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Discussion Starter #1
I've been an indie author for over 5 years now with nearly 20 books in a variety of categories: YA, Middle Grade, romance, and a romantic comedy series. Normally I can write a few books a year and pull in about 17-25k without much advertising (a Bookbub or two a year and some much smaller ads). Nothing to get too excited about, but it's pretty cool to me and has been very consistent. But all of a sudden it seems like sales have screeched to a frightening halt!  :-[ My Draft2digital dashboard is stuck at the same number of sales for a week or more on end. My KDP page reads literally went from approx 500 a day (again, nothing to brag about, but still) to ZERO. Sales are dried up. Has the market changed overnight, or have all sellers tweaked their algorithms? Maybe I just need to come out of my cave and spend far more time trying to creatively advertise, but it feels like SOMETHING has changed, and I can't put my finger on it! Anyone else in this same pickle?!
 

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It HAS changed recently, I'd say. I think the last couple of months, at least, the world's just so uncertain that spending has dropped a bit in a lot of areas. Except maybe alcohol.

I've been spending a lot on alcohol.

We have the global pandemic, we have the American elections, here in the UK we have Brexit and all the uncertainties that come with that.

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of authors are feeling the squeeze atm. I'd wager if you have a bigger ad budget, it's maybe a little easier to cushion it, but not many of us indies do.
 

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Yeah, I noticed a pretty decline in the past month or so and it's pretty similar to your KDP page drop off.  At first I was thinking, oh man, what did I do wrong?  But now I'm pretty settled on the idea that the world's just a little nuts right now.  A lot of people I've been talking too are much less optimistic going into a second surge on the virus.  I remember when things started the first time people said, well we'll hunker down for a few weeks and it will go away.  Now it's more like, uggh, when will this go away?  And, I know when I'm not in a great mood I just want to plop down and netflix.  I have to be at least somewhat energized to sit down and read, so I don't know.  My feeling is that people are just having a lot tougher time with this surge of the virus.  Also that more people are having a financial crunch going into the holidays, which might mean less money for the odd thing like books.

But, hopefully these things are just trends.  Trends change, if they do anything.  It was disappointing at first to me personally because I just started to see my book ranks go up, and then they shot back down.  But hey, there's always tomorrow.  And hopefully things normalize for you.
 

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My sales and KU borrows have been pretty much nonexistent this month too. Last month wasn't too bad, but November... ouch.

It's not at all surprising given everything that's going on. If COVID gets as bad over the next few months as the forecasts say it will, a lot of us might be looking at cobwebs and crickets on our sales boards.
 

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i've already surpassed my net earnings from self-publishing in any previous year

one of the surprises is the strong increase i've seen in paperback sales

who is reading more? and who is reading less? i can see why romance/erotica sales are dropping... women with children/grandchildren have suddenly lost all their free time & often their jobs as well

however other demographics are suddenly sitting down & reading TBRs they never had time to get around to before









 

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Discussion Starter #6
You guys are all so right! I know that things are weird because I'm having to force myself to write when it's always been a fun thing for me to do...all I've really done this year is read like a maniac! To that end, I think a lot of us went into the pandemic (and by "us" I mean authors) thinking "Sweet, people will be at home! They'll buy books! They'll read!" But...it sounds like across the board that isn't really happening. I'm buying and reading books like they're life rafts and I'm in danger of being lost at sea, but I can see that many people aren't feeling that same way. That's understandable. Hopefully things turn around for all of us, because while writing is personally rewarding, the financial reward is pretty nice too!

Hope you and yours are all safe and healthy!  :)
 

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I can speak from the small and indie press aspect of it. But I first have to agree that this second surge, the anticipated dark winter pandemic concerns, has definitely closed up wallets/purses as far as (most) book sales. I can just about count it right down to the day when the announcements were made about real tough(er) virus times ahead, and the decline of my sales. I've been watching about 60-80 of the most recent authors from two publishers every other day or so and seen non-existent sales and no reviews. I mean that almost quite literally. Of course, in both cases, all those books are marked in KU and at $2.99 to $3.99. They are also nine months old and younger. I'm saying that the majority of these books never got off the ground. Which is quite astonishing to me. I demanded from both publishers that my books be placed at 99 cents (as often as possible) and go free as frequently as Amazon policy dictates. I've had seven books come out in the last 18 months between the two pubs.

