It's been exactly two months since I self-published my first book and I wanted to share how many I sold. Like with my post on spending, this is not something I see a lot from new writers. You see it with more successful ones, and of course it's super inspiring. It seems like the majority of those I see who post their earnings are usually trying to sell their courses/books on how to sell books, as proof that their methods work. This doesn't mean they don't have good ideas that will work, and I do follow a lot of their advice.
However, I feel like all of this sets up unrealistic expectations. You see people talk about launching with dozens of reviews and tons of sales on their first day. But what about those who don't? What does that look like? Is it even possible to sell more if you don't sell a lot in the first few days? How do I know if this is what I should expect the first few months with only one book out and no email list? Or if I'm doing much better or much worse?
All of those who figured out how to have 4+ figure months, had to start somewhere. That is what I need to see. That will reassure me more than seeing what they make now. The data nerd side of me wants to see their progress in order to set reasonable goals for myself.
So without further ado, here are my stats for the first two months:
Books sold in April: 5
Free books downloaded in April: 118
KU pages read in April: 113
Books sold in May: 3
KU pages read in May: 76
Total royalties: $10.49 + £1.85
Disappointing? I'd be lying if I didn't say yes. However, a big part of me is thrilled that anyone even bought it! I know some of my disappointment is coming from my frustration with having discovered so many great resources after it was already out. I feel like I missed the opportunity for a big launch.
I know I need a baseline to measure the effectiveness of new efforts. I also know this is a long-term game, and the more I publish the better it will get (because that's what all those who talk about their impressive earnings assure me!). Finally, I know that I can always "relaunch" my first book at a later date (and possibly even rewrite it if I determine that was part of the issue).
I just wish I had seen more "reality check/baseline" posts like this as well in my early research, to balance out the "look how much you can make self-publishing!" ones. If all you see are big numbers, you'll feel even worse about your small ones.