So, it’s February the 20th, which makes it exactly six months since The Adventures of Whatley Tupper went live on Amazon’s DTP (now KDP). I started this blog primarily so that other unpublished authors interested in self-publishing could have an idea what to expect. So, how are things going?
First, an updated sales graph:
You can actually see the slope of the graph change from Christmas onwards. It begins a little to the left of the last big spike, which was my Kindle Nation Daily sponsorship. Overall, I’m pleased. I never had great expectations about how my ebooks would sell–honestly, I expected one a week, or so, at least for the first few months. So, now that I’m averaging a couple a day since Christmas, I’m pleased. I think anyone who is self-publishing for the first time should be pleased with that. Yes, there are the Amanda Hockings and Victorine E. Lieskes and H.P. Malloys who went from complete unknowns to extremely successful writers in a matter of 6 months, and rightfully serve as an inspiration to many. But, they are the outliers. They’re the outliers of outliers. The Adventures of Whatley Tupper has sold around 450 through Amazon.com, and it’s generally been in the #20 000 – #50 000 ranking range, which still puts it ahead of almost three-quarters of a million other ebooks. If you’re a self-published author, that’s how much competition you have. So, like I said, I’m happy with what The Adventures… is doing. I didn’t get into this to make money. I self-published to get my writing out. Anyone who’s written for a long time and suffered through countless rejection letters knows what I mean. You just want to get your work out.
I should make a point about The Year We Finally Solved Everything. Unlike The Adventures…, there’s nothing gimmicky about it. It’s not genre fiction. I’m not sure what genre it fits into, perhaps on the edge of Literary, which is why it sells much, much less–probably at a ratio of 1:10 compared to The Adventres…. If you look at all the top self-published books, they are all genre books, with thrillers and paranormal romance (of course) being the biggest sellers. I do feel (although this is just what my gut tells me) that Kinde owners don’t represent a complete cross-section of readers. I think the people who would be more inclined to buy a more ‘literary-like’ novel are the same people who are reluctant to give up paper books. Combined with the fact that such books are rarely ever big sellers, I expect The Year We Finally Solved Everything to continue selling like this. That said, I’m still planning on releasing another similarly-non-categorical novel later this year, and I have no expectations of it selling a lot.
So, six months in, I can’t complain. The entire process has pushed me to write more than I have in years, which is perhaps the most important consequence. I feel like I have a voice, even if it’s a small voice, and that’s fine. I never wanted to yell.
Finally, I wonder what things will look like in 5 years. I don’t mean in regards to my sales, but instead concerning the model of self-publishing. Right now, Amazon dominates, and, honestly, I like it this way, because I think Amazon has a very good model that is good to authors. But, who knows what will change. Because it will. And hopefully for the better… hopefully…