There are days when I feel I never get away from the Internet to get other stuff done. Between Twitter and Facebook and blogs I visit, I roam the virtual cybersphere and yet … I seem to miss all the fun controversy. I guess last week people were all up in arms about self-publising and Amazon’s moves to slowly take over the book selling market.

I don’t know about that. I do know they’ve made it easy for a person to self-publish print books. And they’ve made it even easier for authors to publish digitally. Really, there is no super-sekret formula … just upload a manuscript and a cover and voila! within 24 hours your book will be for sale! Yes, you can do this through other venues, but I have to say, I really like Amazon’s ranking system. There’s no greater satisfaction than seeing your book climb the ranks. Now they’re trying a new program, Prime Membership for readers and on the author side it’s called Kindle Select. Readers and authors are tentative about this program. Some are loving it and others … not so much.

But Amazon is trying. They are seeing the face of publication changing and they’re trying to be on the cutting edge of that change. Good for them. They’re not stupid. With big name authors like Joe Konrath supporting their efforts, it seems to me they’re going to be the front runners when everyone else is floundering. Does this make them bad or greedy? I don’t think so. It makes them smart. As in Apple smart. Always leading the pack, not the one running and out-of-breath trying to catch up.

And though I like what Amazon is doing for readers and authors alike, I just want to say, it ain’t all roses and royalty checks for everyone.

There are many authors making LOTS of money (as in quitting their day jobs and writing fulltime) going the self-pubbed route through Amazon. But there are a whole heck of a lot more of us taking our monthly royalty check from Amazon and buying a cute necklace from Kohl’s that just went on sale … on the clearance rack. So you get the picture. Now, please don’t hear this as complaining. It’s not … well, not totally. Wait, no really, I’m not complaining. I just want people to understand that it is possible their book(s) will take off, but it’s just as likely it won’t. Even if you do the same marketing strategies successful writers do. *shrug* It’s just how it is.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me give you some sales figures for the last three months for all three of my books (released 4/11, 6/11 and 11/11). (And this is just for Amazon, because it’s not worth my time to share with you my sales from B&N, Smashwords and ARe)

December: 136 books = $142.80
January: 74 books = $84.22
February (to date): 4695 free books (YAY!) 20 books = $40.00 (approx.)

Why am I sharing this sales information with you? I think authors play it too close to the vest. When authors are looking to make an informed decision it means … they need the information. I think it’s easy to find GREAT sales information. You know, those authors that sell 136 of each of their books every day. It makes many authors who are sitting there with 4 books sold in a month–because that’s the typical sales on Amazon–feel inadequate. Like “what am I doing wrong?” The answer is probably nothing. Even the big 6 publishers can’t tell you why one of their books is doing better than another. Now we’re the publisher … we just have to do the best we can.

I do like Amazon. I like that they have world-wide distribution. I wish I could boast sales on the other venues that were as good as my Amazon sales. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, even when I try to market my books at those venues.

Is Amazon going to take over all publication and distribution of books in the near future? No, it’s not going to happen. But other publishers and booksellers will need to stop doing things the way they’ve always done them and think ahead or they’re never going to catch up.

What do you think as a reader/writer? Does it make you a little noodgie the way things are going with Amazon? Are you worried about what is happening? Because you know me, I’m curious about that kind of stuff.

67 Responses to Amazon and a Reality Check

  • I think Amazon is thinking of ways to take the lead and get a bit of the money pie…They see that there is a market they can get on and they are doing what they can…

    I think for readers it won’t make any difference..They are looking for places they can get their books..As for authors, yes it will make a difference..With all the options out there they have a choice to pick what will be best for them and their book…

    • Savannah – I agree, readers won’t see a difference. They’re going to buy books wherever it’s convenient and inexpensive. They just want to feed their need to read.

      For authors, I’m hoping other booksellers will be able to get a foot in the market just so we continue to have choices.

  • I have pushed my publisher to take better advantage of Amazon’s toolbox. IT is NOT going away, as a matter of fact I agree that they will remain the Big Boy on the Block. best learn how to use it to our advantage! thanks for the post Nina

    • Liz – They are definitely not going away. It’ll be nice if other retailers can find a way to be competitive with Amazon. It will only be to everyone’s advantage. In the meantime, trying to ignore Amazon is just cutting out a HUGE chunk of the reading market.

