Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Sales Update - Over 96,900 books sold

Total as of 9/28/11 at 10 PM and does NOT include 25,000 FREE downloads
Amazon and Barnes & Noble combined sales

Return of the Rose - Released March 2, 2011    $2.99
Medieval Time Travel Romance

March:                           298
April:                              894
May:                            1,600
June:                            1,475
July:                             1,291
August:                        2,352
September:                    1,835*

Total:                                9,745      

A Knight in Central Park- Released March 18, 2011   $.99
Medieval Time Travel Romance

March:                            247
April:                            6,071 
May:                            4,306
June:                            2,414
July:                             1,330
August:                        9,812
September:                   1,978*

Total:                       26,158

Taming Mad Max - Released April 25, 2011  $2.99
Romantic Comedy

April:                                  30 
May:                                182
June:                                265
July:                                 310
August:                            934
September:                     1,764*

Total:                          3,485

Finding Kate Huntley - Released May 5, 2011   $2.99
Romantic Suspense

May:                                187
June:                                261
July:                                 325
August:                          1,159
September:                      3,130*
Total:                          5,062

Abducted - Released May 29, 2011   $2.99
Romantic Suspense/Thriller

May:                                    25
June:                                  694
July:                                1,708
August:                          12,917
September:                      37,178*

Total:                          52,522

 *sales as of 9/28/11   10 PM (B&N and Amazon combined)

Twice a month, I plan to share my number of books sold in hopes that these numbers might help other writers make their own decisions about self-publishing.

I hope these numbers help to answer questions. What sort of spikes and/or drops will the holidays bring? How will the release of the $79 kindle affect sales? What genre will sell best in December? Will a new release take away from current sales or bring me new readers? Will sales go up and down based on the number of new kindle users peaking and then dropping? Does one genre consistently sell better than another or will my time travel romances out sell romantic comedy over the holidays?

As we all know, every writer has their own personal and unique journey. My hope is that I can inspire others out there who are working hard at their craft to NEVER GIVE UP. 

Let me know if you have ANY questions at all.


Bev Pettersen said...

Thanks, Theresa, for always being so generous with your time and experience. Your numbers are SUPER!! and much deserved.

Stephanie Queen said...

Thanks for posting this great information!
My question is whether or not you were published prior to going indie in March and whether ypu had a following going in?
I'm a total newbie in publishing, although not new to writing--in that, i'm pretty well seasoned.

Anything you can share on your background and how you got your initial market presence would be much appreciated!
Stephanie Queen

Vivienne Westlake said...

Hi, Theresa,

I've reposted this on Romance Divas. Congratulations on your success so far! I really respect authors who are willing to give hard numbers for their book sales. It is very enlightening for those of us who are considering self-publishing.

I was thinking of the same question Stephanie asked: did you have a following or NY books before you self-published? I'm wondering as well how much the free downloads pushed the sales of your other books as 25,000 downloads is a pretty large number (even if only half of the freebies are read, that is a terrific loss leader to bring attention to the rest of your books). Did you get an amazon free read? Or, did you drop the price at B&N or another site?

Theresa Ragan said...

Thank you, Bev, for always offering encouragement and support to post these numbers. I appreciate that!

Hi Stephanie, I was not published prior to March, 2011. I had been writing for 19 years...nearly every day. I worked hard at my craft and did everything I could to make a sale to NY. I never submitted to any e-publishers though because I always figured I might as well do it myself if I was going to go that route. I had been writing for so long and I was involved in many romance groups, so my name was known by many writers. I had finaled in the Golden Heart six times and I had attended many RWA national conferences.

I believe the key thing I did prior to March, 2011, was write lots of books. I have five more books waiting for me to tweak and revise. Most of those are romantic comedies. Since romantic suspense/thrillers seem to be HUGE right now, I am working on the sequel to ABDUCTED.

To answer your question about my initial market presence, for the first three months I worked 12 hours a day promoting myself and my books. I learned how to format for Kindle, Nook, Smashwords. I did it all myself. I then made this blog and started posting my experiences. Every move I have made was based on "gut feelings." For instance, pricing. I knew I was willing to pay $2.99 for a new author. So I priced my books at $2.99. I will talk about the $.99 book when I answer Vivienne's question. I was willing to wait for readers to find me at $2.99. I had been patient for 19 years, so waiting a few months for readers to find me wasn't difficult.

