One Year of Self-Publishing

I’ve self-published three e-books in the past twelve months. Goldfish Dreams [B&N | Amazon] is a mainstream novel about rape and recovery. Goblin Tales [Amazon | B&N] includes five goblin-related short stories. And Kitemaster & Other Stories [B&N | Amazon] collects six of my lighter fantasy tales.


It’s been an educational year. Goblin Tales has been the most popular book by far, selling more than 500 copies. Kitemaster comes in second, with just over 100 sales since it came out in mid-August. And then there’s Goldfish Dreams, with 80 sales over the course of an entire year.

Most of my sales have come through Amazon, with B&N in second place. There are a handful from Kobo and iBooks, as well as a few Lulu print sales for Goblin Tales, but Amazon and B&N are the big ones. Here’s what those Amazon (A) and B&N (BN) sales look like broken down by month.

I think the strongest lesson here is that a direct connection to an existing, moderately popular series makes a big difference. Goblin Tales has been and continues to be my strongest seller.

The other thing I’m seeing is a clear dropoff over time, much like my commercially published books.

With Kitemaster, I raised the price from $2.99 to $3.99. I honestly don’t know how much of a difference that made, or whether the increased royalties per sale offset any potential lost sales.

I suspect I could boost the sales numbers a bit by spending more time, energy, and money on promotion, but I’m not sure how much I’d be able to increase sales. What I am sure of is that I don’t have the time or the desire to shift more of my work into promotion.

All total, after expenses, these three self-published titles have brought in a bit over $1000 in royalties.

I’m curious how I’d do self-publishing my backlist titles electronically. I suspect novels would sell significantly better than short fiction collections. But that experiment will have to wait. All of my DAW books are still in print, and with DAW doing the goblin omnibus next year, I don’t expect to see any rights revert back to me any time soon. Which is fine — the books are available and continue to sell, and that’s what counts.

Instead, I’ll be starting work on one more collection: Sister of the Hedge & Other Stories, which will collect some of my more serious stories — including my first rewrite of the Sleeping Beauty tale. I think I’ll price this one at $2.99 again to see what happens. I’m already talking to someone awesome about cover art, and I look forward to sharing what she comes up with. My goal is to have it available by Christmas, when everyone rushes out to buy books for their new Flaming Kindles, or whatever Amazon is calling ’em.