  • This is such a good and timely blog. I agree with everything you’ve said. I have a love-hate relationship with Amazon. I love to see my books climb in the rankings too. Don’t love seeing my sales plummet off a cliff. Indie pubbing is a roller coaster. One month I make enough for a four-day trip to Vegas to see my son. The next month I make enough for a pizza out and a few glasses of wine. Despite the roller-coaster indie publishing works for me at this point in my life and my career. I love the control and the freedom of indie publishing. I do feel that Amazon and Apple will take over the world. One thing you can say about Amazon is that they don’t stand still. They’re willing to try new ways of publishing, something the old traditional publishers haven’t done. I think the traditional publishers need to take off their blinders and think differently. We authors aren’t clinging to them anymore. Amazon has shown us a different way. Some indie authors are making huge amounts of money – buying boats and houses, etc. I’m not one of them. But I’m still making more money than I have with my epublishers. Thanks for your insights, Nina. BTW-I think the Amazon Select program has hurt sales because there’s a glut of free books out there now thanks to the program. Just MHO.

    • Cara – Can I envy you for a minute? … Okay, I’m over it. *vbg* I’d love to make enough for a trip, even a short one. But hopefully this year when I get a few more books out there.

      And I’m with you, other publishers need to take a look at what’s working and what’s not and go out and try new things or they’re never going to be able to compete.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing.

      • I made enough for a trip!!! A trip to the mailbox and back. Any further and I’d have needed to wear shoes, which my self-publishing income hasn’t covered yet, at least not NICE shoes *chortles*.

        • LOL! All I can say is that it’s a good thing my royalties are direct deposit. There have been a couple of months the paper would have been worth more than the money on the check.

  • Amazon is a leader and they’ve done great things for authors and readers. But they do have a potential to become a monopoly and a monopoly is never good for anyone further down the food chain from the monopolist. That would be authors for sure. I don’t think this makes them evil, but a monopolist makes a lot of money until something destroys their monopoly. It’s a natural position for anyone to seek. That’s why I have a Nook but sometimes I kick myself for it. Keep plugging away, Nina. I still have your book on my TBR but I’m looking forward to it.

    • Carly – That’s the biggest fear … that Amazon will end up without any competition and take over the whole market. But you know, it’s so hard to argue with their success. They do make a good product.

      I’m hoping long before Amazon shuts down all bookstores online and out in the world that someone will come along and figure out a market for authors that is just as lucrative. Otherwise, you’re right, it’s going to be scary for readers and authors.

      (And thanks for the shout-out about my book. You’re sweet.)

      • Hi, Nina!!! *waving*

        I’m one of those authors doing well with Amazon, in fact better as an Indie writer than when I was more traditionally published. I know that world pretty well now, so I feel the need to clear up a few things. Amazon is definitely a heavy hitter but they aren’t ones the only game. Speaking of being Apple smart, they’re now in it with their iBooks program, and B&N has just started their own program. And that’s just stateside. KOBO could very well turn out to be a player after their recent purchase. An ex-exec with Waterstones in the UK is putting an e-reader program there. So there are all kinds of possibilities.
        One thing I have found, genre fiction – fantasy, mysteries, thrillers – does tend to do somewhat better on Amazon, but oddly, erotica doesn’t. Just thought I’d share.

        • Valerie – I do think there are businesses out there looking to compete with Amazon. I think long before they become “Big Brother” there will be competition.

  • Hi, Nina.
    Thanks for posting. We’re about in the same place in our “publishing journey.” I know I’ve spent a great deal more on editing and cover art than I’ve made…to date. But I wouldn’t trade this wild ride for anything. I’m grateful to both Amazon and B&N for opening the doors to indie publishing, because they’ve made it possible for me to introduce my books to readers. Maybe my readers only count in the low thousands for my first year of being published, but those readers send me wonderful notes about how much they like my books. There’s nothing better than that.
    L. j.

