I haven’t been updating this because there’s been little to report. I’ve had my ebook, When We Were Mutants & Other Stories, up for about 3 months. Here are the facts:

1) It’s sold about 10 copies. Most of those (somewhere between 6 and all) have been to friends, family, and friends of family.

2) I’ve varied the price from $0.99 to $2.99.

3) I did a small amount of self-promotion.

4) On days it sold a copy, its Amazon rank was in the 30-40,000 range. On days it sold two copies, it cracked 10,000.

Here, then, are the conclusions we can reach:

1) If you don’t have a platform, a built-in audience, your guaranteed sales are essentially zero.

2) A low price doesn’t guarantee sales.

3) I have no doubt advertising and self-promotion helps, but you can’t just introduce yourself at Amazon and on kindleboards and expect results.

4) Most ebooks on Amazon sell a trivial amount of copies that won’t even result in a trivial regular income.

More broadly, I don’t doubt venues like this will result in careers for a minor amount of self-published authors. That’s already been proven true. But in my anecdotal experience, it isn’t easy and it’s far from guaranteed. It takes a lot of work and a lot of talent. Huh, that sounds like exactly what it takes to make it in the regular publishing world.

It’s possible a change in covers, or more books available, would bump me up to a small, self-sustaining sales rate. Even then, there’s no guarantee of greater success than what I’m already experiencing.

In terms of making me money and supporting my writing income, then, releasing this story collection has so far been a failure. But I’m glad I put the effort into it for three reasons: 6 of the 8 stories here have already been published, meaning I sacrificed few rights; there was a possibility it would have turned into a small but regular income source; and lastly, it made me learn the skills to format and publish ebooks on Kindle. That itself has already led to job leads for me.

Ultimately, if you take a chance and put in some work, you never know how far it can take you. But for ebook sales, it seems, like in all other things, you’re no likelier to find overnight success than to win the lottery–yet as a corollary, the more tickets you buy, the more likely you are to win. It’s valuable to know both these things before diving into the fray.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.
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