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Monday, October 12, 2020

The Journey to Self-Publication, Part 10: First Month Sales & Efforts

I've gotten quite a few questions about why I finally decided to delve into self-publishing and how I'm doing it, so I figured why not create a new blog series!

Every Monday, I'll be sharing a piece of the self-publishing puzzle---from how I came to this choice to writing, editing, marketing, sales, and everything in between. Please remember that this is simply my experience, how chose to do things. Others do things differently, and that's fine! So, your mileage may vary, but in the end, I hope seeing yet another way of tackling self-publishing will help you on your path. 

Need to catch up on previous posts? Find them here:

I know -- it's been a while, and I apologize for that. I really did have every intention of sharing release week sales numbers to evaluate if any of the stuff I'd done had actually worked, but then life got in the way, and I was battling some health issues. Things are as back to normal as they can be right now, and so let's talk sales numbers...

Eternal Curse (Book 1) released on September 15th, so it's been almost a full month. In that time, I've done quite a bit more marketing, and I've also managed to list book 2 (Eternal Choice) and book 3 (Eternal Bond) on Amazon for pre-order. Why? Because in the back of each previous book, I include a direct buy link to the next book, so when a reader finishes book 1, then can easily click through and purchase book 2. And I think it's working, too, because I've already had 2 pre-orders for book two.

As you'll recall from my last post, I had several events lined up for release week. Let's take a look at what they were and how they translated into actual sales: 

1. Reviews -- All the articles in the wild state that reviews help sell books. While I tend to agree with that, it's difficult to determine with any certainty if a review--or a certain number of reviews--resulted in a sale. I do know that the reviews that show up affect my rankings on Amazon, and that certainly helps with visibility, as does the overall star rating. 

As it stands right now, I have 14 reviews on Amazon with a 4.6 out of 5.0 rating. I have 23 reviews on Goodreads with a 4.08 out of 5.0 rating. Not too terrible for the first 30 days. Would I have liked to seen more reviews from NetGalley and BookSirens transfer over to Amazon and Goodreads? Of course, but if they don't, that's okay, too. At least I know people have read and enjoyed my book :-) And I know there are still people reading, so I'm confident these numbers will continue to go up. 

Total Resulting Sales: Unknown

2. Book Blitz & Giveaway -- I hired Xpresso Book Tours to organize a week long book blitz, starting on release day and running for a full 7 days. This is another event that's hard to gauge actual sales numbers, but I can say that the response was a lot better than I had anticipated. I gained TONS of new followers--in the triple digits--across all my social media platforms, and I had 135 newsletter subscribers! 

Total Resulting Sales: Unknown

3. Paid Ad -- I've paid for an ad via The eReader Cafe that went live on Sunday, September 20th. To date, this has been my best investment in terms of seeing any sort of sales. 

Total Resulting Sales: 13 copies sold 

4. Facebook Release Party -- This was a fun event. I met some new-to-me authors and even bought myself some new books. What it worth the cost involved? Not in terms of sales, but I'm a firm believer that getting your name out there is never a bad thing, so if nothing else, I hopefully gained some new readers down the line.

Total Resulting Sales: 2 copies sold

Please bear in mind that those are numbers just for those specific events, but I promise I've sold more than that. Here's the complete break down so far from September 15th through September 23rd:

Pre-orders: 11
Release Day Sales: 2
Subsequent Sales: 7
KU Pages Read: 125 

On September 24, I began another wave of marketing efforts in the form of paid ads, newsletter listings, and Twitter blasts. I started by going through this LIST, followed by this LIST. I literally spent 1-2 hours each day visiting every single site named on both of those lists. Some are free, some aren't. While I wasn't able to list my book on every site (some just don't cater to my genre, others were way too far out of my price range), I listed on as many as I could--especially on all the free ones. 

Here's how those efforts have paid off so far, ranging from September 24th through October 11th:

Copies Sold: 13
KU Pages Read: 4,325

Have I made my money back on the above events? Hahahahahaha. No, and I honestly probably won't for quite some time, but that's okay. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. I'm not breaking any records or hitting any bestsellers list, but again, that's totally okay. I'd much rather build a dedicated readership slow and steady and know they're going to stick with me for the long haul.

With book two releasing in a little over a week, for next week's, I'm going to go over how I'm marketing the second book in a series, because my strategy is completely different! It might surprise you :-) 

Got questions?

Drop them in the comments!

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