    • LJ – It is a wild ride for sure. I definitely wouldn’t change the decisions I’ve made regarding my books. It’s nice to have another avenue as an author for my books. I think weighing all the options for publication is just a good business decision for any author.

      And hearing from readers is wonderful. Because in the end, we put our books out there for people to enjoy our stories.

  • Kudos for you, Nina, on your honesty. It’s about time someone showed how it really is. I’m happy to see that I’m not alone, and that is is hard work. We can make it, but it will take some doing.
    But what I really like is that now readers have way more choice, and they’re not stuck reading what publishers say they should read.
    My sales in the last 6 months are about like yours. But, ever the optimist, I am sure we’ll grow our stories.

    • Barbara – I don’t mind being the one to throw it out there. I really do believe there are too many authors who think they’re doing something wrong because only those making good money seem to be willing to post.

      Like you, I’m ever the optimist and I intend to keep chugging along.

  • Vicki – So true. The ride has just begun …

  • Nina, thanks for the disclosure. My sales (both free and paid) are vary similar and that’s with two books up. They are in different genres, though, so I’m not sure how much cross-traffic they generate. I do know that the free days for the mystery earlier this month drove a few more sales of the paranormal romance. I have concerns about what might be an Amazon monopoly. I bought a Nook in order to support what is still a bricks-and-mortar store, but I wish B&N would get more active in pushing both the Nook and their authors on line.

    • Michele – You are not alone in purchasing a Nook to help Barnes and Noble. But they aren’t working very hard on their advertising or the marketing of their books. When I keep seeing Kindle ads on tv, it’s hard not to fall into that camp. It does seem like Amazon is working much harder to promote their sales which in turn benefits authors.

      It’ll be interesting to see how all this shakes out.

  • Hi Nina,

    thanks for the sales figures – and I have to say you’re doing quite a bit better than me *g* – though I do only have one Indie release and have no plans at this stage for more… It’s an interesting ride though =))

    • Mel – I know, I hate to complain because I know there are authors working as hard as I am and still aren’t making the sales. And you’re right … this is all a very interesting ride.

  • I appreciate this very much, Nina. Some days I feel it’s not worth the effort required when you’re an indie publisher, but you’ve renewed my enthusiasm. The important thing to me is that people are reading my books and enjoying them. So what if it’s not in the thousands! Maybe one day.

    • Anna – I will admit, I want to make money. I don’t write just to have something to do … it’s my job. But I’m holding out hope that one of these days I’ll have something that readers just need to read! Best of luck with your books.

  • Nina,

    Thanks for posting your numbers for others to see. I only have one self-pub under my pen name at this point. Much to my chagrin, my numbers go up and down like a yo-yo even though I’m selling the book for $0.89. It was Amazon who took the liberty of listing it for the lower price instead of the $0.99 I’d requested. But I know they did it to help my sales.

    I’ve been told by several people that because K. T. Roberts is unknown, people are not willing to take the chance even at that low price. It’s surprising to me, but in the meantime, K. T. is currently editing a sexy contemporary to post to Amazon and Smashwords, and already plotting more stories to add to the line. Hopefully my name will get out there as I add more books to her name so that I can enjoy the same fan base I have with my traditionally published books under my real name.

    The good news is I’ve learned so much from this first book which I’m sure can only benefit me with future releases.

    A word about Amazon. I admire them for taking the lead. B&N may boycott them, but Amazon is selling huge amounts of inventory because they advertise and use competitive pricing. Amazon is here to stay; I’m not so sure about the others.

    • Carolyn – After all these years of writing under one pen name, I’ve made the decision not to use another even if I do change genres. I’m banking on my readers being savvy enough to figure out which books best fit their tastes. Of course I don’t expect to go from erotic romance to young adult, just sensual romance. I think it’s so hard to have a fan base and write books with another pen name. Best of luck with having your readers find your new pen name.

      And I agree with you about Amazon. They are really putting efforts into their advertising. For the general public just now hearing about e-readers, many have never even heard of Nook. Completely not Amazon’s fault.

      Let’s hope B&N can pull it out before it’s too late.

