First off, let me apologize for not blogging for a few weeks. Between the end of December and the middle of February we had four books scheduled for release, and working on these needed to take priority.
I often get asked by authors who query us how our books are doing. It’s a fair question; small presses do go out of business, even the more established small presses can have problems, and small presses in general do not have the same resources for things like marketing that the larger publishers have. So in this blog I would like to share some information about how our books are doing. Next week I’ll discuss some lessons we’ve learned from the past year.
- Hurricane, by Jenna-Lynne Duncan, has been selling on average 30-50 copies a month, with over 70 copies sold each of the first two months. I attribute this to the fact the author has been aggressively pursuing bloggers to review the book. Almost all of the reviews have been positive, suggesting that taking a chance on the manuscript was a good choice. Interestingly, over 60% of our sales for Hurricane have been the eBook (I will discuss this in next week’s blog).
- Tears for the Mountain, by Chris Rakunas, sold over 80 copies in its first two weeks and was briefly ranked #1 in the Social Policy category on Amazon. In addition, Chris and Dr. Schroering were recently interviewed about their trip to Haiti on WINK-TV.
- Our other two novels, which were released in November and December of 2011 (Dragon’s Teeth by Suzanne van Rooyen and Fugo by Elizabeth Young), have been averaging 10-20 copies sold a month, with sales of both starting to pick up. I expect both of these books to do well as we start getting the word out about them.
- While our short story collections each only sell a few copies a month (with the exception of the release month), two of our three short story collections are profitable at this point. I think short stories are important, and one of my goals for this year is to find a way to publish them in a more cost-effective manner.
The Author’s Guild defines a successful book as one that sells 5,000 copies. So the question becomes how many books do we need to sell in a given time period for our books to be successful. The answer points to one of the advantages of selling books through online bookstores. For brick-and-mortar bookstores, your book is usually available only for a short time period (4-6 months) before it is replaced by other books. For online bookstores, depending on the publisher, your book can be available for the duration of your publishing contract. Assuming a 5-year contract, this means a book would need to sell 85 copies a month on average to be successful. I feel these sales levels are achievable for all of our books. That said, I do feel that a publisher being actively involved in marketing is important. Thus, one change we are making in the short term is to reduce the number of new titles we’re going to publish so that we can focus more of our efforts on marketing.