July Sales and Observations

July was an interesting month. Many authors and publishers reported a drop of sales, from 1/3 to 1/2 of normal. As we’re now in the summer slump I figured it would happen to me and wasn’t really worried about it.

At the beginning of July Smashwords announced a month-long ebook Summer/Winter sale that authors and publishers could participate in if they wished. I marked down all my $.99 book to free and all others were marked 1/2 off. I figured it couldn’t hurt, especially during the summer slump.

July Sales and ObservationsAmazon: 18
Smashwords: 24
Barnes $ Noble: 12
Omnilit: 2

Grand Total: 56

To put the above numbers in perspective, here are the last three month sale totals:

April: 18 Sales – Added 1 novella and 1 novelette
May: 24 Sales – Added 1 short story
June: 25 Sales – Added 1 short story

The July total of 56 is double of June sales. Wow, do I hope that trend continues! The sales were boosted by several new July releases (yes, I was a busy little beaver):

The String Weavers (The String Weavers – Book 1) – Novel
The Singing Lakes (Salmon Run – Book 3) – Novella
Glint of a Ring (Children of Jad #2)– Novelette

July Sales and ObservationsWith the above titles I now have 11 titles up for sale. Was the boost in sales because of the increase in offerings or the Smashwords sales? Or perhaps because of a natural month-to-month rise?

The Smashwords sale obviously had an impact, as it was the best-selling site for me in July. However, Amazon isn’t that far behind, and in fact doubled the sales reported from last month. “The String Weavers” sold 9 copies right out of the box, contributing greatly to the overall total (along with 2 good reviews at Smashwords). “The Singing Lakes (Salmon Run – Book 3)” is a part of the Salmon Run series, and sold 7.

The new releases definitely helped. Even more interesting? “The String Weavers” sold that well despite having a retail price of $4.99. I raised the price of “Into the Forest Shadows” to the same and changed the cover as I was never quite happy with it, as it didn’t say ‘science fiction’ to me. Sales weren’t good for this stand-alone book, but I’m willing to wait a few months to see if the new cover makes a difference.
Preliminary thoughts? Novels sell very nicely, and series sell even better. The three novellas of the Salmon Run series together are doing better than anything else in my catalogue. “The String Weavers” is the first in a series and is already outselling “Into the Forest Shadows” which is a stand-alone novel.

The above sales I mentioned did not include any free ebooks as part of the Smashwords promotion. I keep those numbers separate. What did I see there?

July Sales and ObservationsFree Downloads: 364 ebooks in 31 days.

The downloads resulted in a few interesting statistics. I’ve put notes after each one on a few observations:

Night of the Aurora (Salmon Run – Book 1) – 132: The first book in the Salmon Run series. People downloaded this one the most and I believe led to the sales of the next two books in the series. This confirms to me how well series sell in ebooks in contrast to traditional publishing where series are typically a death knell to author careers thanks to the 3-book death spiral.

Spires – 66: My very first ebook ever. A silly little short story that I didn’t expect much of. However, it’s been my best-selling short across all sites. There’s something about this story and voice that captures attention.

The Art of Negotiation – 58: This is another story that seems to have caught attention rather fast. I’m thinking the idea of someone losing their jobs getting even with a corporation is a lovely theme. 😀

Mop Jockeys and Fighter Pilots – 56: A brand new short story published at the end of June. This is my first science fiction romance, and it took off the moment I published it. At the beginning of July it even outsold Spires. This was something good for me to know. I think I need to release more SF romance. There appears to be a market for it.

Glint of a Suncatcher (Children of Jad #1) – 52: This is one of my worst sellers, but it still sells a few every month. At the beginning of July after watching the download patterns, I tweaked the description. Downloads surged so that in the end it ended up with a total not that far behind the others. This is simply confirmation of what I knew before, but I’ll say it loudly again: EBOOK DESCRIPTION BLURBS MATTER! A second novelette in this series has been released with another one soon to come. I’ll be curious to see how they sell in the coming months.

Conclusions?

  • Keep writing series. They do well.
  • Ebooks I loved writing or even thought were a little silly, strike chords in other people. So, let the readers decide what they like. I’ll never be able to second-guess what will be successful and what will not.
  • Write more in the science fiction romance subgenre.
  • Don’t be afraid to tweak descriptions and covers. If they don’t work, they can always be changed back. However, it may be just the thing to help a title pick up speed.
  • Having more titles on the ‘virtual bookshelf’ is the best advertising and promotion a writer can do.

I have a post about Smashwords and paying attention to distribution channels upcoming. Stay tuned.

____________________

July Sales and ObservationsJ.A. Marlow

A planet-wide conspiracy is waiting at Grandmother’s house…

“Always wear the red hood and cape while you are in the forest,” Grandma admonished.

For a teen with purple and red hair, and an attitude to match, the small claustrophobic city of Oburos grows ever smaller with Uncle Travis’s attempts to take over her and her mother’s life.

An invitation to visit Grandmother’s house, nestled among the giant trees filling the planet, gives Kate a welcome respite. But, there is no time for rest. A conspiracy among the forest inhabitants, moving trees, and other mysteries await her at Grandmother’s house.

Kate learns just how little she knew of the forests, much less its animals. To survive she must learn fast, and that includes trust and teamwork.

And just where was Grandma, anyway?

A Science Fiction 83600 word stand-alone novel retelling of the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” by J.A. Marlow.

AmazonJuly Sales and Observations | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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14 thoughts on “July Sales and Observations”

    • I love it, too (like all my stories). We’ll see how it does in the next few months. If sales don’t pick up after the summer slump is over, I’ll put back the old cover and see what happens.

      I feel like a mad scientist with all these experiments! 😀

  1. Well done. I am busy writing and have not looked at my sales, but I know they are not as good as yours! Also do like the new cover for Forest Shadows. 🙂 I also need to find the time to read the other two I downloaded during the sale.

    • Good for you on not checking sales all the time. I’m trying to do it only a few times a week. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don’t. Hehe.

      Time to read. Once Real Life calms down I’m hoping to have more time for that myself!

  2. These are exciting times for us all, aren’t they? And I bet your numbers are only going to go up.

    I’ve noticed that some authors waste the opportunity they have in the extended blurb. They just repeat what they already said in the short blurb instead of adding something new, when with a little extra effort they could maybe hook a few more readers….

    Personally I’m stoked by all this!

    • Very exciting times for many authors. The possibilities of what we can write is pretty much unlimited. As for sales, I hope the numbers go up. It would be a very nice bonus. 😛

      When you speak of the extended blurb, are you referring to how Smashwords has two versions, a short and a long?

    • @Michael – On Smashwords, yes. Having them different can be of benefit, but each does need to stand and invite the reader in on their own. Not all retailers grab both. Many only grab one. So for me, sometimes I do use the longer blurb as a template and try to condense it down. Sometime they are different. Each one has been a little different. 🙂

  3. Thanks very much for all the detail and analysis you put into this post JA. It’s much appreciated! Interesting about the SF romance…
    JK

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