  • Nina,

    Thanks for sharing. Sales for my four books have been slow (about 30-40 books a month between them,) but they’re making more sales being self-published than they would have if I’d left them sitting on my computer. 🙂

    I’ll admit to suffering from a bit of envy of the authors who are selling thousands of books, but then I’m also envious of authors who receive 5-figure advances and get 5-star reviews. Mostly I keep it under control and count my pennies as they come in. 🙂

    • Elysa – LOL! Yeah, I’m not even going to pretend I’m not totally pea green with envy of the authors with 5-figure advances. But I just keep reminding myself that my career is mine and not anyone else’s. And I have to stop making comparisons.

  • Thanks for this blog Nina. I think it’s important to put these things out there. The reality is that there are more of us shopping the clearance racks with our royalties than quitting our day jobs and writing full time (sigh). It’s important for the real facts to be out there.

    • Marie – I just think people need to understand there are both ends of the spectrum. Hopefully it’s encoraging and not discouraging. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  • Nina,

    As one of the lucky self-published authors you described, I think it’s important to post numbers so people see what’s possible. Even with low numbers, if you multiple them times 12, what you make for a year can give you encouragement.

    I have one series doing great, and one doing ho-hum. I think it’s the subgenre and the fact that the ho-hum is a trilogy without book three. I think it will pop more once book three is up.

    Keep writing those books. When I put book three of my sweet historical Western romance up, the sales of book one and two increased. Three started off good from the gate and is now doing great. Volume matters. (As long as it’s good volume!)

    • Debra – I totally agree. Without knowing there is the chance of hardwork and good writing paying off … why bother? But as I’ve said in a couple of replies, I do think it’s really good for people to see both ends of the spectrum. I hope people find it gives them hope that they’re not alone and the big money is out there with enough perseverence.

      I wish you only continued success with your stories. One of these days I’ll be standing in that ring with you!

  • Debra,

    Yes, I’ve noticed that my sales each month are slowly climbing as I release more books. And I’m pleased with the dollars that are coming in. I’m hoping when I re-release my Dorchester titles sales will continue to climb. “Good” volume definitely helps.

    I have a love/hate relationship with hearing about other people’s successes. I’m happy for them and hopeful that someday I’ll do as well, but sometimes it can make me feel “inadequate.” 🙂

    • Elysa – I’m with you in hoping the volume of books I add this year will make a difference in sales. Best of luck releasing your backlist.

    • I hope there are a LOT of Dorch re-releases by self-pubbers, Elysa. Some great, innovative stuff in that stable that right now I can’t buy until I know the authors will get the money!

  • Hi, I do think there can be only good in a wider option for all authors. My problem with Amazon is that – in the end – its intention is not to share the market but take it over and they have no problem in losing up to a billion a year in pushing it. And the first ones to fall to their scorched earth form of business will be all the independent and e-book publishers. That is why there are now 3 book chains refusing to sell Amazon published books. Amazon is also not above refusing to carry vendors from states that ask for sales tax – again – the scorched earth policy of business, slapping down the vendors even though they don’t make the policy. I just can’t feel comfortable with such a business turning its eye to the publishing market. If it succeeds in what has been suggested is its goal – they will be the sole publisher in the country. After all – oncee they chop down the competition, they don’t need to sell the books of even the small publishers. If they can be brought to share the publishing market, I say go for it, but until they change their policy I’ll buy all books from the store or the publisher itself.

    • Hannah – I think too few readers understand how beneficial it is for the author if they buy directly from the publisher. And it doesn’t matter how much we try to explain the whole publishing model and the benefit of supporting other e-tailers, we’re going to find readers looking for the one-stop shopping.

      I don’t know what the answer is, but hopefully another retailer will step up and offer a program with the benefits Amazon offers its authors and readers. Otherwise, we’re not going to recognize the new publishing landscape.

  • Oh crap. This means I’m not going to become rich and famous? LOL I’m only in the first few weeks of this Indie ride. My car seems stuck at the bottom and I’m banging on the rail hoping things will start up. The good thing is at least you can check your sales rather than waiting for the quarter to end only to get enough for the family to go to McD’s and order off the value menu. 🙂

    • Eden – Here’s hoping your engine kicks in and you soar to the top of the mountain. (Of course I can only hope it’s right behind my wagon. LOL!)

