Author Topic: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?  (Read 2407 times)  

Online EleanorRigby

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Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2020, 02:51:16 pm »
Based on my VERY limited experience, I'd say 5,000 would be extremely difficult to achieve.

I published my first book a month ago. In those 4 weeks I've managed 58 sales and just over 7000 page reads. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by those numbers, despite their modest size!

The most important things are how much I've enjoyed the process and what I've learned for next time.

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    Offline jacobk

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #26 on: October 14, 2020, 03:17:12 pm »
    5000 sales: yes.

    Pay the bills: no.

    My first book was 99 cents in a popular genre, reasonably on market, and I did no paid promotion. It's sold a little over a thousand copies in three months. Do the math, and that's put about $350 in my pocket (getting started, my plan for making money was free posts plus patreon for early access, which worked ok-ish).

    If you wrote something similar and launched it with newsletter hits and heavy paid facebook promo, 5k sales is totally possible. You'd also probably end up in the red overall.

    Online NikOK

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #27 on: October 14, 2020, 03:37:15 pm »


    And that's great for someone who wants to make a rainbow and doesn't care if anyone else sees it. The issue comes when people say they don't care but they actually do.


    Ohhhhhkay...it seems like you just want an argument here and I will not get dragged into it.  Good day, man.

    For the OP, at least you can see there are a lot of different views and experiences that people have had.  If the question is, is it realistic, then you might just get 10 different answers from 10 different people  :D  Hope at least that the perspectives help.


    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #28 on: October 14, 2020, 03:53:02 pm »
    Ohhhhhkay...it seems like you just want an argument here and I will not get dragged into it.  Good day, man.

    For the OP, at least you can see there are a lot of different views and experiences that people have had.  If the question is, is it realistic, then you might just get 10 different answers from 10 different people  :D  Hope at least that the perspectives help.
    I disagree with what you said and expressed a dissenting opinion for other people who might benefit from seeing it. If you ignore me thats totally fine with me.


    What I actually want is for some poor newbie author to not read this thread and come out of it with unreasonable and soon-to-be disappointed expectations. People say write whatever you want and newbies will tend to assume that means they can write what they want AND sell lots of books, because thats what they want it to mean. But it doesnt mean that for everyone. Usually, it doesnt mean that for most writers, and I would feel terrible if someone made a poor life decision based on that advice.
             

    Offline Sheridan_West

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #29 on: October 14, 2020, 07:16:32 pm »
    Based on my VERY limited experience, I'd say 5,000 would be extremely difficult to achieve.

    I published my first book a month ago. In those 4 weeks I've managed 58 sales and just over 7000 page reads. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by those numbers, despite their modest size!


    That sound very good to me! What kind of book is it and what marketing tools did you use, if you don't mind me asking?


    Sheridan West

    Online EleanorRigby

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #30 on: October 15, 2020, 04:48:51 am »
    That sound very good to me! What kind of book is it and what marketing tools did you use, if you don't mind me asking?

    It's a thriller. Only 60k words (with the KU page reads I'm starting to see how good it could be if I had a 100k book!). Not done a huge amount of marketing. I have a low cost AMS ad running where I've put the ASIN numbers of MANY similar books in so that I come up as a sponsored product. Also done a couple of Facebook ads which got surprisingly decent click through rates, though I don't know how many converted to sales. And then just a few BookBub ads. Not spent huge amounts on there - just been trying to see what works best.

    This stuff has really been practice for my next book. I feel like I'll be so much better prepared whenever that one comes out. I think if you treat your first one like that then anything good that happens is just a nice extra.

    I enjoy using Photoshop, despite not being a designer, so I've messed around with different creative to see which one gets the most clicks on BookBub

    Online Crystal_

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #31 on: October 15, 2020, 08:54:37 am »
    A bit off topic, but I find my shorter books usually sell better than my longer ones. It might be coincidence and it's not a huge word count difference--75-80k vs 90-100k--but it is an interesting trend.

    I do have one book with an epilogue novella I made into a second epilogue and most people are pretty happy for that extra 20k of HEA (it does have its own arc). I don't think that would fly outside of romance, but it has been good for pages (and I got rid of the friction of a sequel novella between novel one and novel two).

