Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Amazon sales

Ordinarily I do not discuss royalties directly, but people keep asking me about my sales. The Amazon indie market is fairly new, and people are curious as to whether it might be a worthwhile market for them to explore. So I'm going to emulate J.A. Konrath and Lee Goldberg and talk about sales figures. And I'm posting the sales report from Amazon, because otherwise... well, you might not believe me.

I started on Amazon in February. The first book I put up, very early in the month, was In the Mood. At first it was priced at $1.50, but I moved it down to 99 cents eventually. It did okay, selling 25 downloads over the course of the month. Not bad, I thought, for a re-release from a small press author that (let's be honest) few people have ever heard of. Toward the end of the month I put up All I Ever Wanted. I had it priced at $1.99-- too high considering the aforementioned considerations-- and it only sold two copies. So, the first month I sold 27 downloads altogether.

When you write for a small press or a traditional publisher, you typically see your biggest sales when the book is released, and then a slide thereafter. I'd read on the Kindle boards that sometimes indie writing is the opposite-- you tend to start out small but build your numbers as people get to know you. It seemed to be true for me. By March 6, I'd sold as many books as I sold in all of February. By March 11, I'd sold twice as many. Of course, I had two books up now, but still, I was cheered by the thought that readers were starting to notice me. I reduced All I Ever Wanted to 99 cents as well.

On March 12 Books on the Knob had a brief blurb about my books, and sales took off massively. After a few days they died down again, but then (for no reason I could ever determine) they picked up again, and In the Mood and All I Ever Wanted remained on the Kindle contemporary romance list more or less for the rest of the month. I introduced Isn't It Romantic? toward the end of the month, but it hasn't made the acquaintance of the bestseller lists yet.

There are still a few hours left in the day, but my sales have really slacked off today for some reason, so I doubt the numbers will change much by midnight. Here are my figures for March:

So my sales went from 27 downloads to close to 900 in the space of a month. As a small press author who's never sold that many copies in a month (well, since my first book with Bantam, anyway), I am truly astounded by these numbers. Granted the actual amount earned isn't that much due to the low cover price. But I hope that romance readers are getting to know my writing, and that when most indies raise their prices in June, I might be able to make a decent number of sales at a higher cover price.

I am trying to keep my expectations low for the future-- I benefited from a happy confluence of factors that is unlikely to happen again any time soon, and I would certainly not count on selling this many books again any time soon. I'm not saying this means that you will necessarily have similar numbers if you Kindle your backlist, either. But the interesting thing to note is that you CAN sell this many books on Amazon. It would be great if I could figure out how to reproduce it, and do it again!


  1. Thanks for sharing your information so openly. I'm still feeling my way with my two Kindle re-releases. Hopefully all my releases will profit from the exposure of these two less expensive books.

  2. Wow, this is good to know. I have a backlist title still trying to decide what I want to do with it. All my other backlist titles are spoken for re ebook formats. They're taken by either or

  3. Thank you, this is very helpful!