E-book Experiment: Week One

Last week, I announced my little experiment, putting my mainstream novel Goldfish Dreams [B&N | Amazon] up for sale as a $2.99, DRM-free e-book.

Amazon was much quicker than B&N to get things uploaded and processed, but the book is now available on both sites.  (And to B&N’s credit, they were able to recognize and link the e-book to the print edition, which Amazon failed to do.)

The sales results after release week?

Amazon: 10 copies sold
B&N: 2 copies sold

Both Amazon and B&N pay roughly $2 royalties per copy, which means I made about $24 that first week.  Really, that’s not too bad — it’s more than I was making when the book was on Fictionwise, where it was priced at about seven bucks.

6 of those sales were from the first day, when I blogged about the book being available on Kindle.  To see how blog hits translate into sales, that post was viewed 3198 times on LJ according to their stats site, with probably a few hundred additional hits from my site, RSS feeds, and Dreamwidth.  A few people also Tweeted about it.

Several folks commented that they’d love to read the book, but either didn’t do e-books or else didn’t like the formats available through Amazon and B&N. 

Over the past week, I spent about an hour updating product info on Amazon and B&N.  I also updated my LJ profile with a link to the book and started doing the same on my web site, but haven’t finished that yet.  Nor have I had time to check into other stores/sales outlets for the book.  This underlined a problem I was anticipating: namely, I don’t know that I have the time to effectively do the self-publishing thing.

I could have spent more time working to promote and sell Goldfish Dreams.  Instead, I finished the first draft of my goblin zombie story.  With limited writing time and two other anthology invites sitting on my desk, not to mention (hopefully) a forthcoming deal for the new series … I just don’t have time to be my own sales force.

The question then becomes, what happens when I sit back and concentrate on the writing?  I will get the site updated, but once I do, will the book sell without my help?  Even a few copies a week could add up to several hundred bucks a year.  Or will it become one of the many forgotten books on Amazon with a sales rank in the three millions?

I have no idea.  I’ll check back in about a month from now to see how things are going.