“Kindle Direct Publishing has quickly taken on astonishing scale – more than a thousand KDP authors now each sell more than a thousand copies a month, some have already reached hundreds of thousands of sales, and two have already joined the Kindle Million Club.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, open letter to shareholders on April 13, 2012
Thanks to strong sales of both Open Minds and Closed Hearts, I closed out June with over 1000 ebook sales for the month. I’m excited/astonished to have reached the 1000-ebooks-a-month mark (1393 on Kindle alone, 1612 if you count total copies across all platforms) – not from a special one day promotion, just steady sales, day in and day out. To which I say “Holy cats!” and “Thank you thank you thank you” to all the lovely people who have bought my books.
As of this morning, Closed Hearts has sold 1156 copies (since its 5/23 release), and Open Minds has sold 5899 copies in the eight months it has been out, for a total of 7055 in novel sales (this doesn’t include sales/downloads from my short fiction).
This is flat amazing to me.
More from Bezos …
“Invention comes in many forms and at many scales. The most radical and transformative of inventions are often those that empower others to unleash their creativity – to pursue their dreams. That’s a big part of what’s going on with Amazon Web Services, Fulfillment by Amazon, and Kindle Direct Publishing. With AWS, FBA, and KDP, we are creating powerful self-service platforms that allow thousands of people to boldly experiment and accomplish things that would otherwise be impossible or impractical. These innovative, large-scale platforms are not zero-sum – they create win-win situations and create significant value for developers, entrepreneurs, customers, authors, and readers.”
THIS. This is why the ebook revolution is transforming not only publishing, but the writing and reading experience as well.
My five year plan was to earn enough from my writing so that I could justify not having to get a part-time job in engineering to support my kids through college (yes, Dark Omen is headed to college around that time frame!). I crunched the numbers and it came out to selling 15,000 ebooks a year. At the time, I thought that was shooting for the moon – that wasn’t just 15,000 ebooks one-time, or over the lifetime of a book, but 15,000 ebooks each year, year-after-year. But that goal had real meaning behind it, so I put it down on paper and forged on.
Now it looks like I’m within shooting distance of reaching 10,000 ebook sales in my first year of this self-publishing experiment (*crosses fingers*).
In general, I hesitate to share numbers on sales. Maybe it’s a hold-over habit of secrecy from the industry? Partly it’s fear that the number will be either too few or too many (compared to people’s expectations). I think of myself as a “midlist” self-published author. There are certainly many people who don’t sell as well as I do, but there are plenty who sell more. I hang out with some self-publishing rock stars in the Indelibles, who at any given time can be found filling up the top 100 lists on Amazon, so all the time I’m chatting with people who are rocking the sales far better than I am. Amazingly (and a credit to the group), this is inspiring, not frustrating. We freely share our numbers with each other, which is a great way to gain a realistic idea of what does (and does not) work in this business of book-selling. It motivates me to keep chugging along, writing more, and building my herd of turtles. The best reason to share numbers is to inspire others, by showing what can be done, and to help my friends make informed decisions. I hope that it has that effect.
We all tend to measure ourselves by numbers (ours and others), and while reaching a milestone is cause for celebration, by far the most important part of this indie experiment, for me, has been that I get to publish my work and share it with readers. Every day, I have contact with my readers: someone leaves a review, or posts something on facebook, or tweets about my work.
From the late Ray Bradbury, in Zen in the Art of Writing:
“What is the greatest reward a writer can have? Isn’t it that day when someone rushes up to you, his face bursting with honesty, his eyes afire with admiration and cries, ‘That new story of yours was fine, really wonderful!’ Then and only then is writing worthwhile.”
Thanks to everyone who has supported me and helped make this possible.
And Jeff Bezos? You need to add a +1 to that column. 🙂
p.s. I’m still fighting vacation laundry, so Critique Wednesday will not post tomorrow, but return next week.