Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sales Update

18,450 books in 16 weeks.
I released my first book in March, 2011. I now have five books on Amazon, B&N, and
A Knight in Central Park - medieval time travel
Return of the Rose - medieval time travel
Taming Mad Max - romantic comedy
Finding Kate Huntley - romantic suspense
Abducted - romantic thriller
IMO, the more books you have out there, the better. I don’t think it hurts to have different genres either.  I am using a different pen name, T.R. Ragan, for my romantic thriller because it is so different from my other books and it hasn’t hurt sales...maybe even helped.
In 3 ½ months A Knight in Central Park ($.99) has reached #65 in all kindle books, hovering around 600 for a few months and has a sales rank between 1,100 and 1,400.
Return of the Rose ($2.99) has made a steady climb over the past three months and as far as sales ranking goes this book now hovers between 1,100 and 1,400.
Taming Mad Max ($2.99) and Finding Kate Huntley tend to have the biggest range in sales ranking while Abducted, my most recent release, made the bestseller’s romantic suspense list in three weeks (not sure if it's still there as of today).
I’ve had people ask me what I am doing for promo.
I have no plan and I feel unorganized, but so far this is what I'm doing. In the first month I sent out lots of emails, I put my covers on Facebook, and I blogged and joined a few indie groups.
Next, I joined Twitter and I’m still learning about the world of twitter.
I did two FREE interviews in May/June and now I am using Twitter and Google to find indie review blogs. I have already met a lot of friendly people who are happy to add my book to their review list. I will be reviewed by The romance Reviews, C&R  Romance ebook Reviews, Backofthebookreviews, and more . I either gift a book from Amazon or send the review site a coupon from Smashwords. I figure the more places my books can be seen, the better. I try to send out one request a day.
I paid for my first advertisement last week. My books will be displayed on The Romance Review Site, Tara Green’s Eye on Romance, and Kindle Nation in September. I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.
I just finished formatting my first book for CreateSpace and I am awaiting my book to review. It was time consuming.
I must say, I didn't know I would be running a business. I always thought I would write and someone else would design, promote, market, sell. It's easy to become overwhelmed. I am trying to find balance. My writing has become a business. No question about it. Instead of going crazy, I am taking one task at a time and I am determined to enjoy the ride. Just watching the sales rank go up and down can drive you nuts if you watch it too closely. I am trying hard to stick to a goal for each day. Send out one request for review. Write 5 pages. Blog once a week. Maybe format a book for Createspace on the weekends until that is done. Read. Write. Breathe.
Let's not forget to have fun!
I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sometimes We Just Need to Write!

Being an Indie Author or self-publishing a book or two means you have to do everything. Suddenly, you find you're spreading yourself a little thin. Formatting books, designing covers, blogging, marketing, reading lots of articles that are mostly speculation. How much should I sell my book for? How will I get people to read my book? How will I stand out in the crowd? How long will this Ebook craze last?  Who knows?

Stressing or worrying will do you no good.

I'm blogging today to tell all writers to WRITE. Plain and simple. I'm pretty sure that's how Nora Roberts writes so many books. She WRITES. A LOT! I bet you she doesn't spend a whole lot of time checking out blogs, twitter and facebook. Yeah, I know, she doesn't have to worry about those things because she's got people to do that for her. But still...three months from now you might be disappointed in yourself if you haven't written at least a half of a new book. Certainly spend time on marketing and formatting, but make sure you save time for your writing. If you really want to succeed in this business, write as often as you can.

I just returned home from a three-day parent orientation. My fourth child will be going off to college soon. Meanwhile, my 22-year old wants me to go to her Pro Am basketball games an hour away and my 24-year old son recently moved back into the house. Distractions are always going to be there. Years ago, I remember thinking that when my youngest was finally in pre-school for three hours a day I would have SO much time to write. It doesn't work that way. If you're in a busy chaotic household like mine, you need to find a way to make it work. Lock the door. Turn up the music. Tape a note to the door that says QUIET! Just don't give up. No matter what your circumstance. WRITE!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Talk about Amazon's Bestsellers Rank

The numbers below are based on MY experiences... I'm sure you can find other authors whose numbers are different from these...but the following s/b pretty darn close.

