Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sales Report, and Contest


I see authors doing this once in a while, reporting on sales for some of their independently published books. Usually the numbers look a lot better than what I see for mine. Gotta admit that bothers me some. But it’s good to do such evaluations and to read them from others. How do we know if anything is working if we don’t see some numbers.

Here’s the numbers on my noir collection “Harmland,” which I published on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble in April of 2012. It sold 14 copies right off the bat, then sold between 2 and 3 copies a month until August of 2012. At that point it flatlined and there’s not been a sale since. Total sales equaled 30 copies, with 6 of those coming from B & N and the rest from Amazon.

As for getting the word out, I posted on my blog and on facebook initially about the book. I’ve increased my posting on facebook in the last few months in hopes of reminding people of the collection. It hasn’t generated any action. I featured “Harmland” prominently in my first author newsletter, which I emailed out to several hundred folks at the end of October, 2012. I even came up with a “Harmland” chili recipe to include with the newsletter. Since I’ve had no sales since October the newsletter would seem, if anything, to have had the opposite effect to the one desired. I’m definitely gonna have to reconsider the effort involved in putting out a newsletter.

On Tuesday, June 15, I lowered the price of the collection from $2.99 to $1.99. This is for over 21,000 words of material. I announced the sale on facebook and sold 3 copies in the first few hours. None since then.

Today I’m posting about it here, of course. If you’re looking to pick up “Harmland” at its new $1.99 price, the link is here:

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Harmland-ebook/dp/B008CT92ZA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372340612&sr=8-1&keywords=harmland

I haven't yet changed the price at Barnes and Noble but that link is below: 

As a further initiative to get folks to come read this blog, I’m holding a giveaway. If you comment on this blog, your name will be put into a hat for a drawing of a brand new, unopened copy of “Cut Short,” the first in the popular Geraldine Steel detective series by British author Leigh Russell. Back when this came out, I ended up buying two copies of the book and have had the extra copy sitting around for quite some time. I’m only going to be able to mail the copy to the US and Canada, though.

Hope your day is fun and productive!
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38 comments:

Lisa V. Tomecek said...

Sure, I'm down for a contest. And yes, I'm looking forward to Harmland on the next round of ebook purchases I make. I've accumulated myself something of a stack to dig through, but yours is on the list for the next splurge. :)

As to promotions, this does seem to be where indie is difficult. I've seen several pages where a body can post links or promote for free, and some folks seem to report good results that way. Haven't tried it myself yet, since my stuff is still in the production and revisions stage.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

It's very possible once your new release 'Wraith of Talera' comes out, figures for your other books will change too, my friend. It is a goofy business, which works or doesn't work without rhyme or reason at times. I'm opting out of the contest. I just wanted to comment on your post.

Tom Johnson said...

Hi Charles,
I don't believe a lot of the hype many of those Bloggers post about their sales. I think it's mostly a lot of wishful thinking (g). My Jur novels have moved steadily since I put them on Kindle, selling a few each month, but certainly not in the thousands like so many claim of their books. My books do well enough that my publishers have started putting them into hardback editions, so they'll be available in eBook, paperback, and hardback editions. That tells me my books are at least doing well. http://pulplair.blogspot.com/

Aimless Writer said...

I picked up sales by paying $15 for one of the kboards promotions. I sold 20 copies in one night. They twittered it, FB'ed it and put it in their email newsletter. Major slack off after that and sadly, none of the 20 ever reviewed it.
I'm thinking of doing an orangeberry blast next.
I want to try BookBub too because I see a lot of more successful indies using that including J.R. Raine and Konrath.
On Amanda Hocking's blog she states when she reached out to book bloggers her sales really started to pick up.
Good luck with Harmland!

Randy Johnson said...

Like Russell's books.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, cool! Name in the hat.

Bernard, thanks, man. Yes, getting new stuff out is the key to driving things, I think, and I'm working on that.

