I'm gonna ramble on a bit here. It may or may not help you, because I don't know your genre or if you are doing fiction vs non-fiction. So what I say, may apply to you and your situation or it may not. Every genre and every niche in every genre has different results.
The first thing I need to comment on is this:
Do have any idea how many authors sell 1,000 books a day? Not many, and certainly not any self published on Kindle. Stephen King does. J.K.Rowlings does. E.L.James does.
A book selling 8 or 10 books a day, is going to be ranked around 100,000 sales rank. That is VERY high ranked on amazon and it's REALLY hard to do.
Look at the sales rank of the books. There are more the 8 MILLION self-published books on Amazon with a sales rank of a million or lower. That means there are about 7 million authors who are selling 1 or fewer copies of their book, per MONTH. And you think 1,000 books a day is possible? You need to take a reality check.
Amazon has several of my books listed as "best seller" for their genres, and most are ranked top 3 to 8 in the top 100 of the genres in question, but here's the thing: those same books RARELY sell more then a single copy a WEEK, and they have a sales rank of 1,000,000 - they are bottom feeders, and that means the 90 lesser ranked ones on the 100 lists of those genres are selling under 1 copy a month AT BEST.
The Amazon "best seller" tag is very deceptive, because it only means, that I sold 3 copies this month, while everyone else in my genre sold 2 copies or fewer this month.
When I first started publishing on Kindle I used to see all the "Amazon best seller" tags and I thought it was like NYT Bestseller where they are selling ten of thousands of copies... then my books started out ranking the "best sellers" after only selling 3 or 5 copies and I was like: what the heck? It was a real eye openers for me once I realized that being a best seller in a genre on Amazon meant diddly squat. I used to read all the blogs and see authors say "best seller in blah, blah category on Amazon" and I got all excited over it. Then I started publishing on Kindle and saw what it ACTUALLY meant. I went through the whole "why is my book not selling" thing too, then I realized, all the hype on those blogs was just hype and nothing more.
So I stopped reading author blogs and pretty much anything claiming to give advice about Kindle. I started realizing the only way to learn it was by doing it, and testing things out and figuring out what worked for me and my books.
A quick thought: the average author will not see an income that is equivalent of part time minimum wage ($7.50 an hour for 20 hours a week or $7,800 a year) for AT LEAST 3 years after the publication of their FIRST book, and rarely will see anything close to a full-time minimum wage income ($7.50 an hour for 40 hours a week or $15,600 a year) until after the publication of their 30th (year THIRTY) book is published.
Another thought: there are EXACT THREE (3) Kindle authors who have ever made a million dollars, and according to Amazon's public release of their IRS tax records, fewer then 10 (TEN) Kindle authors have ever earned more then $300k a year, and fewer then a thousand (1,000) have ever earned a 6 figure ($100,000) income in a single year, with more then 800,000 of then earning UNDER five thousand ($5,000) income per year.
Yes that DOES include all the tens of thousands of Erotica authors who run around FALSELY CLAIMING to make a 6 figure income on Kindle. They are not anyone can find that out by reading Amazon's public release of their tax records which list what they pay to who. All those authors claiming they are making 6 figure incomes in Erotica are lying so they can sell a book on how to make money selling Erotica. Don't believe them. it's a load of hype.
Don't believe any body claiming to tell you how to become a "Kindle Millionaire' either. Because there have only ever been exactly THREE Kindle millionaires. The first one was a 14 year old kid who used his "spare change" to take out a $12k full page add in The New York Times, and he made his first million, not on book sales, but on movie royalties.
The second "Kindle Millionaire" used the $25k in spare savings he won off of Survivor reality show, to buy several hundred thousand fake 5 star reviews.
Leaving only 1 (ONE) single, solitary, Kindle Millionaire, who actually wasn't a millionaire before writing her book. And she wrote 8 vampire novels, and and published all 8 of them the same day: conveniently, a week after Twilight ended. Three months later she became the FIRST and ONLY self-made Kindle Millionaire.
