Periscope Depth

saving his pennies for Sunday

It’s been a hell of a first month, hasn’t it?1

I don’t want this to turn into an indie writing blog focused solely on the numbers. I see a lot of those. While big sales are good, there are more important considerations, like growing the craft, developing a network of supportive readers and fellow authors, establishing benchmarks for quality, and so forth.

But: I’m new to the indie publishing process. I’m learning. And I invited all of you to learn with me. This means ripping open the numbers and letting strangers peck at them.

In the first month, I have 755 sales attributed to Too Close to Miss. This is across Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the various Smashwords platforms. It doesn’t include iTunes sales figures, which I only get to see quarterly, so for all I know I’ve sold more. But 755 is what I know I’ve done.

Some observations:

  • To the best of my knowledge, 755 units is a phenomenal month for an independent, debut, no-name author. I’m very proud of it. I’d be more proud if it felt real; this is still some sort of crazy dream.

  • Of those, 148 came in the first full week (Dec 2nd through 10th), 126 in the second week (Dec 11th through 17th), 333 in the third week (Dec 18th through 24th) (more on that odd surge tomorrow) and 169 in the final week (Dec 25th through 31st). So it seems like 100 / week is a good minimum to hope for.

  • This was at a price of $0.99 across all platforms. Yesterday, as threatened, I raised the price to $3.992. My seat-of-the-pants guess is that multiplying the price by 4X will reduce sales volume by 4X. Of course, the royalty structure on Amazon and B&N means I’ll still be making more money, even if this is the case. And maybe demand is more inelastic than I suspect: maybe I’ll only lose half my sales. Or maybe they’ll shrink to 10 books a week. A spectrum of possibilities awaits!

1. Life tip: the trick to making time last longer is to fill your days with new and exciting things. Since December had a book launch, a cycle of marketing and promotion, Christmas and New Year’s Eve in it, it feels like I’ve packed ten weeks into the last four. At this rate, I will live forever, or at least feel that way.

2. However, since iTunes takes longer to update its prices and since Amazon guarantees a price match on its ebooks, it’s still available (as of this writing) for $0.99 on both those platforms. Object lesson: plan your price changes carefully and stagger the execution.

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