Tag Archives: real numbers

I’m back!

Dirty feet and super hero poses in the backyard. It's pretty much everything I've always wanted for the minions.

Hi guys!

I have reliable internet connectivity again. Finally. It’s been a challenge living through my iPhone. I basically used it mostly for drive by Twitter updates and the occasional Instagram upload. As someone who’s been an internet addict for years, it was rough, I won’t lie.

The timing was pretty bad since I found out that as of August 1st I was voted an Indie Rockstar. (They’ve picked the 6 contenders for next month’s Rockstar so check those out!) I was literally so excited to find out, but I haven’t been able to do a bit of promotion to capitalize on it due to my extreme reluctance to type anything substantial on a virtual keyboard. I hate those things with a burning fiery passion, but that kind of seems like a topic to explore on another day.

You’d think that with all this non internet time I’d have accomplished something productive around the house, but nope. We’ve still got tons of boxes sitting around to be unpacked. Not to worry though, friends, they’ll be unpacked or stored by the weekend of the 28th for sure.

One of the things that’s been keeping me running around all crazy-like has been securing a venue in which to marry my love. I found a nice couple who are both ordained ministers and who host weddings in their (very pretty) backyard. They are low key and, best of all, they weren’t booked. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get a 27th wedding date since they’ll be out of town, but the 28th is close enough, I think. I mean it’s really just a symbolic thing anyway since we started dating on the 27th two years ago.

The other really interesting thing to happen while I’ve been gone (besides our move, of course) is that July ended and now I can share my numbers for the whole month. Well, in the case of the good stuff it wasn’t a full month, only from the 9th on, but you know what I mean.

I didn’t keep very good track of I Wish… it was actually pretty demoralizing to watch it languish between #70k-#100k all month. So I stopped looking pretty much entirely. Looking at it now I can’t seem to find a good way to look at the totals for July, but as near as I can tell it was less than 100 copies. Owies.

I HAVE been tracking the GT stuff, of course. That’s where the money is right now so it’s a lot more interesting to me. I didn’t quite sell 500 copies (460), but I’m still really happy with that number. I’ll post a more detailed breakdown on the other blog, but we’ll just leave it at my YA stuff is definitely more of a labor of love than a hope of getting rich anytime soon.

So far this month I’ve sold 16 copies of I Wish… That’s pretty close to where I was around this point last month. I wish I’d been able to really take advantage of the rockstar promotion. It’s like finding the Golden Ticket and watch the wind blow it out of your hand and send it cartwheeling down the street. Major bummer. I’m working on a guest post for the site though so maybe that will get some new eyes pointing my way.

So upcoming in my little nest (fun trivia: there is a house in Atlanta called Wren’s Nest. Cool, right? I’m totally going to check it out soon.) you can expect a photo heavy post about my new house and neighborhood. Don’t expect totally cute décor at this point though. We tossed almost everything to get the smallest possible moving truck (and event then it was god awful trying to maneuver it with the car on the trailer behind it… my love got stuck by driving into dead end parking lots I don’t even remember how many times). We’ve gotten a lot of new furniture and dishes and whatnot, but almost nothing in terms of knick knacks and the sorts of things that make a house really adorable. And I’d know because at this point I’ve watched what feels like 36 consecutive hours of HGTV while nursing my internet withdrawal.

Another thing I’m trying to do is set up a week of Interview and an Excerpts and YA Indie Carnival to make up for the weeks I missed. 

Somewhere in the middle of all that, the wedding, frenzied unpacking/organizing so that the in laws don’t think we live in a storage unit, and general life craziness I’ve got to carve out some writing time for the sequel to I Wish… Luckily I have it more or less outlined so it’s just a matter of applying butt to chair and working on it.

That’s kind of tricky. I wrote all of book 1 upstairs in my bed while curled up under the covers. It was January and it was really cold at the time so that was actually a pretty awesome way to write. Friends, believe me when I tell you that Augusta, Georgia is most assuredly NOT cold in August. I haven’t quite found my ritual writing spot yet.

You have to be careful about that sort of thing, I think. It quickly becomes habit forming. I write all my GT stuff on my desktop because that’s where I keep all my files and cover images due to it being the computer that has Photoshop installed. I’m not sure that I’d easily be able to write any of that stuff anywhere else.

IMG_3215

For my non GT stuff I’m thinking I might try using the screened porch. I know it’ll be both hot and cold at different points, but I think during the spring and fall it would more than make up for it by being really awesome. I love being surrounded by the outdoors, assuming nothing can bite me  and that I’m not in direct sunlight.

