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I have published seven volumes, six of which have been available for three months or more. This morning I took the time to compile daily, monthly, and cumulative sales information for all seven volumes. I was surprised by what I found, and I thought some of this information may be useful to fellow authors.

If I look at trends for a particular book, I see no rhyme or reason to it. Some of my books are steadily increasing in sales, while at least one of them--my biggest seller to date--is slipping in sales. Those whose sales are increasing at the highest rate are the two volumes selling for $0.99, but a book selling for $4.99 is not far behind. I am glad for the increasing sales of the $0.99 volumes, because a third volume in the series will come out in a few weeks, and its price will be set at $4.99. The essays in these first two books have been read by some 37,000 people (according to page hit information at one of my websites), so I'm anticipating excellent sales when the $4.99 book comes out.

The more interesting information derives of trends over the seven volumes as a group. Even though sales of individual volumes have been rising and falling, some numbers are remaining constant over the last four months, which I find fascinating. In particular, gross earnings have been constant from one month to the next within 11%. That is, I'm earning not less than $890X dollars per month, and not more than $1110X dollars per month. Why this would be so is beyond my ability to explain, but it's interesting.

The number that fascinates me the most, though, is monthly sales. Even as individual book sales go up or down, gross monthly sales are ticking upward at a steady rate, like so:

March 100%
April 113%
May 134%
June 153%

Now, based on this trend, I might extrapolate to around 170% for the month of July, but another interesting trend so far points downward for this month. In fact, some of my sales are down 80% over the last two days. Problem at Amazon? Sudden appearance of 1-star reviews? No. None of the above. I would guess quite a few of us, especially those among us selling mostly to North American readers, are suffering decreased sales due to the 3- and 4-day weekend most people are taking. As happens every few of years, both July 1 (Canada Day) and July 4 (U.S. Independence Day) occur on the same long weekend, and North America is basically shut down (literally shut down in my native state of Minnesota!) for four days. Even so, if I prorate over the month, I still find 142% of sales for July. If I take into account weak sales, though, and do some other adjustments based on the clear trend from previous months, I see an interesting acceleration in July. We'll see in a few days whether this proves to be true. I'll report back to let you know.

I think the take-home lesson here is that it's better to have several books out. I have not yet conducted an analysis of purchasing trends, but I know for a fact that several readers have purchased the second book in a series because they enjoyed the first book. I see some cross-over from one genre to the other, too, based on "Customer who bought this item also bought" information, which shows my novel being purchased by LOST fans, and Game of Thrones fans going to pick up one of my LOST books, and so on. This observation might tend to support the idea that it's good to have books out in several genres.

I welcome your comments and ideas.
 
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