog these past couple months. I do regularly read many of the blogs that you cite in your articles, but you have a special, personal way of putting it all together.

    Thank you! Keep going!
    🙂 Sharon

    1. Thank you Sharon,

      I will do a post like this every month, breaking it all down.

      Although, if I suddenly start selling thousands of copies, I might let you know that too!


  19. I noticed that some screenwriters were self-publishing their spec scripts, and figured ‘why not’?

    In the past thirty days I’ve given away thirteen, and managed to sell three. Four more sales and I’m out of the hole. LOL

    But was surprised me was getting three five star reviews, two at Smashwords and one at Amazon. I wasn’t expecting that. But I can tell you that it was thrilling to see them.

    While I don’t think I will ever hit any great numbers at selling a screenplay, at least the work is out there.

    I’ll be publishing a romance novel by the end of summer, under a different name. So, I’m trying to build up my inventory.

    What’s nice about self-publishing is that you can publish ‘anything’…especially different genres. If you write romance, thrillers, horror, historicals, it’s all good. People will find you and buy you.

    And if John Locke is making $126K a month, it’s from his .99 books. At thirty-five cents royalty per, that’s mind-boggling (er, that would be $$$ if he charged $2.99, can’t do the math in my head, but something like $750K!!!)

    1. That’s amazing. I never would have guessed there was a market for spec scripts, but now that I think about it, why not? And, as you said, at least the work is out there now, and you are making some sales and getting nice reviews. It was doing none of that on your hard-drive.

      I completely agree about the freedom to write anything. That’s a big thing for me. My first e-book was literary, next was SF, the one coming out this month is non-fiction, and the one after that is a historical novel. I might even release a book of haikus, just for fun.

      John Locke is fascinating. His plan from day one was to be the greatest 99c writer in the world. His logic was that instead of having to prove he was as good as James Patterson, instead, priced at $9.99 James Patterson would have to prove he was 10 times better than John Locke. He said he has no intention of raising his prices, and with the money he is making, you can’t blame him.

      Lots of people have speculated that he could have made a ton more if he had raised his prices as soon as he hit the top of the charts. But, there is no way we will ever know. Maybe he would have dropped like a stone. And he held on at the top of the charts longer than anyone I have seen so far.

      But using John Locke as an example of how you should price your work isn’t very instructive. It would be like saying “kids loved the last Harry Potter book and that was over 1,000 pages, so my next kids book will be that long too”. Locke and Rowling are one-offs and rules don’t really apply to them.

      Plus, once you start off on a 99c strategy, it’s hard to shift up. It’s possible, but tricky.

      I think starting higher gives you more flexibility. You can always drop price later if you are struggling.

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