    Still, I recommend erring on the side of a faster story if you're writing genre fiction.

    Online Decon

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #32 on: October 15, 2020, 08:55:30 am »
    It needs to be a big idea to be a bestsellet, even if you are following last year's trend.


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    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #33 on: October 15, 2020, 12:45:41 pm »
    A bit off topic, but I find my shorter books usually sell better than my longer ones. It might be coincidence and it's not a huge word count difference--75-80k vs 90-100k--but it is an interesting trend.

    I do have one book with an epilogue novella I made into a second epilogue and most people are pretty happy for that extra 20k of HEA (it does have its own arc). I don't think that would fly outside of romance, but it has been good for pages (and I got rid of the friction of a sequel novella between novel one and novel two).

    Still, I recommend erring on the side of a faster story if you're writing genre fiction.

    I think that's neat. I haven't yet done it, but often feel tempted to skip epilogues when reading romance because it sometimes reads like a checklist that's been drained of personality. I haven't come across anyone doing this, but it sounds like a good way to let the epilogue breathe a bit.

    Online Crystal_

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #34 on: October 15, 2020, 01:21:43 pm »
    I think that's neat. I haven't yet done it, but often feel tempted to skip epilogues when reading romance because it sometimes reads like a checklist that's been drained of personality. I haven't come across anyone doing this, but it sounds like a good way to let the epilogue breathe a bit.

    It's all about the hero learning to love Christmas, which I can't believe I wrote. I hate Christmas.

    Honestly, I'm not a big epilogue fan myself. I hate the trend of extended epilogues. I cannot wait until I stop writing them, but they've been good for signups. After reading and writing romance for so long, I do feel like non-romance books end abruptly, but I don't really like an epilogue where everything is settled. It makes me sad to think the characters' adventures are over. I prefer to see my epilogue six months or maybe a year out, where the couple goes from the first stage of love to the second, not the first stage to being married with three kids. (I don't want to see kids in the epilogue unless they were discussed in the book/are relevant to the plot, but that's another story. Romance authors, please stop writing as if all women want children! And all couples just have them with no discussion. It's great if people do want kids, but show them making a choice to do that please).

    I did prefer the novella style because it was more a new challenge than an arbitrary relationship milestone (though they may have gotten engaged at the end). I've considered doing that with future books, but I don't know how it would do. I get a few complaints on this one (no one is expecting a 20k word epilogue), but a lot of people really like it, and it's increased my series readthrough.

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #35 on: October 15, 2020, 08:16:00 pm »
    It's all about the hero learning to love Christmas, which I can't believe I wrote. I hate Christmas.

    Honestly, I'm not a big epilogue fan myself. I hate the trend of extended epilogues. I cannot wait until I stop writing them, but they've been good for signups. After reading and writing romance for so long, I do feel like non-romance books end abruptly, but I don't really like an epilogue where everything is settled. It makes me sad to think the characters' adventures are over. I prefer to see my epilogue six months or maybe a year out, where the couple goes from the first stage of love to the second, not the first stage to being married with three kids. (I don't want to see kids in the epilogue unless they were discussed in the book/are relevant to the plot, but that's another story. Romance authors, please stop writing as if all women want children! And all couples just have them with no discussion. It's great if people do want kids, but show them making a choice to do that please).

    I did prefer the novella style because it was more a new challenge than an arbitrary relationship milestone (though they may have gotten engaged at the end). I've considered doing that with future books, but I don't know how it would do. I get a few complaints on this one (no one is expecting a 20k word epilogue), but a lot of people really like it, and it's increased my series readthrough.

    That's hysterical, and exactly what I was getting at. It's hard enough to find couples where I like both of them, and then to have them turn into body-snatchers at the end to fit this idea of what everyone's life should look like, not a fan of that. Like you said, if it makes sense, sure, but oftentimes it seems forced.

    If it exists, someone out there will complain about it. If I like a series, or a couple, or a world, I want it all, the more the better. Is it too simplistic to just look at it like you're writing for the lovers not the haters? Probably.

