Monday, October 28, 2013

The 'Indie Sales Slump' - My 2013 Perspective

Back in September of 2011 - I wrote about what I believed was the first Indie Author Shake Out.  
"It is the law of supply and demand in action. When there wasn't a supply of 'known' authors, the 'un-known' did very well for themselves. Now with the flood of 'name' authors with new and back-listed titles the average Indie is not able to compete."
 The reading season is upon us once again. The great post-Christmas Sales Event is on it's way. This is the time of year to really push those novels out...who is kidding whom?

Yes, the mid-list has moved to e-books instead of print.

Yes, there is always a slow season - summer time - and reading picks up in fall.

Yes, there are Indie's who have 'made a killing.' There are even erotica writers who made their fortunes -- before the latest 'anti-porn' campaign. (That has yet to shake out.)

Hell, I had a best-seller in the UK in 2010 with "Let's Do Lunch" sitting in the top 25 best selling Romantic Suspense novels, and was #10 to Nora Roberts #8 for ten glorious days!

In fact, I was so sure the 'Indie Bubble' would pop that I wrote this:

This next wave of sales is going to signal the end of the Indie Author Boom. By this time next year there will more back-list titles than Indie titles. That will the end of the Indie 'Revolution' because the supply of back-list will meet the demands of readers.

The Indie market will pop, like all bubbles.
It sucks to be right.

This year, my sales have been very quiet. I ran "The Emissary" is free on Smashwords, since it came out, with record sales of....wait for it....4 free copies.

What I've noticed is that as my sales a Amazon went down, I started to sell a few things, here and there, via Smashwords. Enough to get my first ($12) payment, and be halfway to getting a second ($10) payment.

"Swallow the Moon" - the paperback - is very slowly earning out in face-to-face sales. I moved some 20 paperbacks over the summer. "Let's Do Lunch" sells an e-book or paperback copy here and there (in the world, not just on Amazon).

I'm still working on the spreadsheets to see what sales were last year. With the giveaways, I think we were in the 2k range. Not bad for a complete unknown like myself. However, the books published aren't clearing enough for me to keep publishing new ones.

The market is awash in backlist, just as I predicted.

While that's a huge blessing for those hard-working mid-list authors who worked with-in the system; its ruined the Indie market for genre fiction.

The playing field is level, and it hurts for some of us.

It's just the way the business works.

Happy Reading Season!

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