Saturday, July 2, 2011

June 2011 sales report

June was my ninth month selling ebooks.

I sold 1378 units of 4 different titles in June. That is a decrease of 43% from May’s sales of 2406 units. This is my 3rd highest selling month on record. But this is also the largest monthly decrease I’ve seen yet. I’ll examine the causes further down.

My average sales per day were 77.6 in May and 45.9 in May.

Unfortunately, my royalties also decreased for the first time in 9 months:

My royalties decreased from $2913 in May to $1320 in June. That’s a 55% decrease! Ouch.

What caused my sales decline?

Back in March I lowered the price for Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance from $2.99 to $0.99. This resulted in a significant increase in unit sales and royalties.

On May 9th, I raised the price for this ebook from 99 cents back to $2.99. Unit sales declined but royalties shot up through the roof, making May the best royalty month I’ve had.

I watched as unit sales declined and my Amazon ranking worsened to around #3709. I finally decided to lower the price back down to 99 cents on June 9th.  Since that time rankings and sales have been very slowly improving, but not enough to help out June sales.

I think three things might be slowing down the recovery of Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance:

1.    Book buying slows down in the Summer? I’ve read on another blog that Summer sales decline. Can anyone else confirm that? I would think that Summer-time would mean more time for reading fiction.

2.    Amazon’s big price reduction on 600 titles to $2.99 or lower for Big 6 books. This pushed a lot of self-publishers out of the better sales rankings.

3.    Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance has peaked and is now going to settle down to lower plateau of sales.

All of these reasons are just guesses, of course. It’s probably too early to give much weight to reason #3.

Now the good news

Gross royalties are up to $7,555 for the last 9 months. If sales continue as they have for the year, I’ll gross around $14,800 in 2011.

Profits from my epublishing endeavor now stand at $2,956 over nine months.

Two books have made profits: $3,222 for Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance and $2,065 for Format Your Ebookfor Kindle in One Hour.

And some not so good news

This was my first month both my unit sales and royalties declined. I still earned more than $1,000, but it was a disappointment. An inevitable event, but still not something I’d like to repeat in July.

Dead Dwarves, DirtyDeeds is still in the red by $18. It should start turning a profit in July.

The Elemental Odyssey is still in the red by $2,312. This is the book I’ve spent the most money on and it’s the only book in paperback so far. I think it has the potential to be my best-selling book, but it’s only sold 37 copies so far. It needs to find its audience. I don’t think that many young adult readers have ereaders yet. I’m hoping that when the Harry Potter books come out in ebook form that they will cause a holiday spike in new Kindle/Nook/etc. purchases. Then, when kids have finished reading Potter, they’ll need another adventure. Hopefully some of them will try out The Elemental Odyssey and the sequel, Where Magic Reigns.

What this means for me

I believe that I left the price for Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance at $2.99 for too long. I should have lowered it before my category ranks fell out of the top 20.

I also need to get more books out in the series. It is imperative that my readers have more to buy. I’m currently working on my YA sequel, which should be out for the Christmas buying season, but immediately after that I’ll be writing the sequel to Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance.

What this means for you

There are dangers with price experimentation. If you leave your book at the a higher price point for too long, its rankings could worsen to a point where it’s very difficult to regain those valuable top #20 category ranks.

My advice is to raise your price when you're in the top 10 of some category lists. Then lower it again when you hit rank #17-20 in the categories. I think it is very important to stay in the top 20 for at least a couple categories. That keeps your book on the first page of those lists! Prime real estate.


  1. I agree with the "write another book" idea. I'm not in the market for the Elemental Odissey book, but I'd read more in the Dwarf universe.

  2. 1. I would recommend E-book Comments to get an idea of seasonality. Also, Pimp My Novel.

    2. Sunshine Deals hurt a lot of self-pubs! This was MY June sales. I mentioned in it that over 75% of my sales came on or after June 22nd, when the 4th episode of my YA series dropped. I feel like the only way to stay competitive in a hard month like that is to have an anticipated release. Though I don't see your sales numbers, the fans I do have were waiting in the rafters :)

    3. I would cry foul. A lot of people have expressed delight on your work and there is no way you have already saturated the sci-fi market. There was just a LOT of stuff for sale and people stocked up on those cheapies while they could!

    Thanks for posting your results, it's always interesting to see! (Sorry it couldn't have been more positive!)

    YA: Cheat, Liar, Coward, Thief
    Adult: Shackled

  3. Derek, thanks for the continued information flow.

    The one constant I've seen whilst reading a variety of self-publish blogs and so forth is the more books available equals more revenue available mantra. And I agree with JE, no way DDDD has run its course.

    EO is now out in paper, right? So if your supposition about the YA audience not having ereaders is correct, you may see a pick up there. We'll keep watch.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hey Derek, I find that continually tweaking my keywords also helps, and so I try to do it fairly consistently to keep giving my books new can be quite time consuming though!!

  5. I bought THE ELEMENTAL ODYSSEY for my boys, and since they were reading other things, I started reading it. I am enjoying it a bunch. A fairly original plot making use of the geography and culture of the region it tells about, with great characters so far. (I'm just to the part where they leave the Black Hills...) I'll be reviewing it after I finish it on my blog and on Amazon, which is where I bought it...

  6. Marcel, book two in the Dead Dwarves series will be published next year.

    JE, thanks for the info.

    gniz, can you give some examples of how you tweak your keywords?

    Scott, thanks for buying the book and I'm glad you like it. Let me know when you review it and I'll post a link to your blog.

  7. Summer time affecting sales maybe? I know my own reading list takes a hit when the weather is nice.

  8. Hey Derek, I'm enjoying "Dead Dwarves Don't Dance" so far I'm about 80% done now. I would also second that I would read more in this series. Randolph Lalonde has a good series called "Spinward Fringe." Has about 6 books out in this series and he gives the first one away for free. Just a thought as DDDD declines and you have more books out there you can use DDDD to get people hooked into the series.

    I see you have a facebook page. Do you have a facebook page for your products so people can 'like' the products?

    I'm probably just being a pain. I like DDDD so far, very good. Thanks, Brian

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