I said YES to almost any blogger that asked me to blog or be interviewed. I found sites like Dave Wisehart's and filled out his form to answer interview questions that he then posts to his site. All FREE. I used Google to find Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking and see what they were doing. At the time, I had yet to make any money, so I only did FREE marketing. I did pay $50 to join IBC (go to my links tab, to see what that's all about.) I did a blog tour with IBC and that took a lot of time but I learned a lot about giving away free digital books to find readers.

I hope I answered your questions, Stephanie. Thanks!

Theresa Ragan said...

Hi Vivienne, thanks for the questions. Having one full-length book for $.99 was a wonderful marketing tool for me. That book was mentioned on Pixel of Ink in April, 2011, and it went as high as #65 in rankings. And then the book dropped drastically in rank and sort of disappeared. I wasn't worried. I just kept pressing on. I saw that many indie authors were doing the FREE thing and yet my books were doing okay, so I wasn't sure if I really wanted to even try the FREE thing.

In a moment of weakness, which has turned out to be a huge blessing, I set A Knight in Central Park for FREE at Smashwords. I didn't tell any friends or family that it was FREE. I didn't report it to Amazon either. Three hours later, I panicked and changed the price of that book on Smashwords to $2.99, just to make sure it didn't go free. A week later, thinking I had escaped the free thing, I put the price back to $.99. All of this price changing was happening ONLY at Smashwords.

On August 11th, I saw that A Knight in Central Park was "selling" like crazy! KOBO or DIESEL or ibooks (I'll never know which) had found that FREE pricing in that three hour time frame a week earlier. Amazon picked up on their free price and put my $.99 book for free.

In 4 days, 25,000 free downloads. My other books began to sell twice as many per day. If I had thought to go back to Smashwords and put the book back to FREE, I would have, but it never dawned on me to do that. Instead, I just watched it all happen. 4 days later, I was sure AKICP was going to hit #1 on the FREE list when suddenly it went back to $.99.

While AKICP was riding high, it went back to $.99 and once again climbed the top 100 charts on Amazon. That experience taught me to never say never. A book is never dead. Twice, A Knight in Central Park, has hit the paid top 100 kindle books list. This time it got as high as #22.

So, there you have it. That's my FREE story. I haven't tried it again. I have heard stories of writers taking the FREE ride and then being unable to get off of the FREE ride. Then there are others, who try for months to get picked up for FREE and nothing happens. That's where LUCK comes into all of this. I have been very lucky. For 19 years prior, when it came to my writing career, my husband used to tell me that if I didn't have BAD luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. That has all changed now.

I hope this helps.

I, personally, believe these are the things that have helped me most:

2. Five books ready to go
3. Having books in more than 1 genre
4. Pricing
5. lucking out with genre since suspense/thrillers are selling well right now
6. spending three solid months on FREE promotion and marketing
7. Having one full length novel for $.99 to use as marketing tool said...

Theresa! I was thinking about you today :). Then, I saw your blog post in my inbox. I opened it, and holy freaking cow! I'm SOOOO happy for you! Your sales are INCRED!

What a wonderful early christmas present, eh? :)

37,178 books for abducted at $2.99?? That's crazy money! :) Thanks for sharing :) Best wishes to the next month!

Elisa Michelle said...

Again, your numbers are incredibly amazing. I'm very happy for you and hope the Christmas season and the new Kindle brings you even more sales! =)

Theresa Ragan said...

Hi Lacy, I hope the writing is going well. Crazy that Christmas is creeping up on us already!

Hi Elisa, thank you so much.

Theresa Ragan said...

For anyone interested, Trish McCallan is also offering up sales numbers and observations at

Trish said...

Thanks for the shout-out Theresa.

I've been following your success for months, couldn't happen to a more deserving person and I couldn't be happier for you.

And just think, you've barely begun your journey. I'm positive there are even more exciting things waiting for you around the next corner.

Juliette Sobanet said...

Wow, these numbers are amazing Theresa! Congratulations! I just released my first ebook today, and am so excited to take the plunge! You are really inspiring. Thanks for sharing:)

Theresa Ragan said...

Trish, you're welcome.

Hi Juliette. Thank you. I love your cover. And the title, Sleeping with Paris. It sounds like the kind of book I would love. Wishing you tons of success!

Here's the link to Sleeping with Paris by Juliette Sobanet.

Juliette Sobanet said...

Thanks so much Theresa! I'm really excited to read your books too! Just got my new Kindle in the mail yesterday:) Ready to stock up on books!

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