Book Sales, Self-Publishing, Speaking from Experience

Humble beginnings as an author.

Welcome back blog readers,

This morning I received an email from Amazon stating that they have sent out my first royalty payment and that I should expect to see the payment in my account within two to five days. This payment is not for the two paperback books or the two e-books that were sold, but for the Kindle Unlimited (KU) pages that have been read.

For those of you that are not aware, authors earn a fraction of a cent per page read/flipped for the first time when a reader buys an e-book under their Kindle Unlimited subscription. Amazon does offer a page where authors can see their sales, which format, the quantity and how many pages have been read if they opted in to sell their book(s) as KU along with other stats as well.

I wasn’t expecting much as my book has 211 pages (paperback) and may be slightly less as an e-book. I did know going in was that 134 pages have been read, but I didn’t know how much each page was worth. I bet the suspense is killing you, right?  *Drum roll*

I made a whopping .34 cents (USD) and I know what you’re thinking… Don’t spend that all in one spot. As for the two paperback books and the two e-book that were sold, I suspect that I have not sold enough to qualify for a royalty check from those purchases. The 37-39 FREE e-books will not earn me anything (monetarily anyway). I was hoping it would bring in a few reviews, but nothing on that front either.

I don’t mind sharing my success (if you can call it that) with you or other inquiring minds. There are many authors that love to brag about how many books they’ve published, how many 5-star reviews they have, how they have made the #1 spot on some best selling list. When newer authors ask for advice or ask what makes them so successful they reply by stating they’ve published dozens or just over 100 books. To which congratulations are in order, but that doesn’t answer the question.

An author who wants to make writing their full-time job and earn a sustainable income from their book sales must spend money marketing/promoting and creating a brand/image around their name. They have to gain the attention of readers that are interested in the genre they write or write the genre that is most popular. In case you’re wondering it’s Romance. If the cover has a shirtless faceless male with 6 pack abs, even better. Sex still sells and the ladies can’t get enough of the romance novels.

Since my promotional deal from Bookbub was declined, I do check their site every few days to see what types of book are getting their stamp of approval. Lately, there seems to be a trend of Romance (forbidden love), Non-fiction/memoir (former royalty from way back when), and a few Fantasy, True Crime and Paranormal/Suspense mixed in. I’m glad that they declined my non-fiction/memoir to make room to promote a compilation of poems about cats. I severely underestimated just how crazy the crazy cat lady craze really is. I totally missed the mark on that one.

From what I gather, you can write for the readers, write what sells (most popular) and spend at least four figures or more on marketing, gaining readers and repeat the cycle until you become a well known author that can live off of the royalties. Or you write for yourself because you find it therapeutic, or because it’s a story you’d want to read. You write without limitations. You’re not stressing to make each chapter the same length or making sure you reach a predetermined word count. Your story is done when it’s done.

The lesson for today: Having a published book on the market does not guarantee instant fame/fortune.

Enjoy the rest of the week.~ Hannah


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