The primary problem right now is that I don’t have a desk up there, but I’m hoping that some thrift store stalking might yield a nice wicker desk or maybe even a wooden one that I can use temporarily. I’d love a retro school desk. /Love!

Anyway, that’s what’s going on here these days. I’m going to try to catch up on all the balls I dropped, but I’ve still got so much work to do before I’m anywhere near where I need to be. I’m glad to be blogging again though. I never realized when I started how much I would end up enjoying the whole process, but it turns out I’m a big fan.

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Filed under Free Time, the daily grind

June sales numbers

If you’d like to follow along with this post on my sales pages you can find I Wish… on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

*****

June was a cruel bitch mistress. I was lulled into a false sense of happy security the first couple of days when I actually made pretty good sales (ie 5-6 a day rather than the more normal 2-4). Could it be that I was finally starting to take off? Yeah, not exactly.

As pretty much every indie knows, the first couple of weeks of June Amazon had a “sunshine deal” where they sold trad books for $.99-$2.99. Price is the key advantage that an indie has over traditionally published books. Unless you are competing with someone’s favorite authors, if you present an equivalent cover, blurb, and story you have a good chance of them taking a chance on you if you’re 1/3rd of the price of the other guy. So that whole thing with dropping the prices? Owie.

You might also recall that on the 16th or so I raised the price of I Wish… to $2.99. I had mixed feelings about that move. I mean on the one hand, I think it’s wise to try to get my books into as many hands as I possibly can which I did through mass giveaways the week of release. My thinking being that I need reviews and return customers more than I need the money. But after the first couple of weeks my sales dropped to 2-4 a day and frankly, if that’s all I’m selling at $.99 then I have nothing to lose by raising the price because even 1 sale a day will still be several times as much money.

I’m actually rethinking my entire pricing scheme. I assumed that I, like most indies, would just price on the $.99-$2.99 structure. But I’ve been doing some reading of opinion pieces lately and I think I’m beginning to think that people are starting to just assume that $.99 means a book is either total crap or spam.

Now I KNOW that Amanda Hocking and John Locke built their empires on that very price point and others do very well too. I’d be curious how many people are actually able to earn a living at $.99 and when they started publishing. My guess is that most of the people who sell like wildfire at $.99 have been priced that way since at least January. I’m open to the fact I don’t know anything though. If you’re someone who’s published more recently than that and you’re having mega success, let me know. I’ll publicly retract my statements. They are just guesses and speculation, after all. I’m not married to them. Winking smile

Here are a couple of articles that explain why they don’t agree with $.99 pricing:

Zoe Winters

Jeff Kirvin– He makes an interesting point about $.99 sales not being sustainable.

Jack Wallen

Karen Dionne" When people don’t know what a fundamentally new product should cost, they are strongly influenced by the first price they encounter…”

Alistair Barr– “Aspiring spammers can even buy a DVD box set called Autopilot Kindle Cash that claims to teach people how to publish 10 to 20 new Kindle books a day without writing a word.”

Dean Wesley Smith– This one is my personal favorite.

So yeah, that’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve never agreed with the $.99 price point and I’m thinking that I’m going to trust my initial instincts and price my books at $4.99, which is what I feel like an indie book should really be worth. It’s still only half the price of a traditional ebook and let’s be honest, I feel like my story is a good one. I think it’s worth $5.

sales numbers 7 02

Hopefully, that’ll expand to a readable size.

sales numbers 7 02 closer

This is the main gist of it though. I sold a total of 24 books at $2.99 since I marked it up on the 16th. I made just under $50. Which is fully half of my total earnings since I published in mid May.

Is it hurting my sales? It’s hard to tell. My only full week I sold 17 copies @ $2.99. But two weeks ago I only sold 20 copies @ $.99 so…

My main concern lately is that the awesome momentum I had the first couple of weeks seems to have slowed down. I can tell by looking at my blog stats that several people are going from my blog to my book every day. That’s great! That’s what I hope for. However, my sales are telling me that they aren’t buying. That part? Not as good.

Something is making people decide not to buy. I’m taking price off the table for now since this has been going on since before I changed my price. I have good reviews (15 5 stars, 4 4 stars, and 2 3 stars), I’m actually rated in the top 100 of two different categories.  So it’s not that people are hearing bad things about my story that’s scaring them off.

So that leaves either my blurb or my cover. I think my blurb is ok. It tells the information in short, punchy sentences. My cover though… I’m pretty sure it’s not conveying the message I want it to. I don’t think it screams “I’m a suspenseful paranormal book about witches and life or death struggles.” That is a decidedly unfortunate thing since it IS a book about those very things.

