Monday, May 15, 2017

The Gravy Train Derails

For a while last year book sales were really humming. For about two months I never had one of those days where I only sell two or three books. I was selling at least ten every single day. Granted that’s not in Stephen King or JK Rowling territory, but I always figure 10 books per day at 30 days for about $2.00 in royalties would make about $600 in sales royalties and then usually about that much from Kindle Unlimited, which is a decent second income.

But towards the end of last year sales started taking a dive. Those streaks of 10 or more books sold became a lot shorter. Instead of plateaus you have more of a mountain range going up and down. January bounced back a little but then February wasn’t great. I could have written that off as being a short month, but then March was even worse.  April was slightly better in part because one day I think someone bought like 30-35 books.  I sold 41 that day and most were single purchases so I tend to think someone bought a bunch.  That was just an aberration though.

Part of it might be I worked on a couple of longer projects so I wasn’t putting out a book every couple of weeks. The rest of it I’m not really sure about. It could be a number of things. Sales for indie authors in general are flatlining. There are too many authors in the gender swap niche anymore, many with what I’d consider inferior products.  Or like that one ring I caught on to who were just posting the same crappy book under seven or eight different names.  Shit like that, helps to drive business away.

Despite my newsletter getting more followers I’ve never really gotten much of a real following. Most of my books either get no reviews or just one crank giving it 1 star because it didn’t end Happily Ever After or whatever. I tried offering books in advance for reviewers, but only one person took me up on it and then disappeared after a couple of months.

It’s hard to isolate which of these variables might be the biggest drag. It could be all of them. It could be something else entirely. Who knows?

Sometimes I think I need to find a new niche. I just stumbled into this one, so I’m not sure how I’d find a new one. Some people make money with “normal” books like mysteries, thrillers, and romances but then far more people don’t. It’s all kind of a crapshoot.

Of course the tailspin might stop on it’s own. Or not. Who knows?

"Reviews" like this don't really help to motivate me either:
This story was divided up into three separate parts that in my opinion each could have stood alone as a separate story on their own. Instead the author tried to shorten them all into one book, leaving out a lot of description of what was happening. Very little on the actual changes that happened with each individual. Clothing and mental changes were very bare in my opinion. The first person's story was one I would have enjoyed much more, but the whole thing was very lacking in plot structure and was very lacking in information that would have made it a better read for me. Second one was again very lacking in detail and description and too short to make much of a story. The third story was the best and was better done in my opinion. If the author had put more into the first two parts, this book would have been much better in my opinion.

The "reviewer" doesn't seem to understand that my time is not infinite for these things.  I had about a week to put the story together before Black Friday, and that's leaving a day or so for Amazon to review and post it.  So I couldn't exactly stretch each part into a novel as this asshole wants.  And the idea that I "tried to shorten them all into one book" is just nonsense.  I started out with the first story where a guy gets turned into a girl but I gave him a girlfriend so he'd have a reason to be at the mall on Black Friday so it's like, "What happens to the girlfriend?"  So I thought I'd write her a story too.  And then I had an idea for a couple and I did that.  It was all organic; I didn't try to "shorten them all into one book" at all.  It's annoying when people who don't even know your real name think they know more about my motives and techniques than I do.

1 comment:

  1. I've had good sales and KU reads ever since last November until this May. They've pretty much flat lined. I'm sure it's because I still haven't released book 3. I do think it's getting harder and harder. Only 1 person left a review from about the 30 books I gave out from the mailing list. Overall, if you count advertising, I've only broke even. (However you can write off advertising, which I will do.)

    If you ever hang out on Kindle Boards you'll see what other people are doing. The way they pump out books and they spend a ton of money on advertising. I often feel overwhelmed by it and I know I can't compete with it since I work full time and take care of a family. So it is what it is.

    Also I've heard that niches eventually dry up, so it's good to look for another one. They say you have to look for genres/sub-genres that sell, but they aren't saturated and you can tell by the rank. Like if you see a book overall in the store at around 10-20K, but they're ranking well on a list like 1-50, that's a good indication that the genre is not too saturated.



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