Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February 2011 sales report

I like to provide hard numbers so that all other unknown self-publishing authors like me can get a handle on the performance you might see for your ebooks.
You can see my previous sales reports here: January and December.
First, my monthly book sales (click to enlarge all charts):

My total sales have again increased in February, as did the sales of each of my books. I’ve now sold a total of 931 books in five months.
Here’s a table showing my percent increase in sales each month and my average daily sales each month.

As you can see, December was the most impressive for the increase in sales: a whopping 519% more than November. I attribute this to the release of my novel, Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance, in late November and, of course, Christmas buying.
January’s 126% increase in sales can be attributed to the release of Format Your Ebook for Kindle in One Hour.
What’s interesting to note is that during months that I did not publish a new book, November and February, my percentage increase was almost identical at 62% and 61%. Does this mean that I can expect at least a 60% increase in sales every month? I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t have enough data to prove that, and I expect it’s untrue, anyway. Plus, I won’t be able to verify it in March, because I’ve done some price changing that will alter the results.
Another nice thing to see is that each month my average daily sales increases. It started out at .4 books per day in October, and is a strong 16 books per day in February.
Here are my daily sales since October.

And now let’s look at the royalty dollars.

So far, in five months, I’ve earned about $990 in royalties. Almost half of that was in February. I’m looking forward to seeing what my price changes do to my earnings.
I’m on track to earn enough royalties to pay for my $2400 in expenses in about two more months, hopefully. Another good thing!
If each of my two novels can earn $400 a month (a cautious expectation), then I’ll have earned over $6,000 at year's end. That’s more than I could have expected in advances from a publisher. Plus, even if I had found a publisher in November, my novel probably woudn't be on the shelves until the end of this year. Yes, it can take months for a publisher to actually publish the book! So, by the time a publisher would have gotten my book on the shelves, I've already been building a fan-base, earning money, and setting the stage for my next book!
So, what does this mean to you, the aspiring self-publishing ebook author?
Well, if you write niche scifi and pay for a nice cover with good editing, I think you can hope to emulate my results pretty closely. I have not done a lot advertising, so most of my sales are from blog visitors and random sales.
If you write in a more popular genre, such as romance, paranormal, thriller, or mystery, I think you can expect to see better results than mine. Again, assuming you wrote a good book, with a catchy title, nice cover, and evocative description.
My advice? Don’t wait to find an agent and a publisher. Publish your book now. Yes, you will have an initial expense of up to $1500 for cover art and editing, but you should be able to earn that back in 6 or 7 months. After that, it’s all profit!


  1. Very cool. Congrats on the sales growth!

    Thanks for being so open with your data, Derek.

  2. Hey Derek, Informative as always. I think the growth you've shown is pretty spectacular. Still not sure about the price drop, but I guess time will tell!

  3. Hi, Derek,

    What interests me is why is DD Don't Dance outselling DD Dirty Deeds by so much? Maybe you covered this in a blog before I discovered you? If so, just point me in the right direction and I'll read it.

  4. Joan, DDDDeeds is a short story anthology whiel DDDDance is a full-length novel. Everyone seems to concur that short stories do not sell as well as novels. That's certainly my experience with these two books.
    I haven't posted exclusively about this yet. Maybe I should!

  5. Much congratulations on your continued success and growth! It's so exciting to see authors succeeding. I know I'll get there one day... :) (Seems to me, success really gets a kick once you have multiple titles for sale. I've also "heard" this on many other blogs. What's your opinion?)

    J. E. Medrick

  6. Nice work, Derek, and thanks for showing the numbers (again!). Hope that 60% stays constant. And you have more books on the way, right? =)

    BTW, what are you using to generate those nice charts and graphs?

  7. Very awesome, Derek! Congratulations.

  8. Thanks, all!

    Kevin, I use Microsoft Excel to generate the charts and graphs. Lots of cook options in Excel.

  9. It's inspiring to see where you're at in sales/gaining readers. How did you get to this point, Mr. Canyon? In all honesty, marketing is turning out to be so much harder and frustrating than writing is for me.
    Any pointers/tips?

  10. JE, multiple titles is the way to go. No doubt about it. I’d say it takes at least 3 titles to get a good head of steam going.

    Elijahjoon, to find out how I got here, just check my blog history. I documented pretty much everything, from cover and editing costs to paid advertising experiments and more. Quick tips: write good books, get multiple titles published as quickly as possible, hire a good editor, get a good cover, choose a good title, write a good description, make sure the thumbnail of your cover is evocative and legible. I found paid advertising less than useful, but others might disagree.