Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Sold 45,303 Copies In January

I’ve just got my Kindle figures for January 2011 and I’m happy to say that I sold 45,303 copies – a slight increase on December.

My bestseller was The Basement which topped the Kindle UK Top 100 for the month. Not included in my sales figures are Hard Landing, which is at the Number 2 position. Hard Landing is the first in my Spider Shepherd undercover cop series. My publisher Hodder and Stoughton have cut the price to 49p and are continuing to keep the price low for at least another month while we see if it feeds through to increased sales of the rest of the series. I would estimate that we’re selling more than 600 copies a day of Hard Landing. The rest of the series do seem to be moving up the rankings, but slowly! I think that reflects the fact that they are still quite expensive, with some of them actually selling for more than price of the real book.

In second place, sales-wise, is my vampire story, Once Bitten. It sold 13,101 copies, just less than half of The Basement sales. Prior to Christmas, Once Bitten was selling twice as many as The Basement, and I’m still not sure why there was a turnaround. Both are getting lots of reviews (mainly four and five star) with The Basement already passing the 100 review mark with Once Bitten not far behind!

In third place, sales-wise, is my science fiction novel, Dreamer’s Cat, with sales of 3,761. For two weeks I had priced Dreamer’s Cat at £1.99 and that definitely hit sales so I have put it back to 72p which will, I think, increase sales this month. We’ll see.

My Bangkok novel Private Dancer only sold 185 copies during January, but the price is just under £4 so that’s not surprising.

The one book that I am disappointed with is my Bangkok detective novel Bangkok Bob and The Missing Mormon. It sold just 169 copies. For most of the month I sold the book at £2.99, which I think is a fair price but it hardly sold and only received eight reviews. I really don’t understand why it isn’t selling as I think it’s a good book. I have just cut the price to 75p (showing as 86p after VAT and delivery) to see if that helps, and in two days it moved from about 800 in the UK Kindle ranking to 400 or so. But that’s still only a few copies a day.

My American sales are still miniscule compared with my UK sales. In all I sold 856 copies through Kindle US in January, with The Basement, at 347 copies, doing best and Once Bitten close behind at 316. I don’t understand why Once Bitten isn’t selling better – it’s priced low (99 cents) and is getting great reviews, including four and a half stars from the Paranormal Romance Guild who featured the book on their website at http://www.paranormalromanceguild.com/booksonreview2011.htm

It’s still a mystery to me why I’m not selling better in the US and I’m currently talking to eBook guru Joe Konrath in the States about successful selling strategies. Watch this space!


  1. Greetings from America--

    I don't mean to complain--it's great you're doing this. I like the transparency. Nice!

    However, your numbers would be more meaningful if you posted revenue, not copies sold.

    Selling more copies than your competitor isn't impressive if the competitor's charging more per copy, and earning more money overall.

    Plus, Amazon's royalty for books in the $2.99 to $9.99 range is 70%. Under $2.99, it's 35%.

    Say one author sells 6,000 books on Kindle for $0.99.

    His earnings: (6,000 x $.99) x .35 = $2,079.

    Another author sells 1,000 books at $2.99.

    His earnings: (1,000 x $2.99) x .70 = $2,093.

    The first author's selling six times as many books, but the second author's still beating him.

    Not to be blunt, but most of your books are selling cheap. It's hard to benchmark where you are.

    I know you're trying to get name recognition and market share at the moment, but the title of your blog is "a million dollars," right? :)

    Can you report your crass, vulgar, money-in-your-pocket numbers per title, per month?

    Thanks, John

  2. Bangkok Bob is excellent but £2.99 may be too much for a short story. Are you able to do BB and PD as a collection at, say £3.50/£4? The two books complement each other well and could serve as a 'gateway' into the other books.

    Re Hard Landing. People may be put off by the formatting errors in the comments and reviews. Hodder haven't submitted the fixed version yet (according to Amazon at least) and this *may* put potential buyers off.

    Hope that's helpful and constructive :)

  3. Hi John -

    Okay, I'll post soon on income. But yes, you are absolutely right. Joe Konrath sells a quarter of my numbers (about 10,000 copies a month) but his income is probably more than three times mine!

    Hi Craig. Hmmmm. That's an idea. Actually I have published Bangkok Bob as a 'real' book in Thailand and it doesn't feel short. It is more of a novel than a novella, and my aim was always to write a story that could be read over a day or two.... But let me think about doing a double volume. That might work....

    I'm told that the formatting errors on all my Hodder and Stoughton thrillers have been fixed but I'm in to see them next week so will confirm that!

    Yes, very helpful and constructive and very much appreciated, thanks!

  4. Loving the Spider Shepherd novels, recently treat myself to a Kindle and i am pleased to say my first and so far, only purchases were the Spider novels i didnt have a paperback copy of, my only complaint would be that sometimes words are joined together or cut in half (maybe a format error?). Other than that keep up the good work, looking forward to the next Spider novel, he definitely needs to start romancing Katra

  5. Hi WN - I'm told that the formatting problems have been resolved - did you buy the books recently?

  6. Yes bought the books at the end of january so i am guessing the format was fixed after this date

  7. Yes, it took them a while to get it sorted! Email me your address at stephenleather at yahoo dot com and I'll post a real book to you by way of apology!

  8. I was on a business trip to London two weeks ago and saw the #1 ranking for In the Basement. I downloaded it and it was great! I'm now onto Dreamer's Cat and am loving it. Stephen, you have a great writing style, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your work. I'm also telling all my American friends to get your books!