  • Nina, thanks for putting your figures out there. For every explosion out of the gate story, there are far more like yours, and it’s good to have that reality check. Having said that, I love your books, and I hope one of those selling hot streaks hits for you!

  • Nina, thanks for sharing your numbers. I think I’m one of the few authors out there that’s making anywhere from 5-10x as many sales per month on B&N than Amazon, which is fine with me since I not a huge fan of Amazon. I want there to be some competition so Amazon doesn’t become the only game in town. They’ve already proven through several “software/coding errors” that they can can remove erotic books from the rankings or try to skim a few sales off of an author’s royalty reports. If there’s no one in town to keep them honest, then we authors are at their mercy.

    Also, I do admit that I get jealous of authors who are doing very well in self-publishing, but I try to learn what I can from them (especially if they are willing to share tips and tricks on how they got their name/book out there). What did they do that I can try? Sometimes, it’s all a matter of genre, timing, and a bit of luck. Other times, it’s just riding out the storm, keeping building the backlist, and praying the cream will rise to the top. In the meantime, my royalties every month are probably enough to indulge in dinner at the Melting Pot with the hubby.

    • Crista – There are a few authors like yourself, whose sales are better at B&N. I wish they could figure out what’s working with authors like yourself so they can have more success stories. I definitely think competition is healthy in any industry.

      Watching and imitating is a great way to learn from those that have succeeded before us. But I have to say, publishing is one of the few industries where following in the footsteps of others doesn’t always guarantee success … even if everything is equal. That’s one of the reasons I get so discouraged.

  • Christa,

    If you can afford dinner at the Melting Pot you’re doing pretty well. 🙂 Went there with hubby for a Valentine’s dinner and nearly went into shock when the bill arrived.

  • Thanks for jumping into the fray and thank you for being so open about your publishing journey. I know that you work hard at doing what you can to book your books in a position to sell. I wish my sales were as good as yours, but I’m honest enough to know what is holding it back. I think we need to remember that when it comes to Amazon that first and foremost they are a business. Just as we are trying to make sales, so are they. Are a company bent on world domination? They would probably like to think so, but so do all the other business out there. Look at Google vs Facebook in the social media race. There will always another company with another idea that is ready to take it’s place. That’s the wonderful thing about it. There will always be opportunities ahead. Do I agree with everything that they do? No. But then, I don’t agree with everything the company that I work for does. Some things work. Some don’t. But if we want to see books then we have to go along for the ride and work to get the outcome we want. Great post!

    • Teagan – Thank you so much for stopping by. You’ve said it so well. As many things as Amazon does right, there are a lot of things that rub against the grain. But it’s business. And at least they’re trying to be proactive in this time of change. I can’t help but admire that fact.

  • Amazon is stirring up controversy…but that’s business for you. I have no quarrel with them right now. Publishers who moan and groan about what Amazon is doing might need to revamp their selling techniques.
    Free enterprise system is still alive in the world of business.

  • It shows me that you’ve given your book away for free to almost 5000 people who now will never buy it. And it hasn’t really spurred an increase in sales. Being an author is about both loving what you’re doing but also making money. I don’t care about rankings (certainly not free rankings) if it doesn’t increase my money earning sales. For some of you I know this FREE tactic works well, especially if you have 2-3 books listed. But it’s still an aweful lot of people you have given something to for nothing and who will NEVER buy a book in all likelihood (not just yours but anyones) becasue they have so many free one’s to choose from.

    I feel that we are teaching readers that FREE is okay because we are looking for that instant success. Msot careers take a long time ot build. Taylor Swift for instance started at eight years old. She was not an overnight sensation. JK Rowling had tons of rejection. But she didn’t resort to giving her hard work away for free. I have to add that I have only just self-published my first book this month but I’m not giving any away for free and I’m pricing my book at a fair price. My novella is selling well (I’ve made more than $500 US in 20 days) without giving any away for free except as promotional free reads. Slow and steady wins the race. If the books are good and you are active in promotion and giving those readers who value a FREE book a copy to review, you can build sales slowly and make money.

