Author Topic: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results  (Read 195957 times)  

Offline KMatthew

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1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« on: September 12, 2013, 08:08:50 PM »
Well, I said I would create a new thread when I reached 100 titles, and today I published my 100th title, so here it is. To find out how I got to where I am today, check out my other Kboards thread here: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,136127.0.html

To continue where I left off, I'd like to talk about what I've learned since my last thread update, what I currently have going on, and what I have planned for the future.

Things I've learned since hitting 75 titles:

-Pure smut can command higher prices at lower word counts.
-Deviating from erotica and erotic romance causes a decrease in my sales
-Follow the top 100 best selling titles and the top 100 best selling authors and you can't go wrong.
-I need to stick to writing 3 part series because I have a bad tendency of ditching a series if it's not performing.
-I will no longer be turning non-performing titles into paperback books, regardless of length. My time is better spent elsewhere.



What I'm working on now: Tying up a non-performing series.

What I'll be working on in the future: I have a bunch of stand alone titles planned. Recently, I've had a lot of luck with them sales-wise. The only problem is that they don't have much staying power. Sales are good for about 2 months but then slump. I'm going to go this route though because I want to take a temporary break from writing series. 


August 2012
59 books sold
11 stories published in August
$80.30 in royalties earned

September 2012
150 books sold
9 stories published in September
$238.27 in royalties earned

October 2012

290 books sold
9 stories published in October
$535.72 in royalties earned

November 2012
2246 books sold
12 stories published in November
$3,346.18 in royalties earned

December 2012
3253 books sold
5 stories published in December
$5,060.30

January 2013
2503 books sold
5 stories published in January
$3,694.89

February 2013
2728 books sold
11 stories published in February
$5,227.37

March 2013

3533 books sold
0 stories published in March (was working on a novel)
$7,862.25

April 2013
3338 books sold
4 stories published in April
$5,536.23

May 2013
3517 books sold
7 stories published in May
$5,571.10

June 2013
2547 books sold
3 stories published in June
$4,410.97

July 2013
2707 books sold
7 stories published in July
$5,691.91

August 2013
2853 books sold
4 stories published in August
$9,651.42
(and in case you're wondering how the income jumped in comparison to the volume of books sold, I have one book for sale for $37. That book is not published on Amazon or any of the other online retailers. So, technically, that brings my total up to 101 books.)

I would also like to note that sales have been dramatically down all across the board this month. I'm assuming that this is a slump. Hopefully things will pick up towards the end of the month.

Here's a quick QA to answer some of the questions that you might have:

1.) How long are my titles?
My shortest story is 2,500 words long. My longest title is 50,462 words long (my novel). Though I do have combined serials that are much longer. On average, I strive for at least 10,000 words, which usually gets cut down to a little over 8,000 after editing.

2.) What is my pricing strategy?
I follow a modified version of the Selena Kitt pricing strategy. My current pricing strategy is as follows:

$0.99 > Short Shorts: Under 3k
$2.99 > Stories: 3-15k
$3.99 > Stories: 15-35k
$4.99 > Stories: 35-50k
$5.99 > Novels: 50-70k
$6.99 > Novels: 70-90k
$7.99> Novels: 90-110k
$8.99> Novels: 110-130k
$9.99> Novels: 130k-150k

This is for erotica and romance only. Some of my non-erotica I sell for $0.99

Here's a break down of how many titles I have at each price point:
Free - 14
$0.99 - 12
$2.99 - 58
$3.99 - 8
$4.99 - 2
$5.99 - 4
$6.99 - 1
$9.99 – 1

I also have 24 audiobooks and 5 paperback books.

3.) Which sells better, stand alones or series?
Definitely, series. Every once in a while, I'll publish a stand alone, but most of my stuff has at least 3 parts. For series with 3 or more parts, I make the first one free, regardless of length. I do not use KDP Select, but instead wait for a price match to occur.

4.) What genres do I write in?
Whatever is popular at the time. Lately, it's been mostly BBW werewolf romance and psuedoincest. I did try to crawl away from erotica by putting out a paranormal fiction series, but even with my backlist of readers, sales were dismal, at best. I'm currently tying up a non-performing series, and then will hopefully be permanently back to writing erotica and following trends.

