In the last four days, I’ve written almost 10,000 words, plotted through the holes in my first draft, and am well on my way to thoroughly editing the middle grade fantasy story I wrote a year ago when I was studying abroad. Woohoo!
In other news, since I am all about transparency while I blog about limping my way toward supporting myself as a writer and creative person, here’s something exciting.
I was pleasantly surprised by the rising sales numbers on Amazon KDP when I checked it last night, so I did some math. For those who don’t know, I’ve been self-publishing short erotica stories since I graduated a few months ago.
I don’t have a huge passion for writing erotica — though, as a starving artist, I’m interested in capitalizing upon the fact that sex sells — but it has been one of the more fulfilling things in my life recently…in that I see immediate returns on the time and effort put into this writing.
Here’s what I mean.
February is when I published my nonfiction self-help ebook Journaling Your Goals (<— clicky click). I made a whopping 3 sales and earned $6.53 in royalties.
4 sales. $7.27.
1 sale. $2.07. Keep in mind, I still only had one title on the ebook store and I wasn’t putting any effort into promoting it.
Did a little better in May, earning $8.38.
June is when it starts to get interesting. A couple weeks in, I published my first erotica ebook. That was a mistake.
I had three short stories bundled together — and since they were fairly romantic, vanilla, and not at all “taboo,” it didn’t sell well. It still isn’t selling well.
However, when I later unbundled the stories and sold them individually, sales for the short stories increased (though the bundle stayed the same — pitiful).
A few days after I published Bundle #1, I published a taboo short story and the first story of the Bundle collection, both on their own. 99 cents each.
Sales in June? Up to $27.89.
In July, I published two new taboo stories (related to the one I had already written) and released another story from Bundle #1 on its own.
With me so far? I had seven titles on the ebook store. 5 stories were priced at 99 cents, the bundle at 1.49, and the nonfiction book at 2.99.
I earned $40.68 in royalties. Keep in mind, I only earn about 30% of the price for the short stories and 70% for the nonfiction book. That’s 30 cents for each short story sale and just over $2 for Journaling Your Goals.
Three weeks into August, and I’ve already earned $125.89.
I’ve only published two things this month — another taboo erotic story, and a bundle of all four related taboo stories. The sales for THIS bundle have done MUCH better than the vanilla one.
August is a slight outlier in that I did more promoting for my nonfiction ebook. But other than maintaining a tumblr for my erotica writing pen name and only posting new titles as they’re published, I’ve done no advertising.
It’s easy to see how my sales have increased over time — and with, quite honestly, minimal effort. It takes me 2-3 days to write an erotic story, and I’m not putting in much time per day. This is on top of all the other writing, job seeking, and responsibilities. I could easily write one a day, but I get bored of it quickly and have to take a break.
(Maybe when I write my next story, I’ll actually time how long it takes from start to finish.)
In the three months that I’ve been self-publishing erotica (and these are all short stories at an average of 5000 words), my sales have risen from under 10 dollars/month to over $120 in a three-week period.
This is with one nonfiction ebook and seven “unique” stories. I still haven’t published one story from the first bundle on its own, so I’ll do that later this month.
The best advice I received about self-publishing (in general) is this — that you should have your fingers in as many pies as possible.
If you write one story — great! That’s one story. Publish that sucker.
You write another story? Great! That’s two stories. Publish that.
Now you’re writing a third story. Maybe it’s related to the first two. Publish it on its own. Now, publish it in a bundle with the other two stories.
You have magically turned three stories into four ebooks. Write two more stories, and now you have a lot more possible combinations.
Publishing this way lets you cater both to the crowd of people who only want to commit to quick 99 cent stories AND those who are interested in buying bundles.
You’ll find that the more you write, the more combinations there are available. Don’t JUST publish stories by themselves. Publish them with others. Publish them in related groups.
Throw in a story with an unrelated bundle to snare a new audience of readers who might be tempted to try your other stuff. Get as many different titles as possible into your ebook library to make the most of the content you write.
Since this blog is all about my experiments and journey through creativity, writing, blogging, and supporting myself with my writing, I’m planning to keep releasing periodic updates with exact numbers of income and sales. Hopefully it will be both inspiring and educational for people who want to do the same.