Sales Numbers-Seven Weeks Into the Indie-Pub Journey

Hey readers and writers, PJ, here. Welcome to Tuesday’s Secrets of Seven Scribes. Since I know there are more than a few folks curious about how things are going with my book, today I’ll be sharing the secret of my sales numbers. Leave a comment and enter to win a copy. A winner will be randomly selected. Entry closed at midnight this Friday, Nov. 18th. Good Luck!

Well, I’m seven weeks in to this wild and crazy Indie ride. For those of you who are new to the Scribes, I chose to independently publish my YA novel, Heaven Is For Heroes, back in September. That’s right—no agent, no publisher, no publicist. My husband makes my covers, I hire out my editing, and I do my own formatting for all distribution channels. I’m responsible for setting up promotional opportunities, maintaining a social networking presence and sticking to deadlines just as if I have a publisher breathing down my neck. The difference? 70% royalties for one. Other reasons include total freedom in choosing cover art and the ability to write and publish what I want, when I want. My second book, On Thin Ice will be out next month. Yup, two books released in three months. Let’s see traditional publishers do that!

Of course, I couldn’t do it alone. Along the way, I’ve found some amazing help. The guys and gals over at The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing (WG2E), the Indie Romance Ink yahoo group loop, YARWA (Young Adult Romance Writers of America), and all of the individual bloggers that so generously give of their experience and time to blaze the trail for us newbies. One of the most inspiring parts of this journey is to watch the success of others. I’ve enjoyed following D.D. Scott and her fellow groggers post their sales numbers. To see the miniscule numbers grow exponentially with each new book added to their cyber-bookshelf and watch the jump in sales with certain promotional opportunities is absolutely inspiring! Not to mention highly instructional.

So here they are, gang—the real numbers!

September (the book was released September 24,  2011)

Hardcopies    28 (140.00)

Amazon         22 (44.31)

B&N                7  (13.58)

CreateSpace  1  ($5.14) Hardcopy direct through CreateSpace

Smashwords—from Sept.24th to Nov.15th  there have been 52 free downloads (promo giveaways through coupon code). In addition there have been $6.80 in sales.



Hardcopies   39 (195.00)

Amazon        12

B&N               3  (5.82)

CreateSpace  1 (2.84) Hardcopy sold through Amazon


Hardcopies   23  (115.00)

Amazon          6  (34.44 Includes October and Nov. sales)

B&N                0

CreateSpace   6 (2.04) Hardcopies sold through expanded distribution for libraries. Thank you super fan, Lorelei Buzzetti who recommended HIFH to her local library in Orlando!


Seven week totals:

Hardcopies    90    (450.00)

Amazon         40    (78.75)

B&N               10    (19.40)

CreateSpace    8    (12.32)

Smashwords    4    (6.80)

Grand total     152 books sold for a respectable income of $567.27. Not bad for a newbie.

I’m still learning the ropes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and working a ridiculous amount of hours, but I’m encouraged by a solid start and look forward to seeing those numbers grow as the next book comes out and I implement another wave of promotional opportunities through the holidays. Here’s to hoping Kindle sales are through the roof this Christmas!

Your turn Scribes’ fans, tell me about your recent successes. Have you finished a manuscript, sent out a query, gotten a request, been a finalist in a contest? Are you considering Indie-publishing? Spill people! Let’s celebrate!  


33 thoughts on “Sales Numbers-Seven Weeks Into the Indie-Pub Journey”

    1. Thank you, Rhonda. I honestly hadn’t been paying attention to the numbers until I went to write this post. I’m quite encouraged.

    1. Many indie authors are revealing their stats. T&J Transparent Indie publishing is another site, aside from WG2E that shows their sales reports. Of course the big names like Joe Konrath and David Wesley Smith have been doing it for ages. It’s a way to encourage each other and also to educate both writers and publishing professionals on what is possible in the indie pub world. I’m happy to share in support of this new publishing model. Thanks for the support, Patti.