It's a pretty big eye openers to know the actual facts, behind the hyperbole.
Go back and look at those numbers, and then think about this: Amazon only has a little over 800,000 Kindle authors, and yet, 800,000 authors are listed by Amazon, in their tax records, as earning under $5k a year.
All those books hyping you into thinking you can make lots of money fast on Kindle, are just that: hype.
Hype is just a fancy word for a lie.
Those books are lying to you and Amazon's tax records prove it.
Do not believe the authors running around bragging that they are getting loads and loads of sales. Every time I see an author saying that, I go look at their amazon account and check the sales ranks of their books.
Did you know that a book ranked at 200,000 is considered to be a best seller in MOST of the genres categories on amazon. Do you know how many sales it takes to rank at 200,000 on Amazon? 2 to 3 sales a week. Or about $6 income if your price at $2.99, or about .90c income if you price at .99c.
I have a how-to write book, that sold only 1 copy and it out ranks, the top 8 "best sellers" below it, including the 4 top selling "how to write Erotica" books, every one of which written by an author with no Erotica on their author profiles and yet claiming to tell you how to make thousands a week/month writing Erotica.
WHERE is their proof?
Okay, you say you keep hearing authors talk about 200 sales day one. Ask them to prove it, by looking at the sales rank of that book.
I had a book that did sell 198 copies day one. I'll tell you how I did it, but you ain't gonna like it, because I guarantee, you won't be able to repeat it. That book, ranked 4,000 on Amazon, for about 12 days. It now, a year later, sells 1 to 30 copies a week and ranks 200,000 to 800,000 depending on if it sells 1 copy or 30 copies that month.
How did it sell 198 copies the first day, 114 copies day 2, and then taper down to only a few copies each week after that?
I wrote in 2007 and published in on fanfic .net. Over the years it was read by about 7,000 people. In 2011, I deleted it off the internet, in preparation to publish as an actual book. It originally was going to be released on Kindle in 2012, but unexpected long term health issues (including being paralyzed from a back injury for 5 months and then several more months relearning to walk) put it off. All my fans from fanfic .net (all 7k of them) follow me on Twitter, FB, and/or Tumblr, and so I update them daily on my life and book progress, and in August 2014, I announce that, that the long awaited book was about to be released, and that for the first 2 days it would be .99c and then on day 3 raise to $7.99. I told them the release date, and on September 1st 2014, they were on Amazon, screaming fangirls, buying that book like crazy.
I have never before or since been able to duplicate that sort of day one sales rate.
170+ books on Kindle and ONLY 1 ever sold 100+ copies in a single day EVER, and only 2 ever sold more then 12 copies the first day, and MOST didn't sell more then a dozen copies their first month.
I can also tell you that it's highly unlikely that any of my books will ever sell more then 7k copies total in their lifetime, because, I have almost exactly 7k fans and I don't promote my books to any one but them. And I do that by posting the announcement to Tumblr, which pings it to Twitter, which pings it to FB. (So 1 post gets posted 3 times)
I do no promotions, I don't post on FB groups and I don't do paid ads. I do use Twitter as a chat room and am daily hitting Twitter's 100 posts per hour limit. I NEVER post links to my books. I simply tell my followers "I published a new book today", half the time I don't even tell them the title. If they want to find it, they have to go to Amazon, hope they remember my author name and then, look for the newest release day.
And it took me close to 20 years to build up that fan following (I wrote in print since 1978, and I've been publishing fanfiction online since 1997.) So, my having a book that sod just under 200 copies day one, was a result of several decades of building up a fan following and inadvertently sending them into a frenzy, by a delay in the book release. But that was the only time I've ever had a book start out lie that, and it wasn't my first book, and it was the reprint of something I had written a decade earlier, so it already had fans waiting for it.
Usually when you hear that term, it means "I started writing Erotica"
I don't have an email list.
I don't have a newsletter either.
So this is one of those: it works for some and not for others, sort of answer.
Perhaps the way I use Twitter is similar to this concept?
