I’ve updated the Reporting Sexual Harassment in SF/F page with a link to the Geek Feminism Wiki’s Sample Convention Anti-Harassment Policy. I particularly appreciate the internal guidelines for convention staff.
Months ago, when I was talking about how my e-book sales were about 3-5% of my print sales, a champion of self-publishing said my problem was that my $6.99 e-books were too expensive, and if I dropped the price to $2.99, I’d have better sales.
I posted my first week’s results, and said I’d follow up in a month or so. Well, over the past weekend I came across a post that mentioned the “great success” authors like Jim Hines and others have had putting their own work out through Amazon, which told me it was definitely time for a follow-up.
I’ve got about six weeks worth of data now. Are you ready to see what my great success looks like? B&N doesn’t give a nice week-by-week breakdown, but here are my weekly Amazon Kindle sales.
All total, I’ve sold 21 copies through Amazon. Add in the 4 copies sold through Barnes & Noble, and I’ve made about $70, selling an average of about 4 copies a week.
For those keeping score at home, this would not even cover the conversion costs for having the files prepped. (You can do this yourself, of course, if you have the time and the know-how. I suspect I could have taught myself the tech side, but time is another issue…)
I should note that I’ve done nothing to promote this particular book. I’ve been busy attending cons, working on short stories, revising Snow Queen, and also doing the day job and taking care of the family as my wife recovers from knee surgery. But it’s pretty clear to me that simply putting a book out there isn’t enough.
By contrast, I haven’t really been promoting my books with DAW very much these past weeks, either. In those same six weeks, my books with DAW sold around 2000 print copies (averaging about 300/book), which translates to about a thousand dollars in royalties … $850 for me after my agent takes his cut. (I have no access to the weekly e-book sales for the DAW books.)
I know there are people making self-pubbed e-books work for them. My friend Sherwood Smith has been successfully selling some books this way. I suspect that if I released one of my fantasy titles, either a reprint or an original goblin/princess book, I’d do a lot better. But Goldfish Dreams is a mainstream title, so doesn’t necessarily tap into my preexisting audience.
I also know that an ongoing, persistent sales effort can drive sales. I have friends who keep up a pretty constant sales push to sell their e-books, and it does seem to help them sell more books.
But I barely have time to keep up with the blog. I’d rather keep writing new books and the occasional short story, and let my publisher do most of the work to actually get my books into the hands of readers.
I’ll keep checking in with further data, but my conclusions so far?
Simply putting an e-book out there ain’t going to accomplish much.
Having a preexisting audience helps, but may not do much for cross-genre e-books. Brand new authors with no audience — you’ve got a steep climb ahead of you.
You are your own sales force. You can improve your sales, but it will take time away from something else. (I would advise you to make sure you’re not being obnoxious about it, as author self-promotion can get annoying pretty fast.)
Thoughts and comments are welcome, as always!