5.) Have I had any best sellers?
No, but I have had several titles in the top 100 Best Selling of various genres on Amazon. My highest ranking title ever reached 1,136 in overall of Amazon.

6.) Who do you publish with?
Amazon, B&N, All Romance Ebooks, Draft2Digital (for Kobo and Apple), and Smashwords (for all other retailers)

7.)How many pen names do you have?

I currently have 3 erotica pen names. One is relatively new, which I've been publishing my psuedoincest on and will use to publish all of my taboo works. I have another pen name that I published a Fifty Shades of Grey knock off on. And then I have my main pen name, which I use for pretty much everything else. My real name, I use for horror and other fiction.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will not openly share my pen names or titles, but you are more than welcome to PM me about them. This is a personal preference.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 08:14:48 PM by MarlaB »

Offline Eric Rasbold

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 08:14:38 PM »
"......and now, the rest of the story."


Good Work!

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Offline KMatthew

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 08:19:06 PM »
Thanks. I just hope I can keep up the pace. I find myself slacking a lot.

Offline Joe_Nobody

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 08:24:01 PM »
Very good info, esp the pricing part. Your numbers look similar to what Smashwords found in the pricing survey/metrics.

Thank you for such a well organized port.

Offline Dolphin

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 08:30:10 PM »
Thank you for another incredible OP, and especially for your candor in sharing royalty figures! I only wish that I was writing erotica too, so I could be more confident about drawing from your lessons. I can't imagine how useful and inspirational this would be to anybody who's just starting out with an erotica career.

Regardless, I hope that the rest of us can learn from your analysis and rigor, and certainly your work ethic! Is it accurate to assume that your total words in print is about 1,000,000 at this point?

Offline WG McCabe

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2013, 08:32:59 PM »
Thanks for all the info and breakdowns, Marla. And congrats with your success as well.

Offline Diane Patterson

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2013, 08:34:57 PM »
Thank you for sharing this with us. It's quite amazing.

Do you ever find yourself -- for lack of a better word -- resenting playing "follow the leader" or "this stuff makes money so I'll write it, but I'd rather be writing [different genre] instead"? Or does writing to the market not bother you that much and you'd rather have a good income?

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Offline KMatthew

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2013, 09:03:38 PM »
Do you ever find yourself -- for lack of a better word -- resenting playing "follow the leader" or "this stuff makes money so I'll write it, but I'd rather be writing [different genre] instead"? Or does writing to the market not bother you that much and you'd rather have a good income?
I am not going to lie. I would much rather be writing horror. In fact, I've tried to crawl away from writing erotica several times, but the result has been dismal at best.

Regardless, I hope that the rest of us can learn from your analysis and rigor, and certainly your work ethic! Is it accurate to assume that your total words in print is about 1,000,000 at this point?
I honestly couldn't tell you accurately, but I imagine it's a bit less than that. A lot of my stuff is bundled.

Marla, thanks so much for posting this! I'm pretty sure your post from Dec was the one I stumbled over which made me switch to erotica and it's been awesome!! I'm at 18 titles/collections right now but maybe when I get to 50 I'll post results too.

A few questions:

Do you do any advertising and if so, where?

Do you have a mailing list? What other marketing do you do, if any?

What do you think drove you onto the best seller lists?

Have you published any tentacle erotica and if so, what were sales like?

How do you get audiobooks created? What story length are your audiobooks and do you have them for your 8K long works?
-I actually don't do any advertising. My method is entirely based on writing and publishing.

-I do have a mailing list. There's a link at the back of all of my books to the mailing list. In that regard, the only marketing I do is sending out an e-mail to my list whenever I publish something new. I also give my list free books every holiday. My readers seem to really appreciate that.

-As far as reaching the best seller lists myself, it's purely luck based. Most of the stories I write that I think are going to suck end up being the big sellers. The stories I love writing usually flop. lol

-I have a lot more gay tentacle erotica than straight tentacle erotica. My one straight tentacle erotica story was a flop. The gay ones I've written have been consistent sellers though.

-I use ACX for audiobooks. I tend to let narrators come to me because I'm a bit shy. Sometimes I work with the same narrators over and over again. A lot of my shorter works are audiobooks, but I can safely say that longer works sell better. Right now, if I write a series, I'll wait until the entire thing is complete before I post it. Then when I find a narrator to work on the completed series, I'll upload the shorter separate parts and have them work on that at the same time.

