August #saleswanking (Holy crap does that suck edition)

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So, how exactly do you spell the sound you make when you noisily and deliberately clear your throat and then spit an enormous loogie onto the ground?  Because I’m in serious need of some onomatopoeia here.  May as well rip off the Band-Aid; worst month since March, and by some metrics the worst month of the year– in fact, August was so shitty of a month for book sales that it has actually and literally managed to make previous months worse than they were before.

That’s impressive.

One tiny silver lining:  Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1 had a solid month on Smashwords— not a good month, but not one I can really complain about.  All of my books are on Smashwords (and, with that, iBooks and Barnes and Noble and Kobo and all the rest) and combined they sold bupkis through all of those vendors, making me wonder if anyone but me actually ever buys books from the iBookstore.  Total Amazon sales?  Six.  Three BA 1, two Sanctum, and one lonely-ass copy of Skylights.  Total print sales for the month: 0.  Total zero days for the month of August, after only having had one in the previous three months?  Five, including two in a row at one point.


Okay, I get it, no one reads in August, and August was my worst month last year, too.  But damn.  And that’s not even the worst news of the month.  That honor goes to OpenBooks, which “recalculated how we count downloads” this month and promptly saw everyone’s downloads fall straight into the toilet.  In July I had a hundred and seventy downloads of BA 1, supposedly, and in August I had 42, none of which happened after the 19th and only four of which happened after the sixth.

So… are your numbers now crap, or are your numbers previously crap?  And how alarmed should I be that sitewide metrics used to be posted on literally every page at OpenBooks and now they can’t be found anywhere any longer?  That tells me something, and it doesn’t tell me anything good– and I’ve logged four hundred and seventy downloads through OpenBooks in 2015.  Were those actually to anyone?  Did they happen?  That’s a solid third of my downloads for the year and now I’m not sure if they were all phantoms or not.

This does not make me happy.

Hell, I even tried an Amazon sale for a few days and it really didn’t get me much of anywhere.  I got a few sales out of it, but one of the 0 days was during the sale.  I may have to go crawling back to Prime after all, and that does not make me happy, but shit has cratered since leaving, and while I do like the idea of my books being available in all markets it doesn’t seem to have actually helped me any.

Bah.  I need to come up with something clever for September, dammit.  I can’t have two months like this in a row, and right now I can’t even count on those 45 from OpenBooks showing back up again, so I’m looking at hands down the worst month of the year in September unless things improve.  I should get a little boost when Malumba launches but right now that’s late October if I spend the rest of this week completely on my game.  We’ll see.  Until then, though?  I need an idea.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

2 thoughts on “August #saleswanking (Holy crap does that suck edition)

  1. July was dreadful for me. August was better, but like you, absolutely no paperback sales.
    I had my books available at Nook and iBooks for a while and took them down to go back to KU. It just wasn’t worth it. I made more off KU downloads than I did at any of the other retailers. Plus, Nook is supposedly going belly-up, so it seems pointless unless you’re a romance author where you seem to be fine no matter what retailer you’re on (please pardon the generalization, but you get my point that scifi/fantasy don’t do spectacularly on other sites).


  2. That’s my secret; my sales always suck.

    Heartless is a sequel, so I was only expecting a little boost from the people who are ready for the next book. I have some people who won’t touch it until the whole trilogy is out (because they hate waiting), so that’ll be a nice boost next August. So the biggest thing I’ve learned is patience. Sometimes, you just have a bad month. Sometimes, you have a bad three months, or, in my case, you have a pretty abysmal year. But you keep striving and cherish every little sale that does trickle your way.

    I’m hitting up a few interviews coming up soon (RIIIIGHT?), so I hope that helps. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does. But I’ve got the next World Unknown Review to distract me, as well as an unexpected new project. That’s what helps the most, I think. Knowing that I might not be doing so great currently, but I know I have a crap ton of awesome things ahead of me still. This isn’t even the good stuff right now, either.


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