My Sales Suck

I find it interesting that hardly anyone ever talks about their sales when they suck.  When they do, about 90% of their blog post turns into an argument against self-publishing.  Well, I’m proud to stand here and confess that my sales suck AND…I have no regrets about going indie.  🙂

Now when I say my sales are crappy, I’m comparing them to other authors I know who are doing quite well, which I really shouldn’t do.  However, when I compare my sales to my original expectations and views toward self-publishing, they look pretty good.  On average I’ve been selling about 10 copies total per month.  With numbers like that, I should be tearing my hair out and screaming “F*** it!” until my lungs burn dry.  There isn’t any, “Wow, look at me!  My sales are going up every month!”  They are what they are and that’s okay.  In fact, I LOVE it when my indie friends are hitting leaps and bounds they never thought possible.  I just wish there was a better way for me to express how happy I am for them than just saying it on this blog.  You just have to take my word for it.  😉

Now before you start thinking this is a pity party, do me a favor.  Keep your pity for yourself because I don’t need it.  Read on to find out why.

There are reasons for why my sales are so low, and the biggest one has to do with my lack of marketing more than anything else.  People always tell me you have to bust your ass to get your books in the hands of readers.  Yeah, I already know that, so I don’t need that recycled advice.  Seriously, folks.  I don’t.  Having sold a few thousand copies of Stripped and Unstable Enviroment, I know how important marketing is.  But what people don’t know is that I wasn’t a single mom back then when those books came out, which means devoting 6 hours a day toward marketing and promo wasn’t a big deal.  Today is a different day.  When I come home from my day job, my priority is my daughter.  Not writing.  It’s a choice I’ve made and I’m loving it.  Although, I swear my child was advanced when came to the “terrible twos” stage.  😉  But, I love her all the same…especially when she crawls into my bed at night and wants to cuddle.  NOTHING can compare to the love that’s been cultivated between us.  Not writing.  Not publishing.  In fact, she’s the reason why I chose to go indie.  I get to continue to do what love by setting my own pace and working it around her schedule.  Not a publishing house’s.

So, my sales aren’t that great.  Big deal.  The point is I have a LONG time to find out how much they stink because as JA Konrath says, ebooks are forever.  Or maybe that was Dean Wesley Smith.  Hell, if I can keep it straight anymore.  I just know that these guys have some valid points that really resonate with me when it comes to doing it the indie way.

When I decided to embark on this journey, I wanted to do it the right way.  I figured out how to format my books for Smashwords, Kindle, and Pubit!.  I figured out CreateSpace so I could have my books in print, too.  I wanted a publishing imprint because–to me–that ramps up the legitimacy and seriousness of my publishing path.  Hiring editors and cover artists were a must.  This had to feel and look as legit as possible and I’m having a lot of fun doing it.  That’s also why I have no regrets. I like the freedom of getting my work in the hands of readers without a middleman.  I can’t tell you what everyone is saying about my books because I don’t follow the reviews that closely.  I just look at the average-star rating on Amazon, and then, go about my business.  That’s it.  So far, so good.  I’ve got no complaints.  In fact, my self-pubbed books are beating out my non-self-pubbed books in terms of ratings.  🙂

So since I can’t do much marketing because motherhood comes first, I do what I can with what I’ve got.  I’ve hired Author Island to help me with some promo.  I’ve emailed a few bloggers to review my books.  I’m also going to do signings at conventions/conferences next year, which is my most favorite promo of all.  Oh, by the way.  One of the coolest things about doing it yourself is you can guarantee your books will be at a signing.  When you ask for five copies, you won’t get stuck with taking home twenty.  Anyway, I try to stay somewhat active on Twitter and Facebook, though it doesn’t always happen.  I try to blog at least once a week, but you guys know how that goes.  I have a website and a Goodreads page.  The only way I can chalk up my lack of sales is because I don’t do nearly as much promo as everyone else does.  Luck isn’t on my side, I don’t have the golden touch, and I refuse to become a promo whore .  I believe in staying the course and letting readers decide if my books are worth word-of-mouth spread.

