Friday, January 7, 2011

December Sales Numbers

I don't post my sales numbers to brag.  I post them to help others decide if putting their book on the Kindle and Nook is a good idea, or if they should continue to submit to agents and try to get a traditional publishing deal.  I don't want to convince anyone to do what I did, but I do think it's important to have specific information if you're making the choice.

My December sales blew all my previous months out of the water.  Here's a quick recap of my sales:

April: 7
May: 151
June: 456
July: 176
August: 106
September: 389
October: 1,401
November: 2,670

As you can see, from April to June I was increasing in sales each month.  Then I raised my price from $1.99 to $2.99 near the end of June and sales went down in July.  They continued to go down in August.  In September I had two very good promotions, and that bumped my sales up for a day or two, but then sales slowed down again.  So near the end of September I lowered my price to 99 cents.  220 of my September sales were from the last four days when my 99 cent price went into effect.

October was fantastic, and November almost doubled my October numbers.  But December left everything in the dust.

December: 11,162

That's more than double my sales from April through November combined!  This is important, because it tells me no matter what your sales are right now, they can explode one day.  It's also important because with these numbers I can actually earn a living selling books.

So, if you're trying to decide if turning to self-publishing is a good idea, you probably need more concrete figures.  How much am I making?  I know some people think it's crass to talk about money, but if I don't, people won't know the earning potential there is with self-publishing an ebook.  So here goes.  If me posting how much I'm earning is offensive to you, stop reading now.

This is what I earned in each month since I started.  I won't do April because I didn't earn enough to get a paycheck, and it was lumped in with May's payment.

May: $110.60
June: $334.05
July: $349.43
August: $208.26
September: $393.73
October: $477.88
November: $903.29
December: $3,833.20

*Note, these are earnings from Kindle only.  I did earn a little from paperback sales and Nook sales, but less than $400 and not enough to make it worth my time calculating it out.  Also, December is an estimate because I don't have the actual report yet, and they convert my UK sales into GBP and then back into USD, so it's slightly off.

If I add all of these up, I've earned $6,610.44 through December.  This is actually quite a decent advance for a first book.  And I've already earned more than $1,000 for the month of January, so I know this number is just going to increase as the months go by.

I have been asked for a review copy of my book from a foreign rights agent in Thailand.  I'm very excited about the possibilities that will come up in the future.  I've had a lot of people read my book, and I'm getting more readers every day.  I'm working on a second book which will come out in 2011, and have plans to start a third this year.

I hope being blunt about how much I'm making at this is helpful to those trying to decide if this is the right path for them.



  1. Those numbers are amazing! Congrats!

  2. This is awesome! You have a great book, that needs to be stated, but it does give one hope for a possible decent retirement.

  3. ROTFLOL!! Thanks for the giggle. ;)

  4. Vicki,

    Thanks for sharing the sales figures. It's quite helpful to see the direct effect of the price changes.

    But most of all congratulations on staying the course with the $.99 price to achieve such success.

  5. You're welcome, David.

    I'm starting to really think the way to get readers is to price at least one book at 99 cents and leave it there. And the rest I think can be higher, but getting new readers is so important to us indie authors, and the 99 cent price seems to be a good way to do that.

  6. SO AWESOME!!!

    I'd love to find out about some of your promotions--what you feel works, what doesn't, WHERE to look for them, yada yada. I know a lot about that kind of thing for print books, but I sea feels awfully vast for the e-revolution.

  7. That's a great idea for a post, Annette. I'll do that next! :)

  8. My sales get thrown around a lot, but I've got a lot of books out. I think your sales are so much more impressive because it's with one book. It's frightening to think of how well you'll be doing once you get a few more titles out there.

    My hats off to you, Vicki.

  9. Thanks, Amanda! That means a lot coming from you. :)

  10. I'm happy you're getting rewarded for doing the job you like :)

  11. Thanks Vicki. You're awesome. It does beg the question whether pricing above .99 for the majority of indie authors can survive much least for an initial book. Cheers.

  12. Mark - I think of it as a marketing ploy. If you have marketing dollars to spend, you probably don't need to go as low as 99 cents. I looked at Konrath's post where he said exactly what he did to get his new release in the top 100. He spent some decent money, and worked hard with bloggers. He did make decent money back. But I don't have the initial dollars to spend, and I don't have the pull with bloggers that he has. So for me, the 99 cent price is doing that for me.

    It also depends on what your goals are. My goal is to get a lot of people to try my book out, and hopefully get some reviews and return buyers. The low price works for my goal.

    Robin priced Michael Sullivan's books higher, and has great success with that. But she also does a lot of marketing. I think the higher prices will work for those with the marketing skills to get attention.


  13. Congratulations, Vickie. Thanks for sharing the information.

  14. Great numbers, and thanks for the honesty. I like your ideas regarding pricing stragey as a version of 'marketing dollars'.

  15. Great Post! Thanks for sharing your numbers with all of us. It's great to see what's working for different authors - and amazing to see how quickly a huge jump can happen.
    :) Bella

  16. I have been hoping you'd post your numbers, so thank you! I will be releasing a novel in a different genre this year and have been trying to decide how to price it. Because it's a completely different genre, I'm not sure how many readers will follow me, so I'm thinking of starting out at $.99. It's the first in a series, and that pricing strategy seems to work well for others.

    Well, that was rambling.

    Again, thanks for posting!

  17. Hi Victorine,
    First of all huge congratulations on your success. Really inspiring!
    Secondly, thank you very much indeed for being so clear and candid (especially putting your real numbers out in the open - that's very generous of you!) Given the uncertainty I feel about publishing at the moment, it's extremely helpful input. I hope your success goes on and on!
    Very best wishes, Phil
    PS I found you on CC - just in case you were wondering where I had blundered in from.

  18. Thank you, everyone for your wonderful comments. :) I'm so glad you found my post helpful!


  19. Nice work! Very inspiring!

  20. Thanks, Vicki~! That was all really personal info. and all of us Indies (and others who are interested in this new publishing arena) are thankful for your candor~


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