    Offline nightwork

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #36 on: Yesterday at 04:49:08 pm »
    I'm wondering how realisitc or possible it is to sell 5000 copies of one book in one year as a brand-new author?

    Let's assume the writing is good and the cover is markettable ( ;D ), what would be required to accomplish this (such as marketing) and what would you budget for marketing?

    I am not a fast writer, but I estimate that 5000 copies sold would cover a year's worth of bills for me.

    If 5000 copies is no big deal, how realistic would 10,000 copies be?!  :P

    not only is it realistic but i feel like it's what you need to be shooting for

    the "average" self-publisher author selling 125 copies of a book will then tell you how happy they are they finished a book & sold anything

    their experience isn't useful because they've already chosen failure & already have a story lined up to tell themselves why they're "happy" they got the attendance award

    as for budget & marketing, no one's going to be able to give you a marketing class on an internet forum, you'll need to be strongly self-directed & it's extremely helpful if you already have a platform

    Offline jmb3

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #37 on: Yesterday at 05:46:26 pm »
    Honestly, I'm not a big epilogue fan myself. I hate the trend of extended epilogues. I cannot wait until I stop writing them, but they've been good for signups. After reading and writing romance for so long, I do feel like non-romance books end abruptly, but I don't really like an epilogue where everything is settled. It makes me sad to think the characters' adventures are over.

    I made the mortal sin of not including an epilogue in my standalone after providing them in my series. I figured, it's a standalone. No one will care. Well, let me tell you, they cared. Every other review mentioned the lack of epilogue. Most deducted a point from my stars because of it. 🤣 This particular story was released as an Audible Original, which means it was exclusively in audiobook format for three months, so when it finally released in ebook and paperback you better believe there was an epilogue in there.
    « Last Edit: Yesterday at 05:49:51 pm by jmb3 »


    Offline Andy_Blinston

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #38 on: Today at 08:31:22 am »
    The same but different is fine if that's what you want to do, but is it some golden rule?  I can think of many successful books that if you asked me what genre they were, I'd say, huh, that's a tough one.

    The important thing might be knowing the plusses and minuses before you go into it.  Writing something "not too original" will probably help with your marketing.  It's easy to say that your book is something people like with a twist.  So, something original might be harder, but who said this writing thing was going to be easy?  I find this view very limiting, on purpose, and I just think that if you set out to limit yourself, you should know what you are getting into.  No one ever innovated by setting out to do something that wasn't innovative.  No one ever set out to do the "same but different" and came out with something that really touched people.  It might be easier sell a book that blends into the crowd, but bare in mind, some people would rather make a rainbow that maybe no one ever sees.

    I'm not saying that this, "not too original" thing is a bad sentiment.  In fact, it's good marketing.  But saying things like this as, this is what you need to do, is misleading.  It's a choice that can be successful.  I just wonder what happens if you write to market and then your book still doesn't move very well?  If that happened, then you'd be left with no good reason to write.

    I think the advice was in the context of hitting 5k sales in year 1. As someone whose books don't fit nicely into a sub-genre, or can be summarised succinctly as "X meets Y", I can say that marketing is that bit harder as a self-published writer.

    OP, I'd say 5k is unrealistic unless you have experience in marketing, or your book wins some sort of competition that sheds light on it. Paid ads just aren't going to be profitable with only one book.


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    Online Crystal_

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #39 on: Today at 09:28:53 am »
    That's hysterical, and exactly what I was getting at. It's hard enough to find couples where I like both of them, and then to have them turn into body-snatchers at the end to fit this idea of what everyone's life should look like, not a fan of that. Like you said, if it makes sense, sure, but oftentimes it seems forced.

    If it exists, someone out there will complain about it. If I like a series, or a couple, or a world, I want it all, the more the better. Is it too simplistic to just look at it like you're writing for the lovers not the haters? Probably.

    I think the risk with a longer epilogue, even a novella, is that people want to move onto new couples. It might be different if the super epilogue is in the book, but I have two "sequel books," where each couple in the series gets their own epilgue story (they're relationship milestones but not necessarily standard ones) and they sell much less than the previous standalones. I'm glad I wrote the first, but I knew sales would probably be so so when I wrote the second and I did it anyway and it took at least two years to get readers to stop asking me to do it again.