    • Bronwyn – I respect your opinion. There are many who feel the same way about the free books flooding the book market. Free isn’t always the answer, but I have to say I’ve tried everything over the last year to market this series. The reviewers who have read any of the books have consistently given them high ratings. Yet, I can’t seem to find the readers despite consistent marketing on twitter, facebook, goodreads and guest blogs.

      With more than 10 books for sale my hope is that this free book becomes a loss leader and leads readers not only to the other books in this series, but other series I have available. (Until I receive my royalty statement from my publisher next month I’ll have no way of tracking my traditionally published books.)

      I believe the same readers downloading free books are likely picking up their auto-buy authors at $4.99 a book or more. Yes, many of the readers downloading my book will never read it. They’re drawn to the free download. I know that. I’m betting on percentages. I had NO sales this month until two days after my book went free. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. And I’m seeing more and more sales every day. Again, I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

      I know many authors feel that free is creating expectations in readers and perpetuating the idea that they shouldn’t ever have to buy a book. I don’t believe that. I think the savvy reader who is going to buy across the board sees my promotion for what it is … the opportunity to try a new author without having to plunk down a chunk of change. (And I’ve tried different prices for my books with little or no change in sales.)

      The fact is sales beget sales. But if an author like myself can’t get the sales, they may never get noticed because they never make a list. My book is now on two lists, albeit the free list for contemporary romance and romantic suspense. But it is side by side with the books that are for sale. There is no guarantee that a reader searching those category lists will see my book cover and be intrigued enough to check it out, but it’s my marketing strategy that that will happen.

      Will this work or backfire in my face? Only time will tell. But there’s a reason Amazon is offering authors in the Kindle Select program free days … it works. A few days on a list brings attention to a book and often times sales follow after the free promotion is over. I can only hope that is the case for me.

      Either way, this is a marketing strategy, not just an attempt to raise my rankings.

  • Thank you so much for this post! I never have the ovaries to speak up when people start talking numbers because mine are so…embarrassing, and right now the prevailing theory seems to be that if you aren’t succeeding as a self-pubber, it’s because you’re DOIN IT RONG. Since I don’t know what I’m doing wrong and nothing I’ve changed has helped, that can be frustrating to hear time and again! While I appreciate the fact that self publishing in general is possible and affordable, it can be a confidence killer, just like trad publishing.

    • Jody – LOL! Yeah, Mr. Nina says I have pretty big cojones! But you know, it’s about information and making good decisions based on the facts. Without all of us speaking up about the good and the bad there is no way for people to make a well-informed decision about what is right for their writing career.

      Here’s hoping your marketing efforts pay off soon and you see the big sales as well.

  • Nina, how many titles do you have on Amazon? Oh, just looked back through comments and saw – 10. I’m surprised your aren’t doing better, because you write better than so many who have self-pubbed. I’ve been one of the lucky ones to make enough to barely get by on, which was good because the “day jobs” here aren’t enough to survive on! I wish I could pass on the key to success, but I don’t think there’s one answer. Series do well, and the naughtier the better, although my bestseller at the moment is a sweet Regency. Just keep writing and putting them out there and you should gain traction.

    • Aileen – Thanks. With the number of books I have out there and the marketing strategies I’m working on, I’m sure my sales will improve soon. (And thank you for the compliment on my writing. 😀 )

  • Hi Nina,

    Great post. I don’t have any self-published books, but I do note that when i get royalty statements from my three publishers that Amazon buys represent about 90% of the total. My books are old now and with one publisher, I still manage to get about $1,000. every 90 days. One of the others is up and down and the 3rd, well forget it.

    • Pam – It’s not surprising so many royalties for authors come through Amazon, I think many readers want the one stop shopping they offer. I think we all need to just hang on and ride the wave of change in publication and hope we rise to the surface.

  • Hi Nina!

    I’m late to the discussion, but wanted to thank you for your candor and interesting post, as always.

    I’ve listed two re-releases on Amazon, but doubt I’ll self-publish front titles there, at least for now. I’ve noticed, though, that non-erotic front titles seem to be where most of the money is being made. Exceptions are really graphic erotica titles, which I don’t write.