Tom, it's hard to know exactly who and what to believe that I see posted around. I do know it's a struggle every day to keep momentum up and going.

Aimless, thanks for the tips. In my experience, reviews do very little to sell books.

Randy, I've actually only read the first one so far but need to get to the others.

Randy Johnson said...

I forgot to add to not include me in the drawing. I have the book. An excellent read.

Jack Badelaire said...

I've got a couple of thoughts...

- Even a handful of sales a month is better than probably 90% of the books that have ever been published, since most titles go out of print within a few years of hitting the market. Ebooks and POD mean your titles will forever be available and you'll always be able to make money off of them.

- Getting exposure is tough, tough, tough, and you need exposure in order to make sales. I've found the best means of exposure have been Amazon Select promotions, and had stunning success when I was picked up by an advertising service gratis. If you're not showing up in Amazon "also bought"s, you're not going to make sales.

- You can't be afraid to make changes. Try a new cover. Try new description copy. Try new price points. Give the book a different title if the current title isn't working. The ability to control and change your product as you see fit is one of the great benefits of self-publishing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, I thought perhaps you did.

Jack, I may try a different cover, even though I think this one is kind of creepy. It makes me think of the old series, "Tales from the Darkside."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm eBook only now, so don't enter me in the contest.
Your books aren't available in the iBookstore, are they? Maybe that's something new to try.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, the books published through Borgo are. I don't think my self published ebooks are.

Cloudia said...

I just put it out, share, pray :-)


Aloha

Riot Kitty said...

Funny, I was just thinking I need to do some more for BJP too. I will gladly enter your giveaway (and I will check out that author if I don't win, as it sounds right up my alley.) I will check out the info on your book too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I never even look at sales. too depressing.

Erik Donald France said...

That is fascinating, and also brutally "evidence-driven." Good to know at every step.

I wonder if whole companies can accurately gauge the effectiveness of TV ads vs. print ads vs. internet, etc., in a similar fashion?

Good luck moving more "units" ~!



Chap O'Keefe said...

It's all very sobering, Charles. The outlets for genre fiction in print have almost vanished. For a while, it looked like eBooks might be the new alternative, but sales of eBooks overall have now plateaued, I hear. As for romances, thrillers, fantasy, westerns, etc., so many have been uploaded to Amazon and other websites that your eBook has little chance of being selected at random -- a situation which, for the reason Jack has mentioned, will not improve. Moreover, a huge quantity of poorly written, poorly edited, poorly formatted material has created a "once bitten, twice shy" approach by potential readers disappointed by the glaring lack of professional standards.

Reviews at blogs and websites that are not selling sites could help, but these are usually conducted not by readers but other writers whose main concern must lie naturally and properly in promoting their own books. Suspicious, non-writing readers have pointed out that reviews have in some cases been given on a "contra" basis. I also seem to remember an Amazon scandal when it was found that authors were reviewing their own books using different identities!

laughingwolf said...

the way of most writers, it seems

no need to enter my name, leigh sent me a copy when it first came out....

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, that's about all you can have control over.

Riot Kitty, thanks, Your name is in the hat!

Patti, yes indeed. I can't help it, though.

Erik, I'm a veteran record keeper it seems. :)

Chap, I remember being amazed at the lengths some authors were going through to review their own books under different names, and much worse, attacking their competitors' books under that same fake name.

Laughingwolf, I remember you and I talking about Cut short.

Liane Spicer said...

Thanks for sharing your numbers, Charles. I have no answers but I've observed that I don't see significant increases in sales after FB announcements. (I could be doing it wrong--I just can't do a hard sell to my network.) The only one of my indie titles that sold hundreds did so with no effort on my part. That was around October/November last year. Those sales have flatlined now.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I was happy to pick up HOMELAND from Amazon this morning and the lowered price had nothing to do with the purchase! I look forward to reading it. Self-publishing has its advantages, the freedom to write, edit, and publish as one sees fit, and a deep sense of achievement, but I can see that it's no cakewalk. Is it also available in physical format?

the walking man said...