I’ve hired a cover artist, the sweet Tammy Luke, who designed 2 of Courtney Cole’s book covers. She’s been really easy to work with and the sample images she’s sent me to approve have been awesome; pretty and creepy. I have great faith that she’ll come up with something eye catching and hopefully I’ll be able to report that that’s the thing that was holding me back.

Oh! And I almost forgot! I finally put I Wish… up for purchase on Barnes & Noble. I made 9 sales in the two weeks it was up there. I’m going to call that a success since nobody seems to sell all that great there. Only three of those sales were at $.99. I made just under $13 in June from B&N. So my total earnings for June were about $80 (not counting foreign sales since I’m not exactly sure how the payout will work on those). I officially earned enough to fill my van with gas. Yay!

I forgot to mention the total I sold. Including all sales from all avenues (US/UK/DE/B&N) I sold 110 books. To put it in perspective I sold 105 books in May and I was only published between the 15th and the end of the month. So as  you can see, I am not living up to the standard I set coming out of the gate. That’s a bummer.

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1 month into my journey

Before I start, I just wanted to announce that I’ve finally got my account info straight with Barnes and Noble (something about using my old address as my “tax address”) so I’m happy to be able to offer I Wish… for all my Nook using friends! Hopefully, I get over my terminal laziness and am able to offer it in paperback soon.

I’m going to do my numbers pretty early in the day. I might still make some sales, but if I do it won’t be very many so this post wouldn’t change significantly even if I waited.

Today marks the end of my 1st month as an indie author. As you might recall, I got off to a massive start the first week. According to my weekly sales tally, I sold 53 books. Ooh, I know! We’ll do a screen grab so I don’t have to write them all out. I’ll let my numbers speak for themselves. Although, I’m not a huge fan of what they have to say.

June 15 6 weeks sales

I think I kept that sized large enough to read if you click on it. But in case you don’t want to go to the trouble the break down is:

Week 1 = 53 sales, $18.55
Week 2 = 26 sales, $9.10
Week 3 = 34 sales, $11.90
Week 4 = 20 sales, $7.00

So according to these numbers I’ve sold 133 books in the US for a total of $46.55. I also sold a handful in the UK and 1 in the German store. My grand total sold so far including the ones I’ve sold that aren’t in the 6 week tally yet is 164 books. That’s around 5.5 books a day.

Obviously most of those books were in the beginning. June had a couple of days where sales picked up a little bit, but since then I’ve been selling around 2 or 3 a day. Not exactly what I thought would happen when I had that amazing first week. I really thought that I’d go up from there. But I can say that I’ve never had a day where I’ve sold less than 2 copies.

You might wonder what sort of promotion I’ve been doing to get the word out there. The answer would be not much of anything. I did suck it up and submit my book for review to a couple of teen reviewers, but if they opt to review my book I probably won’t see a return on that for a couple of months at least. I done a couple of interviews and, of course, I gave away around 100 copies of my book.

I think I’ll start seeing the fruit of my labor when I have the sequel to my book available. Almost everybody who’s reviewed the book has had nothing but positive things to say about it. I have a single 3 star review between Amazon and Goodreads and that’s out of a total of 32 ratings. I feel really good about repeat customers. I suspect that I can count on a good percentage of my readers to buy the second book. And with I Wish… finally being available via B&N I think I’ll get a boost there too.

So that’s where I am with all that. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.

Now for my ICAD and art journal.

icad jun 15 11

I am so sorry about the terrible scan. The scanner wants to cut it off for me for some reason, but it doesn’t bother to try to align it with the edges and the flower is really thick so it made the center super blurry, but I figured, it’s not a terribly complex card so I’d just work with what I have.

I did an experiment with some tone on tone texture. I painted the background with a cool metallic teal paint and then covered it with watered down white paint which I wiped off. It muted the color a bit though so that when I attempted to stencil the dots with the teal they showed up really good. Or they would have if I hadn’t spread the paint too thick. The end result was actually really neat and I like the way it turned out.The dots, where you’d normally expect the paint to be thicker are more shallow than the stuff around them, where the paint pooled under my stencil.

My biggest annoyance in working on these projects is that I don’t have a really smooth writing white pen. I end up with all kinds of thin, spidery lines instead of good smooth lines. Right now I’m just using a white Gelly Roll pen. I might have to pony up to get a good one though.

AJED Jun 15 11

I needed to write a guest post for someone today and I kept hitting a block when I’d attempt to write it. It just wasn’t coming to me so I decided that I’d use the same approach that I do for writing my fiction and make a mind map.

