Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My KDP Select Experience, and 6 Months of Sales Data

All righty! After six months of self-publishing, and three months of having Demon's Asylum in KDP Select, here are my sales numbers. Hopefully other authors will find this useful when making their publishing decisions.

Note: these number are not that impressive, but I didn't expect they would be. I'm still happy with the progress I'm making, especially as I'm still putting up new fiction every month and drawing new readers. Just remember folks: this is a long tail model. I'm really looking forward to coming back to this article in four and a half years and making a comparison.

First, sales comparisons for 2011 between Amazon and Barnes&Noble. I'm only doing Amazon US, because I didn't keep very good data for the other countries and I really don't have a lot of sales there. I unfortunately did not keep track of week-by-week sales at Amazon US until mid-December, so this is month to month by title:

Not Quite Casper and A Wild Hunt didn't go free on Amazon until November, and I'm assuming not until December on Barnes and Noble (I have to do those through Smashwords). I Burn For You is available to B&N through Smashwords, but it's not available on Amazon. Oddly, my sales at Amazon were better in November than they were in December.

Now for week-by-week. Since B&N only reports to Smashwords once a month, the freebies are all listed on the last week. Amazon's week-by-week numbers are gotten by using the "Prior Six Weeks Royalties" view in KDP and just saving a copy of that every few weeks. This means that there is some overlap month-to-month because the weeks don't always end when the month does. Monthly royalty statement totals are also included just for kicks.

Geargirl released to both Amazon and B&N on 01/15/2012. Demon's Asylum released to KDP Select 01/15/2012. Demon's Asylum had one borrow which netted me $1.60.

February was not a good sales month for me, despite the release of When the Bough Rakes on Feb 1. Demon's Asylum went free Feb 13 and 14. 237 copies were downloaded, and one was sold that week. I had one borrow in Feb which netted me $2.01, only 6 cents cheaper than a sale. Novellas for the win.

March was surprisingly even worse than February for me. The new story for that month, A Kiss Before Coffee, released on Feb 1 and still hasn't sold a single copy at Amazon. I experimented this month with raising the price of Scent and Shadow from $4.99 to $6.99.

And finally, the first two weeks of April. Demon's Asylum went free from April 7 to April 9. There were no borrows or new releases this month, except for Demon's Asylum going up on B&N and Smashwords today. Floggers Last Longer Than Flowers got a new cover as of April 1. Demon's Asylum also got a new cover and slightly altered blurb as of April 1. Scent and Shadow also went back to its previous price of $4.99 on April 1.

So far this year, I've sold 13 copies of Scent and Shadow at Amazon, and 14 at Barnes and Noble. As far as I can tell, having Demon's Asylum in KDP Select hasn't helped the sales of my other titles at Amazon. I do think having it in Select got me more sales of that particular title than I would have otherwise had from Amazon alone, but I don't think it's significantly more than I would have gotten from Amazon and B&N if I'd released it in both places at the same time. Short fiction sales overall (not counting Demon's Asylum): 42 at Amazon in 2012, 54 at B&N in 2012.

In short, my fiction sells slightly better at B&N than at Amazon overall. Therefore, even though I almost certainly saw more sales of Demon's Asylum at Amazon than I would have without enrolling it in KDP Select, I wouldn't do it again. I would not be surprised if the first three months of Demon's Asylum being at B&N net me more than half as many sales as I had in Select, which would basically mean Select didn't lose me many sales, but didn't really gain me any, either. (I'll report back in three months and let you know.) I may have gotten some more exposure with Select, but I'm not sure it's really worth the trouble and annoying my other readers.

Now, I'm sure that Select is great for more mainstream fiction. However, I write niche fiction. I write erotica, and kink, and GLBT, and vampires that are actually monsters. So I do better by getting my fiction into as many markets as possible, the better to find my niche market readers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


So my plan of getting up early has been working. Most mornings I get up at 5am, get around, feed the dog and let him outside, and am at my computer ready to write by 5:30am. Then I write until 6:30am, when the dog and I go pile on the bed and cuddle with The Husband for 15-20 mins.

I have to say, I really like this.