I hope that all made sense. I'm getting really tired and am about to head to bed, so any other questions posted I'll have to answer tomorrow.

Offline blakebooks

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2013, 09:16:51 PM »
Marla: It's probably seasonality. I'm seeing a 35-40% decline from May to my low performing summer months. But tracked annually, it mirrors the trend last year. My take: You make your quantum jumps in Dec-Feb, and then settle to higher highs and higher lows for the rest of the year, from April-May on. Rinse and repeat.

Congrats on sticking to it and posting some nice numbers.


Offline Lyle S Tanner

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2013, 09:19:09 PM »
That's amazing. Congratulations on all the success and thanks for coming back to tell us about it.
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Offline CoraBuhlert

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2013, 09:38:14 PM »
Thanks for sharing and congrats on your success, Marla.

Offline Al Dente

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 09:50:16 PM »
As always, thank you so much for sharing!

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 10:27:05 PM »
WOW! Those are life-changing numbers. Congrats on coming up with a great plan and executing it so well.
Going back to read your initial post now!  :)

Offline ClarissaWild

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2013, 01:45:38 AM »
Amazing! Now this is really useful for determining price and strategy :D Awesome!

I have a short question. I see you went from 500 average in October to 3000 average in November. How did you do that? What happened that caused such a spike in sales? I'd love to know :)

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2013, 02:00:33 AM »
Thanks so much for this info, Marla. It's really helpful.

I really must read some tentacle erotica. I'd never even heard of it till I started posting here.

Offline Zelah Meyer

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2013, 02:35:10 AM »
Thank you so much for sharing.  It's always interesting to hear figures.  Here's hoping that this festive season leads to some bumper sales for you!  :)

Offline Greg Strandberg

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2013, 03:09:48 AM »
Amazing! Now this is really useful for determining price and strategy :D Awesome!

I have a short question. I see you went from 500 average in October to 3000 average in November. How did you do that? What happened that caused such a spike in sales? I'd love to know :)

I'm also really interested in that sales bump.  You say you do nothing but write and publish, and believe me, that's all I wish I did!  I know from doing that, however, my sales continue to remain dismal at best.

I can't imagine that putting up a book will just cause it to start selling in the erotica department.  Could it be those loss-leaders for each series are what's really pulling them in, coupled with the snowballing (sorry) reader base?

And judging from your pricing scheme it seems the vast majority of your books are just 3,000 to 15,000 words!  I can't think of another genre where you could price a book that size at $2.99 and do so well.  Hell, I could pump that out in a day!

I think we're all quite envious and proud of your success.

Offline Alexis-Shore

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2013, 03:40:16 AM »
I think I'm going to try this. 100 titles by this time next year. Wish me luck.

Offline Christy

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2013, 03:49:37 AM »
Congrats! God I love this sort of threads, they make me smile.  :)

Offline Nancy Beck

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2013, 04:54:03 AM »
Marla,

Congrats on your success!  :D  Your production is staggering...and inspiring.

You said, "As far as reaching the best seller lists myself, it's purely luck based. Most of the stories I write that I think are going to suck end up being the big sellers. The stories I love writing usually flop. lol"

I've seen a number of long-time writers saying just that - the stuff they think is fantastic, the best they've ever done, yadda yadda - tend not to sell too well, and the stuff they don't think much of sell better.  :)
All also available at Smashwords.

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2013, 06:16:52 AM »
Awesome stuff.

Was there a particular number of titles, with each pen name, around which you saw a "jump" in sales across the line?

Offline Cleo

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2013, 06:24:14 AM »
Thank you so much for posting this. Very inspirational. And educational. I'm going to send it to some friends who gave up on erotica after a handful of titles.

Congratulations on your success! You deserve it!

 
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Offline KateDanley

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2013, 06:33:16 AM »
Wow!  Thank you so much for posting all of your numbers!  I was feeling lazy this morning and this was just the kick in the pants I needed.  You rock!

Offline Lionel's Mom

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2013, 06:51:11 AM »
Congratulations on your success! Your numbers and work ethic are inspiring.

Offline Ardin

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Re: 1 Year, 100 Titles = My Results
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2013, 07:11:41 AM »
Well done you. And thank you for all the advice this last week. I really appreciate it.

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