I thought it was about time for a numbers update on my novella, Corvette. I launched it on Tuesday, 21 March 2017 with little fanfare as an Amazon KDP Select ebook and a KDP Paperback. I did no advertising for the launch. No Facebook ads, no Amazon ads and no BookBub or similar posts. I mentioned that it was available on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook. I also hit my mailing list with the link to buy it.
As you can see, the first week it started a slow climb up until it reached a few best seller lists towards the end of the first week. Once on these lists it seemed to climb up until this past Friday when it jumped up to about page two on a couple of the lists. Lots of buyers on that day. As of today, Sunday the second of April it
To get on the lists, you need to be selling 35 or more per day. To make mid-list range or in the 50’s of a top 100 list you have to sell over 70 per day. It’s hard for any book to stay up that high for long and I’ve noticed other books bouncing around with mine for the mid 50’s on two lists.
Above you see the three lists Corvette is on at the time of this writing, Sunday afternoon. Hanging in there at mid-list for two and about page three for the fourth list. No idea how long this will continue. I’ll do another update in a week or two.
Below you see my combined sales of all my ebooks for the same time period.
I have a series called the Star Saga that is starting to sell now that Corvette is out. Corvette is a prequel to that series although no characters carry over. So I’m hoping readers find the series and start to make their way through it. The series has three numbered books with two novellas in between them. So a total of five books in the first trilogy. The chart below shows how the series books are slowly rising in sales. This is for April only and most of these only sell about one or two per month normally.
So I’m happy the series is getting some exposure, that was the whole reason this book was written. It’s supposed to be a low cost entry level novella to the Star Saga. I’m keeping Book 1 of the series at .99 cents to ensure the reader takes a chance on the actual series after liking Corvette. If they come back for Book 2, I charge my regular price – $2.99. All of my series novellas are priced at .99 cents for the ebooks.
So how well did the paperbacks do, you might be asking? Not so good. Paper is still not a viable option for me yet. These are my sales for March. So far in April there are no sales.
If you want to check out Corvette you can get it here.
I entered my accounts into BookTrakr and this is what came back for my all time sales numbers. Not completely sure when I started selling my first book on Amazon, but I think it was about eight or nine years ago. My first book, Starstrikers was hit by lightning and sold really well for about three months. Nothing has ever taken off that well again. I have seven books on Amazon and combined they have made about as much as that fist book.
Mind you, I don’t advertise in any real way. Occasionally I’ll hit social media with a mention but that’s about it. So, things could probably be better if I actually tried to sell them. But for now, I’m not interested in that. I’m more interested in getting my first trilogy finished and that means publishing two more novels. After those two books release, I’ll take a more proactive course when it comes to advertising.
The reason I’m waiting is because of what happened to that first book. If I had had a couple more books in the series available back then, I’d be making far more money than what you see above. So back lists are important. Very important.
These are the numbers for Starstrikers. Now this book is available nearly everywhere. I don’t do Apple or Google markets at this time. But you can get it in ebook and print form just about anywhere.
Now let’s look at two novellas in the Amazon exclusive only market. The one above is not really doing to well at all. It’s a great yarn and both of my true fans love it. But new people don’t care about it. It has a villain as a hero and she’s a woman. That combination must be horrible for sales. This book has no reviews. Not even the people who got it for free bothered to read it or review it. What a pity. It’s a good story.
This novella did pretty well despite having a nearly all female cast. It was about starfighter pilots and I was able to draw in my followers on Google+ who like fighters, Sci-Fi and model building to check it out. They loved it, but that’s as far as my social media footprint went. Not even a hundred customers. What’s really interesting are the numbers of lent units for each of these novellas. This one has over 16 thousand lends in like two months. So lots of people are reading it, but they are not talking about it and they are not coming back for more. Because the lead character of this novella is also in Starforgers and the Tales From Ocherva anthology and those books are not selling. It has seven reviews of 4 stars or better.
The lead character of The Blood Empress is in Starforgers, but I’m not seeing any movement between the two. So I’m failing to convert customers into fans with these books. Which is why it’s so important to release book 2 and book 3 before I advertise. Eventually, people will start to realize that the Star Saga’s Starforgers trilogy is about a bad ass woman named Devon Ardel who started as a Stellar Ranger and then became an awesome starfighter pilot in a career that eventually had her becoming an awesome starship captain.
I’ll come back and show you the money after I release the next two novels and we’ll compare numbers. Hopefully things will be better by July.
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.
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.