A lot of the people I run into ask the same question when the subject of my book comes up:
So, how is it doing?
Not a bad question. In fact, it’s great they’re interested. It’s fabulous someone is nice enough to ask.
The problem is how to answer.
If you read my last post, you’ll know that indie publishing isn’t what you might expect if you’ve seen the news articles about someone who’s sold a million copies of their books. In reality, over half of indie publishers earn less than $500 a year. Currently, I’m barely shy of that number, and my book has only been out for 2 months. (And maybe $500 sounds like a lot of money to you, but remember, with marketing costs, cover design costs, etc. that $500 still doesn’t cover my initial investment.) So, one way to answer the question of how Borrowed Magic is doing is to say, “great!” After all, I’ve almost made more than over 50% of indie publishers.
I feel really good about that. When I started this adventure, I didn’t have a huge social media following, my name wasn’t already out there as a recognizable author, I was basically nobody. So the fact that I’m above the average of indie publishers is fantastic. I’m also keeping in mind that most indie’s are successful because they have more than one book published. Someone reads your second book, likes it, goes looking for more, and buys you first book. Therefore, the more books you have out, the more people are likely to find you and buy your books. For example, I’m planning to publish my next book, Blessed, in July or August. Say someone finds that who never knew about Borrowed Magic. They like Blessed and then buy Borrowed Magic because they now trust me as an author and want more. So you see how the more books you have out, the more sales you get. If you have 10 books out and someone doesn’t discover you until book number 10, they may go and buy the other 9. The sales numbers increase exponentially when you have more books. Back to my point…considering the fact I am an unknown author with only one book out there (and the prequel novella, but that’s free), I think I’ve done pretty well.
Another thing to judge success by for a new indie author without a huge following is reviews. Currently, I have 30 Amazon reviews. That’s around 17% of my sales. Which is AMAZING! I read an article just the other day from an indie publisher who said their reviews usually average 1% of sales. Not only that, but my reviews average out to 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon! Nothing to complain about there. I have a few more reviews on Goodreads. Currently 53, of which 31 have actually written a review and not just rated it. I think my average there is 4.26, which is fabulous for Goodreads, whose reviewers are notoriously more critical.
So, how is my book doing? Great! You just have to keep everything in perspective. And you also have to remember that if people don’t help spread the word — don’t just tell people you liked a book, tell them they need to read it 🙂 — indie books die. Their sales slowly go down and down until they’re not selling at all. More than perhaps any other group of authors, indies rely on you, our readers, to help our books succeed!