Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Gr.I.P.E. (Great Indie Pub Experiment)

Last quarter, I announced that while I was quite happy with my current publishers, I'd decided to take the plunge and go "indie"...and that I would post the results right here for all to see.

After starting off by listening to quite a few authors who had already embarked on this journey, I made my goals small. I figured sales would start off quite slowly and build over time as backlist (and experience in target audience) grew. I also speculated that while sales would increase, time spent on promotion and production would decrease.

As a reminder, here were the goals from my last post:

Total available titles: 6
Total hours spent (per week) on promotion, learning curve, production: 40
Total sales projected: 30

Not too impressive, granted. I like to be realistic, and with no prior experience with indie publishing, I figured the first quarter would be high on up-front time investment and low on sales return. A sound concept, but I'm happy to report that there were greater returns for lesser time outlays than anticipated.

Here are the results from June to August:

Total available titles: 9
Total hours spent (per week) on promotion, learning curve, production: 10
Total sales: 375

Not bad! I spent 1/4 of the projected time to earn 10 times the sales. All in all, I was darn impressed by this, especially considering I spent less than one hour per MONTH actually promoting the titles. As expected, sales started quite gradually and have sloped upward. The bulk of sales came from two specific titles my husband wrote to target a high-selling market: cowboy erotica. Those two titles represent almost 75% of the total.

(Right: our best selling title thus far, Cowboy Comes Calling)

Next quarter, I plan to release some things I have sitting in the wings, but my husband and I will experiment more with some of the hotter-selling genres. While my time outlay was small, I need to decrease it further because of upcoming commitments. I am also going to try dropping all promotion of these titles, save a blurb on my blog when they are released. Crazy? Maybe. So here are my projections:

Total available titles: 12
Total hours spent per week (writing not included): 5
Total sales projected: 500

What do you think? Can I hit the goal with no promotion?


Casea Major said...

That's amazing. Congratulations. If you hit the right market sales can be good. I will be interested to see how your sales continue to grow. What kind of marketing exactly did you do?

Brenda said...

Wow, way to go. And yes, please keep us posted.

ChristineWarner said...

Wow, great return for your time. I'll be very interested in seeing where this goes. Congrats on your experiment.

Jennifer said...

This information is extremely interesting. I haven't seen such stats on ebooks yet. I'd also like to hear how you "market" and where you think your hours have been best spent. And, how do you set your price point? Obviously, writing in a popular genre helps. Good luck. Which electronic publisher are you using?

J.Rose Allister said...

Thanks for the comments! I've done almost zero promotion. Just quick blog mentions when a few of these titles came out.

The places I distribute are Kindle, B&N, and Smashwords.