Big numbers and Blog Tours

Since you folks seem to like seeing the numbers, I thought I would give you an update. This is totally in the interest of helping others to see what indie-publishing has to offer and to encourage those who might be considering it. Or maybe this is a deterrent, depending on your expectations. Either way, these numbers reflect my personal experience and are being shared because I consider you all to be my friends. Without your help and support, none of this would be possible. So thanks a million guys!

While preparing to do my taxes (which is as far as I’ve gotten), I was adding up my numbers. Sales numbers that is. I reported back in November that I was pleased with the progress in my indie-publishing journey and that sales of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES were on a steady path of growth. With the release of ON THIN ICE, and a few promotional efforts through the holidays, I’m happy to say that I’ve met one of my big goals for my first year of publishing. 1,000 books sold!

I’ve often heard the statistic that says most new writers will never sell more than a thousand books. Yikes! So when I heard that statement, I decided that would be my short term goal. I knew that if I could sell a thousand books, I’d be on my way. I originally gave myself a year to do this, but once I started seeing how the numbers climbed on my Amazon sales reports after each blog tour or advertisement that I did, I realized the potential to surpass my goal. It’s been a lot of work, but if I include January sales of 165 books so far, I’ve reached 1,000 books sold in four months! 

I published my first novel on September 24th, and the second on December 15th.

Sales have gone something like this:

September:            October:         November:    December:HIFH/OTI January:HIFH/OTI

Amazon      22            13                 198                     239/36                              23/114

BN               7              3                    29                      14/5                                  10/5

Hardcopy   28            39                   40                      14/12                                1/12

Createspace has sold a total of 28 copies in 2011 and 7 in 2012. Smashwords: 42 of HIFH and 59 of OTI since the books were released. In addition there have been 72 free downloads of HIFH and 29 of OTI. I’ve also donated books to libraries and sent out review copies and contest prizes.

Both books have received consistent 4 and 5 star reviews and I’m getting excited e-mails from readers who are looking forward to SAVAGE CINDERELLA in March. I haven’t yet figured the exact revenue from all of these sales because HIFH was up for sale for six weeks at .99 cents which I’m sure, in part, accounted for the boost in sales. I also advertised on Pixel of Ink, The Frugal E-reader, Super E-Reads, and a few free sites.

 I found blog tours more successful than book signings, and cross-promoting with other authors for the Booklovers Buffet to be helpful. Although, at .35 cents a sale at the .99 cent price point, I would have had to sell a heck of a lot of books to make real money. I know I’ve made enough to cover the cost of the first book and some advertising, but my budget is still running in the red. My goal for this year: 10,000 books. That breaks down to about 900 books per month, or 225 books per week, or about 30-40 books a day. Sounds doable when I put it that way, right? I’m hoping the release of SAVAGE CINDERELLA in March puts that goal within reach.

I’m beginning another blog tour this week, and would love for you to drop by and leave comments, tweet, or share my posts to your Face Book pages if you find them interesting or entertaining. You can find out where I’ll be and what I’ll be talking about on my calendar page of my website. I’ll be posting the specific links to my FB Fan page  as soon as I have them. If you want to follow along, just “like” my Facebook page or follow me on twitter @pjsharon. The tour starts this Thursday, Jan. 26th on Author Eileen Cook’s website where I answer interview questions that will definitely let you all get to know me a little better. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

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34 thoughts on “Big numbers and Blog Tours”

  1. Paula, this post is so inspiring. What a great example you have set for us all. It is exciting to witness and watch you reach your goals. You have done a good job setting those goals and working on your marketing. Keep on trucking. 2012 is the year for you of fulfilled dreams.

    1. Thank you so much, Gail. That is all any of us can hope for, right? Meeting our goals, fulfilling our dreams, and being an inspiration to others along the way:-)

  2. U Go, Girl!!!

    Way to work it!!! And nothin’ inspires fellow writers like sharin’ your real numbers and real experiences!

    I’m sooo thrilled to be partnering with you for our WG2E Anthologies!!!

    1. Thanks, D.D. You’ve set the bar pretty high, but every time I look at your numbers, I’m reminded that it can be done! I want to share that possibility with others.

