Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Uncomfortable Truths About Sales


I know my blog has been pretty much dead for the last little while. I’m sorry for that and I’m going to work on doing better. Life has a way of getting in the way, but not only that but I tend to focus on writing and forget everything else.

It was brought home to me a couple of weeks ago there’s a lot more than just writing the book, especially when it come to sales.

I knew this and I have done some promotion/marketing in the past but not heavily and with some books hardly at all because I had too much going on. But because the idea was brought front and center to me I decided I needed to see exactly why sales started declining.

In order to do this, it meant pulling all my sales reports and analyzing them. There’s a reason I haven’t done this before, because I get obsessed with numbers. Deep in my heart, I’m a numbers person, I love seeing them and figuring things out. Not a bad thing, but I will do this and forget everything thing else. I have that kind of personality.

But I did it. I went through all my sales for both my publishers, for all my books, as well as the little bit of self-publishing I’ve done. The results were good and bad.

The good:

The numbers weren’t as bad as I thought. I’m still selling, and people are still discovering me. I can see some areas when I did some promotions or sales of books my numbers jumped and sales went up. All good things.

I have a following, I can see it with the first month of release, so again good news.

The bad:

I need to do better.

I need to build that following.

The loss of independent e-book retailers.

Finding the right balance

I saw the decline in numbers when Amazon opened their publishing to all authors and some romance authors discovered it, again when KU came into play. Sales numbers dropped dramatically, but along with this was the loss of what I call independent booksellers: Fictionwise, All Romance e-books, and others (like Sony).

Those sites were selling my books, I had readers who bought from those sites. When those sites closed shop, sales dropped. All of this happened when self-publishing, mainly through Amazon picked up steam and authors were flocking over there.

There was another dip when KU came on board with KDP Select.

Where did the readers go? Because they didn’t all flock to a kindle device. I have no idea. With those retailers gone, sales seemed to drop off a cliff. If those readers switched devices the sales would still be there. So did they stop reading? Maybe some enrolled in KU because it was cheaper?

Of course the economy hasn’t been the best either, and people don’t have the extra to buy books, even e-books.

The other thing could also be self-published authors (and I’m one) putting books out for so little money has now devalued the cost of a book, and people won’t pay the higher prices.

I work at keeping my prices reasonable, but I'm not going to charge someone $$$ for a short story or a novelette.

I don’t have any answers. I don’t agree with some of the publishers pricing of books, because they are too high and it does make it hard for readers.

But devaluing our work isn’t the answer either.

The readers are out there, somewhere, it’s getting our books in front of them that is hard.

Finding the balance is not going to be an easy thing either, but its something we as authors have to make the decision on. I can't do everything, so I will do what I can and go with it. I will keep trying to build my reader base as best as I can.

As an authors, I believe the best thing for us to do is to write the best book we can, make sure it's edited, our covers look good, and when the book is released get the word out. And then we start on the next book, because you're best promotional tool is your next book.



6 comments:

Liz Flaherty said...

I'd love to have the answers. I'm NOT a numbers person, but even at that I can be certain mine aren't good. A nice post, Marie. Food for thought.

Cadence said...

Thanks, Marie. Interesting look at sales. I don't have the backlist like you, so my numbers are dismal. But like you, I'm trying to find new ways of promotion. I'll continue to write and possibly get more books out there through self publishing.

Cadence

Unknown said...

Great post Marie. Best of luck.

CB Clark said...

Well said, Marie. You bring some very valid points. Like you, I struggle with social media, but like we've been told, if we don't promote our books, no one will discover them. The trick is finding the balance, I guess, so we still have time and energy to write. Good luck with sales, gal.

Mary Morgan said...

Excellent post, Marie. It just the short time I've been a published author (five years), I've seen massive changes, especially on amazon. It's finding a new spark (creative and monetary) to keep moving forward and to be seen. All the best!

C.Becker said...

Thanks for the newsy article. I wish we had the answers to increase readers. 🤔