In keeping with my blatantly open policy, here are the numbers for all three of my Kindle books for the past two months. Starstrikers and Null_Pointer are selling for $.99 and TFO is selling for $2.99.
- Starstrikers: 193
- Tales From Ocherva: 7
- Null_Pointer: 3
- Starstrikers: 197
- Tales From Ocherva: 1
- Null_Pointer: 5
For some perspective, here are the numbers for Starstrikers since January of 2010.
- January: 4
- February: 37
- March: 232
- April: 275
- May: 225
- June: 193
- July: 197
That’s over a thousand e-books in the last five months. Not exactly J.A. Konrath’s numbers but it also doesn’t suck. The question now becomes, do I raise the cover price and take advantage of the 70% royalties or keep it at $.99 cents and let it ride? I’m leaning towards raising the price in order to establish credibility more than to seek higher earnings. I think the new best price for e-books is anything under $5.00. Exactly where to set the new price is up in the air for me right now.
The other danger is of course, losing the impulse buyers who are more willing to try out an unknown author like myself if the price is low. But since this is really just mad money and not a living, there is no real danger in experimenting with the price.
The most interesting bit about the numbers above is the total lack of attention that buyers have for a second SF book set in the same universe as Starstrikers. What this tells me is that I’m failing to get fans and can only muster impulse buys. Perhaps raising the price of Starstrikers will help that effort. Also, a new cover for TFO will debut soon that brands it as being in the Starstrikers Universe.
Another SF book set in the Starstrikers Universe will debut on Kindle this fall. Tyrmia is less a traditional Space Opera and more of a Planetary Romance. So again, not exactly appealing to the core audience of Starstrikers, who like it when stuff blows up. Tyrmia will start at the $2.99 price point as will the prequel to Starstrikers, Starforgers when it comes out fall of 2011.
I was holding out for the new Kindle before buying an e-reader for myself, and now I’m glad I did. The newest edition of the Amazon Kindle is available for pre-order and ships on 27 August. It looks much better than earlier versions and has a few new features like crazy long battery life and a sharper E-Ink screen. True to Bezos’s vision, it’s still just a reader not a color, touch-screen device. I have to agree, if all you want to do is read fiction, a single purpose device is what you need.
I’m not saying there is no place for tablets and such, but when I read a good book, I don’t want distractions. Let the words transport me and immerse me in the story. Not the video inserts and flipping pages and the colorful images. Just saying.
In other news, I ran across this listing of women programmers and thought I’d pass it on. And yes, they do exist outside of my fictional universe. ;-)
Each month I have been reporting my earnings on the Kindle for my novels. In March the sales tripled form February. But in April, sales seemed to steady down a bit and climbed only marginally. Again, the reason for these numbers seems to be directly related to being on Amazon Lists. If you go to the book’s Amazon page, you will notice that it is on three such lists most of the time. When the book sells extremely well, I’m on the front page of one or more of those lists. When it slides in sales, I’m either further down the list or not on one or the other list.
Daily Average: 9.4
Total Sales: 279
Daily Average: 11.3
Total Sales: 236
Selling 500 books in two months is not bad for an independent author. I pocketed around $182 dollars in the last two months. Since it is darned near impossible to judge how much I have spent getting Starstrikers to this point, I’m using its sales to pay for the next novel, Tyrmia. So I’m not likely to earn out anything until late in the year or possibly next year. But these numbers are in line for letting me do just that. Use the profits of the last book to pay for publishing the next book. After I have a few books on the market and they are each selling as well as Starstrikers, I believe I will start to see some profits.
Getting another book on the market sooner than later could help build excitement for my brand and my books. This summer I will launch an ebook only edition of my first anthology – Tales From Ocherva Volume One. It will also sell for $.99 on the Kindle and all other digital platforms to include Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords, Sony and Barnes and Noble. So far, I have received no sales numbers for either of my books on those other platforms. Both books are in the premium catalog on Smashwords, so perhaps it is just a matter of time until someone notices them.
Yup, you read that title correctly. The wave has come and lifted my little SF novel up and over the rocks into the deeper water where the big boys surf. No more Boogie Boarding for this book. At least that’s the hope – fingers crossed.
Sales of Starstrikers have indeed increased by some 460% this month. What started last month as a trickle of sales amounting to 1 per day, has exploded into an average of 10 per day this month. My friend Nate offered to buy me a Coke when I reached 100 sales. I accepted and celebrated with a family cheers. That was a week ago. Today, the book sailed past 200 for the month and there are still two more days left in March.
The biggest question for me is why? The book has sat on the Kindle virtual shelves for nearly two years and suddenly last month people started noticing it. Then this month many, many people started buying it. Why? Near as I can tell it has to do with getting on Kindle lists. If you can get a few sales, enough to trigger your appearance on a list, then momentum seems to build and the higher you get on the list, the more books you sell.
As I write this here are the lists Starstrikers is on:
The overall rank is: #2,053
I’ve been on and off the first page of the first two lists for several days now, which is making the book visible to that many more people. Also, the book is priced at less than a buck. At Amazon’s current payment system, 200 books means I netted about $70.00. Nothing too incredible but for this author, it’s the most I’ve ever earned on any one piece of fiction.
