Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Report on Self-Publishing eBooks Experiment

Several months ago (April, 2010) I began an experiment. I self-published two ebooks through Amazon.com to see what would happen. At the time, the self-publishing world was starting to really wake up to ebooks and Amazon has made it (relatively) easy to upload and publish your written works through their Digital Text Platform, and make them available for purchase through their Kindle ebook store.

You can do this in various other places, too. I, for instance, have also published one of my books through Smashwords.com, which makes your ebook available in many formats for just about any ereader. Through their premium catalogue, your book is also included in the iPad ebook store, the Sony ereader store, the Barnes and Noble Nook ebook store, and other ebook catalogues.

So, the big question, how have my books done? Am I a self-published millionaire yet? No.

A thousandaire? No.

A hundredaire? No, but almost.

Let me break it down for you.

My Twelfth Christmas was published in April, 2010. Since then, I've sold 194 copies, the majority during the months of November and December (it's a Christmas story). This short story sells for $0.99. I make a whopping $0.35 on each one sold. So this book, thus far, has brought me a total of $67.90.

The Witch of Starmont was published in July, 2010. Since then, I've sold 12 copies, half of those during the months of November and December (I think they were probably from people who liked the Christmas story and wanted to see what my other book was like). This is a novella and I've priced it at $1.99. I make $0.70 on each one I sell, so this book, thus far, has made me a total of $8.40.

So, together, thus far, I've made $76.30 from my little two-book self-publishing experiment. Oh, and over 200 people have taken a gander at my writing.


It's exciting when you see you've made a sale. And it was very gratifying to see my little self-published Christmas story ranked in the top 20 bestselling Christmas ebooks at Amazon, and often in the top 10 bestselling children's Christmas ebooks simultaneously during the holidays. That feels like success right there. But number-wise, it's hard to say.

I know of many self-published authors who sell hundreds of books per month, and several who sell over 1000 books per month. And then there are some who sell a book here and a book there over the space of several months. This last is exactly what my sales are like when it's not Christmastime.

For those of you wanting to know, I've done very little advertising and self-promotion for my books. This can make a difference, if you do it smartly, and well. I was thinking of doing some sort of advertising during the holidays for my Christmas book, but when I saw sales start to uptick in October on their own, I sat back and wanted to see what would happen without any advertising. I did make my presence known more than usual on the kindleboards and on a couple of amazon kindle holiday book threads, but that was the extent of my self-promotion (other than the obvious links I have on the blog here - which, by the way, rarely get a click-through).

And so the experiment continues.


Catofstripes said...

That's really interesting. I have been thinking about bundling up some stuff for self publishing on Lulu or somewhere like that. Hadn't thought of purely digital based publication. Thanks.

ICQB said...

Hi Catofstripes!

I've used Lulu to print out physical copies of my work just for me (and my mother). Lulu is really easy to use. If you go that route, just be sure to order only one copy first to look at and make sure everything is ok before ordering larger quantities.

adrienne said...

I'm intrigued by your experiment. It sounds like you're off to a good start. Any plans to try to up the self-promoting?

ICQB said...

Hi adrienne!

Not at the moment. Self-promotion takes oodles of time, and I've got a lot on my plate right now. But someday!