I don't have any preconceived notions of what I should be doing at that hour. (Other than sleeping, of course.) I don't feel like I should be doing dishes or laundry or other chores. It's a brand new habit. I'm finding it very refreshing.

My word count average is my usual 500/hour. I don't write fast, but I like to think I save myself time later by needing less revision.

I'm dedicating mornings to working on the next novel, and using my afternoon time and weekends for other projects or for publishing stuff. I spent this last weekend putting finishing touches on an anthology submission and getting Demon's Asylum ready for general release. This coming weekend will probably be for making a cover for next month's short story release, and possibly updating my website, which I really need to do but have been putting off.

I may not be up to my goal of 4000/week, but I really feel like I'm making progress. And I really need to start that word count log I've been meaning to do, too...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fangs, Easter Bunny!

Now through Monday, my historical paranormal gay male erotic romance novella Demon's Asylum is available free on Kindle!

Set in London in 1794, this Aether Vitalis story follows George Wickham, a human who can see supernatural creatures for what they are. When a truth spell gets Wickham thrown in Bedlam asylum, he's dismayed to discover that his doctor, Thomas Thornton, is a vampire in hiding.

Thornton, a murderer with a tragic past, is intrigued first by Wickham's ability, but that quickly takes second place to the camaraderie of shared secrets; not only can Wickham see monsters, he's gay--a secret which could destroy his social standing and everything he's worked for since his lover Edwin died.

But somewhere out there is the person who set him up, and this unknown enemy isn't finished with Wickham yet. As the stakes get raised, Wickham's only ally is the vampire he's falling in love with. But with Thornton becoming increasingly possessive, is Wickham's greatest threat from his persecutor, or his lover?

Non-Kindle owners, don't worry--Demon's Asylum will be available at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords starting April 15th!

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Sale: Duty and Desire

I'm very pleased to announce my latest short story sale, once again to the great folks at Cleis Press. My story "Christmas Presents" will be appearing in the military erotica anthology Duty and Desire, edited by Kristina Wright.

For those of you who've read Scent and Shadow, "Christmas Presents" follows Amanda's brother Robbie Bairns and the Christmas of 1998 when he "couldn't get leave" to come home for a visit. This is not an Aether Vitalis story per se, as it has no paranormal elements, but does give a little glimpse into the lives of a couple of the minor characters from the novel.

Duty and Desire is due out sometime this fall. Here's a look at the table of contents:

Introduction: Beyond the Uniform
The Long Ride Home by Delilah Devlin
Night Witch by Sacchi Green
Shattered by Shanna Germain
The Grunt and the Ditty Bop by Craig J. Sorensen
Fighting for Fresno by Ericka Hiatt
Homecoming by Kelly Maher
Passing Out Passion by Lucy Felthouse
Against the Wall by Catherine Paulssen
The Thunder of War by Anya Richards
Sergeant Rae by Toby Rider
Dead On Her Feet by Elizabeth L. Brooks
Out of Time by J.K. Coi
Done by Charlotte Stein
Wilco by Christine d’Abo
Christmas Presents by Mercy Loomis
Snake Dance by Lynn Townsend
Home by Michelle Augello-Page
For Better or Worse by Kristina Wright

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Evil

I'm listening to some lectures on evil. I've only finished one lecture and we're mostly done with the second. (The Husband and I listen while in the car.)

I'm not a big believer in "evil." I believe in selfishness and apathy and ruthlessness and lack of empathy, but "evil" is so abstract a term as to be mostly useless. In my opinion, it's a crutch people use to define something they don't agree with. I like to be more concrete than that.

Also, "evil" is highly subjective. It changes depending on the person and the culture and the place within (or without) that culture. Whereas genocide, for example, is genocide no matter which way you slice it, and regardless of what a particular person or culture thinks of it. At least when you're talking about something concrete you can have a meaningful discussion about it.

Of course, I like to explore moral ambiguity. My vampires are a great example of this. From a vampire's point of view, he's a predator doing exactly what he was meant to do: prey on humans. I mean, the cow that provided my tasty steak dinner might have a few things to say about me and evil were we able to ask her. But I like to think I have my redeeming qualities, and my vampires do too. What people seem to mean when they talk about evil are blatant, obvious things. The devil that hath a pleasing face interests me much more.