Author Topic: Is December really a slow sales month?  (Read 4194 times)  

Offline solo

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Is December really a slow sales month?
« on: December 21, 2017, 04:43:26 PM »
Hi. I have read some authors comment that December is a slow sales month. Now that we're approaching Christmas day, I did notice a reduction in sales of books and KU reads though my ranking in the BSR and subgenre went up. Which means slow sales throughout the Amazon universe.

Can those with more experience please clarify? Thanks!

Offline Ryan W. Mueller

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2017, 05:14:12 PM »
Oddly enough, I've been doing better than usual over the last week.

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2017, 05:17:11 PM »
I'm not certain about this, but I wouldn't be surprised given it's such a busy time of year and customer dollars are stretched in all directions. I imagine things pick up quite a bit in the new year.

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Offline andycat

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2017, 05:18:00 PM »
I find it gets slower and slower up until Christmas (as people get busier and busier) but then there's a nice bump after Christmas when a lot of people are still on vacation but the majority of their social/family obligations are over and they have time to read again. (Plus probably some bump from people who got new devices for Christmas.) Overall (at least for me) the month tends to average out to slightly-above-normal when all is said and done.

Then again, I write romance, and I think moms are a group that are particularly likely to be very busy leading up to the holidays. Your milage may vary. :)

Offline solo

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 05:20:52 PM »
I find it gets slower and slower up until Christmas (as people get busier and busier) but then there's a nice bump after Christmas when a lot of people are still on vacation but the majority of their social/family obligations are over and they have time to read again. (Plus probably some bump from people who got new devices for Christmas.) Overall (at least for me) the month tends to average out to slightly-above-normal when all is said and done.

Then again, I write romance, and I think moms are a group that are particularly likely to be very busy leading up to the holidays. Your milage may vary. :)

Thanks! It would great to hear from other experienced authors too. This is my first December sales month and clearly puzzled.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 05:21:36 PM »
December's usually one of my best months of the year. Pre-Christmas lots of paperback sales and holiday-themed romance. Post-Christmas lots of gift card spending. I have seen a dropoff in paperback sales the last day or so.


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Offline kyokominamino

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2017, 06:46:51 PM »
You're not imagining things. I actually compared my 2016 November and December to this one and then to the other months of the year and it's the worst sales period for me. Keep in mind that I am also a total nobody. Others are doing well, but a lot of the prawns like me are out here dying. It usually recovers next month, though, so keep your head up, grit your teeth, and have some spiked eggnog until it's over.

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Offline Rosie A.

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 07:58:48 PM »
You're not imagining things. I actually compared my 2016 November and December to this one and then to the other months of the year and it's the worst sales period for me. Keep in mind that I am also a total nobody. Others are doing well, but a lot of the prawns like me are out here dying. It usually recovers next month, though, so keep your head up, grit your teeth, and have some spiked eggnog until it's over.
I'm in the same boat! This is only my first year publishing so I don't have other years to compare to like you, but the summer was really good and it slowly tapered off. I've made a handful of sales this month and it suxxxxxs.

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Offline 9 Diamonds

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 08:33:58 PM »
We're slightly up so far this month against December 2016 sales, and it looks like, with pages read, we'll be considerably ahead. This month is on target as being one of our best months, on average.

Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2017, 09:25:44 PM »
It may vary according to genre or other factors, but I've always found November and December my slowest months of the year. It happens every year.

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Offline solo

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2017, 09:50:27 PM »
Thanks! Inputs and comments from experienced authors really help us understand what's happening. For us new authors, we expect December to be a great season (based on marketing models of other items) but it appears books operate differently.

P.S. JR, love your avatar!

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2017, 10:08:34 PM »
December is always slow for me (though December 2016 was one of my best months -- probably because I released a book in November then a followup Christmas novella in December). This month's been especially slow (but I just came off a 90-day cliff, and I haven't done a lot of promo, either).

Lots of factors can contribute.

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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2017, 10:11:21 PM »
Thanks! Inputs and comments from experienced authors really help us understand what's happening. For us new authors, we expect December to be a great season (based on marketing models of other items) but it appears books operate differently.

P.S. JR, love your avatar!
Glad you like it. :)

January and February make up for it for me. Things pick up for me almost immediately after Christmas. Of course, every year I worry that it won't happen this time.

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Offline AmesburyArcher

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2017, 03:33:36 AM »
Mine has been very good, but I noticed it slowing up yesterday with the sales coming in later in the day--no doubt because people were out shopping or doing Solstice/Christmassy things (as I was myself--out on a Solstice lantern walk to the secred spring in my town of Amesbury). Today, sales/reads are flatter than a pancake so far.
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Offline TobiasRoote

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2017, 04:26:49 AM »
I was pretty static through Nov/Dec/Jan last year, then it dropped in Feb/Mar. It's a lot harder to tell this year because I'm completely wide on a range of platforms and all are performing well. I had a good November and anticipate it will be higher this year in December and hopefully January with a new book out on the 10th and my audio book getting into its stride, will be even better.