Of course I could have just done it on blank paper like a normal person, but where’s the fun in that? I actually used the time I spent painting and gluing to think of ideas. In the end, I didn’t use a single idea I came up with, but on the plus side, I can use these ideas for future guest posts or maybe even for posts here.

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Filed under ICAD & Art Journal Every Day

Using Xmind as a timeline

I was looking at search hits my blog has received and saw that someone was looking up how to use Xmind as a timeline. I happen to think that Xmind makes a really good timeline and here’s how I use it for that.

Step 1:

timeline 2

I change the default shape into a left facing Fishhead shape using the shape menu in the right hand box.

Step 2:

timeline3

Next I change the structure to left facing Fishbone.

Step 3:

timeline 4

At this point you just start adding topics like normal and they’ll automatically populate the fish in an alternating bone shaped pattern. I usually name them by date, but I’ve also called them by scene title if I’m not sure on the specific date.

Step 4:

timeline 5

Right click on one of your new subtopics. About halfway down you can select the option to make a note. The shortcut for it is F4.

Step 5:

timeline 6

Now you just fill in the details. When I’m doing my timeline I generally will post my entire scene description in there. When you’ve got a note on a topic you’ll see a little rectangular icon that you can click on to bring up your note at any time.

And that’s it. It’s really that simple to make a quick and dirty timeline using Xmind, a program I highly recommend to all writers.

In a completely unrelated note, I thought I’d share my numbers for May with y’all. I have a sneaking suspicion that my numbers are going to disappear on me tomorrow and I’d like to have kept track somewhere.

Thanks to a generous push last night, I was able to hit 100 sales (across all the stores). I was beyond thrilled since it’s so much better than I dared to hope I’d do by this point in the game. A huge thank you to everyone who’s bought my book or reviewed it or even just told a friend about it. You guys are making my dreams come true and I know that’s a huge cliché, but it’s so very true.

I know it’s early still and I still might make some sales today, but as of right now this is where I’m sitting. 94 US, 8 UK, 1 DE = # 14,815. I have 14 reviews on Amazon right now, 11 of them are 5 star reviews.

Since I love screen shots so much, I took one earlier today showing a graph of my sales over the last two weeks.

sales numbers 5 31

As you can see I was off to a great start all through the first week and things gradually started falling off during the second week. I feel really fortunate that throughout it all, I’ve still managed to stay in the top #20k for the most part. Considering that I haven’t done much of anything in the way of promotion since I released I Wish… the numbers become that much more impressive.

One thing that’s been consistent throughout is that readers are asking about the sequel. Originally I was planning to put it on hold while I worked on a totally different project and cleared my head of Thistle and the rest of Desire. The thing is that I already have an outline that’s probably 95% finished. Writing the sequel at this point would be really easy so I’ve decided that I’m going to switch around my projects and work on the sequel right now.

This is for two reasons. The main one is that if I have fans and they want something that I can give them, then why on earth would I deny them?

The second reason is more practical. I have sold 100 copies of I Wish… and given away nearly as many. That’s almost 200 people who have, for the most part, enjoyed reading my book. Several have taken the time to contact me to tell me how much they liked it and how much they are anticipating the sequel. It stands to reason that I can expect a big chunk of them to purchase the second book. There are no such guarantees if I publish something unrelated. On the one hand, they might enjoy it as much if not more and I might draw in a new crowd since it’s an adult rom com. On the other hand, it would be foolish to turn my back on the following I’ve managed to accumulate so far.

As always, I will post about my success, or lack thereof, as things develop.

There’s still time to leave a comment on Addison Moore’s interview for a chance to win free copies of Ethereal and it’s newly released sequel. She’s doing great on Amazon right now, guys, you don’t want to miss your chance to see why everyone is reading her books.

P.S.

This really doesn’t have much bearing on anything, but I was looking at my sales numbers in the UK and this is what I saw. Again, I’ve only got 8 sales there total so this is kind of insane to me.

UK sales

In the 6ks and the top 100 of a category? Really?

This does remind me though, I meant to tell you guys that I didn’t have an author bio in either the UK store or the German store. I had to go in there and add it to both stores (very tricky in the German store as all the menus are written in, well, German). So if you’re currently selling there it might help to do that. 2 of my UK sales happened last night after I set up my profile yesterday afternoon. Did my profile sell the books? It’s hard to tell, but I figure it can’t hurt.

And in case you’re further interested, here is what my German sales rank looks like:

german sales

Now keep in mind that’s with only 1 sale. Ever. I think I got that sale during my 1st week even. Is it too soon to consider myself an international bestseller? LOL!