Will the book have legs? Will I sell more than 200 next month? Will it surge higher and higher or drop off to unknown land again? Only time will tell.
Bye the way, Kindle sales of Null_Pointer, my mystery novel have peeked at 6 for the month. So apparently, not every SF nerd is a computer geek.
I pushed the completed second edition of Starstrikers to Amazon Kindle this morning. So in a few days, you will see it live. If you purchased the original version in the last two years on Kindle, you are eligible for a free upgrade. Just email me and let me know you have purchased it on Kindle and I will send you a .mobi file that will work on your Kindle. ken dot mcconnell at gmail dot com
Starstrikers does not have any copy protection BS on it, so you should have no problem adding it back to your Kindle or Sony Reader or what-have-you. You can even read it on your computer.
This new version of the novel has been edited and otherwise spruced up from cover to the last page. It should read easier on dedicated readers and it should have far fewer annoying copy editing mistakes. It’s not without some errors, but it is far better than it ever has been. I don’t anticipate any changes or updates to this novel for a good long time. Heck it has been two years since I first started selling it on Kindle and only now is it getting a proper face lift.
When I can find the time, I will be updating this web site with the new version, but as of now, only the old versions are available for free. When I do update this site, I will only be offering the free version in txt format and possibly a blog serialization. If you want to read the book in a nicer format, it will be on Scribd for free in a week or so. I’m no longer providing the various other e-book formats here on the web site. If you need Starstrikers in a particular format, please purchase it from Smashwords.
Wow, what happened? Until recently, the best month of sales I had was last September when I sold 13 copies of Starstrikers on the Kindle. Last month, I netted 27 copies sold. That was almost one sale per day. This month, I’m going to to reach 40 sales in twelve days. That’s more than 3 sales per day.
Just for posterity, here’s a screen shot of my standings as of 8:30 Am this morning.
I don’t know what the heck happened, but I like it. Thanks to all my new Kindle readers!
I’ll never understand how Kindle readers find my books. It’s a complete mystery to me. Mind you, I don’t stay up late at night thinking about it. My first book has been on the Kindle for over a year now, pretty close to two, actually. The best month of sales was last August when I sold twelve copies. An average month brings in about four or five sales. For some strange reason, this month has been particularly good for that first novel. It’s only mid-month and I’ve sold twenty copies. Meanwhile, my second book in a different genre has sold three copies.
What’s so hard to fathom is that the second book is a mystery and it has much broader appeal than the first novel, a nerdy SF book. I was actually concerned that the second book might take off and then I’d have to rush to get another mystery written this summer for release next year. But as it happens, the SF book is gaining momentum and the mystery is just there, collecting dust. So while the second book is beyond a doubt the best thing I’ve written, it languishes at the bottom of the Kindle barrel.
Like I said, I’ll never understand it. But I will respect the numbers and start writing the prequel to the first book, this summer.
I made my presence known on Kindle Boards yesterday and low and behold, folks responded positively. If you have a book available on the Kindle, you should be on that forum, communicating with your readers. I’m not sure why I have not been on there sooner. I need to be anywhere I can find readers.
This has been a very busy week for me. Every night I’ve had to hustle kids to football practice. The concept of a sit down diner has disappeared at our house. It doesn’t stop today either. Right after work/school, we are off on a two plus hour car ride to Sun Valley where the kid has a game tomorrow morning. At least we’ll be able to relax for the weekend and just hang out in the valley, coming back to Boise on Sunday.
Hope everyone has a great weekend. Temperatures are beginning to drop slightly around here, I do believe fall is coming.
Hitting the market first in digital formats, Null_Pointer is selling digitally before being offered in paperback. You can now read the first book in this new mystery series about a programmer sleuth named Joshua Jones on the Kindle and in various formats on Smashwords.
The paperback version is due some time in September, but you can read it right now for nearly half off the paperback price. Can’t spare the $6.39 price for the digital version? That’s OK too, you can read the entire novel for FREE, yes that’s zero dollars, on Scribd. If you like the book, please tell your friends and blog about it, Twitter about it, and Facebook about it.
What’s that? You say you are a book person and would rather wait for the paperback version? Well, wait no longer. Get a jump on the regular markets and head on over to Lulu.com to purchase the paperback for $12.96. Be the first in your cube row to own the first book in the only new mystery about coders and Geeks.
Are you a programmer? Do you actually know what the title refers to? Do you know someone who loves mysteries but doesn’t have a clue about programming? If so you may already be or know someone who would love this book. Get it today and make the Geek in your life a very happy Geek.
“Null Pointer is an excellent blending of computer technology, programmer knowledge and the traditional mystery.” – Angela Abderhalden, author of Questionable Ethics
“McConnell’s novel is filled with lots of technical details that geeks will love, but he makes nearly all of it clear to technophobes.” – Kathy McIntosh, Well Placed Words
Available right now from Smashwords, Lulu.com and on the Amazon Kindle.
Get yours today!