My First Six Weeks as a Self-Published Author…

I’ve written two books, they’ve been out for six weeks and I still haven’t made enough money to buy this villa! What gives?

I didn’t hit the Stratosphere with book sales or receive any lucrative film options, but my first six weeks as a self-published author has been encouraging. I elected to publish through Amazon’s KDP program for the first three months and since I’m about halfway through the three-month period, I thought I would share my sales figures and thoughts with you about the process. Amazon puts out three reports, Month to Date Unit Sales, Prior Six Weeks’ Royalties & Prior Months’ Royalties. These are my numbers for the first six weeks:

The Bewitching Hour sold 82 copies

The Devil’s Own Luck sold 107 copies

The Bewitching Hour  free promotional downloads through the Kindle Select Program came to 4446 copies. (my goal was 4000) The promotion did bump up sales of the sequel, The Devil’s Own Luck, but not as much as I had hoped. I have to remind myself that there are readers who download freebies and never even look at them (is that a productive way to spend your time?) and there are readers who will eventual get around to reading The Bewitching Hour, like it, and buy more of my books. And as much it pains me to say this, there will also be readers who don’t like TBH and may not buy anything else that I write.

I also had a decent number of borrows for both books through the Kindle Library Program, but they didn’t show up on The Royalties Page. I’m assuming that’s because they’re funded differently. I hadn’t totaled them up from September’s report and since the month is now over, they’re no longer listed.

I haven’t received my first deposit because Amazon delays payment for two months to avoid a charge-back on book returns. According to my royalty statement my first check will be $418.98 plus I will get paid on the library borrows. Not near enough to buy that villa in the south of France that I put at the top of the page, but it beats a poke in the eye.

There aren’t any big advances going this route. In most cases, it’s very much an accumulative process and that weighed heavily in my decision to self-publish. Books don’t get pulled off the shelves. As long as there’s an e-book vendor out there that I can use, the books I write will always be available to anyone who wants to read them. And hopefully, people will.

I’ll be blogging once a week about my experiences in self-publishing–the mistakes I make, what seems to work and what doesn’t, the negatives and positives. What I won’t be doing is urging others to self-publish or giving advice because I haven’t been at it long enough to know what I’m doing, much less give advice. I’m not really sure anyone has. It’s a learning process and as strange as this may sound, the playing field is pretty level.

Next week, you get to hear about how I screwed up!



About Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas, author. Coorganizer of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop. Member Arizona Historical Novel Society, Member BooksGoSocial Authors, Transplanted Texan.!/themodernscribe
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21 Responses to My First Six Weeks as a Self-Published Author…

  1. ericjbaker says:

    Thanks for the practical information. And congrats on turning around a few bucks. All I’ve gotten for my writings are eye pokes.

    Feel free to dish writing advice. I do it all the time, and who am I?

  2. Those numbers of dollars are good starters. 😉 Good luck!

  3. Kana Tyler says:

    Thanks for letting us tag along for the education! 🙂

  4. forgingshadows says:

    Thanks for posting this! All over the net is the big debate: traditional publishing or self-publishing? Misinformation is flying all over the place so it’s really great to have solid statistics backed up by explanation and reflection. Good luck!

  5. Marcia says:

    I’m jumping-up-and-down happy for you, Diana! Not that $400+ isn’t enough to buy any size dream home, but that it’s so encouraging! I know some authors sell less than that in 6 weeks and some sell more, but it’s great to see actual figures and know any of us can do it. What sort of marketing did you do for the release of the books?
    Very encouraging info on the free download numbers, too! That’s an opportunity for 4400 people who’ll be talking about your book.Great job!

  6. Thanks! Other than send out a few tweets and post it on my blog, I didn’t do any marketing for release. My primary marketing was the free downloads. I promoted those through through various Twitter sites and a few (you included) awesome writing buddies. I’ll go into more detail over the next few weeks.

  7. Woo hoo! And she’s off! I’m so freakin’ proud of you, Diana. You’ve come a long way from the woman who used to ‘lose’ files on her computer.
    $418.98 may not buy that villa (please don’t move away!) but it’s getting paid for your work, and yes, it’s a lot better than a poke in the eye 🙂

  8. Diana, that’s great news! I’m reading a book now about self-publishing and the author keeps repeating that it’s all about the long game, not the short game. You’ve done the right things according to this author: you’ve got your blog, you did a free promotion and you have more than one book for readers to latch on to.

    I downloaded your book for free and I just finished reading it. While Romance is not my genre, your writing impresses me. Your characters are interesting, your attention to detail is remarkable, the plot really moves along and you’ve got me feeling all kinds of emotions along with your characters. I loved the ending. It was, shall I say, “hot!” I’d say that’s pretty great for any writer! I plan to put a review up on Amazon SOON. Oh heck, I’ll pop over there and do it now. I use the pseudonym Angelique57.

  9. Lorna, I’m really happy you liked it well enough to do a review. Review Karma has bitten me on the butt because I rarely do them. Now that I’m on the other end of the process, I know how important they are so I’ve resolved to do a couple every week.

  10. Thank you for posting this, it really does help hearing about self publishing experiences from someone going through it. Is it possible to get your books on the nook?

    And don’t feel too bad about the free sample downloads not turning into real purchases yet. I have tons of free samples on my nook that I just haven’t gotten to yet, but I downloaded them because they sounded like something I would be interested in reading when I have time and the sample is there to remind me about them, and I’m sure many others do the same.

  11. I know you can download a Kindle ereader app for free on a smartphone or PC, but I don’t know about the Nook. I’ll check into that. My free downloads were actually the full novel. My hope is that people who download and read the first novel will want to buy the sequel. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  12. Pingback: Self-Publishing on Amazon #2 | Diana Douglas

  13. Well done Diana that is so exciting.

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