Since today’s post is about my books sales, it could very easily take on a rather dismal tone. But since moaning and groaning isn’t the point of this week’s indie author musings, I promise I’ll try to keep it as upbeat as possible without going all Pollyanna on you. Because even though I’m starting from (almost) nothing, at least I’m starting and not giving up (okay, maybe that was a tad Pollyanna-ish)
The Hard Facts – My Book Sales This Quarter
Okay, this is taking a HUGE amount of bravery to reveal and I nearly chickened out because, let’s face it, these numbers are absolutely embarrassing. Before I “show off” my recent book sales numbers keep in mind that I am not doing this in any way to say, “Oh poor me, go out and buy my books to make me feel better.” I mean, if you’re going to buy my books, I want you to buy them because you’re interested in them, not to toss me a $3.99 bone of pity.
And I also don’t want in any way to seem unappreciative to the wonderful people who have bought my books over the past few months (all three of you…haha), because I do really appreciate your support (and the emails from a couple fo you saying “I love this book!” – thanks Weekes and Helen).
So my big sales numbers over the past three months are….
- September – 4 (no, that’s not a typo…four)
- October – 8 (woohoo, sales doubled)
- November – 28 (The Maze‘s launch month)
Yeah, that’s a grand total of 40 books in three months. Given that there are indie authors selling 40 books between the time they wake up and the time they’ve poured their bowl of Wheaties, those numbers are awful to say the least.
I Should Be Bitter
Keeping in mind that I am not an optimist, those numbers should have me tossing all my notebooks into the recycle bin, breaking my pencils in half, and trudging down to the nearest Walmart to get a job I’m more qualified for like emptying trash bins.
But weirdly enough, I’m not doing any of those things. And no, it’s not because I’ve put myself into a drunken stupor so deep that my brain is only functioning well enough to keep me breathing (in which case I’d probably still be able to get that bin job at Walmart).
It’s because I’m weirdly certain I can turn those numbers around. No wait, not literally turn around, that would only be 04 sales….figuratively turn around, as in boost, increase, skyrocket (okay let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
Naive Dolt or Savvy Salesgirl?
With such dismal numbers it may seem naive to think anything can be done, but I’ve recently taken an attitude adjustment toward my writing (which started back in early fall). Because I feel like my writing skills are pretty strong (always room for improvement though), I know shitty books aren’t the reason for my poor stats. It’s the fact that I suck at marketing.
Part of my attitude adjustment lately has been educating myself on how to better market my books. Sure, I’ve read loads on marketing over the years but I’ve taken a scattergun approach with the idea that doing everything will boost sales. It doesn’t. It causes burn out, frustration, and there are some aspects of marketing I hate (yeah I’m talking about you social media).
Instead, i’ve been absorbing all the possibilities and narrowing down what might work for me and that is slowly being cobbled into a concrete marketing plan which is going to include a few things I’ve never done before. No, not sky diving with a giant parachute decorated in my book covers. Yet.
Part of this education has come from listening to a few podcasts (Smarty Pants, Mark Dawson, and The Creative Penn). One of the top things I’ve learned is that the only person to blame for my lack of sales is me. On the same side of that coin, this means that I’m the only one who can turn those sales numbers around.
The second thing is that if I’m going to succeed in this, I need to have concrete goals and I need to treat writing as a business. So I’ve sat down and mapped out a five-year plan of goals (very meager goals for Year One, but moving on to bigger goals by Year Five) and, after years of telling myself I need to do so, I’ve finally opened up a separate business account for my writing income and expenses.
Expenses? Gasp! Yes, I’ve gone too long thinking I can market without spending a dime and it’s beyond time to get rid of that Scrooge-esque mindset. I’m not going to break the bank, but I have set aside a tiny budget for ads.
Beyond that I’m learning that I need to examine my books more closely and try to understand why they’re not selling. I’ve been doing that and have come to the understanding that my books’s covers and descriptions really don’t fit their genre. There’ll be more on all that next week.
I’m also going to be rolling out a whole new mailing list with loads of fascinating features and goodies, but again, more on that to come.
To Infinity and Beyond
Geez, how would Amazon calculate the royalties for infinity book sales? Well, I may never find that out, but as I move forward with this whole process I’d really love to see a quarterly sale number much higher than 40 (every Douglas Adams fan just said, “How about 42?”). Of course, I’m not going to bore you with every detail of my marketing highs and lows, but I am planning on perhaps a monthly update on how the goals are proceeding and I sincerely hope you’ll join me on this journey!
How about you? Any Pollyanna/attitude readjustment moments for you this week? Any “picking yourself up by the bootstraps” times in your life? Tell me all about it in a comment!
You’ll be glad to know that Finn McSpool is re-entering the blogosphere this Saturday with his foray into cosmetics chemistry. And, as I said, I’ll be back next week to reveal what in the world is going on with my books and to get your opinion on some new book covers!
Speaking of chemistry…