I am 68 sales away from 15k overall sales for all of my books. For some reason, I decided to graph my progress over my Indie Publishing journey.
As you can see from the graph, I sold 0 books my first two months of this process. I wasn't even savvy enough to buy my own books! Then in October and November I sold a couple of books. I think I wised up by then and at least bought myself a couple of books. In December there is a leap because that is when Priscilla the Great was published and my father-in-law bought about 50 copies himself. After that, I went right back down around the zero line. But from January 2011 on, you can see a steady growth. What changed? I joined the Writer's Cafe of the Kindle Board community. This is a place where many Indie Authors gather to share their experiences. I learned so much just from hanging around that forum and taking note of what others were doing. After that, the three biggest things that helped my growth was.
- Writing more books
- Offering books for free
- Purchasing sponsorships at Pixel of Ink and Kindle Nation Daily.
Before you go running off to buy ads with those two places, let me just say that Pixel of Ink is sold out for a while. I think they are opening back up this summer. Also, Kindle Nation Daily isn't quite packing the punch that it used to. I also recommend Ereader News Today. They are responsible for that spike in Feb. 2012. Unfortunately, they are sold out for the rest of the year. Two more places that I'm trying out is Kindle Fire Department and eReader News IQ. I've already purchased sponsorships from them and I'll let you know how they turn out.
There are a couple of things to learn from my above graph. First, this takes time. Most people don't come out of the gate selling 1000 books a month. It took me a year before I had sold 1000 books in one month. It takes some people longer. But with patience and hard work, it can happen eventually.
Secondly, if you think of this from a numbers perspective, you absolutely have to write more books if you expect to increase sales. If a reader likes your writing, they will go and see what else you've written and buy that as well. Then when they tell their friends about you, they'll be recommending two or three or four books instead of just one. The books you have written the more they can recommend. I do not recommend just throwing out poorly crafted books just so you can have something to sell. This is easier to do when you have a backlist of books that have already been written and have just been sitting around your hard drive. When I started Indie publishing, I had already written seven or eight books and self publishing was my last resort after being rejected by every other publisher. So I was able publish ten books in the span of a year. If you are just starting out, put yourself on a publishing schedule. Try to write and publish two or three well-crafted and well-edited books a year.
Thirdly, you have to keep a consistent measure of marketing. In August of 2011 and in February of 2012 I had huge increases in sales. After both of those months, my sales dropped dramatically. This was mostly due to slacking in my marketing efforts. I was exhausted and tired of blogging and networking and stuff so I did very little of it in September of 2011 and March of 2012. It showed in my sales. So, instead of killing myself in certain months, I'm going to go for a more balanced approach.