This has been a very, very good month for me. I'm going to post one more royalty statement a la Konrath and Goldberg, and then I'm probably going to quit, because I really don't like doing it. But I know the first question a lot of people have is "how much are authors really making at this indie stuff?", so I figure hard numbers may be useful to some folks. Here is my royalty statement for the month:
You'll note my big winner is, inexplicably, In the Mood. I say inexplicably not because it's a poor book, but simply because I haven't been promoting it. It was my first release, and thus I've been hawking my others on the forums. But In the Mood has been cheerfully chugging along, almost always somewhere on the Kindle contemporary bestseller list, selling consistently. I think it's probably the cover-- that's a nice-looking chest, and the green is pretty eyecatching. Or maybe it just has an appealing description, I don't know. Anyway, there it is at over 500 copies sold this month, and over 900 copies sold overall. It's followed by All I Ever Wanted, which has sold a bit over 750 copies overall.
Never Love a Stranger is also worth mentioning. Before I was featured on the Galaxy Express, I had sold a mere 36 copies and the book was way down in the Kindle store. Now I've sold 159 copies and it's been on the Kindle time travel, fantasy/futuristic/ghost, AND contemporary lists most of the time.
And then there's Isn't It Romantic? It limped along most of the month, not doing terribly, but not doing really well, either. Finally I gave it a new sexy cover, and boom, up went the sales. I think it's sold about 130 copies since I redid the cover on April 24th. It's taken up residence a good deal of the time on the contemporary romance list, too.
So, points to consider. First of all, for two months now I have benefited from exposure. The first was sheer luck-- I didn't contact Books on the Knob; I hadn't even heard of Books on the Knob. But this month, two people mentioned that I should check out the Galaxy Express. I not only checked it out, I put aside my natural painful shyness and contacted the site owner, asking politely if she might be interested in mentioning my book in her posts about new releases. She turned out to be totally awesome and did a whole interview on me, which surely accounts for many (if not most) of NLaS' sales. She also asked people to blog and tweet about me, and some did. So remember that exposure is the author's friend, and get as much as you can (while being very, very polite and very, very appreciative!).
Second point. Cover of Isn't It Romantic? There is no question in my mind that the original cover, pretty though it was, wasn't cutting it, saleswise. If you think your sales could be better, don't hesitate to play around with the cover or the description or anything you think may be a little weak. This flexibility is one of the great things about indie publishing... you can tweak. So tweak away.
Third point. Notice that even though I've sold over 2100 books in two months (and I am totally amazed as I type that figure), I still haven't made a boatload of money. I'm just not making that much in royalties. I'm not paying my mortgage, nor anywhere near making a living at this. So it's an open question as to whether with a new book, it would be better for me to Kindle it or to sell it to a small press. It really depends on whether my sales continue along these lines or not, and not being gifted with second sight, I don't know what will happen next month. But if you're a new author, please do consider ALL your options. Indie publishing may or may not be the best route for you. Think about it long and hard before you decide to go this way... or any way, really.