Would I have more sales if I added an email list and started writing a newsletter? I don't know. Maybe. I never tried. I'd probably just have the same 7k followers I already have, so it'd be a waste of my time.
The other question would then be: but do I need an email list? Or is writing a newsletter just a waste of my time because it is me writing something that is not a part of my next book?
I am of the belief that more important then marketing your first book, is the act of writing your second book. And then once your second book is out, more important than marketing it, is writing your third book.
I set my goal at publishing no fewer then 1 book a month and strive for 1 book a week. My best week was 5 books in a single week.
(Note: I'm a full time author, I've been doing this for 28 years, I had secretary training and type 91 words a minute [5,000 words an hour], and I write for 8 hours a day [averaging 20 to 30 thousand words a day], 5 days a week, all year long. It takes a long time to be able to publish that many books that fast - think of typing like any other exercise and don't over do it when just starting out, your can pull the muscles of your fingers same as a baseball player can pull a leg muscle - I know, been there, done that, it is not fun having your fingers in a cast for 12 weeks. DO NOT try to publish multiple books a week/month early on in your writing career - build your finger muscles before typing for long periods of time.)
On Amazon, if you are publishing frequently (meaning a new book at least every 90 days) Amazon is always going to be promoting your book in the new release section.
The books that get the highest rate of promotion on Amazon's new release page, is the direct to Kindle Unlimited new releases, which Amazon promotes the heck out of for the first 5 days. This may or may not equal more sales depending on the genre and time of years.
Amazon has two other new release sections: Released in the last 30 days, and Released in the last 90 days (they used to have a 60 day list as well, but it was recently done away with and no word if it'll return). You book will come up in these lists as well.
Here's where the write, publish, write, publish, write, publish, write, publish, write, publish, write, publish, repeat method comes into your favor: The more books you have in the new release sections, the higher ranked your AUTHOR PAGE becomes on Amazon and the more likely you are to get sales.
So if you have a book released every 30 days (I'm releasing a 190 to 230 page novel once every month) you will always be in both the 30 day list and the 90 day list.
And if you have a KU book released every 7 days (I'm releasing a 25 to 45 page short story or novella weekly) you will always be in both the KU 5 day list.
IMPORTANT: Don't spam Amazon with useless "empty" 10 page $2.99 books. (They'd been flooding Amazon in droves the past few weeks) It's a recent trend that has been flooding Amazon, authors trying to game the new release system (and KUs 10% reader pay out, but forcing Amazon to pay them just for a reader opening the book [1 page opened = 10% of a 10 page book read]. Amazon has wised up to that scam and all of us authors are being punished for it - they are lowering the payout and changing out the payouts are determined.) If you start flooding Amazon with lots of spam booklets, you'll just end up with your books blocked and you isp blocked from creating more books on Amazon. Do make sure your books are REAL content and not "fluff". Amazon has been cracking down hard and heavy on the super short spammy fluff booklets lately.
This works better for fiction then it does for non-fiction (I write both)
I think, my success comes from the fact that I have no interest at all in making money. I have Autism, my concept of money is somewhat "warped" I am old enough to be the parent of my caretakers and yet I require 24 hour adult supervision. My caretakers do all the handling of money and buying and stuff like that, because I can't. I couldn't tell you one bill from another. The concept of money is somewhat beyond my abilities.
So you see, I'm not trying to make money. I write what I enjoy writing. I write Unicorn P-o-r-n and s-e-x with Dungeons and Dragons style Elves and wizards and, weird stories with talking cats and you know, really not mainstream stuff. I write Bizarro and Monster P-o-r-n. It's just plan fun to write. And I write it wither it makes me any money or not.
And that's the thing right there:
Because I am insanely in love with the stories I write, I'm able to just write tons of them. One after another. I'm not stopping to think: "Is this going to sell?" or "Is there a market for this?" or "How am I going to write the blurb so it's SEOd best?'
