Monday, July 9, 2012

The First Six Months

I'd made a promise when I started the self-publishing thing I’d let everyone know how much I made. I had thought to provide the information monthly but to be honest, there wasn’t much to tell. I know there are tons, and I mean tons, of authors out there making money but right now, I’m not one of those.

There are a variety of reasons for my lack of income. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received from all my indie author websites and groups is to go out there and write another book. This is so very, very true and during the six months between the first release in December 2011 and my second release in June 2012, I had a bumpy ride. The original plan had been to have my second book out in March or April.

In mid-March of 2012, I got sick. Not just a little sick but really sick as in I-suppose-I-could-have-died sick. High fever, lethargy and a stay in the hospital that resulted in dialysis and me not wanting to do much of nothing. So, as a result, my second book did not come out until mid-June 2012. This is not optimum. The best thing is to get that next book out there and to do it over and over again. I plan to have another out in August if the stars line up the way they are supposed to that month.

Therefore, my results are puny but I do imagine that they will go up now that I’m back to writing, promoting and everything else a writer is supposed to do. And yes, that means, there will be more blogs and social interaction. I’ve been quite for way too long. LOL!

So here’s the money, broken down in the best way I can do. First, let me explain, my first book, A Lover for Rachel, was put out for me by BookBaby, who is a book aggregator, to all the different venues. They are an excellent group but I’m an impatient person and when I realized it took 60 days to get real-time data from them, I decided a different strategy the second time around. The Harvester went up via Smashwords, BookBaby and I placed it myself on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks where I could check my numbers daily, evil thing that they are.

FREE Giveaways: Rachel was given away free for one weekend. During that time, 3 were sold and 14 were given away free via Smashwords and there were 72 downloaded samples. Also in that time period, 17 free downloads of the 1st chapter of Harvester were downloaded as well. Why didn’t the people just take the free book? That’s a mystery. Although, Rachel ended up in three libraries. Go figure. I’m not sure just how many free copies were given away at ARe as the report didn’t tell me at all. Sorry about the data being in a JPG but it was the only way to preserve the formatting.

* All data for Rachel is BB sales through BookBaby’s various venues
** No Data Available yet
N/A = Not Applicable

Now, I am not heating up the internet but the fact remains that I sold more books in six months than I had for any one book in a year in recent history. Another good point is that The Harvester has only been out for two weeks and it’s already sold eleven books. That’s almost one a day and one that I hadn't sold before. I’ve been asked to sell on a couple more sites from groups well thought of and they sought me out, which made me very happy. So more venues are coming. Also, review requests have been submitted and providing I get some decent ones, I never know as I never try to guess opinions, that may also improve sales. 

Rachel sold for $0.99 while The Harvester is at the higher price point of $2.99, meaning 35% versus 70% return. For each copy of Rachel, I'm making around $0.35 and The Harvester over a dollar. There were instances where Rachel only got a 30% and I’m still trying to figure that one out. Rachel will more than likely be my freebie book for a while but we’ll evaluate that later in the month of July. The surprising one is Smashwords...not one sale...I can’t figure out why at all. I've done everything correct there and am in the Premium Catalog, so I don't understand.

So here's the biggie for each book. The total spent includes things like advertising, formatting, editing and such. 

A Lover for Rachel - Total Spent: $500; Total Earned: $22.18

The Harvester - Total Spent $639; Total Earned: $23.03

I so hope that these numbers are on the rise. It's obvious that Harvester will eventually earn out what I spent for it. How much remains to be seen. Let's hope it starts selling leaps and bounds. Then again, remember, it's only been on the shelves for about two weeks, which makes that a stellar first two weeks.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.



  1. Thank you for your honesty. I have sold a few books then nothing. Some months I sell and some months I don't not sure what I am doing wrong. Good luck and I am going to check out your book

  2. You're very welcome, Sharon. I feel that we're all in this together but the ultimate goal is to make a living at it. If I have information that could help others, I want to share it.

    And thanks for checking out my books. I really appreciate it!


  3. Lynn,

    Thanks for your honestly. My writing partner and I reissued a book in December in Amazon & B&N and had somewhat similar results as you and without ending up in the hospital! I'm so glad you're well again and writing.

    I downloaded Rachel for free at Smashwords and I will read it. Love the premise!

    Linda McLaughlin aka Lyndi Lamont

  4. Thanks for the numbers, Lynn!

    My book, Phoenix Rising was up for sale at Amazon & B & N on Dec. 19, 2011 and has earned approximately 40.00 to 50.00 (ish). I have sold zero at Smashwords, but having said that, I did sell 2 books through Apple that I would not have sold if not for distribution via Smashwords. Have yet to receive payment.

    My goal is to get my second book, Raven's Nest up very soon which is out with a free lance editor right now.

    Hopefully, now that I'm on Twitter and Facebook, that will help things.

    Now to work on book number 3.

    Hope you stay healthy and happy!

  5. Great post, Lynn! Writing a series can help. And also just trying out different stories. I didn't really hit on something bigger until I published my 14th indie book. It was a YA that I thought no one would like all that much. It took off on B&N first, then finally Amazon.

    Remember--14th book. So don't give up. Just keep writing! :)

  6. thanks for the breakdown, it's really interesting to see. Hopefully sales will continues to rise.

  7. Thanks, Lyndi, for stopping by. Yeah, I try to show the real numbers as I don't want anyone going into self-publishing lightly. You need to know what you're in for when you start.


  8. Ginger,

    So hear that about getting the second book out. Can't wait to see what you have in store for Raven's Nest. It should be a fun ride!


  9. Terry,

    Thanks for the pep talk. I need it from time to time. 14...huh? I guess I'll have that to look forward to in the future. Right now, I'm still plugging away and hope that things will turn around for these two books.


  10. Laura,

    Yes, the whole process is so interesting to see especially when you hear about so many people who are making a lot of money doing this. I think my time will come...I just need to be patient...a virtue that escapes me. LOL!