It used to be that I'd release a new book and I'd immediately sell X copies on Day 1. Now, that number has been reduced by 50%, and the decline for total month's sales for a new book is about 70% (at least!).
The facts and figures I have at my disposal tell me that this decline is due to various factors: change in Amazon's algos for also-boughts etc., the presence of Kindle Unlimited, prioritized visibility for books pubbed by Amazon imprints, other authors' Facebook advertising budgets, etc.
In a nutshell: the decline is primarily due to factors I have no control over, and I know this. I know this, but even so I still end up getting depressed, thinking that the decline in sales is because MY WRITING SUCKS NOW, AND SO NO ONE WANTS TO READ MY BOOKS ANYMORE.
1) Self-pity is a luxury I can't afford because I have bills to pay and people who depend on me.
2) Dwelling on factors that are beyond my control is pointless; my time is better spent tweaking existing strategies - or developing new ones - in relation to factors that I can control (e.g. ads, release schedule, etc.).
3) I love what I do, and I believe 100% that success is guaranteed when you're doing what you love.
UF Pen Name Launch
Releasing mostly contemporary romances last year made me lose contact with my PNR readers, and so I want to woo them back but this time using my new pen name. This way, they know that every time I release a new book under said pen name, it's the kind of book that they want to read.
$68.05 for Book 1 (that’s the total amount for several ads, with the first one starting on Day 2 of free promo; last ad was terminated a few days back) and $1.64 for Book 2.
Overall total: $69.69
Book 1: 282 pages total, priced at $2.99, and with current rank of 22K+
- released 9/2
- free 9/7 until 9/11
- 22 copies sold as of 9/28 or gross royalty of $42.83
- released 9/2
- free 9/14 – 9/19
- 4 copies sold or gross royalty of $7.10
If you recall, I've mentioned several times that KU's payout rate - as well as the scammers dominating its charts - makes the program no longer feasible for those writing for certain genres, and I stand by this. Until Amazon changes its TOC, I don't see any way for me to release any of my Marian Tee books under this program.
OTOH, studying the market has made me realize how genres like urban fantasy can STILL do extremely well with Kindle Unlimited, and that's why I've chosen to enroll all of my UF pen name's books in KDP Select.
Book 1: 48,224 pages x .004 per page = $192.896
Book 2: 2,432 pages x .004 per page = $9.728
Total KU earnings: $202.624
Aggregate Total: $252.554
- Minus Tax (15% withholding): $37.8831
- Minus Ads: $69.69
Also, a few points to consider ---
1. I know the above amount is just chump change to many, but I also think that sales / earnings are only likely to improve from here on with the help of steady releases.
2. I'm hoping to improve in terms of managing paid ads, and I aim to increase my ad budget as well, both of which will certainly contribute to an increase in sales.
3. I did not deliberately spend less on ads for Book 2. There just weren't enough clicks. >.< I still don't think this means Book 2 is a flop, though. I took a risk with its blurb, trying to make it stand out from the rest. Obviously, that didn't pay off (heh!), so I plan to rewrite my blurb and maybe include a new excerpt to show that it's still the kind of UF they'd like to read.
Overall, I'm really happy about this because I see it as further proof that my writing doesn't suck that much (a few people still want to read my books, yay!), and it's given me much-needed motivation to keep writing.
Lastly, I'm also glad that this experiment worked because it shows that self-publishing can still be a viable source of income, and you can successfully launch your "brand" without a huge advertising budget. Hopefully, this little experiment of mine can also encourage new or aspiring writers to continue doing what they love - maybe even inspire them to give self-publishing a try if they think - for whatever reason - traditional publishing isn't for them.
Anyway, that's it for now! Feel free to send me a message using the contact form if you have any questions or comments.
Note: Everything above is my personal opinion or based on my personal experience. You are free to agree or disagree with what you've read, and I am in no way asserting that my way of doing / seeing things is the best way to do / see things.