The rankings are interesting to look at if you have a book out there and you are hoping to, for example, get on the Top 100 Romantic Suspense Bestsellers List on Amazon. If I look at the Romantic Suspense List and click on the book title of #99 or #100 and that book has a Bestsellers Rank of 3,400, then I know I need a 3,399 or better to get on that list. ABDUCTED was #93 for about an hour last night.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank is the number you find beneath the Product Description. Every book on Amazon has an Amazon Bestsellers Rank. Click on any title and then scroll down until you see it.

Bestsellers Rank 40,000 to 100,000 - selling close to 1 book a day. (per kindleboards)

Bestsellers Rank 8,500 to 40,000 - selling 1 to 10 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 3,500 to 8,500 - selling 10 to 20 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 1,500 to 3,500 - selling 20 to 40 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 1,100 to 1,500 - selling 40 to 50 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 900 to 1,100 - selling 50 to 65 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 650 to 900 - selling 65 to 85 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 450 to 650 - selling 85 to 100 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 350 to 450 - selling 100 to 200 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 100 to 350 - selling 200 to 300 books a day.

Bestsellers Rank 68 to 100 - selling 300 to 700 books a day.

Bestseller Rank of 59 to 68 - selling 700 to 740 books a day.

Bestseller Rank of 3 to 8 - selling about 4,000+ books a day!

That's all I've got for now. If you have more information, please share. And if you see an error, I will fix it. Thanks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Talking Money - Part II

From B&N I get an exact amount of # of books and $ owed as the books are sold. With Amazon, it's all accumulative and I don't want to make it sound more complicated than it is...but some of the $2.99 books earn 35% through the UK, etc., so it's not a matter of just multiplying number of books by a certain amount. It depends on WHERE the books sold. Also, if you move your prices up and down (I'm trying that with Taming Mad Max right now) that makes it harder to determine exact amount you earn for that month until you get the monthly KDP transaction report. I don’t have the report for May from Amazon. I believe it will show up before the 15th.

Now for $$$ amounts...

March, 2011: I SOLD my VERY FIRST BOOK on Amazon about seven days after I released it, then I put out the second book at $.99 and within days both books were selling really great.

Amazon:   $524
B&N:         $157

April, 2011: I was already thrilled with sales (over 100 books a day) and then on April 12th, Pixel of Ink pushed my rankings from 2,500 to #68. Both books have been selling great ever since.

Amazon:  $3,524
B&N:         $469

May, 2011: I released Taming Mad Max on 4/25 and Finding Kate Huntley on 5/6. So I had 4 books out for most of May.

Amazon:   $5,300
B&N:         $320

June, 2011: I released ABDUCTED (5/30). 5 books out in June and these amounts are for 5 days.

Amazon:  $1,150
B&N:         $80

GRAND TOTAL $11,528 in about 12 weeks.

Weeks before self-publishing, I was looking through the want ads for a job and trying to decide what type of work I was going to do now that my youngest child was going off to college. Financially, I had known the day would come when I would need to go back to work full time, but with the economy and other factors, the pressure was on more than ever. From the beginning, I wrote every day and I never stopped writing or learning the craft...because I wanted to be able to do this for a living. This was never a hobby to me. My passion was and is writing. It's all I want to do. It's all a lot of writers want to do.

But at the beginning of 2011 I truly thought my time was up. I had tried and failed...because as much as I just wanted to write…financially my husband and I knew that I had to go back to work. In February, 2011, thinking I was going back to get a "real" job, I decided to put my medieval time travels out there...I had nothing to lose at this point. I never for a moment thought about the $. It was more like, okay, the gig is up. Time for me to get a "real" job so I might as well throw the books out there and see if anyone else likes them as much as I do.

And then a miracle.

The books started selling and my life literally changed overnight.

19 years and suddenly...BOOM. I'm selling books, getting fan letters, and making $. For the first time in my 19 years of writing, I realize I just might get to WRITE for a living! How cool is that?

I'm still pinching myself.

One more thing about the money. How much would I have received in advance money for these books? Seriously? When I first started writing I was hoping for a $10,000 advance. A year ago, I would have taken $1,000.