Whatever you do, please, don’t take this as a woe-is-me post.  Take this as the flip side (a.k.a. non-milk-and-honey side) to self-publishing.  My books aren’t on bestseller lists and they haven’t been chosen for anyone’s book of the month club.  They are what they are and that’s fine by me.  After all, I have this little one to make me feel like I’m the luckiest women in the world.  😀


12 thoughts on “My Sales Suck

  1. I love your honesty, but I don’t think 10 books/month sucks AT ALL. Trust me, there are people selling fewer. And since you haven’t been marketing, I’d say you’re doing fine.

    Just FYI, I was averaging 20 books a month on kindle for my non-fiction book (0 on Nook, 0 on Smashwords). But this month, I’ve dropped down considerably, so far.

    I haven’t done any marketing either. I’m hoping my writing time is better spent writing, and that it will eventually pay off. I’m a homeschooling mom, so I understand the kid priority!

  2. You’re so right Candace. That’s why I don’t sweat it too much. Sure, I’d love to sell thousands of copies per month, but I’m just not there yet. I know if I keep at it, I’ll get there someday. Either way, I’m enjoying every moment I have with my little one. To me, that time is priceless.

    You also bring up another good point. Your best marketing tool is your next book. The only way we’ll get there is to write it. 😉

  3. What a sweetie! She looks like her mommy. She’s going to be gorgeous just like you.

    I’m not marketing much for my books. I’ve been doing more for Entangled, a Paranormal Anthology, with all the proceeds going to breast cancer. I’m so happy about it!

    I belong to the Indie Romance Ink loop. We have a lot of bestselling authors, but a couple weeks ago, one person who wasn’t selling a lot gave her stats, then so did one author after another. Like you, they weren’t giving up. It’s just that we’re not all struck by lightning.

    • Thanks, Edie. 😀 By the way. Little Bit fell asleep the other night clutching the cloth book that you had sent her when she a tiny thing. She didn’t get it then, but she’s sure loving when I read it to her now.

      I’ve seen you marketing Entangled like crazy. I so hope you guys raise boatloads of money for the cause. You guys have to give us an update on how the sales are going. I’m dying to know, in case I need to do some more shoutouts for Entangled on my own. 😉

      I should probably join Indie Romance Ink. At least, after I get Hazardous Envrionment released. It’s good to hear that not everyone is making spectacular sales, and it keeps the reality of indie publishing in prospective. It’s not for the faint at heart, which is why I’m not giving up either. But then again, it could be that I’m stubborn as hell, too. 😆

  4. Love this post. Your priorities is exactly where it should be. Family first is the way it should always be. And you get that. (clapping) I’m proud of all that you have accomplished my friend.

    Your daughter is so beautiful and looks just like mommy.

  5. I’m always amazed by your honesty. And I completely admire that about you. Way to go girl – not sure if I’ll ever go Indie but you’re leading the way for the rest of us in just telling it like it is.

    BTW – the little one is adorable but then you know that. Love her look, like she’s just thinking about what to get into next.

    • 😆 Knowing her, she probably is. Oh, and I’m sure it has to do with markers and walls.

      you’re leading the way for the rest of us in just telling it like it is.
      Exactly. Anyone who’s uncertain or has been thinking about indie, they need to know that it’s not the milk and honey that they think it is. It’s hard work and that may or may not pay off. I’m just trying to make sure folks see every side of the coin and not just the one they want to see.

  6. You rock, girl! I have seen people sell to family and friends only. You have steady sales. I have a friend who only sold a few a month and now he’s sold over 10,000 copies of one novel. So, it’ll happen. 😉

    You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished and it’s important to keep your family ahead of all the other stuff. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tyhitia. 🙂

      The interesting thing about going indie is anything is possible. I’ve heard of stories like your friend’s, so that’s why I never give up hope that I’ll make more sales than what I’m making now. It’s also why I don’t look at my sales anymore. It makes it easier to keep writing and focusing on what’s most important. Building up that backlist. 😉

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