On sales

It’s early days yet to really know where this wave of e-publishing will lead for most writers. You have to expect that, as with traditional publishing houses, most manuscripts will never hit the big time. But anecdotes and gathered information shows that many writers are showing strong growth over time, especially if they have a good inventory of work to sell.

Over at the Kindle Board’s Writers Cafe, there is a over a year’s data, self-reported, from various authors on their sales records. I know that’s a long thread to read, but it is fascinating as you see some writers fall away, while others start out lamenting slow sales but eventually end up with regular months selling hundreds or even thousands of books. The information ties in well with Dean Wesley Smith’s argument that books should not be treated like produce, published for short shelf life and quickly thrown away. Instead, books can take all the time in the world to be found by readers. Treating books as produce is the market niche of the traditional publisher, and it doesn’t have to apply to the new wave of e-publishing.

Victorine Lieske, a very successful self-published author, compiled some information from Kindle Boards writers who had been selling for at least six months. Again, these are only self-reported anecdotes, but it makes for interesting reading. This info, like the other thread above, includes many people who make only a few sales a month, so we’re not only hearing from the biggest sellers.

Derek J. Canyon is reporting his own sales, and recently crossed the 1000 per month sale mark. Congrats, Derek! I was interested in his discussion of authors with 1000 book sales, and what level of sales constitutes success for a writer. He includes a nifty chart, too, and from the information provided he concludes that the main predictor of success is having multiple titles available for sale. So everyone out there, get writing!


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