If my two time travels alone bring in $2,000 to $3,000 a month, that would be $14,000 to $21,000 at the end of 2011, not counting the $11,500 I’ve already earned.

If this keeps up, I could potentially make over $7,000 a month. The sky is the limit.

At this point, though, I just want to write. I don't even want to look at the dollar amounts which is why I have to figure it all out everytime someone asks me for a dollar amount. I want to sit at my desk and write books that make me smile. And it looks like that's what I'm going to get to do and I feel blessed and lucky and happy.

If this had happened 19 years ago, I have a feeling it wouldn't have been nearly as satisfying.

One more thing...I still see blog posts out there saying self-published books suck. That's silly. It's like saying all doctors suck or all Chihuahua's shiver (mine doesn't). Not all traditionally published books are great. Not all self-published books are great. Not all doctors suck. And every Chihuahua in the world doesn't shiver. 

IF you are going to take the time to publish your book, send it to someone who knows how to edit. Spell-checker isn't going to do the job.

More than that...I say believe in yourself. Dream big. Write the books of your heart. Never give up. That's what really matters.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sales for May 2011

Scroll to bottom of post to see total # of books sold in twelve weeks!

Return of the Rose (3/2/11 Release) $2.99 Medieval Time Travel - 400 pages
Morgan Hayes is whisked back in time where she is forced to marry in her twin sister’s place…a sister she knows nothing about.
B&N:               76
Amazon:      1,518
A Knight in Central Park (3/18/11 Release) $.99 Medieval Time Travel - 390 pages
A regular Joe, a guy who likes hot showers and toothpaste, ends up in 1499 medieval England and must use his Bic and nail clippers to fight off more than one armored man if he wants to live to see another day.
B&N                  314
Amazon           3,965
Taming Mad Max (4/25/11 Release) $2.99 Romantic Comedy - 390 pages
Kari Murphy must work side by side with the guy she spent one spectacular night with during high school, the guy she pined after for too long. Too bad he has NO idea who the hell she is.
B&N                 14
Amazon:          167
Finding Kate Huntley (5/6/11 Release) $2.99 Romantic Suspense - 362 pages

During a vacation in the Caribbean, 15-year old Kate Huntley's father, a prominent U.S. scientist, is murdered before her eyes. Kate grows up alone in Haiti, one of the most dangerous and poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Kate pushes herself to become stronger, mentally and physically. Every day is a struggle for survival. And yet she lives for only one reason...revenge.

B&N                   9
Amazon           174
ABDUCTED (5/31/11 release) - $2.99 Romantic Suspense/Thriller - 480 pages

Escaping from a madman should have been the end of her nightmare...but it was only the beginning.
B&N                 2
Amazon           22
As you can see above, A Knight in Central Park has dipped in sales (from 250 a day to 100 per day), but I am not complaining. I love that I have gained 4,279 potential readers in May alone. The other day I changed the category (as the author you get to choose 2 categories for each book on Amazon) from straight historical to Fantasy Historical where I believe my medieval time travels should have been all along. It took me a while to figure out categories and rankings and everything else. Still so much to learn.
Return of the Rose is still rising in sales and ranking.  1 to 3 books a day to 50 per day. 1,594 books in May. ROTR would be the book of my heart because I learned so much writing this novel. ROTR garnered me 3 Golden Heart finals out of 6, snagged me an agent, and I was able to work with an editor until she left to work for another publisher. Close but no cigar. What IF, and that's a big IF, I can make $2,000 a month or more off of this one book? And for how many years? Five? Ten? I'll let you do the math. Something to think about if you have a book you love, a book that you are willing to do line edits on and then send to readers before releasing. Just sayin'.  
Taming Mad Max is doing well, but I’m not sure about my cover. And I think I made a mistake by changing the title from Better Late Than Never to Taming Mad Max. I think I might change the cover AND the title and see what happens. What do you think?
Finding Kate Huntley was released two weeks after Taming Mad Max and has passed that book up. I do love this book and FKH was almost picked up by Grand Central a few years back.
ABDUCTED was released yesterday and has started off with a bang!

TOTAL # of BOOKS SOLD in 12 weeks:  13,711