Sunday, April 22, 2012

April is the cruellest month: low sales and long term goals

My sales suck this month.

I've heard it all before from the "seasoned vet" self pub authors, that it takes time for your book to catch on. I believe that on some level, but a part of me worries that maybe my book will never catch on--and that's a scary thought.

One of my biggest gripes is self pub authors who pretend that they're successful. Honestly, who are you clowns kidding? For example:

Exhibit A: The other day, I got a book recommendation on Goodreads. I always take a glance at my recommendations, and the message that came along with the rec was something like, "I just published my book "..." and the reviews are already flying in..."Are you kidding me? The reviews are NOT flying in, you delusional nut. The only reviews flying in are those that you solicited from your friends and family and other randos who helped in the production of your book. And I looked at your book, hon, and your grammar and writing are in the low-success department. Don't quit your day job. And by God, DO NOT, as an author, recommend your own book on Goodreads--that's against the rules and horribly vain. Readers, NEVER trust a self pub book with a ton of 5 star reviews from the first week of publication--they're seldom credible and usually horribly inaccurate.

Exhibit B: I came across an author who had the words "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR" on his new book cover. Those words are the be-all end-all for a writer--the white whale, the holy grail, golden ticket, the White Castle at the end of Harold and Kumar--every writer desperately wants them. I saw that on this dude's book cover and I was shocked, because if you're a bestseller, why on earth are you slumming in the self-pub world? Make like Amanda Hocking and get yourself a book deal. So anyway, I did a little good old fashioned googling and I discovered that this n00b's book is rated like, 315,000 on Amazon. Bestseller my butt. Apparently, once during a free promotion, he got on the top 100 for the Amazon list (alongside like iPhone adapters and oven mitts), and now he thinks he's Michael Crichton. The NYT Bestseller list is a weekly list, that requires you to be successful for one WEEK, not an hour. Furthermore, he wasn't even in the top 10. Sheesh. Nobody's fooled.

Exhibit C: Authors who go online and say "Boo hoo, I've only sold one book today. I sell much more every day." Something to that effect. There are a bajillion books on Amazon.com, and while some writers are selling a book a day, most aren't. End of story. I'm certainly not selling a book a day, and that's fine because it's not atypical or pathetic by any means. Let's just be real with each other.

However, I will note that April is a particularly slow month for book sales. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because everyone is spending 10 dollars buying the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and they've maxed out their book budgets. Maybe it's taxes. I don't know. But people aren't buying right now.

I actually had atypical success in my first month of sales, compared to many others. I don't pretend to sell a ton of books, but most self pub authors report 0-10 sales in the first month, including family. Excluding family, I did better than that. Now, my sales are really slow and it saddens me.

So, I have determined that I must make a paperback version of my book through Create Space. After that, I will remove my book from KDP and put it onto other purchasing channels to expand potential readership.

Things to consider and tweet/comment about:
-Do your April sales suck?
-Do you trust Amazon.com reviews?
-Do you have a paperback version of your book?

I hope sales look up in the coming months for everyone.

ALSO, please check my 'Sample Swear' if you would like me to read your book sample.

-CZ

7 comments:

  1. Alright, this made me laugh. I follow you on twitter and even went through to tag and like your book. I got a TON of five star reviews but not from friends and family. I originally posted my book on a free website last Summer and some readers decided to leave a review and even buy a copy. My reviews below 5 stars are from first time readers and I liked what they said.

    KDP Select sucks, I can't wait to leave it. I actually think you're really funny and I would suggest writing some shorts and posting on wattpad.com . It's a nice way to build a fan base, I currently have 4,200.

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    1. Thanks for the nice words and the advice. I'll definitely check out that site. Say hi on twitter sometime!

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    2. I'm too lazy to tell you this on twitter but I did tag and like your book. I'm told the best way to boost sales is to basically get popular bloggers to review your book and that honestly takes a month.

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  2. And the church says amen! Found you on Twitter and laughed all the way through this post. I just listed my first ebook on Amazon this month and sales have exceeded my immediate family, but I won't be retiring anytime soon. More like buying a Subway sandwich. And drinking water... I've always wondered how self-pubbed authors become wildly successful. If I ever figure it out, I'll come back and add another comment. :) As for Amazon reviews, I usually read the best and the worst. If there are only like six and they're all five stars, that's when my radar goes up, because even the best written book won't be loved by everyone. And no paperback version yet. Maybe at some point. Right now I'm trying to produce more content, then I'll work on expanding to hard copy.

    Thanks again for the giggles!

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  3. Oh! But you obviously haven't read MY book. It's international ya know.... Just kidding. Except for the international part. I have a dear friend in Italy who bought my book, so I gotta milk that one. Honestly, though, I'm in the same boat as ya'll. I'm okay with it, though. I do like the KDP. My book sat in the shadows for a year and a half and sold like 4 a month - maybe - but I've sold a decent amount with the KDP - it's given me a head start on saving up to visit my friend in Italy to thank him personally. :)

    Great post!

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    1. Yay! If you count my handful of UK sales, I'm also international. Megafame, here we come. Good to hear that your sales are picking up. Are you going to put it into print as well?

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  4. Well I wouldn't worry about it. Are you trying to spread your word directly to your target audience ? I advise you to read a John Locke book 'How I sold 5 million ebooks in 5 months'. What an amazing useful book. Good luck I am sure your sales would pick up sooner or later

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