No matter how vigorously you may advertise your books. No matter how many advertising outlets, sales gimmicks like giveaways and any other method you may dream up, inevitably your book sales will dry up. It stands to reason that the good times cannot last forever, despite the fact that your books are still available.
From 2012 when I first dipped my toe into self-publishing until January 2014, I enjoyed monthly sales in the low thousands.
Am I rich because of the thousands of copies sold? Very definitely no. The total amount of earnings via royalties from all of my books still hasn’t broken through the £1000 barrier to this day. Nor will it. These days I consider myself fortunate indeed if I manage to sell one or two units per month.
Despite what some people may believe, when it comes to royalties, they are a tiny percentage of the purchase price. For example, on an eBook priced at US$0.99, the royalty minus tax in the US and in your own country is less than the pre-tax amount of US$0.35 by the time it arrives in your bank account each month. As with conventional publishing houses, when it comes to eBook publishing it is the company that offers your books who makes the lion’s share from any and all sales.
It is a fact that for any writer to make a living, the number of units sold has to exceed a minimum of a quarter of a million p.a., no matter the purchase price. In that case why not raise the price or even change the cover, I hear you cry.
Raising the price is a big no no!!! Changing the cover achieves absolutely bugger all. Both options can and do prove detrimental to your sales. By deliberately keeping the price of my books low (never more than US$2.99) makes them attractive to someone who has never heard of me before. Encouraging them to sample my writing. When it comes to the covers of my books, they strongly relate to the story. In their case I adopt the policy – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?
Early on I took the conscious decision to publish all of my books via one system – Kindle. Why? Because people were, and still are, buying Kindle readers in their hundreds of thousands. Plus, increasingly Amazon’s tentacles are spreading far and wide across the world. And yet despite eBooks now being read by people from many countries, whether via a Kindle, or a Kindle app for your computer, or indeed another eBook application in countries including my own (the UK), by far the largest market for eBooks is still the United States. By comparison my UK sales have always been pathetically small. Why? Because my stick-in-the-mud fellow countrymen and women still prefer to hold a paperback or hard cover book in their hands. The same goes for my sales in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
While Amazon’s publishing arm, Kindle Direct Publishing, makes eBooks available via Amazon in the following countries, the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia, when it comes to books written in English, the market is severely reduced. It doesn’t appear to make any difference which genre you favour when writing, the result is the same.
But that wasn’t why I became a full time writer in the first place. I still tell myself that I just love creating a story that I enjoy, and hopefully others will as well.
Nurse? Nurse? Sorry about that. I need my daily happy pill. I’ve got a book to carry on beta-reading for a fellow writer/ nutcase…