Success or Failure As A Self Published Author?

Do you know what if means to be successful as an author in general? What about as a self published author? I did some research, and I found out just a few things:

  • In order to become a ‘best seller’ a book must sell 35,000 copies, in no set amount of time. (Or be on the top 100 all time books on amazon)
  • 98% of all books released in any givenΒ  year will never sell more than 500 copies
  • The vast majority of self published books will never, ever, in their lifetime, sell over 100 copies
  • If you sell over 500 copies of your book- self published or otherwise- you are considered a moderate success

Do you find this daunting? I sure don’t! I find that it tells me I am not considered a ‘moderate success’ or ‘best seller’ by the industry just yet. The book I have sold the most copies of (A Severing of Ties) has only sold 440 copies, but I sell more every week. I’m positive that by the end of this year, I’ll have sold 500 copies of that one. Have I sold over 100 copies of my books and beat the odds? Yupp. At least, on some of them. Of the nine titles I hold rights to (1 I do not), I have four books which have sold over a hundred copies. Here they are, in order, with the number of books I have sold:

  1. A Severing of Ties, 440
  2. Less Than Humble Beginnings, 369
  3. The Southern Dictionary, 275
  4. A Gathering of Sorrows, 173

My other books (A Rose Amongst Thorns, Southern Jokes: Funny But True, Southern Sweet Tooth, The Eloquence of A Child, and Traditional Southern Recipes) have not yet broken a hundred sales. So why aren’t I upset about that? Well, let me tell you. Over the last year I have seen a steady increase in ALL of my sales. The most dramatic increases have been seen since November, when I released my novella ‘Less Than Humble Beginnings.’ It has been our for roughly four months, which is roughly 122 days. I’ve already sold 369 copies of that one, which means I’ve sold about 3 copies per day since it was released. But it isn’t just that! My first ‘break’ also saw an increase in ALL sales. Just this month I have sold at least one copy of every single one of my titles. No, I am not joking. For the first two years after self-publishing, I sold only 3 copies. I have made enormous leaps and bounds along the way. Why?Β I HAVE NEVER GIVEN UP! Forget all of the numbers and everything. As long as you never give up, you will be your own personal success.Β  Sure, it’s great to strive for the industry standard of success. I myself strive for it. I hope by the end of 2013 to have at least my two top sellers over 500 sales, and for at least another 2 or 3 of my books to break the 100 mark. Will I ever sell 35,000 of a single title? I’m not sure, but I can hope. I’m releasing another book in just a few weeks. Who knows which book will bring my next ‘break’? Even if I only see an increase of sales akin to the last ‘break’ which was around 1 additional sale per day, I would be up to selling 90 books a month. Can I do it? Of course πŸ™‚

So where do you stand in your publishing? Have you surpassed the 500 sales mark? What about the 100? Are you disappointed with those statistics or do you strive to be better in spite of them? Let me know! πŸ™‚


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: 4 More Simple Tips To Boost Book Sales | Pen Possessed
  2. Trackback: 4 Simple Tips To Boost Book Sales | Pen Possessed
  3. Dixie's Ranter
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 11:52:13

    Hello slepsnor! Well, I mean that you should simply never give up- on anything. I find that I get the most success with a bit of everything. For example, the more books I have out, the more sales I make on ALL of my books. This is because people have found one of your books, liked it, and went off in search of other things you have wrote. People will remember you more if you have more than one or two books out. It takes time, but it’s worth while. Advertising is also key. Awesome ideas are book giveaways, social media accounts, and ensuring your book is listing on all of the major sites. Make sure you list your book on goodreads, shelfari, google books, and anywhere else that you could possibly list them. Also make sure that you have an author website (your word press site will do fine) and that it is listed with all of the major search engines…and use tags. πŸ™‚ If you ever need any help or have any questions, you can always feel free to ask me. I’ve been doing this for about four years now, so I’ve learned a few things. I think the most important thing you should know, however, is that success doesn’t happen over night. I see improved sales every month, but it took a while for me to get my momentum going. I do everything on my own though. If you have the money, hire on people to help you advertise. It does help. πŸ™‚


  4. slepsnor
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 11:38:06

    Great post, but I’m curious what exactly you mean by never giving up. I published my first e-book last week, so I’m at the point where I’m trying to figure out how to keep what little momentum I have going. So, I’m really curious as to what other self-published authors have done. Is it all about advertising or is also about making sure I continue putting out books?


  5. Dixie's Ranter
    Feb 21, 2013 @ 00:16:58

    You are always welcome to reblog πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you found my post insightful and encouraging. Also glad to connect. Thanks! πŸ™‚


  6. simpklu
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 23:46:15

    Reblogged this on Simpklu and commented:
    I had planned to post each Wednesday but I’m afraid I did not plan well this week. My apologies but I have a very insightful and encouraging post to share from Chelsea Falin-Hammond at Pen Possessed I think you will enjoy.


  7. simpklu
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 23:42:38

    Chelsea this fits well with what I intended to write for today’s post. Unfortunately time did not allow so I hope you don’t mind my re-blogging your post. Thank you for the insight and encouragement.


  8. Dixie's Ranter
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 23:00:02

    You’re so welcome Lissa! πŸ™‚ and thank YOU so much! πŸ™‚


  9. Lissa
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 22:34:19

    Chelsea, thank you for this information and for posting this! You are always an inspiration to me. I think it is so awesome that your books are selling and not only that, increasing in sales! Congratulations!


  10. Tania Penn
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 18:54:18

    That is daunting to read, but I do love a challenge!!!! xoxoxo πŸ™‚


  11. adtrosper
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 16:25:07

    Thank you! πŸ™‚


  12. Dixie's Ranter
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 15:37:56

    That’s fantastic Audra! I’m not surprised, of course. You’re a fantastic author, and I feel that you will be one of those who easily sell the 35,000 it takes to become a best seller! πŸ™‚ I haven’t sold nearly that, but I’m doing better every month it seems. So we’ll see how it all goes. Good luck on all your future sales! I have the highest of faith and confidence you’re going places! BIG PLACES! πŸ˜€


  13. adtrosper
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 15:13:09

    Oh, and Embers did spend an entire month in the top 100 of epic fantasy on Amazon. Not the top 100 of all time, but of epic fantasy at least. πŸ™‚


  14. adtrosper
    Feb 20, 2013 @ 15:10:57

    I have sold over 3,500 copies of Embers at Galdrilene through Amazon since it released in May of 2012. Not including paperback sales or sales of digital copies through other channels. It isn’t a huge amount, but sales continue and I am happy.

    My children’s Christmas story hasn’t broke the 100 mark yet, but then it released one week before Christmas last year and really didn’t have much time to find its way to readers hands before Christmas came and went. We will see how it does in future holiday seasons.


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