  1. Great job Paula! As a fellow Indie, I understand how well you’ve done–and how hard you’ve worked to do it! I’m particularly impressed with your hard copy sales. Go you!
    Stephanie Queen

    1. Thank you so much Stephanie! The hardcopy sales have been an interesting experiment. I had 200 copies printed through Createspace because I had so many friends, family members, and clients who wanted signed copies. I also set up several book signings at local venues like the Granville Harvest fair, and the Berkshire Rehab center where I teach yoga to Veterans. Some have been successful (10-15 copies is my initial goal for these events), but others have been a huge time suck and epic fail. I spent five days at the Enfield Mall and sold seven copies. Thank goodness I brought work to do, LOL. I still have to approach Independent Bookstores and libraries. So much more work to do, but eventually, I’ll figure out if it’s worth it, or find a way to target better venues.

  2. Thanks, Jaimie.

    Casey, ahem…now would have been a good time to share your fabulous success with BECOMING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR! We are soooo proud of you and can’t wait to see Mystic Ink in print. i love that cover!

  3. Wow! First, congratulations! You’re doing great, especially in such little time and on your own. I find very interesting that your paper sales still outnumber the ebook sales – but not by so much lately. I wonder if those B&N figures are typical? (One of those is my Nook copy.) Clearly, paper AND digital must be part of an indie author’s plan. I’m very excited for you.

  4. WOW Paula – that’s GREAT! I’m totally motivated to roll up my numbers and see how I stack up. Guess I know how I’ll be procrastinating today…

    1. Thanks, J. Don’t be afraid of the numbers. As your product line expands, so will your sales. You’ve got a fabulous product line and I know it’s going to do great. As you know, the marketing and promotion is huge, so keep reacjng out to those online resources. I wonder if SCBWI has an indie pubbed division that could give you promo ideas. I’ve been getting a TON of helpful suggestions through the Indie-Romance Ink group I follow.

  5. Thank you, Rhonda. From what I’ve seen with other indie-authors, Amazon is still selling the lion’s share and B&N sales are typically pretty abismal. I also have a Nook, but had to download the Kindle app to my computer because so many books are only available through Amazon. I think many indie pubbed authors focus on Amazon to drive sales numbers up to increase thier chances of making that coveted top 100 list.

    Also, I don’t know if creating hardcopies is the way to go for everyone. The profit margin is certainly higher, (I make about 4.80 per book rather than the 1.94 I get through Amazon). But it requires a lot more pounding the pavement and is a larger up front investment. For instance, I ordered 200 copies (I would not do this again! Primarily because there were still errors in the book so this “first edition” needs to sell out before I get the updated–hopefully error-free–copies for book stores and libraries. The cost of those 200 books including shipping ran me about a thousand dollars. I also had spent about a thousand dollars on production for the first book (cover art, book trailer, advertising, etc.) We’ve streamlined this process and production costs for ON THIN ICE are at about hundred bucks right now–Yayyy! So my idea was that if I sold 200 hard copies, I will have recouped my investment and paid for the books. Then everything I sold digitally would be profit. It was a good idea in theory and will work out fine, but live and learn on ordering a large number of books at once. Since it only takes about a week to get my books from Createspace, I will probably order fifty at a time from here on in or do print on demand.

    I still think that my time and effort should be on “growing my sphere of influence”, as Jennifer Fusco says, in an online presence where I can reach many more readers. I’ll wait to see if my efforts in that direction pay off, as I’ve been working toward creating a bigger promotional push for ON THIN ICE in online venues. Time will tell if that approach drives sales more than pounding the pavement to sell books. I try to work smarter, not harder, and selling hardcopies is much harder.

  6. Paula,

    Congratulations on a wonderful start! I’m very much looking forward to picking up my copy this Saturday (after the Laurie Schnebly Campbell workshop on The Psychology of Creating Characters) during the book fair. I think its great that you and other indie authors are sharing these numbers as well as giving each other support. In the world we live in today, its nice to see people who still care about helping others and giving encouragement to the newbies.

    Keep up the great work. Have read the opening pages of On Thin Ice, I know its going to be fab!

    1. Thank you, Gail. I’ll have plenty of books with me on Saturday! My goal was to sell out that first two hundred copies by year’s end. I can’t wait to see you guys. I missed the meeting last week and I know Laurie is going to be great.