[edit]
I've just checked my figures and if I'd stayed in Amazon and KU this last year I would have had to give up writing. Where my Amazon figures are going down, my wide figures keep going up. Hopefully, that should continue as I've only just got some of the income streams up and running and they're already giving me optimism for 2018.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 05:08:22 AM by TobiasRoote »


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Offline Evenstar

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2017, 04:59:22 AM »
December is always supposed to be a bad sales month because people are so busy preparing for Christmas.

However my sales are always better than normal because of my teen romance books. Teens are off school and they don't have to do all the shopping and cooking etc that keeps the parents away from reading.

But January is usually the best month of the year as people take more time for themselves, are staying in, and have brand new kindles to fill.

Offline solo

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2017, 07:05:16 AM »
For a new author like me, it really looks strange.

Went back to my sales dashboard and found sales of e-books and KU reads started tapering off 18 December. I only have 2 books live on Amazon. But a comparison of the trend for the 1st half of December and today shows a daily sales reduction of about 15 ebooks and around 10,000 KU reads (can't really rely on the KU breakdown as reports may be delayed from other places). Yet BSR and subgenre ranking remained the same.

Interesting trend. A bit strange. Will monitor it. But I really do hope sales pick up after the 25th.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 07:07:52 AM by solo »

Offline Anarchist

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2017, 07:20:57 AM »
Pre-Christmas lots of paperback sales...

This.

I normally sell a lot of print. But this month, I've been like...






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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2017, 10:27:07 AM »
Thanks! Inputs and comments from experienced authors really help us understand what's happening. For us new authors, we expect December to be a great season (based on marketing models of other items) but it appears books operate differently.

P.S. JR, love your avatar!

Yeah, it's funny, this is my first year publishing. The common logic I heard was, "You've GOT to have something out for December!" So I released a second book 1.5 weeks ago thinking that with the mad Christmas rush, I was going to cash in, but sales are about 1/5 of what my September-released book was, and everyone said September is an awful time to release a book.

From what I can determine from AMS, and just looking at the store, it seems the giants of the genres all released this month, and everyone is pumping massive cash into ads, promotions, newslists, etc. So little newbies with $1 per day AMS ads get swept away like a dust mote under the bed.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2017, 11:02:20 AM »
I released a book last December and had my best month ever, but most of that came in the last week of the year. I also released a new book this December and I'll probably do about the same as last year or a little better. The payoff for the December release comes in January. I earned about 90% of my revenues in 2017 in the first six months, but I didn't release anything new between June and December.

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Offline LilyBLily

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2017, 11:25:44 AM »
December so far has been very bad. I'm putting some hopes in my new series, which releases next week. I'm very glad I don't have to pay key bills like the mortgage with this (lack of) income.

Offline TonyGonline

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2017, 11:38:25 AM »
My ebook sales have been ok but I've sold a good few paperbacks, which is unusual for me....I could do with lots more unusual  :)

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2017, 11:41:24 AM »
It's my biggest month for print.
It's also pretty good for ebooks, but then I tend to release an anthology at the end of November each year, so that would affect the comparison.

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Offline solo

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2017, 03:58:59 PM »
December so far has been very bad. I'm putting some hopes in my new series, which releases next week. I'm very glad I don't have to pay key bills like the mortgage with this (lack of) income.

Checking  my sales today.....  :o
Ebooks down 20 to 25 daily compared to 1st half of December. KU reads almost flatlined. Ranking is up. LOL
I'd rather go with the opposite - ranking down but sales up in the same proportion.

Offline rjspears

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2017, 04:52:28 PM »
My sales seem to be down, but KU numbers are up.
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Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2017, 04:53:53 PM »
It all depends on the genre. Period.
 

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2017, 05:56:01 PM »
For those of you with paperback sales, are they showing up on your createspace dashboard? I had to buy a copy to send to the library of congress and it isn't showing up. There were also 5 or 6 sellers that must have bought my book (but not through createspace direct since I didn't check that box) and those aren't there either. I'm wondering if they are late in sales reporting because of the holidays or what.

Offline Ceramic

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2017, 07:00:18 PM »
Glad you like it. :)

January and February make up for it for me. Things pick up for me almost immediately after Christmas. Of course, every year I worry that it won't happen this time.

JR, I decided to risk it and put in two advertising orders in for after Christmas.

