The end of 2013 is practically upon us, and I came to the sad realization that my book sales did not enjoy a drastic improvement throughout the year. Rather, they remained more or less the same, only seeing a few slight bumps toward the summer days. Other than that, they have consistently averaged between $700 and $850, more or less.
Of course, this is to be expected when people stay focused solely on one single genre as opposed to expanding a bit more. Note that this sounds like a contradiction when it comes to making money online, as many people normally advice others to “focus on one thing at a time” as opposed to stretching ourselves too thin. However, this golden rule doesn’t necessarily apply to everything under the sun, especially not to indie publishing. For example, a genre that was highly profitable a few years ago (recipes, gardening) may not be as profitable today, thus rendering the aforementioned rule redundant.
The same could be happening with the erotic niche, although (thankfully) we still have many different sub-genres and topics to explore within this broad subject. For instance, there could be lots of fetishes and “weird sex” fantasies that would do very well; it’s only a matter of finding them and putting them to the test.
Earlier this year I was publishing many books about milking/breastfeeding sex, for instance, and the amount of sales was astounding for a time. Eventually Amazon applied certain adult content filters that have essentially made such books harder to find and be purchased. Still, to this day those books continue to be my best performers.
Speaking of Amazon…
It really appears they are cleaning up their act as of late. Thousands of people (myself included) ended up with their books either put back into “Draft” mode or blocked altogether due to a wide range of generic (and subjective) reasons. This sudden invasion seems to primarily target erotic and romance books with steamy titles, cover images and/or descriptions.
I spent roughly two weeks modifying over 50% of my books, including titles, covers and/or descriptions (but not the actual content inside, thankfully.) Then I did the same for some of my friends’ titles, as I continue to manage them for whatever unexplained reason. In any case, the month of October was not the greatest or the most productive due to the many days such books were offline.
My Income Report:
Amazon Net Units Sold: 1,114
B&N Net Units Sold: 322
Smashwords Net Units Sold: 93
Total Income (Approximate) $740
This month I included my Smashwords report, which only happens quarterly (as they only pay three or four times a year.) As a result, I made roughly the same amount as last month despite experiencing Amazon’s recent cleanup-disaster. My actual income for October would have been (approximately) $625 without those Smashwords numbers. All in all, I made about $130 less than the previous month, excluding my Smashwords earnings. Smashwords effectively came through and saved the day!
On the Other hand, my Nook sales enjoyed a slight increase from the 293 copies sold last month. One great thing I have always noticed about Nook sales is that they are highly consistent. I have seen many books on Amazon perform well for a week or so, and then feel saddened as they quickly disappear into obscurity. On Nook, though, once a book sells relatively well it usually signifies that it will continue to sell well for a long period.
Just to give you an example, my dad has approximately ten published titles and his accounts haven’t been modified for about a year now. And yet, he normally averages $90 on Nook and roughly $15 on Amazon monthly (this has always been the case.)
The takeaway: Even if your books are performing poorly on Amazon (especially now with their adult content filter) it is not the end of the world. Keep improving your methods and continue publishing away, at least for Nook’s sake.
More Good News:
Remember to always look at indie publishing as a fun experience, as it allows you to dig and get to know many hidden and profitable niches. Think of it as a scavenger hunt, if you will. Once you discover something great, it could almost be equivalent of a goldmine. This is the general thing about making money online as a whole; you can use your creativity to turn anything and everything into money.
That being said, the poplar Warrior Forum has a section solely dedicated to book publishing, better known as The Warrior Book Club. Why am I bringing it up? Well, the forum’s moderator, Bryan Kumar, recently released a fairly long list of niches which are almost automatically profitable. That is, these niches sell well with little to no promotion, much like many of the erotic and romance niches out there. So if you’ve been craving to be spoon-fed some easy niches, maybe you should sign up for a Warrior Book Club membership and start publishing under these undisclosed niches. And yes, being a paid member is actually worthwhile.
See you all later!