All I do it write things that I enjoy writing about (ie sex with monsters) and publish it, the write the next onem, publish that, and write the next one, and so on. I'm not thinking about target audiences, marketing, SEO, or anything else. All I'm thinking is: "OMG! I just thought of another hot super smexxy monster! I must write a story about him!"
In other words: write the think you love. Write what you are passionate about. Just take your favorite thing and run with it and write as much of it as you can. Just write and write and write and write, and keep on writing and in between writing, publish every single thing you write.
Eventually you are going to reach a time when, you've written so many things, that, something is going to sell every day, and once someone buys one book, they'll come back for the next one and they'll tell their friends and their friends will buy it too, and it'll just snowball from there.
But like I said... this is what worked for me and everyone's different, so it may not work for you. I don't know. I'm just throwing it out there and maybe, something I say will help you out in some way.
Yes, this, is the thing I always worry about.
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to agree with BigFrank.
Yes, I say keep going, because that's what I do, but then on the other hand, I'm writing something that I'm gonna write with it succeeds or fails. I don't care one way or the other because I'm not writing it for the money, I just love writing it. It's fun to write.
Because I'm not marketing and I'm writing genres that really aren't popular, most of my books are seriously low ranked bottom feeders. I'm only making a full time income off them, because I have so many titles that it only takes selling 1 or 2 copies of each title a week, to total a livable income. I'm not rich, but I pay the bills and have money left over for my hobbies.
My definition of success, is being able to do what I love and get paid for it. I'm doing that. But I know several authors have come right out and sad to me, that I don't match their definition of success, because they want the big house, the big boat, a million dollars, whatever. Me? I don't want those things. I build art cars in my spare time and I grew roses and I collect comic books and I make enough money to feed that hobby. So I see myself as successful, because I reached the goals I had. maybe my goals aren't as extravagant or as lofty as the goals others have, so because I set my goals on a lower level, I was able to feel successful, by my definition of success, faster.
So, I ALSO say to someone: keep going, but then... if their goal was writing for money, well, to keep going may not be in their best interest. There are hundreds of reasons why this could be the wrong career, wrong genre, or wrong niche for them. I don't know them or their life or what they write, so I don't know if their book is a good fit for them.
I do care. I don't want to see people get hurt, and that's why I tell it like it is. That's why I DON'T hype up the good parts of this career. That's why I DO point out the bad sides of this career. Hey, if you are looking for someone to pat you on the back and tell you, you'll be a millionaire by sunrise, there's plenty of phooney books and blogs and websites and forum posts and youTube videos out there that are more then willing to do that, just so long as you pay them enough money.
But money is not my motive, so I have no incentive to lie to you and tell you that you'll make millions if you keep at it long enough. I've already said, and I'll say it again, there are only THREE Kindle Millionaires on the planet, amazon's IRS public taxe record release PROVES that to be the truth, and no amount of scam artists, fanning your pride and hyping you into a frenzy is ever going to change that.
If you come to me, asking me what it is I do, well, then, I'll tell you what it is I do, and I'll tell you my results. But fact is, you won't like it. Because, in spite of my being one of the top "experts" in my genre, I am making less money then the average part-time worker at WalMart does, and that bothers a lot of people, who had the false impression that I MUST be a millionaire because I'm up at the top.
Fact is, far too many people are under the false impression that author is just another word for millionair. Too many people are thinking, they can write 2 books a year and earn $1,000 or more a week.
NEWSFLASH: according to Amazon's publicly released tax records, there are 800,000 authors making UNDER $5,000 a year, and that INCLUDES, just about every single author who is selling a "how-to" book, tell you how to make $1,000 a week, $5,000 a week, 6 figures a year, etc.
EVERY ONE OF THOSE BOOKS IS LYING TO YOU and Amazons tax records PROVE it. Those authors ARE NOT making $1,000 a week selling Erotica on Kindle, because if they were, Amazon would have said so, in their tax report.
Now you can get mad at me for speaking the truth all you want. Fact is, I'm not gonna lei to you and tell you, that you are going to make $1k a week. Because you're not. yes, you can make a good income. Yes, you can earn minimum wage and supplement your day job. Yes a lot of people a doing it. no, MOST people are never going to make more then $5k a year. Why? Because most of them were looking to make fast cash and were not willing to beat the dead horse with a stick.