This is the promotion I have booked in for Dec - Feb. My second memoir launched on Dec 1st, with just the one sale - a pre-order. I figured I'd try to promote online like this:

Elusive Identity
Memoir

(((KDP Countdown 1st - 8th Feb)))

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PAID 22/12/17
In newsletter 25th Dec
$11 EBookskill.com - 1 month promotion (featured memoir on website, 4x tweets, )
(Will need to sell 3 ebooks)

PAID 22/12/17 $20 KBoards advert Tuesday 2nd Jan
New ebooks promoted Tuesdays.
(Will need to sell 5 ebooks)

Possibly still booked in
Ebookskill.com
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Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2017, 07:30:33 PM »
For those of you with paperback sales, are they showing up on your createspace dashboard? I had to buy a copy to send to the library of congress and it isn't showing up. There were also 5 or 6 sellers that must have bought my book (but not through createspace direct since I didn't check that box) and those aren't there either. I'm wondering if they are late in sales reporting because of the holidays or what.

Yes. Did you buy that copy as an author copy? That won't show in your CreateSpace dashboard. Also, how do you know about the sellers buying your book? If these are for ads up on your page, that doesn't mean they have a copy yet. If they ever get an order they'll then buy a copy to fulfill the order but not until then.


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Offline Hestia

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2017, 08:19:50 PM »
Yes. Did you buy that copy as an author copy? That won't show in your CreateSpace dashboard. Also, how do you know about the sellers buying your book? If these are for ads up on your page, that doesn't mean they have a copy yet. If they ever get an order they'll then buy a copy to fulfill the order but not until then.

No, it wasn't an author copy, I bought it from the site so they would get it sooner. Yesterday when I checked my book page, I saw all of these sellers offering my book so I assume they must have purchased it? And today those copies were gone so I'm guessing that people bought them. I took a screenshot of the sellers to send to createspace if they want proof. My book only went on sale last weekend and I've done no promoting whatsoever so I don't even know how anyone found it. There is also a possibility they could have purchased it through IngramSpark, but it's only showing 1 copy sold on their dashboard. I'll be emailing createspace about this after Christmas.

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2017, 04:37:39 AM »
No, it wasn't an author copy, I bought it from the site so they would get it sooner. Yesterday when I checked my book page, I saw all of these sellers offering my book so I assume they must have purchased it? And today those copies were gone so I'm guessing that people bought them. I took a screenshot of the sellers to send to createspace if they want proof. My book only went on sale last weekend and I've done no promoting whatsoever so I don't even know how anyone found it. There is also a possibility they could have purchased it through IngramSpark, but it's only showing 1 copy sold on their dashboard. I'll be emailing createspace about this after Christmas.
Those third-party sellers do not have your book. They list it and buy it from you if someone bothers to buy from them, which rarely happens. They dont already have it, though.

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Offline notjohn

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2017, 08:33:00 AM »
December used to be a great month for digital sales, though January was much better. People got Kindles for Christmas and spent the next couples of weeks buying books for it. That effect has now pretty much vanished. It's hard to judge by 2017, because the reports have been so unreliable, but December to date has been my worst month in a couple of years. My sales always slow or stop over a holiday, and this is the mother of all holidays.

My paperback sales have always been good in December, but that too has come to a screaming halt because almost all of my books are shown as backorders on the Amazon store, anywhere from 1-2 to 6 days before shipping. At the moment, my 16 paperbacks constitute about 35 percent of my book sales, while the 26 Kindle editions account for 65 percent.

For four of those books, the paperback version has out-sold the ebook. This often happens. (Three of them are non-fiction, which may account for it.)

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Offline Daniel Kenney

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2017, 08:49:26 AM »
I write Middle Grade and Chapter Books. November and December are always my best months. And 95% of those sales are paperbacks. My books function mostly as gifts for kids. As for ebooks? I don't sell many ebooks period and November and December is no different. Like most people say, I'm pretty sure it's all about the genre/category you're writing in. Cheers, Dan

Offline notjohn

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2017, 10:26:28 AM »
I write Middle Grade and Chapter Books. November and December are always my best months. And 95% of those sales are paperbacks. My books function mostly as gifts for kids. As for ebooks? I don't sell many ebooks period and November and December is no different. Like most people say, I'm pretty sure it's all about the genre/category you're writing in. Cheers, Dan

Yes, I'm sure that children's books are another area where paperbacks rule. It's been a while since I curled up with a child and a book, but I just can't imagine that book's being displayed on a Fire tablet, let alone an e-ink Kindle.
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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2017, 12:33:23 PM »
December is usually slow for me, too. I don't advertise much during this month for that reason (which probably doesn't help!)


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Offline Sean Sweeney

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2017, 12:57:56 PM »
I've actually sold more books this month than I have the last three months. Helps that a new book is coming out; pre-orders for it are half of my sales this month...
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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2017, 01:24:38 PM »
It's been my best month ever--especially for my print nonfiction. Lots of pet lovers getting gift books, I think.

Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2017, 02:04:22 PM »
If you sell anything that could be used as a gift...

