So, I wanted to write a follow-up to my original self-publishing journey post, to reflect on what I’ve learned this year, share my results, and explain how I’m applying a few lessons learned with my second book. Mostly I’m writing this for me, but I figured other indie authors or future indie authors might find it helpful or interesting.
First off, I’ll start with the numbers, since that’s what most people might be curious about.
The Odriel’s Heirs ebook was published 1 March 2020. Since then I’ve sold:
154 copies: 67 paperback, 99 ebooks, 12 audiobooks, and roughly 16 ebooks through KU.
I’ve given away 5079 ebooks through Amazon free promotions, 100+ review e-copies, 22 audible free promo codes, and probably around 20 paperbacks via giveaways or to local libraries and little free libraries.
And to date (as of 25 Jan 2021) Odriel’s Heirs has 58 ratings on Amazon (4.6 average), and 98 ratings on Goodreads (4.34 average with 85 reviews.)
Which leads to the grand total of $94.76 for sales. If you add the $500 won from the Florida Indie Author Project, then Odriel’s Heirs brought in $594.76 this year.
Perhaps some of you are asking yourselves if this is normal for an Indie Author, or horrendously terrible. To be honest, I have no idea! Like I said in my first post, once I decided to self-publish, my personal goal was always getting Odriel’s Heirs as many readers as possible. So, to that end, Odriel’s Heirs has always been priced relatively low.
I do want to take a moment to say, I’m SO incredibly grateful for everyone that gave Odriel’s Heirs a chance and took the time to rate or review. 🙏 And modest as my self-pub results may be, the response has far exceeded my expectations, and I’m pretty proud about how it’s been received. That said, I’ll still be doing a few things differently with my second book, The Gatekeeper of Pericael.
So, NOW what?
So, the internet tells me the best way to sell a book is to write another book (or… something like that.) Not that it really matters, since my addiction demanded I write another book anyway, and now I’m querying one and releasing at least two in 2021. 🥳 But I am going to try a few things different this time.
With Odriel’s Heirs, I hesitated to go wide, because
1. Going exclusively through Amazon is very simple,
2. Going wide eliminates you from Kindle Unlimited, and
3. I really wanted the Amazon free promotions.
I did Amazon free promotions as often as I could (every three months) and would always pay for one of those free newsletters to attract readers. The results were… borderline. Often with newsletters like that, you tend to see a lot of people who tend to collect free books rather than actually read them, much less review them. But I did get a few Amazon ratings out of each go-around, and the optimistic part of me likes to think that maybe people read that didn’t necessarily rate or review.
As an unknown indie author, I’m still hesitant to give up on free promotions entirely, but with The Gatekeeper of Pericael, I plan to do all the newsletter promotions for one free promotion week instead of spreading them out over months. The benefit in that is hopefully capitalizing on Amazon’s algorithms for visibility, and being able to go wide sooner. I seriously doubt going wide will be able to amp up my sales/reviews that much, but I like the idea of widening the net, and it might help in getting a BookBub deal, which is really the next goal.
And once the Odriel’s Heirs sequel is up for preorder, I’ll also be trying to get a BookBub Deal for Odriel’s as well. If it’s denied, I’ll take Odriel’s wide too, and then I’m sure I’ll write another post about the process of going wide, because honestly, right now I find it a bit intimidating! 😅
The real bottom line
I really don’t expect to make a profit as an Indie Author. I will pay the money for a cover artist, an editor, and a little marketing to make my story the best that it can be and get it out to readers as well as I know how. I will grow with every book I write, rejoice in every glowing review, and learn from the criticisms.
And then I’ll write the next book, and start the querying process all over. Because I’m nothing if not
a masochist tenacious, and I’m getting better all the time. 😊
I’ll be sure to post again with my budget for my second book and more lessons learned after I release The Gatekeeper of Pericael on 6 April. But if you have any questions, suggestions, or post requests, please let me know!
Till then, stay safe!
Hayley Reese Chow