First Month Sales

Okay… deep breaths… I’m going to do this.

When I first started out on this whole self-publishing venture, I told myself I would be honest and open about the entire process, including releasing my sales figures. Of course, now that the time has come to do so, I’m nervous.

You see, before I published, I saw plenty of blog posts from established independent authors sharing their sales figures, and how much they made per year, per month, etc. and the numbers were, quite frankly, staggering. Six figure salaries and five figure per month marketing budgets were plentiful. But I didn’t see many (read: any) new indie authors sharing their sales figures, at least not publicly, so I said to myself, “Self, when we do this, we shall publish our sales figures every month, so other indie authors have a better understanding of what this process really looks like.”

It sounded great before I knew what the sales were going to be. Now, I’m less than enthused about sharing my first month’s sales, but… I will. Because I need to learn how to be brave. Because this industry requires courage and tenacity and strength. Because if I’m ever going to succeed, I must first learn to embrace my failures.

So… without further ado… here are the sales figures for the first month of sales of my debut novel, The Wheel Mages.


Sales Period: November 29, 2016 (launch date) through December 29, 2016

Vendor: Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (Kindle)

Copies sold: 27

Territories sold: United States (26) and Denmark! (1)

Royalties: 71.21 USD, 2.18 EUR

Vendor: CreateSpace (Paperback)

Copies sold: 23

Territories sold: United States (23)

Royalties: 26.68 USD

Vendor: Personal Sales (Paperback)

Copies sold: 7

Territories sold: United States (7)

Royalties: 36.12 USD

Vendor: iTunes (iBook)

Copies sold: 1

Territories sold: United States (1)

Royalties: 2.80 USD

Total copies sold in the first month: 58

Territories sold: United States (57) and Denmark! (1)

Royalties: 136.81 USD, 2.18 EUR

To put this into perspective, my cover art cost $175, so in my first month of sales, I’ve almost made that back. Except none of this money, with the exception of the money I made from selling books to friends and family (see: Vendor: Personal Sales) has actually arrived in my bank account yet, because Amazon doesn’t release the royalties until you’ve accumulated $100. So, there’s that. And my next book is due to the content editor in 17 days, so unless I wake up one morning and I’ve miraculously sold 2,000 copies overnight (listen, this is something I still sort of hope for), there’s another big check looming in my not-too-distant future. Sidenote: If you’re writing a series, maybe consider budgeting for the first two books.

My goal was to sell 100 books in the first month. As you can see, I didn’t make it. And although I wish I could tell you I sold 10,000 copies, the truth is less extraordinary, which I suppose in some ways, makes it all the more important to share.

This is reality, y’all, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So here’s to selling more books in 2017!

❤ Aimee

P.S. On a WAY more exciting note, I received my first bit of fanart yesterday! FANART! Can you believe it? Yeah, I’m super pumped. I smiled so hard my face almost fell off. Check it out!!! There’s another piece as well, but I want to save it to share in another post, so keep your eyes peeled!

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14 thoughts on “First Month Sales

  1. As a fellow self-published author (I released my kindle book on December 16th), I’m SO happy to see other’s sales. From what I’m hearing, your sales numbers are excellent–especially for a first book! Congrats! Be proud. Write the next one.

    Like

    1. I just followed you! It’s so cool to “meet” other new indie authors, so we can all struggle and commiserate together 😛 The next book is already written, and will debut in June if all goes according to plan! Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your first month !!!! I bet you are excited to have made it this far. I am an aspiring writer, and I had some questions about self-publishing. Where is a good place to start finding more information? Thanks again for your candor and transparency. It makes it easier for “writers” like me to keep trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am super excited to have arrived at this point, although there are still miles to go! I’m even more excited to be able to connect with other people at different points on their own journeys, so I’m glad you’re here!
      As to your question, depending on what specific questions you have, I might direct you different places, but I would say the best all around source to start with is Joanna Penn at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/. Joanna also had a really good Facebook page where she shares all kinds of advice and does some nice live events where she takes questions from the audience. Her podcasts are phenomenal. My editor also recommended these sites as well, which were helpful for me: http://authormarketingexpert.com/ and http://www.thebookdesigner.com/
      Also, while I was trying to find a quote I read recently about why you shouldn’t call yourself an aspiring writer to hopefully give you a little self-confidence boost (I couldn’t find it, I’ll have to keep looking), I also found this article, which I liked on the same topic http://avajae.blogspot.com/2012/07/why-i-dont-like-term-aspiring-writer.html
      Feel free to shoot me an email too with any specific questions, and I’ll be happy to answer them or if I don’t have the answer, point you in the right direction! Good luck and keep writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this Aimee. I’m enjoying reading about your journey through all of this. I know it’s not an easy one. I wish you lots of sales to come! Your writing deserves it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aimee,