    It might be the right long term play (most KU readers do read it and so that is 25% more pages for the series), but then an entire book is a pretty big opportunity cost too.

    I made the mortal sin of not including an epilogue in my standalone after providing them in my series. I figured, it's a standalone. No one will care. Well, let me tell you, they cared. Every other review mentioned the lack of epilogue. Most deducted a point from my stars because of it. 🤣 This particular story was released as an Audible Original, which means it was exclusively in audiobook format for three months, so when it finally released in ebook and paperback you better believe there was an epilogue in there.

    A lot of romance readers want tidy. Not writing tidy is part of my brand (uh style) but I still get complaints... Many complaints. I made the choice to never describe the abuse the hero suffered in one book and a lot of little did not like that. Or that the hero still hasn't talked about it with the heroine at the end. He would need a whole other book, maybe two, to get there though.

    Offline stacia_s

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #40 on: Today at 12:07:46 pm »
    I put out a debut novel on a new penname about two months ago. I'm not a new author, so I definitely had experience to leverage, but this is a brand new genre for me and I haven't published anything in almost two years so I didn't bring any of my previous audience with me on this new venture.

    The book came out August 31st and to date, I've sold 430 copies at $3.99 and had a little over a million page reads. My KENPC is around 500, so will consider that another 2000 copies, or so. The book has made $5k so and I've spent about $2k between the cost of the launch (cover, editing, etc.) and advertising. I just dropped my ad spend to like the $10-15/day level but I'm probably still seeing tail from those initial promo efforts so it's bringing about $80-90/day. I'm sure that will dip soon. The rank has only now started to really drop. It peaked at about 1100 in the Kindle Store and now floats between 4000 to 6000 depending on the day.

    I'll be surprised if it hasn't moved 5000 copies by August 2021. The next book on the penname is coming out next month so I'll hopefully see a bump on the first one.

    So to answer your question, yes it is totally possible to hit the numbers you describe. But how likely it is depends on a LOT of factors. Someone who knows absolutely nothing about publishing and just drops a book on the Amazon store will most likely watch it sink into oblivion. Launching a book isn't as expensive as some people make it out to be, but I can't even imagine trying to do it without at least a little bit of money set aside for preparing the book and launching it. Genre definitely plays a role, too. I'm playing with the big girls in contemporary romance now, so visibility is definitely pay to play when you're starting out.

    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #41 on: Today at 12:19:42 pm »
    So to answer your question, yes it is totally possible to hit the numbers you describe. But how likely it is depends on a LOT of factors. Someone who knows absolutely nothing about publishing and just drops a book on the Amazon store will most likely watch it sink into oblivion. Launching a book isn't as expensive as some people make it out to be, but I can't even imagine trying to do it without at least a little bit of money set aside for preparing the book and launching it. Genre definitely plays a role, too. I'm playing with the big girls in contemporary romance now, so visibility is definitely pay to play when you're starting out.

    I have a feeling that the importance of the bolded part cannot be overstated. A friend of mine jumped into a new genre (to suspense, from romance) with a new pen name this year, and she's seen really good results so far. But even though it's a brand new pen name, she's been a very successful indie for about five years, and she's bringing all of that experience with her. That's a vastly different thing than being a first-time author and trying to do the same thing.
             

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #42 on: Today at 02:36:30 pm »
    Selling 5000 copies of one book can be tricky. My first year, I had 35,000 sales of five books in a series with the first book in the series selling over 11,000 in that first year. My first two took eight months to reach 5000 sales each. That happened a month after releasing a prequel to the first three books. That prequel took a little over two months to hit 5000 sales, which it did one day before it was in BB. Twenty-six days after that, the prequel went over 10,000 sales.

    It's far easier to sell one book if it has a couple more in the series after it.
    My Bestselling, 18-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  5-volume Charity Styles Series, also bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, wherever books are sold. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
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    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
    « Reply #43 on: Today at 03:47:54 pm »
    It's far easier to sell one book if it has a couple more in the series after it.

    It also helps, though, if youre writing in a hungry category, which Waynes category was at the time.
             

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