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Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Have a Theory . . .

I am not an expert.  I am only speaking from my own experience and data gathered as a result of the inquisitive right hemisphere of my brain.  So keep that in mind as you read on.

First, I currently have three nonfiction How-To e-books on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  The first two were uploaded March 27, 2011.  So none have been posted for three full months yet.  Still, I see some cause-and-effect events already.

Per my intuition, I need six books offered to increase sales as this number seems to perpetuate itself.  Granted, I am not yet living this theory to test it, but look at Joe Konrath for one example.  Check out his A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/.  And of course there is Amanda Hocking.  A quick search of Amazon.com shows ten books by Ms. Hocking.

Alternatively, Lisa Turner’s debut novel A Little Death in Dixie remains at the #1 spot in Kindle e-books even with the $0.99 sale price now upped to $9.39.

But I’m comparing apples to oranges here, with those novels against my nonfiction.  With one novel gaining success as versus my theoretical six needed.  Still, I maintain most authors will do well with six. 

Somehow I think novels sell better than nonfiction but don’t ask me how I “know” this—my gut just tells me it is so.  Still I AM selling my nonfiction, even in this depressed economy.  However, I am anxious to launch one of my “finished” novels.  I just need a couple uninterrupted months’ time to give it the extreme polish of a final edit.  Don’t we all.

Okay.  So now to the nuances of e-publishing.

After eight sales, I noticed my rankings within my particular genre (self-help, entrepreneur, etc.) may have been lower—due to more e-books being uploaded daily for sale—but that my overall ranking with each purchase within the Kindle Paid Store made my rankings climb higher.  It seems that the eight-sales-mark graduates the author into the next tier, if you will. 

If you will check out Author Central on Amazon, it states there are over 750,000 books in the Kindle Store.  Some other articles I found via an internet search indicate there are over 950,000 books offered in the Kindle Store.  Regardless, making just eight sales seems to put my rankings in the top one-third of the lesser total of 750,000 books.  Not bad.

Then there is the 1,000-sales club offered within Amazon/Kindle that seems to cause its own promotion of your book within Amazon.  Great!  Any time Amazon wants to market my books for me, I am ecstatic.  I look forward to the day when I can report ALL my books have exceeded the 1,000 mark in sales.

The Amazon site does offer avenues for self-promoting with its Kindle Boards and other routes.  I’m focusing on my writing and excluding all but the bare basics of marketing at this point.  I call it the Grand Experiment.

So, what should you get from all this? 

First, becoming published is just a matter of YOU deciding.  You can upload your JPEG cover and your Word document within a few hours (allowing you time to preview your Kindle conversion and fix any bad page breaks or strange symbols found).  Yes, even your first one should be done, depending on the book’s length, within three to five hours.

Second, only eight sales pop you from the newest-addition-to-the-as-yet-to-be-sold Kindle books to the top thirty-three percent sold.

Third, as you get other books converted and available for purchase, you ARE self-promoting just by the sheer number of titles that carry your name.  More chance of you being found via a search engine outside of Amazon even.

Fourth, the more time you let pass, the earnings seem to creep up (at first).  From a few authors’ articles on Indie publishing, it seems around months six to nine is when they broke through to compounded sales—either via ramped-up marketing efforts or a drop in the price from $2.99 to $0.99. 

So, finish those books.  Decide you are not only an author but a publisher and upload to both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Validate your writing by e-book sales.  Let them percolate along for a few months, cooking up a growing readership for you.

Then share with all of us how you did it! 

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