Well you just sold at least one copy..but to who, oh yeah me but me e TBR pile is way ahead of me.

But the same offer goes to you as I made to Travis...if you want to do my blog one day that'd be cool with me, just let me know how and when.

Friend me on FB then I'll follow you so your posts show up on my wall if you want.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I'm sorry, that ought to be HARMLAND. I'm currently reading a book on the Secret Service which refers to "homeland" security and that's how the word slipped in.

Charles Gramlich said...

Liane, there seems to be quite a bit of luck involved and I'm not sure how to make it work for me.

Prashant, Thanks. There are some gory parts to it but mostly it is noir kinds of stuff. the freedom of doing it all is a really nice experience. It sure doesn't leave anyone to blame if it doesn't do well, though.

Mark, thanks, man. I appreciate it. I'll look for you on FB.

Oscar said...

We were warned that this would probably happen as the books get buried in the volume available. Good luck on sales. Don't throw my name in the hat, too many westerns to read.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, well, the avalanche of books is here for sure.

X. Dell said...

Actually, I won a copy of Write with Fire through the hat. So I withdraw myself from consideration.

Sad to hear about Harmland. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, and really don't know why it wouldn't have a larger readership other than whatever promotions you have aren't reaching enough people genuinely interested in it. I wish I were a marketing guru, and that I could offer advice. Of course, if I were, I'd be promoting the hell out of my own writing.

Hoping things improve with the subsequent releases.

X. Dell said...

Actually, I won a copy of Write with Fire through the hat. So I withdraw myself from consideration.

Sad to hear about Harmland. I can honestly say I enjoyed it, and really don't know why it wouldn't have a larger readership other than whatever promotions you have aren't reaching enough people genuinely interested in it. I wish I were a marketing guru, and that I could offer advice. Of course, if I were, I'd be promoting the hell out of my own writing.

Hoping things improve with the subsequent releases.

Charles Gramlich said...

x. Dell, I seem to have no way of figuring out what specifically to do to make progress on such things, but I keep on trying.

Deka Black said...

Good luck with the giveaway! I'm from Spain, so i hope the winner enjoy your book!.

Btw... maybe is nothing, but.. Have you tried changing the cover? Maybe that could help.

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, I'm thinking about changing the cover. I think this one is pretty creepy but some folks have told me it's too peaceful of a scene.

Lisa said...

Charles, I think if you tell what it is about, and some personal experience about the writing of the book, I think it can generate personal interest and curiosity to find out more and read the book. But to get the big sale, you need a big promotion, maybe you could design and make an interesting Facebook ad and purchase the advertisement platform at FB that you will pay only by the number of clicks. And be sure all the links to purchase is on that ad.

Lisa said...

I just came across this article about author's own page compares to FB, it might be interesting.
http://janefriedman.com/2013/06/29/facebook-cant-replace-website/

and Charles, do you know Alex? A network of authors gather at his site and they seem to have an active support group.
http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com

Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, thanks for the info. I do know Alex and visit him all the time. He does visit here. I haven't taken part in a lot of his blog adventures, mainly because of time.

Lisa said...

yes Charles, I think I'd probably known him through you. You are a full time college professor.

Deka Black said...

Charles, i don't know where to post this, so, please excuse me if this isn't the place. And.. Well, here it is: The other day i was checking xome blog. And i found one with a instroductory post about Sword & Planet. A blog from Spain. But guess what. When the author talks about mdern wordsmith writing S&P... He mention the Talera cycle! here:

http://braceli.blogspot.com.es/2013/06/sword-and-planet-tras-la-estela-de.html

Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, Alex certainly has a huge following.

Deka, whoa. I'll have to have a look see at that.

H&H said...

Good luck with the sales! You're still light years ahead of me, if that makes you feel any better.

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg, all things are relative I imagine. :)