The First Year as an Indie (Apples to Oranges)

Part II (This is Me)

In the first portion of my annual Indie report I shared a few things I have learned regarding support, reviews and social media. I like the number five so if you’re interested I’ll share a couple more. I believe I left off at #3 in Lessons Learned. Since inquiring minds really want to know “how many books are you selling and how much money are you making?” We’ll start #4 with sales.

# 4 Sales: This is like comparing apples to oranges or beets to hamburgers. To simplify it allow me to use e- books and a twelve month period because a year ago I had maybe four titles available, all e-books exclusive to Amazon. Today I have about sixteen, most available wherever books are sold.

Don’t say wow yet. That number includes several books that were combined or joined and counted as a new title.  I.e. The Rage Trilogy, The Perpetual Series and Interior Verse/ Pose Prose & Poems.  Also Disturbed Affections was created for Barnes & Noble  which combines The Perpetual Series and Dour Number Four. Price trials were done and settled between 99¢ and $2.99.

For apples to apples sake March 2012 Amazon e-book sales were roughly about $5.80 with paper books way outselling them. March 2013 sales were about 50x that with very few paper books being sold. That’s two hundred and ninety sneering tight-lipped little Washington’s! Greenbacks baby! $1 smallYou can say wow now but hold that victory dance — I need to tell you something.

Sales over those twelve months were like a bipolar Bohemian. They were all over the place, feast and famine, up and down. Whew! It made me dizzy, now I know that’s just how it goes.

Looking at statistics is supposed to help me understand Bohemians’ such patterns and utilize them for … I don’t know but the good news is I made a few dollars. Woo-hoo – go ahead, dance with me.

#5 Stats and Ranks: OMG poke me in the eye! My website stats? I sort of saw a pattern of increased visitors equaled increased sales but it could’ve been my mind playing tricks on me. Example October hits were good and November sales increased. Why, how, what or who made it happen? Was it a tweet, a post or a random recommendation? I suspect it was a combination of factors or a cousin. I have lots of cousins.

Visitors: My door is always open and people apparently come and go while I’m in the shower or taking a nap. I am supposed to focus on unique visits, unique sites and unique referrers. [sigh] Okay. Most visits occur around 3:00 PM CST. Top referrers are direct requests followed by Google, Bing, A porn site I know nothing about (I swear!) and some from WordPress — that is probably fellow bloggers. Thank you all very much. See how boring data is?

I prefer to look at search string results. Search strings are interesting because you can see what query people use to arrive at your site. My favorites are “who is Janna Hill, “who the hell is Janna Hill”, “is Janna Hill really Janna Hill” and “is Janna Hill married to Joe Hill?” the answer is no silly!

Ranking: I use Amazon’s author tools. Just login and click rank. I occasionally break above the 12,000 overall in e-books. I know that sounds pitiful but when you came from ranking 500,000 to 12,000 I call that progress. C’mon, let’s dance again.

I may never be in the top ten or even the top 100 but I’m singing the Jefferson theme song and movin’ on up. I don’t want a deluxe apartment in the sky but I will take a small piece of some humble pie with a cup of coffee please.

The data above was gathered from March 2012- March 2013 reports. Yes I know we just entered July — I would make a great government employee, huh?! It has been (and is) one hell of a ride and I am truly grateful.

This is me. Not me writing on behalf of someone else. Not me pretending to be someone else. Not me wishing I was someone else. This is just me in all my rags of glory.

Addendum: Though it’s too early for me to offer a report or an opinion I can tell you I am seeing sales now at Apple. Maybe someday I’ll do an update and compare them to oranges. Ahh, I crack me up.

7 thoughts on “The First Year as an Indie (Apples to Oranges)

  1. Thanks for the info. Not so much a thanks for mentioning “The Jefferson’s” theme song… I’ll have that little ditty in my head all day. That said, congratulations on your progress. I’m doing my happy dance with you. =D

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  2. Thanks for confirming my experience. I entered the eBook market at the same time as you. I put one book out there and now have four for sale. Last summer’s sales were definitely better. Question: How do you check your sales at Apple? I published one book through Smashwords and don’t know how to check sales for all the channels.

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    • Congrats to you P.C. Re; checking sales: From your dashboards look on the left and click sales/earning report. Then choose year/quarterly earnings report. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click title report. Download report. The spread sheet will show you what channels each book sold in. I.e. Apple, B&N, Kobo etc…
      Hope that helps and good luck!!

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