Dear Writer-Friends,

I've been self-publishing since 2011, and I've shared the knowledge I've gained in two books: the Indie Author Survival Guide, Second Edition, and For Love or Money. I'm not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: I'm one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. These books are my way of helping my fellow authors discover the freedom of indie publishing. Write on, writer-friends!

S.K. Quinn, Independent Author of Science Fiction

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR QUICK START GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING and to be notified when the 3rd Edition of the Indie Author Survival Guide releases!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reaching A Milestone

"Kindle Direct Publishing has quickly taken on astonishing scale – more than a thousand KDP authors now each sell more than a thousand copies a month, some have already reached hundreds of thousands of sales, and two have already joined the Kindle Million Club." - Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, open letter to shareholders on April 13, 2012
Thanks to strong sales of both Open Minds and Closed Hearts, I closed out June with over 1000 ebook sales for the month. I'm excited/astonished to have reached the 1000-ebooks-a-month mark (1393 on Kindle alone, 1612 if you count total copies across all platforms) - not from a special one day promotion, just steady sales, day in and day out. To which I say "Holy cats!" and "Thank you thank you thank you" to all the lovely people who have bought my books. 


As of this morning, Closed Hearts has sold 1156 copies (since its 5/23 release), and Open Minds has sold 5899 copies in the eight months it has been out, for a total of 7055 in novel sales (this doesn't include sales/downloads from my short fiction).

This is flat amazing to me.


More from Bezos ...

"Invention comes in many forms and at many scales. The most radical and transformative of inventions are often those that empower others to unleash their creativity - to pursue their dreams. That's a big part of what's going on with Amazon Web Services, Fulfillment by Amazon, and Kindle Direct Publishing. With AWS, FBA, and KDP, we are creating powerful self-service platforms that allow thousands of people to boldly experiment and accomplish things that would otherwise be impossible or impractical. These innovative, large-scale platforms are not zero-sum - they create win-win situations and create significant value for developers, entrepreneurs, customers, authors, and readers."
THIS. This is why the ebook revolution is transforming not only publishing, but the writing and reading experience as well.


My five year plan was to earn enough from my writing so that I could justify not having to get a part-time job in engineering to support my kids through college (yes, Dark Omen is headed to college around that time frame!). I crunched the numbers and it came out to selling 15,000 ebooks a year. At the time, I thought that was shooting for the moon - that wasn't just 15,000 ebooks one-time, or over the lifetime of a book, but 15,000 ebooks each year, year-after-year. But that goal had real meaning behind it, so I put it down on paper and forged on.

Now it looks like I'm within shooting distance of reaching 10,000 ebook sales in my first year of this self-publishing experiment (*crosses fingers*).

If I reach 10,000 sales this year, we are having a serious party here on the blog.
You have been warned.

In general, I hesitate to share numbers on sales. Maybe it's a hold-over habit of secrecy from the industry? Partly it's fear that the number will be either too few or too many (compared to people's expectations). I think of myself as a "midlist" self-published author. There are certainly many people who don't sell as well as I do, but there are plenty who sell more. I hang out with some self-publishing rock stars in the Indelibles, who at any given time can be found filling up the top 100 lists on Amazon, so all the time I'm chatting with people who are rocking the sales far better than I am. Amazingly (and a credit to the group), this is inspiring, not frustrating. We freely share our numbers with each other, which is a great way to gain a realistic idea of what does (and does not) work in this business of book-selling. It motivates me to keep chugging along, writing more, and building my herd of turtles. The best reason to share numbers is to inspire others, by showing what can be done, and to help my friends make informed decisions. I hope that it has that effect. 

We all tend to measure ourselves by numbers (ours and others), and while reaching a milestone is cause for celebration, by far the most important part of this indie experiment, for me, has been that I get to publish my work and share it with readers. Every day, I have contact with my readers: someone leaves a review, or posts something on facebook, or tweets about my work.

This, my friends, is what it's all about for me.

From the late Ray Bradbury, in Zen in the Art of Writing:
"What is the greatest reward a writer can have? Isn't it that day when someone rushes up to you, his face bursting with honesty, his eyes afire with admiration and cries, 'That new story of yours was fine,  really wonderful!' Then and only then is writing worthwhile."
Truth.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and helped make this possible. 
And Jeff Bezos? You need to add a +1 to that column. :)

p.s. I'm still fighting vacation laundry, so Critique Wednesday will not post tomorrow, but return next week. 

28 comments:

  1. Wow, Congrats Susan! It's truly amazing! I got my copies of both Open Minds and Closed Hearts the other day and I look forward to diving in.

    Oh, vacation laundry. sounds like fun! :D Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks Cecilia – for your kind words and for getting the books! Reading sounds like more fun than doing laundry, for sure. :)

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  2. Congratulations on a truly remarkable milestone! You've worked hard and you deserve it!!

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  3. Congrats, Susan! Truly remarkable. And well deserved. I just put my review of Closed Hearts up on GR, Amazon and Barnes and Noble last night.

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    1. Thanks so much for all the reviews! Those are a tremendous help to authors! And thank you for your kind words. It's been quite an amazing ride so far. :)

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  4. Congratulations! It's nice to hear a positive story. You deserve what you reap, Susan.

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  5. Congratulations! You've worked hard and put out a quality product, and people are responding. 10k is totally within your reach!

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  6. Thank you for sharing! It's fascinating to here these facts and figures - but it does still boil down to the people who just love the story and take the time to tell you, doesn't it?

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  7. Congratulations Susan! You are an inspiration and work so hard. You deserve all the success :) *throws confetti for you.

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  8. Susan, congrats on your success!

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  9. Wow, Susan, I'm very impressed. I knew from all the hard work you put into this (from story development, writing, editing, publishing and marketing--all of it) that you'd given this your best shot. The payoff shows how well you did it.
    May those payoffs continue, because your stories deserve to be in the hands of readers.

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  10. Congrats, Susan! I plan to be there, too, one day. Keep on writing! :)

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  11. Congratulations on your milestone and look forward to the 10,000 sales party!

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  12. Congratulations! That's amazing and so inspiring! :) You totally deserve it! Your books are wonderful!

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  13. Congratulations, Susan! That's so very exciting! Looking forward to that party when you reach 10k. :D

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  14. Congrats! You've been an inspiration from Day 1! Excited for 10,000!

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  15. Congrats on your sales--you've worked really hard and dedicated yourself to putting out great product, so you deserve all the success int he world. :) Becca and I just reached a big milestone, so we're celebrating too.

    Happy writing,

    Angela

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  16. congrats! I would definitely purchase these books if I had an e-reader.

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    1. Thanks! p.s. they also come in paperback ... :)

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  17. Congratulations, Susan!!! So well deserved. I have no doubt you'll reach 10K. Good books sell themselves.

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  18. Go Susan! I hope you exceed your own expectations. In fact, I have no doubt you will :)

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  19. Congrats Susan! This is very exciting!!

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  20. OH, Susan!!!! I'm SO HAPPY for you! I'm so excited to hear you're reaching your goals, but even more important, I'm so excited that your awesome books are reaching readers. You ROCK! Woo hoo! Keep on rocking :o) <3

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  21. That's really fantastic, Susan! Congratulations!! At conferences, agents talk about how they don't want writers to mention in queries that they self-published a book unless it sold over 1000 copies. The way they spoke about it, it sounds like it's somewhat rare to sell that many self-published books. So the fact that you've sold many times that is great!!!

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Erudite comments from thoughtful readers