    Nick Erik posted something on Kboards recently that I think is very important:

    “Authors frequently talk about the importance of writing good books. Do that. But good books are not a reader acquisition strategy. No one can tell if your book is good from the cover or blurb (and no, most people don’t read samples). At best, they can only assume your words are entertaining if you pull these elements off correctly. It is not until they are deep within the book some hours later that the final verdict is known. Thus, writing good books – particularly strong, satisfying endings – is a reader retention strategy . Ultimately, all business is built on repeat business (for us, readers who become fans).

    Thus, without compelling books, you will never have a career. But publishing a good book will do nothing by itself, either (with rare exceptions that I can assure you are not you), until you make it visible to the world.”

    You’ve written a good book, but that’s pretty much irrelevant in regards to initial sales. Basically, if it’s not selling, it’s usually because of one of the following reasons (note that I am not an expert at selling books; I’ve just read a bunch of posts by people who know a lot more than me):

    – It doesn’t fit well in a genre that sells well.
    – Its cover doesn’t explicitly identify its correct genre.
    – Its pitch (also called a blurb or description) doesn’t identify it as a book that meets genre expectations.

    From your cover, I got romantic fantasy (though that’s not one of my normal genres, so I may be off on that). The pitch, however, is more epic fantasy. Reading the book, I felt like we were firmly in the romantic fantasy genre (again, I could be off since that is not a genre I normally read.). I would have expected a more Happily For Now ending, though.

    Category wise, it’s only listed on Amazon in fantasy -> new adult and college.

    Maybe a good start would be to request that the book be added to fantasy romance and massage your pitch to reflect that?

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    1. Very good points and something I will certainly have to consider more. I have a feeling the blurb might be off (writing blurbs is hard), not only because of sales but also because of radio silence in review queries. I’ll have to talk to my editor about it and see what she thinks, and I’m leery to change it since the book is already in print and the blurb appears on the back of the damn thing.

      As to categories, I was reading somewhere that trying to put your book into too many categories actually had a negative effect on sales, though now that I’m reading your comment, I’m reconsidering. This is definitely something I don’t particularly care for, though I do understand its importance. I was actually ranting about this to a beta reader the other day, about how they basically force you to put your book in a box, then you’re not given the appropriate boxes. Frustrating and something I’ll have to keep kinda floundering with until I find the right combination, I suppose.

      Definitely not exactly a happily for now ending, that was something that was extensively discussed with my editor, but it is a series, so apparently that’s not the worst, lol.

      Thanks for the insights/advice, they’re always helpful and thoughtful! And Happy New Year!

      Like

  5. GOOD ON YOU! Seriously, good on you for doing this, and good on you for selling books! Thank you for being so candid. Congrats on the fan art as well. That must be super cool to see!

    In light of sharing this, I’m sure you’re going to get advice from friends, family, bloggers, and strangers alike. I can only say this: Unless the person advising you works with the publishing industry, within the publishing industry, or is a marketing expert, take every piece of advice that comes your way with grand grains of salt. There are people who know and have navigated this terrain. Rather than succumb to the advice of those who have likely done haphazard research at best, read for yourself. Learn for yourself. Study. Inquire in the right places. You are your best counsel. Thanks again for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 It was definitely not my favorite post to write, but I had a plan and I’m sticking to it, lol. You’re totally right about advice, I get it from everywhere these days, and I’m always open to it but at the end of the day, a lot of what I’m doing in terms of marketing and such is limited by my budget and also my time. Working 17 hour days can only be an option for so long before I end up losing my mind, so I’m trying to keep it all in perspective and just keep plugging away, one foot in front of the other.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so eye opening! Thank you for sharing this, I really loved hearing about how the process of self publishing works since we don’t hear a lot about it. I hope that one day you will sell 10,000 books. Going to check out your book right now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! There are so many feelings around self publishing for me sometimes I can get lost in my own head and forget that in general, most readers don’t know much about the indie industry! It’s always good to have a reminder of what is outside the rabbit hole lol

      Liked by 1 person

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