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.

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