I know this may come as a surprise to some, but I’m not a pushy person. I prefer to sit back quietly, while others may prefer to be an in your face salesperson. So when my novel went live, I had a very minor plan in place. I would post on my personal Facebook page and write a blog post. The blog post goes to both my author Facebook page, and my author Twitter account. I don’t have a huge following, so I didn’t know how much good it would do or what type of sales I would see. Remembering my post on the cost of self-publishing, and listening to several fellow authors about the necessity for a solid marketing plan, I knew this decision is a huge risk for me, but let’s be honest I’m broke LOL. I don’t have the funds available to pay for a huge marketing campaign. I’m certain I’m not the only author in this boat. My money has to go for fun things like utility bills, groceries, animal care, rent, etc.
After careful consideration I chose Amazon as my primary distributor for my book. I have a Kindle version, and a paperback via CreateSpace. I set my prices at what I feel is reasonable, if a little high for a freshman author, my only true goal being to make back what I’ve already spent out of pocket (want to know how much see here).
I know this post is kind of boring and pointless, but here’s where it gets interesting. I had one sales goal in mind for opening day. I felt it was a reasonable and attainable goal, because I come from a huge family. Are you ready to know what my goal was? Ten books sold is all I wanted to see. Want to know how many I sold? Four. Three Kindle copies and one paperback sold on opening day.
So let’s do some math. I made a single post on my personal Facebook page which reaches 334 people. A blog post on this blog where I have 35 followers, and the cross post reaches 34 followers on my author page and 361 followers on my twitter account. totals to 764 people. However, I know there are crossover followers so let’s assume 25% are duplicates and remove them from the equation 764 x .75 = 573. So 4 copies of my book sold, divided by 573 individuals reached equals 0.0069 or .69%. Believe it or not I didn’t know the numbers until I was writing this, but a .7 % return seems decent to me, especially since my original goal was 1.75%.
Do you want to know how much money those four books made me? Don’t worry I’m about to let you know. First, you need some important information. I set my prices at $4.99 for a Kindle book, and $9.99 for the paperback. A little high for a first novel, but I believe you have to believe in your worth. My prices are based on what I put into it, not the finances which I will discuss in a moment, but the time and effort I spent writing, researching, revising, crying, laughing, and everything else. I receive a royalty of $2.48 for the paperback, and one of the Kindle copies sold in Australia (Thank you to whoever it is!) so I receive a royalty of $4.58 AUD ($3.43 USD) and the other two were sold here in the U.S.A (thank you Aunt Teresa and whoever bought the other one!) I receive a royalty of 3.44 per book from the channel they were purchased through so I made $6.88 for a total of $12.79. I’ve spent $1,769 dollars for editing and the professional covers which means I’ve made back .7% of what I’ve spent.
Believe it or not I’m okay with the way it turned out. Yes, I know the numbers to the average person look pathetic, but to me it’s important to know somewhere out there four people think enough of me to buy my book. I hope they read it and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Except for my Aunt Teresa, under no circumstances should you read the book. If I’d known you were going to buy it I probably wouldn’t have made as many eye candy comments, talked about Donal’s body, or used as many swear words. Under no circumstances should you buy book two, it’s even worse.
So what have I learned? Next time, I will have a better marketing plan in place including the necessary funds in place to make it a reality. I will not post it on my personal Facebook page, in order to make sure that my aunts don’t buy it. Finally, I will try to have a lot more fun on opening day. Maybe I’ll go to the beach and watch the ocean. It will be more productive in the long run.
V. L. Cooke