      You started the ball rolling for me, and I can’t thank you enough for blazing the trail and including me in your pack of awesome WG2E anthology authors.

      1. U betchya, PJ!

        By sharing my real numbers and experiences, I hoped to inspire others that anything was possible thanks to the Indie Epub Route.

        All you’ve got to do is go for the gusto!

        And I’m here to help y’all any way I can.

        Nothin’ beats writers helping writers reach readers.

        And you’re doin’ just that, while creating wonderful synergy along your journey!!!

        Again…well done, my friend!

    1. So far, so good, my friend. There are definitely tricks of the trade at work here, but there is a lot to be said for dumb luck, writing the right thing at the right time, and working your butt off. Creating visibility for our work is the second biggest job for indie-authors after writing a great book, a compelling blurb, and creating great covers.

      I’ve been shocked to see the way some indie authors take off and others who might be working equally as hard, struggle to sell at all. There are folks over at the Indie Romance Ink loop (IRI), who have sold 10,000 books in the same time it’s taken me to sell my thousand. Some of it has to do with the genre and some of it, as I said, is just plain luck.

  3. I appreciate your post and sharing your numbers and experience! I know what hard work it is and you should be very proud of yourself. Congratulations on your 1,000 sale milestone and in only 4 months! Great job!
    Stephanie Queen

    1. Thank you, Stephanie. We are all working so hard at this writing bizz! I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But isn’t it nice that none of us are in it alone?

    1. You are sooo right, Katy! I am thrilled beyond words that people are actually loving the books. When we put them out in the world, there is such a sense of apprehension…what if nobody likes our story? Being an author takes a different kind of courage than people realize. But as hard as it is, the reward when someone says that I’ve touched their lives with something I’ve written is worth the anxiety of laying it all on the line.

      One of the unexpected fears though, that goes along with getting lots of praise for our work is that “the next one won’t be as good.” I know this is a common fear of all writers, but boy can that doubt monster wreak havoc!

    1. Thanks, Kate…and umm…no. RWA doesn’t yet recognize indie-published authors for their sales. I believe the Published Authors Network (PAN) requires that we be published traditionally.

  4. Congratulations, Paula. I just started reading On Thin Ice, and so far I like it a lot. These numbers sure give me something to think about. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks. Gerri! I really appreciate that you are taking the time to read the book. I hope you enjoy it. Keep the tissues handy:-)

  5. I haven’t decided to self-publish, but I have decided *not* to self-publish. Reading your posts about the experiences you’ve had is opening a whole new world of thought for me. Thank you so much for being brave enough to share so honestly.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Catie. I know it sounds pretty intimidating, and it definitely isn’t for everyone. It was just the right thing at the right time for me. I haven’t ruled out traditional publishing, although i will say that I’m really enjoying the independence and control I have by doing it myself.

      1. I just read back through my comment, and I made a dumb typo. It should read:

        I haven’t decided to self-publish, but I haven’t decided *not* to self-publish.

        Perhaps that makes more sense. Sometimes I wonder where my thinker is. ;)

  6. Thanks, Sonia. I’m trying to really pay attention to those milestones and not get caught up in my usual “what’s next” thinking. Must smell the roses! Thanks for stopping by.

    Hi Rhonda. Glad to share good news and fill everyone in on what’s working and what’s not. I’ve learned so much from others doing the same. This is not by any means a one person endeavor!

  7. Hi PJ, you and I are in some writing groups together and I’ve been following your journey via email digests. Congratulations!! That’s such a wonderful milestone! I agree with what you said in one of the comments, even better that people are enjoying your books and not just buying them and you don’t know if they’ve even read them. :) Yay for you!

    I posted about my 2011 results here (http://tinyurl.com/83etjwb) if you or your friends are interested. The learning curve is steep (and an international move didn’t help!), but you’re right, it’s the right path for some people. I’m loving it! Just wishing for more hours in the day! LOL!

    Good luck with 2012! :)

    1. Thanks Kitty! i hear you about the hours. The opportunities and possibilities are as endless as the work!

      Good luck and thanks for sharing your stats.

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