Sales and Progress Update – First Half of 2017

I realized I hadn’t done a sales/progress update in six months, so I figured I’d wrap the first half of 2017 into a single post. Kindle Direct Publishing recently overhauled their author dashboard and made a lot of improvements to the way data is handled and displayed. As a result I’ve all but abandoned the old Excel (or Google Sheets, technically) spreadsheet I used for keeping track of sales. It’s much easier now to go back and view your sales history, which is kind of a cool way to watch how you’ve progressed. I’ll get to that later. First, here are the numbers:

From January to June, I sold 4,055 books on Amazon and 585 books through all other retailers via Smashwords. Most of those sales were thanks to the BookBub ad I got in March for Warcaster. BookBub wasn’t life-changing for me by any means, but it gave the series a nice boost and I’ve seen a bump of follow-through sales ever since on other retailers. I was stoked to have been selected for a BookBub given how hard they are to get these days, and the ad more than paid for itself on the first day of sales alone.

So looking at this snapshot of my sales history, free books are represented by the blue bars whereas paid sales are shown in orange. I published my first novella, The Shepherd, in November 2014 and gave away 102 copies of it that month. Then for my first completed series, Driftmetal, I made the first book permafree and ran sporadic promotions as the next books came out. The bell curve of Autumn 2016 was when the Warcaster series started selling well on its own (sans promotion), and that big spike toward the end there is BookBub. It’s nice seeing how my sold vs. free has shifted over time as I’ve built up a backlist. But it’s obvious that having a big sales spike or even measured growth over time is no guarantee of continued success. You’ve gotta keep writing, keep publishing, keep building.

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