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.
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!