If you want to succeed in this business, that's what you have to do. Yes, it's hard, yes, it's long hours, yes, there are a lot of easier ways to make money. No you should not be writing anything if all you want to do it make money.
NEWSFLASH: writing is not something you do to make money, it's something you do to share a part of yourself with others, It's something you do, to tell people: this is a part of me, I created this, this is what I believe.
I want people to succeed, and well, if their definition of success is money, and their book isn't making money, then, something has to change. Maybe they are priced wrong, maybe the book cover is off for the genre, maybe there are too many books in the niche already, maybe the niche is so small that they will never reach readers without heavy duty marketing, who knows.
Most likely, the problem is they were deluded by false hype and came into writing, thinking that it was an easy road to wealth, so they are jumping in with very unrealistic expectations about what their results will be. They expect to sell a 100 books day one of the first release of their first book. They don't consider the fact that they are unknown and no one has any reason to even look for them, let alone buy their books. They don't consider the amount of work and years it takes to build up a fan following before their books will sell right out the gate. They don't consider that the average author will be published for 3 years and have a minimum of 30 titles published before they'll hit the minimum wage make of $15k income a year.
No. They don't think about those things, because no one is telling them those things. The real authors, the ones making the money, are too busy writing their next book to spend time telling them these things, and so the scam artists take advantage of that, puffing up huge unrealistic lies about the kind of incomes and sales we authors get on Kindle.
I do think is requires a lot of soul searching to figure out if it's better for you to stick with it until you can make it succeed or toss it aside and try for something else. Some will choice one way and others will go the other way. Everyone has different goals and reasons for what they are doing so, there's no simple answer here.
If you are not enjoying the path you have to take, then you should choose a new path, at least, I would. I believe that enjoying what you do on your road to success, is more important then finally reaching that success. If you are not enjoying your road to success, it may simply mean you are on the wrong path for you.
Maybe writing just ain't your thing. Nothing wrong with that. Everybody has a few things they are good at and lots of things they can't do as well. Some times it's just a matter of trying out lots of new things until you find the one that fits you best.
I used to dream of being a ballet dancer. Then I started trying to dance. Didn't take me long to realize, that was not gonna happen. Ballet was not my thing no matter how much I tried to make it work. Problem is, one symptom of Autism is lack of coordination. I have trouble just walking across the room without falling flat on my face. I have to walk with a cane if I want to stay upright for long. So, ballet, was never gonna happen.
For me, writing was my thing. Writing came naturally to me, partly because I have Autism with Selective Mutism and I have to type to communicate, otherwise I'd never "say" anything at all.
Early on in my writing endeavors I was spending a lot of time planning, researching, outlining, testing, creating worlds, creating characters, etc... but then I realized something very important: writing is writing.
What does that mean? It means this:
Sure those are things needs to be down at the beginning of each and every book you write, so that you know what you'll write and where the story will end up, but, you can spend weeks, even months, creating the perfect characters, giving them the perfect world to live in, outlining the perfect story for them, daydreaming about all the readers who'll love your story, but guess what? If you don't actually write the damned story, then all that planning was a great, big, fat waste of time.
Only the act of writing is going to get that story written. Everything else, if you spend too much time doing them, is just your procrastinating and putting off the "work" of writing.
Only sitting your ass down and actually WRITING something, gets the story written. And sad fact of the matter is that a lot of first time writers, completly forget that.
I've had people come up to me and ask me to read their manuscript, to see if I think it's any good (it happens a few times a month, and they'll tell me, how they took 10 months off from work to write it. Or how, they started writing it as a teenager and they only just finished now that they've retired.
I mean, I get that it's a labor of love and life happens and you have to work around it, but good god, 4 decades to write one book? Ten months to write a book? You really couldn't turn the TV off long enough to write?