      I’m very excited about ON THIN ICE. I’m also terribly nervous. I know I’ve broken a lot of hard and fast rules with this one and I’m anxious to see how it is received. It’s with matt Rush, The Edit Dude as we speak. I’m hoping to get it back in the next couple of days so I can get those final revisions done. Then it’s off to Create Space for my proof copies…yipee!

  7. Hey Paula,
    Congratulations on both your sales and your bravery in posting your numbers! You have a great product and are working your butt off doing all the right things, so I am sure that we will see these numbers grow in the future.
    Not to be silly, but some of my peeps on Twitter runs something called IAN– the Independent Authors Network. Pretty sure they have their own hashtag and people seem to be very fond of them, so they def. might be worth checking out.
    Congrats again, honey!

    1. i will check them out, Tracy. Thanks for the tip. I never thought I would hear myself say this, but I LOVE this social networking. The support, encouragement and endless ideas I get are amazing. You guys are the best! I still consider myself a Twitter newbie and am looking for ways to streamline that effort. I just saw today on the ablove mentioned site,, some great info on twitter and facebook. Check it out if you’re interested.

  8. Paula, congratulations. I loved the book and I’m looking forward to your next one, next month. I was just about ready to speak to you about indie publishing when I received a contract for the first book in my series If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery. It won’t be out until September 2012. I wish you all the luck in the world because your writing touched my heart. Marian

    1. Congratulations Marian! That is awesome. I wish you the best of luck in your publishing endeavors. The publisher is lucky to have you and don’t you forget it. I think that sometimes writers get so caught up in finally “Making it,” that they feel like a lucky little fish for landing an agent or a book contract, or like the publisher is doing them a favor by buying their book. One of the things that traditional publishing needs to work on is making the relationship more of a partnership so authors don’t feel so much like “the little fish in the big pond,” or like they are working “for” the publisher. Without writers, publishers are out of business, so make sure you approach your carreer with the thought in mind that you are in control of your destiny.

  9. Paula,
    This is great information. Thank you so much for sharing this. I hope your sales just keep growing and growing!! 😀 — Jamie

    1. Thanks, Jamie.
      I’m in it for the long haul, so we’ll see. My husband joked with me the other day that when I got rich and famous I wouldn’t need him anymore. I told him, “never fear, you’re my production assistant…what would I do without you?”

  10. I’m thrilled you’re pleased by how it’s going. And I’m glad you shared your numbers. You know, you could probably make a course out of what you’re learning about streamlining your process and sell that, too. 😀

    1. You’re always thinking, Catie. I love that about you. Once I work out the kinks in the system and get much better at this, I will do just that. I have several ideas for non-fiction books and no time to write them just yet. I’m in the very beginning stages of developing a workshop for indie publishing, but it will take a bit of time to get it all together.

      Thanks for stopping over!

  11. Thanks for being brave and posting your numbers — great job! Once your virtual bookshelf grows, do you think you will experiment with offering one book free (at least for a time) to build your readership, who will then theoretically buy your newer stuff? Seems to be working for D.D. Scott. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jane. The plan is to lower the price of HIFH when ON THIN ICE comes out. I’ll be involved with many other Indie Romance Writers who are doing a .99 e-book blowout for the month of December–perfectly timed with my release. So not only should I be able to entice buyers of the second book to buy the first book at a discounted price, I’ll also be hanging with my buddies and cross-promoting each others books to reach the widest sphere of influence we can. Many hands make light work.

      When the third book comes out in March, I’ll lower the price of the second book and do a promotional giveaway of HIFH. Probably for a matter of a few weeks. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve seen that this has been tremendously successful for other indie-authors. It makes good sense to me. Like D.D. Scott says, “Great books for great prices.” She calls it “Riding the freeway experiment.”

  12. Thanks, Katy. Perseverance and patience is my mantra these days. Writing is a whole lot of work for a little return. I’m hoping this is a temporary state of affairs, LOL.

    I figure $567.00 is more money than I’ve ever made writing so I’m ahead in that respect, and I only have to make another 400.00 or so to recoup my costs. As I said, the goal is to break even by the end of 2011. If I keep working at it, next year should see significant increases. I’ll check in on occasion and tell you what’s working and what’s not.

    Honestly, the numbers are not nearly as satisfying as knowing that people are reading and liking my work. Encouraging people and touching reader’s hearts–that is the true measure of success.

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