Thursday, June 2, 2011

Indie Author Book Sales

In the last week of April, 2011, my 4th book ‘Blood & Spirits’ became available though Amazon (KDP & CreateSpace) as well as Smashwords. I have previously released three collections of spoken word poetry and experienced success with those books, but I was completely unprepared for how to try to make a paranormal fiction title sell.

First, I'll discuss just the copies that I know are in circulation. I started by looking at all the book blogs I could find. I read their reviews, and looked for a style and voice I felt I could agree with and get behind. Based on my observations I sent out 30 copies of my book, in eBook format, to be reviewed.

I think it is important to note my ignorance here. I didn’t send these eBook copies out months in advance so that the reviewers would have time to get to them. I didn’t give that a thought. Once I had the eBook copy of my book on my desktop ready to send I began to look at the guidelines set forth by the bloggers on what they would accept. If I had it to do over again (and I will with my next release) I would do things differently.

My friends all over the world were informed as soon as my book was available to purchase. I sent email and chats, all over the internet, to everyone who had ever shown the slightest interest in the story I was writing. A few of them stepped up to the plate, and brought may April sales totals to a whopping 14 Kindle copies, 6 print copies, and a big nothing from smashwords.


Copies given for review: 30

Copies sold: 20

Total Copies distributed: 50

I was really pumped at the take off of ‘Blood & Spirits’ and I was starting to get some really wonderful reviews and feedback leading into May. I assumed the sales trend would continue, or get better. It didn’t.

I watched the sales grind to a complete halt after 3 copies in early May, and I was pulling my hair out that Smashwords took so long to get copies to outlets like Barnes & Nobles Nook Store, and that Amazon took so long to list title on, and I felt like the big start of the title was going to lead to noting.

That’s when I discovered the power of Goodreads, Twitter, and the IBC.

Thanks to the dedication, retweets, support, and love shown from the community of readers and authors on Twitter and in the Blogging world, I saw a late moth surge in sales. Reviews started to pop up on Amazon and Goodreads. People were retweeting plugs to buy my book. It was being recommended, and believe it or not…that showed up in sales. I gave away a few more copies to fellow authors to read and review for me, and that coupled with the reviews I had requested starting to come in, my sales weren’t depressing at all.

May sales totals came up to a 6 Kindle copies, 6 print copies, but finally smashwords came through with 5 copies sold (and at least two additional through the Nook store that I’ve seen). I think once the Sony eReader store offers my title I’ll see a few more sales there as well, as I have received emails requesting that I make my book available through them.


Copies given for review: 10

Copies Sold: 21

Total Copies distributed: 31

Going into June with a bit of this momentum built up I am pleased to report, as I type this, that I have sold 2 Kindle copies so far in June as well as 2 print copies.

Which means, and I find this most exciting, that there is currently a minimum grand total of 85 copies of my book circulating (not counting the 14 copies I’ve sent out in MS format so far to Lit Agents, with my fingers firmly crossed.)

At least 99 total copies of my book are floating around all over the world. I find that thrilling.

Now I’m trying to make sure that book two in this series is edited and formatted correctly to make the August 9th release date I’ve set for myself.

My deepest thanks go out to each and every person who has bought ‘Blood & Spirits’, as well as to every reviewer and blogger who has agreed to take the time to read it and tell the world what they thought of it. I also have to thank the community of readers and writers I’ve found on twitter, the blogs, and all over the world. Thanks to all of you I feel like I am one step closer to living the life I’ve only dreamed of.

-Dennis Sharpe


  1. Thanks for sharing. I made the same mistakes early on as well. I hope I am smarter this time around.

  2. S.L., every book I release is an all new learning experience. :D

  3. It's so helpful to read about your experience - especially as you give actual details about your sales. Thanks for sharing this and good luck with future sales. I've used KDP and Createspace myself, but I now have a traditional publisher. My journey to publication is given in detail over at

  4. Thanks, Cody. I'll check your blog out.

  5. It's exciting to watch you learn and grow. :)