I'm nearly the only one with good sales and reviews from both houses. By no means gigantic numbers, but ones and twos per day, and sometimes some heavy sales spikes. That was up until a month ago. I've fairly flat-lined and climbed back toward the mid/high six-figure rankings. Oh, and I know I've been the top marketer and promoter, having spent more money on ads than the majority, because many of those authors are still asking me how I did it. I can't rightly help them much when I consider myself a sales failure!

Stress, no time, essential household expenditures, movie binging, lost jobs, lock-downs, domestic turbulence, alcohol, election concerns--it's all taken its toll on us and the public. There are outlier book genres and categories that have actually increased or are holding their own. But 90% of the fiction genres have taken a hit.

With a grain of salt, mind you. That's been my experience. 
 

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It's the economy, people. Pure and simple. Sure, some will see no effect. Others will.

Approx. 30% of US adults are having difficulty paying for necessities. How much does that cut into a particular author's readership? That is the question.

Then you have the other vagaries of sales hikes and drops, that occur even in more normal times.
 

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My sales have been erratic, ranging from normal or close to it,  to days when I thought I might  only have 1 sale, which hasn't been the case for many years now. In particular I am concerned about my UK audience. I am guessing the UK's second lockdown plus Brexit plus the possibility of a very odd Christmas is putting a damper on things.
 

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I expect it will get worse, since the US is talking about another, nation-wide, lockdown. People are worried, about their jobs, their health, their country. It's scary out there. Even with news of a potential vaccine, there's no sign of a full recovery, or a return to what we once thought was normal.

All we can do is to provide stories people will spend whatever they have in the entertainment fund.
 

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AmesburyArcher said:
My sales have been erratic, ranging from normal or close to it, to days when I thought I might only have 1 sale, which hasn't been the case for many years now. In particular I am concerned about my UK audience. I am guessing the UK's second lockdown plus Brexit plus the possibility of a very odd Christmas is putting a damper on things.
I can very much see lockdown being extended into December. I very, very much doubt that we'll be in lockdown for Crimbo day, however. I reckon Boris will say 'rules are relaxed for Christmas day and Boxing Day' then it'll be back to lockdown again straight after.

People are going to go see their families over Christmas, lockdown or no. So the government might as well make it look like it's their idea, lol.

Anyone, I agree entirely, the world's just gone to crap this year. Roll on next year, eh?
 

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I posted on this very subject about 2 months ago when my sales declined significantly from usual. But it seems to be recovering again now, inching back to normalcy. However, unlike some other authors who are able to sell without advertising, I have to advertise. When I stop ads, the sales stop. I haven't cracked the "sell without advertising" code yet, but I have a decent margin so staying on course for now.
 

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This has been my best year but it is also because I only started less than 3 years ago and my third novel recently came out...so the traction was to be expected.

Having said that, in the past few days, everything seems to have ground to a halt. I was on a very consistent modest pace of sales since August and beginning this week, everything just stopped. Clicks to my website and subscribers to my mailing list have all increased which makes me wonder if there is a delay in reporting sales.


Mark
 

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jm2019 said:
I posted on this very subject about 2 months ago when my sales declined significantly from usual. But it seems to be recovering again now, inching back to normalcy. However, unlike some other authors who are able to sell without advertising, I have to advertise. When I stop ads, the sales stop. I haven't cracked the "sell without advertising" code yet, but I have a decent margin so staying on course for now.
This has been my experience. Hail and well met to those who have an organic momentum going. I still have to push with some ads.
 

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The small and medium presses and all bookstores are fighting for survival. The traditional publishers have always been slow to react and without their bread and butter bookstores to sell through, they have an issue. Online presence is very different than bricks and mortar and it is no surprise that the trads are upping the costs of AMS and Facebook ads.

What has surprised me is print sales have increased overall according to various sites and some genres are doing much better than others that traditional sell well.

Mark
 

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Despite my earlier doom and gloom, I did look at last year's figures and November was pretty darn rotten then, too,  so I may be more pessimistic than I need to be. I have a new release coming out in the next few weeks so hopefully that will inject a bit of life to my sales.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I love hearing everyone else's experiences and thoughts and outlooks...these are strange times, for sure, but that dream of being a full-time author that keeps many of us going seems more important than ever to hold onto. First of all because we've got to have something to strive for, but also because of the way the economy is going and the fact that doing something remotely (or being able to do something independently and remotely) seems like it could be the wave of the future.

Like everyone, I plan to ride it out and see what happens, but it is fascinating to see your page reads literally drop to zero and stay that way for days on end, and for sales to flatline as well. It's like the universe sent out a little wave of panic or frugality to consumers, and we're all seeing it at the same time!
 
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