    Amazon is an industry leader. Should be interesting to see how this all shakes out.


    • Adele – I’m not sure about the genres. It seems there are self-publishing authors rising to the top with a variety both front and backlist titles. It will definitely be interesting to see how this all goes.

  • Great post, Nina. As always, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m still flirting with indie-pubbing. I have rights back on 2 books and if I ever get a break from writing the new stuff, I may revise and Amazon them.

    • Judi – There doesn’t seem to be any rush. New books are going up every day … some of them doing very well. Those backlist titles will wait until your muse needs a short break.

  • I think it is important that people understand what most authors are not making huge sums of money. There’s a been a saying in this industry for years, don’t quit your day job. A few are making excellent money but most just plug along. That doesn’t mean their books aren’t excellent reads, it just means they aren’t making millions.

    My sales are scattered. Some books do better on B&N, some are better sellers on Amazon. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why one sells on B&N and doesn’t sell on Amazon. Is there a difference in the readers?

    My 99 cent books are better sellers than my 100+K books, yet those who read the higher priced books apparently love them. It makes me think that there are readers who only read 99 cent books. Maybe that is all they can afford and there are plenty from which to choose at that price.

    This is a very exciting time for readers and for authors because there is such a wide variety available and something for every budget. And as for free books? They’ve always been there. It’s called the library. I know it’s old fashioned, but millions of readers enjoy the latest greatest authors for free and no one blinks an eye.

    Amazon is the king but I can name quite a few companies that were huge and fell. Competition is a good thing and I think we can all agree that a monopoly isn’t. Amazon isn’t a monopoly, yet, and I doubt they will be. There will be another nipping at their heels.

    The entire industry is in flux. The old traditional publishing houses are trying to catch up, the retailers are trying to figure out how to sell books, and right now, anyone can be an author and put a book online.

    In another year or two, it will settle down. I’m hoping when it does, that my income will be stable, my readers will have found me, and I’ll continue to churn out the quality books that my readers deserve and love.

  • Thanks, Nina, for a really great post.

    As an indie author who started ePubbing last August, I’m still a new kid on the block. This has been an interesting experience watching the sales of my four (so far) ebooks.

    I received my first royalty check from Amazon in December for $226.80. My royalties for January were $333.90. I’m posting these figures so that other new or aspiring authors can see that even a beginner can make a little money in the ePub market. That said, it’s certainly not enough to live on. Will the royalties increase? I’d like to think so, but you never know.

    I know there’s a lot of controversy out there about offering free books. For good or bad, it does work. If I hadn’t offered my short story prequel, Jetting Away, as a freebie, I wouldn’t have all those readers for my contemporary romance novel, Outback Love. As an unknown, I would have remained an unknown. I don’t for one minute believe that offering a prequel for free has stopped readers from buying other books. That said, I know others may feel differently about this issue.

    There are a lot of readers out there and a lot of authors. We’re all trying to find each other. It’s a hit and miss thing, but it’s slowly working. I believe indies have a place in this industry and so do the authors of the big six. We’re not enemies here. The same readers who buy my books keep buying books from their favorite authors. My hope is that someday I’ll be one of their favorite authors too.

    My best wishes to all indie authors and all traditional authors too. We need to remember that it’s all about the readers. We need to strive to write the best books possible and then offer them up for others to read. It’s as simple as that.

    Thanks so much to those who have read this comment. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this amazing ebook industry. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. I hope and pray for great writing careers for us all.

    Thanks again, Nina, for your great post and for the opportunity to comment here.

    • Teri – Thank you for sharing your numbers as well. It is definitely an interesting time in publishing all the way around and the change is not over yet. The trade pub companies are trying to find their way in this new world as well as the digial publishers and indie authors. As I’ve said, it will be an interesting ride for us all.

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

  • Vivienne – It is so sad to see physical bookstores closing. I was in hopes with B&N having in-store help with Nook that they would be able to survive, but it is looking grim for sure. Hopefully their marketing division will figure out how to compete against the Kindle.

    There are many authors doing very well at ARe. That’s another site that offers readers one-stop shopping. I only wish they made it easier for people to upload their own stuff there.

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