Saturday, January 16, 2016

My 2015 Self Publishing Sales

2015 was the year I fully embraced self-publishing and started to think about my writing from not only the creation perspective, but also from the small business and sales perspective.

It has been, to say the least, liberating.

But along with all the liberation comes the responsibility of managing your business and tracking things. You know, like money. Money spent, money earned--exciting nail biting suspense, let me tell you.

Okay, not at all exciting. But I would say pleasantly rewarding and empowering--I'm sure many other self-publishers can relate.

Having said all that, I recently sat down and ran all the numbers and figured out exactly how much money I have made since redesigning and uploading all my current books under my own imprint, Ophelia House, in 2015. And here are the numbers:

(based on data from 3/2015-12/2015)

Royalties from Kindle sales: 129.06
Royalties from Nook sales: 10.11
Royalties from Kobo sales: 0.00
Compensation from Lightning Source US print sales: 148.00
Compensation from Lightning Source UK print sales: 2.34
Hand sales (after cost): 306.00

Grand Total: 595.51 (This is the total money I earned based on royalties from Amazon and publisher compensation from Lightning Source for books ordered from retailers.)

Yes, I'm rolling for sure!

Now I suppose some people may feel depressed by a number like this, but honest to God, I was really excited to see that I had earned almost 600.00 dollars from my self-published books last year. I would add that not all my titles were available in March, that was when I had Ascendant up and ready to go after I got the rights back from my small publisher. Midheaven wasn't up until June and The Exquisite and Immaculate Grace of Carmen Espinoza wasn't available until early October.

2015 was really about getting everything set up and making the books available. That 600.00 was based on practically zero marketing beyond Facebook and a few events where I spoke and sold books.

Furthermore, it may interest you to know that in previous years with my small press, the royalties from them amounted to less than 200.00 in total per year.

And, based on my calculations, 600.00 is for sure greater than 200.00

So what will I do with a number like this?

It's baseline data as far as I'm concerned. Remember when I said earlier that self-publishing was, for me, really the start of taking my small business, Ophelia House, more seriously? Well 600.00 is now my starting point to compare compensation growth for 2016. Yes, in 2016 I have a goal to increase my personal compensation from my book sales by 100%, which would mean that in 2016 I plan to earn a whopping 1200.00 from the sales of my books.

Now of course I would love to massively increase this number much faster--but I thought that a 100% increase in compensation was a reasonable place to start.

And for those of you that really know business--No, this endeavor does not yet earn enough money to support itself. These numbers do not take into account costs that I have incurred (design, editing services, etc, and so forth.) I'm not there yet, but part of my plan for 2016 is for me to be able to stop supporting my self publishing business with the funds from my day job career (psychologist) and be in a place to pay for any needed services from the money earned from book sales.

Baby business steps for sure.

Anyway, I was excited to:
1. Finally have access to all my sales data and see the reality for the first time
2. Use this data to make a plan for future growth
3. Feel for the first time ever like I was in control of the business side of my writing life

So I hope this is helpful for any writers that are self-pub curious or maybe even feeling bad about not making a ton of money from self publishing. In my mind, this endeavor is a marathon and not a sprint--for sure--and I fully expect that MISTAKES WILL BE MADE. But so far, I'm learning, growing, and meeting amazing people on the way.

This is the happiest I have ever been as a writer.

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