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How does Freshly Pressed affect sales?

Surely anybody who knows my policy on transparent numbers knew this was coming. Yesterday I was featured on WordPress.com for my post on how I outline (with pictures!) and so I thought I’d tell everyone how that went.

Before yesterday the most hits I’d ever had on my site was less than 300. Something like 285, I think. I was afraid I’d probably never top that day. Then I was “Freshly Pressed” and now the bar has been set ridiculously high. I got 3,497 views yesterday and another 1,024 this morning as of writing this post. Even cooler is that I now have over 60 subscribers (hi, new friends!). I don’t feel so much like I’m talking to myself anymore. But I’m more excited because I feel like now the authors I interview for my Monday Interview and an Excerpt feature will be able to reach a lot more people. Did you guy’s read Courtney’s interview yet? There is a lot of great information coming up in the interviews to come too.

Now for the $64,000 question: Did being featured on WordPress help my sales? Not even a little bit. I sold 1 copy yesterday and I think maybe 2 today. I did, however, get 2 separate hits from people looking for a free copy of my book. My thought is that I’ve got my first pirates. Which I find to be extremely flattering (people care enough to try to steal it? Awww.), but also annoying because seriously, you’d work that hard to find a free copy, but you aren’t willing to just pony up a buck? That $1 won’t buy you much, and if we’re being honest, it certainly won’t change my life since I’ll only see $.35 of it, but it WOULD help my Amazon ranking and give me a shot at being noticed by more people.

If you still can’t be convinced to pay for the book, then at the very least shoot me an email directly. I’ll happily give you a free copy in the hopes that you’ll repay me with a review. Obviously, I can’t force you to pay up, but breaking kneecaps isn’t my style. I have faith that given the opportunity, most people will make good on their word.  So go ahead and tell your friends; Wren Emerson gives out free copies of her book in exchange for reviews. A review is almost as good as a sale.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts about all of this? Let me know. I’d love to open a dialog about this.

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The end of the week numbers

Today is my last day of posting my numbers to the blog. I’ll probably do another check at the end of a month and possible every month after, but equally possible not. If anyone ever has a burning desire to know how I’m selling just ask. I’m not private about it at all.

58 US, 2 UK = #15,281. I think I gave away maybe 2 free copies all day. Now all that’s left is to see if giving away free copies helps me garner more reviews or sells my next book any faster.

It’s been an amazing first week as a published author. I can’t thank you all enough for coming along for the ride with me. It’s been one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t even sleep the first night, I was so excited. The fact that I keep selling copies day after day long after all my friends have bought a copy makes me really hopeful about my writing career. Like maybe I’ll actually have one.

Starting tomorrow I’m running a weekly feature on Mondays called Interview and an Excerpt. The questions are all writing and publishing related. I’m hoping to demystify the process and maybe give those of us who have already published a basis for comparison to see how we measure up. Everyone hears the numbers of people like JA Konrath and Amanda Hockings and if you’re anything like me, that can be a little bit discouraging. I’ll be lucky if I see $100 from the entire month and Konrath brags that he clears over $80k every month. I want to hear what real people are selling and how they are doing it.

The first interview is with my favorite writer and critique partner, Courtney Cole. You’ll want to check it out, she’s got some great advice for indies. See ya’ll tomorrow morning!

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Day 7- the numbers

Right now I’m sitting at 52 US, 2 UK = #13,588. I’ve stopped bumping threads about my promo and haven’t done a tweet either in a few days. Despite that I’ve managed to give out around ten more copies in the past couple of days. I’ve completely lost track of how many books that are out there in the world, but surely I’m well past 100 by now.

Another thing that happened yesterday was that I finally got an “Also bought” bar thingy on my page. It amuses me because the whole first page and a lot of the second are fellow pubbers from #pubwrite. If I Wish… doesn’t catch your fancy then you really should check out some of those other books. You’ll still be supporting an indie and getting a great read at a fantastic price in the bargain.

The also bought thingy didn’t seem to affect sales at all though. As I’m posting the numbers now I’m still selling an average of about 9 books a day. But I don’t think it can hurt either so I’m really glad it finally showed up.

There’s still one more day for you guys to get a free copy of I Wish… so if you want one or know someone who does, time is running out.

Since I wasn’t raptured today I’m planning to do some work on my outline for my rom-com. I’m tentatively calling that one The 50th State. I’ve got a pretty good list of conflicts so I’m really looking forward to fitting them all into scenes. I don’t know how people can deny themselves the joy of outlining. It’s really so much fun.

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Filed under I wish, indie publishing