Oh yeah, that's a biggie. I probably should mention here that I don't have a TV. I always start talking about TV when people tell me how long it took them to write their book and they start flipping out, saying they want advice on writing faster, well, Sugar Pie, I'm gonna tell you right now, the sure fire way to have 5 extra free hours of writing time, each and every day: take a sledge hammer to your TV. That's it. That's all you have to do.
And next thing they do is bitch and moan about "Oh, I can't give up my soaps!" or "But my game shows!" or "But I have to watch Dr. Phil!" or "I can't go to bed without the 11 o'clock news!" or "My sports!" or "My sitcoms!" or "But I can't miss CSI!" and usually it's one person saying all of those things.
Okay, let's think about something here:
As yourself hour many hours you spend each day watching TV. Did you know the average person will answer to say "Only 1 or 2 hours." but that the average actual answer is 5 to 7 hours A DAY. EVERY DAY. Think about it. Shows are 30 minutes to an hour long and, if you watch 5 shows a night, there is, that's your 5 hours. Five hours totally wasted, doing not one damned thing. Five hours, that you could have spent writing your book.
The average author, types 750 to 2,000 words an hour. If you type for 5 hours, that's 5,000 to 10,000 words, in a single day. After 5 days, you have a full length novel written. After 30 days, you'll 3 full length novels written, just by turning off ONLY 5 of your TV shows each day. And the average person watches 7 TV shows a day, so even if you cut out just 5, you still get to have 2 TV shows a day.
Now, I'm not telling you, you have to get rid of the TV. What I'm telling you, is that, YOU are solely responsible for how you spend your time.
Here's something that REALLY throws people off:
What that means is that writing is not really that important to you, otherwise, you WOULD have made time for it.
But every time I say this to writer's who are tossing their 10 year manuscripts in my face, they get mad. They get defensive and angry, and start yelling and screaming, how writing is important to them, I just don't understand, because I'm a full-time writer, so I don't know what it's like to juggle work and writing and school and family, blah, blah, blah...
And yet, here I am, me, who works two jobs, goes to college, raises a family, has server Autism, runs a farm, and builds art cars in my spare time: and I STILL find 8 hours every day, 5 days a week, to get my writing done. Why? Because writing is important to me, so I MAKE time for it.
You have to find a balance and that will be unique to you. And no matter how you balance your life, you will ALWAYS do the thing that is the MOST important to you.
Where your heart is, that is where you will put the most effort, and most people, love their TV more then writing. Most people, would rather watch TV, then get the writing done, and that says a lot right there. It tells me, that that person, is NOT excited about writing. They don't have a driving force telling them: "I MUST write, I MUST write, right now." No. They have a driving force telling them: "I MUST watch my shows, I MUST watch my shows, right now."
Now you can stand there and lie to me and yourself and say how important writing is to you, but, Honey, step back and look in the mirror. If it took you months or years to write single book, then writing is NOT what is important to you. You are only deluding yourself if you think writing has any importance to you at all, because believe me, if it was REALLY as important as you say it is, then you already would have turned over every leaf to go hell or high water to be writing every day. You wouldn't be asking me how to write more words a day, because you would already have given your writing priority status in your life.
If you want to write, then just write. Turn off your TV, unplug your phone, get off the internet, and write. That's all you have to do: just write. There is nothing to writing, other then writing.
remember what I said back there: Only the act of writing is going to get that story written. Everything else, if you spend too much time doing them, is just your procrastinating and putting off the "work" of writing.
That's an important thing to consider. Ask yourself, why you are putting off writing? What is it about writing that prevents you from writing?
For most people, the answer is something along the lines of: 'but writing is so much work, it takes too much time, there are so many other things I could be doing, it feels like a job, it's hard, I want to do something easy."
Yeah, writing is hard, writing is work, writing does that a lot of hours, it's not easy, and if, you are looking at writing in that way, then you really are not cut out to be an author and should look for another career.
In the end: Do what's right for you. It's really the only thing any of us can do. And it is the thing, you WILL do, regardless of any advice anyone gives you.
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