If you have a new release that people have been waiting for...

You'll probably sell just fine during December.

If you sell books that people buy for themselves...

And if you don't have a new release...

You'll probably sell much better after Christmas.

Offline Hestia

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2017, 04:23:43 PM »
Those third-party sellers do not have your book. They list it and buy it from you if someone bothers to buy from them, which rarely happens. They dont already have it, though.

Thank you, that makes more sense. Not sure why they are allowed to list books they don't have though. The sellers disappeared now for whatever reason.

Offline solo

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2017, 04:31:17 PM »
If you sell anything that could be used as a gift...

If you have a new release that people have been waiting for...

You'll probably sell just fine during December.

If you sell books that people buy for themselves...

And if you don't have a new release...

You'll probably sell much better after Christmas.

Thanks, Patty. Looks that way. E-books recovering but KU reads are still flatlined. My first December as a writer, and I am very glad that others are so generous about sharing their experiences.

The blessings of the Season to everybody and the best of the coming year.... may it be better than this year and may people be wiser than today.

Offline melodybremen

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2017, 05:27:09 PM »
I write Middle Grade and Chapter Books. November and December are always my best months. And 95% of those sales are paperbacks. My books function mostly as gifts for kids. As for ebooks? I don't sell many ebooks period and November and December is no different. Like most people say, I'm pretty sure it's all about the genre/category you're writing in. Cheers, Dan
Yes, I write middle grade and young adult and I sold a nice amount of paperbacks in December and only a small amount of ebooks.

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Offline CoraBuhlert

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2017, 05:47:45 PM »
For me, September through February have usually been very good sales months (except 2016, where the bloody US election depressed sales) and indeed my best month ever was a December.

December 2017 is not one of my all-time best months nor is it the best month of 2017, but it is a good sales month nonetheless. Though I've noticed that sales started to slow down approx. two weeks before Christmas, which happens almost every year. Usually, they start to pick up again after the holidays.

Offline Michael Eli Vineberg

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2017, 07:23:42 PM »
December was my worst month of 2016 and December this year looks to be the in the bottom half of my 2017 month rankings, but it is still too early to tell, there is still another week. 

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Offline 9 Diamonds

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2017, 07:32:15 PM »
Yes, I'm sure that children's books are another area where paperbacks rule. It's been a while since I curled up with a child and a book, but I just can't imagine that book's being displayed on a Fire tablet, let alone an e-ink Kindle.

I take it you're referring to picture ebooks and illustrated ebooks? Children's and young people's novels and etextbooks are strong ebook sales, and growing stronger every year, especially with schools requiring students entering secondary school to have all texts as ebooks rather than printed books.

Offline notjohn

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2017, 05:10:01 AM »
I was thinking of preschoolers. In today's world, one does not curl up with secondary-school children.  Or middle schoolers, for that matter.
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Offline juliatheswede

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #45 on: December 25, 2017, 04:24:27 AM »
So far my sales have not been great in December, at least not on Amazon. Better on Apple.

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #46 on: December 25, 2017, 04:49:14 AM »
Well, I was surprised to see 9 paperback book sales registered on the 22nd and another on the 23rd.  I can only guess it's because I boosted a FB post about buying the paperback and getting the ebook for free. That's the only place I promoted the paperback. I only have three months of sales and this one is much better than last month and with those paperback sales, it beats out my first month too. This is for my fantasy novel.

Offline 9 Diamonds

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #47 on: December 26, 2017, 07:26:56 PM »
December 26 and it looks like people are starting to stock up their new Kindles, buying and borrowing  ;D  ;D  ;D

Offline solo

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #48 on: December 26, 2017, 10:28:56 PM »
December 26 and it looks like people are starting to stock up their new Kindles, buying and borrowing  ;D  ;D  ;D

Looks that way. Ebook sales and KU reads are slowly normalizing to my pre-17 December levels. I hope it continues.

Offline Spin52

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2017, 03:16:20 AM »
December has been a very good month for me this year. I put that down to starting a new series last spring, with the fourth book released at the start of December. I'm seeing quite a few follow-through sales as people read the entire series, so I'm now frantically working on the fifth book to keep them interested.


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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2017, 07:20:42 AM »
December has been pretty decent. Christmas Eve through Boxing Day sucked. I've already sold more books today than those three days combined.

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Offline Ceramic

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Re: Is December really a slow sales month?
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2018, 10:05:20 PM »
I advertised with Kboards and eBook skill. Was very disappointed to see that my non fiction eBook was about 8th in their list. I have sold 1 copy of the new release in December, and one in January.

Backlist sales
In November I sold 3 eBooks total. There are four eBooks in Kindle. December was 5 and by January 13th, 7 eBooks have already been bought!  I haven't seen this many sales since the first few months.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 10:38:32 PM by Ceramic »