Money, money, money – the results of self-publishing one month recap

It’s the one-month birthday for Haunt My Heart. In the spirit of full disclosure to everyone following my publishing and now my self-publishing journey and in the hopes of inspiring, informing and encouraging new authors with the truth… here’s what happened this month.

Beware–the truth is in here.

Thing started out pretty good (in my humble opinion). Of course, I only have my other author friends’ experience to compare it to. All in all it was better than some, worse than others. Still here’s what happened and how I did or didn’t influence it.

The numbers

I uploaded Haunt much too early on January 3 because I was anxious and unsure how long it would actually take to appear on Amazon. Official release day was January 5. I went exclusively with Amazon and enrolled it in KDP, which means it was also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (the subscription program).

Here are my Amazon sales rank results.

Haunt Amazon sales rank month one

It started out pretty strong. I didn’t do pre-order sales. It was REALLY hard to not do pre-order sales because I LOVE having those sales links. it makes it tough to do a lot of pre-promotion without sales links too but I wanted to biggest initial bump I could get. Right or wrong, I chose no pre-order. The highest sales ranking Haunt achieved was 24,881 on release day.

Here’s my actual sales chart.

haunt book sales month one

I had a good bump the first evening after it went live and then the day after my Facebook book launch event. That other spike on January 16 was a result of the blog post I did The cost of self-publishing one book. That post got 1,149 hits to-date (547 on Jan. 16) and people went crazy over it. Mostly good, some negative. That post helped me to sell five books that day so, yay!

month to date sales Haunt on Amazon

I was a little underwhelmed with the Kindle Unlimited borrows. I mean, it’s FREE to subscribers. I thought it would reach a LOT more readers than it did. I’m not sure how to increase the exposure there. I started posting daily (for a week and a half) in six different FB Kindle Unlimited groups. I think that has gotten me maybe one borrow a day.

No one likes to talk about the numbers but authors want–no–need to know. I don’t know why it has to be a big secret. We can learn from one another. It doesn’t have to be a competition. It should be a cooperation.

Anywhooo…(steps off of soap box)…

The money

So, how much did all this amount to in hard-earned cash?

This screenshot is my e-book sales.

haunt royalties first month

This screenshot was my print copy sales.

haunt print copies royalties units sold month one

Honestly, print doesn’t hardly seem worth the trouble EXCEPT for the ability to order your own copies for sale at book signings, conventions, promotions and to giveaway to family etc.

$10.24 was the lowest CreateSpace would let me sell it for. $10.99 is pricey to me for a print book, but several people had insisted they really wanted my book in print. Ten of them bought it from Amazon.

I did sell around 21 copies out of my car, at my in-person book launch and at my husband’s workplace. I sold those for $10 each so I pocketed around $5.50 a book on those sales, which was a better royalty BUT none of those sales counted toward my Amazon sales numbers. They could have really pushed up my rankings. Would it ultimately have made any difference? Gotten me onto any Top 100 lists? Would those same buyers have gone to Amazon to buy instead of buying my in-person signed copy? Probably not.

I also gave away 15 copies to friends, family and for prizes.

I gave away or sold the first 50 books I ordered and reordered another 40 for book signings etc. through the year.

The review game

Working with my street team, author network and some random strangers, I managed to accrue 18 Amazon Reviews and five on Goodreads. Of those reviews there were:

Reviews for Haunt My Heart: 16 – 5-Star, 1 – 4-Star, 1 3-Star

The 3-star review was from a random stranger who commented my book could have benefitted from some extensive editing (not for typos but for content). I refer her to this post The importance of beta readers and editing for self-publishing. You can’t please everyone 😀

The promotion & marketing

I couldn’t afford to spend much on promotion and marketing. What I did do was the following:

  • Facebook Book Launch event the night of release day online and in-person at a local coffee house FREE
  • Facebook post boosts with sales link $25
  • One day book blitz with Bewitching Books (around 20 blog posts, spotlights, interviews) $40
  • Guest posts/spotlights on author friend’s websites (around 20 posts) FREE
  • Posted daily for about two weeks in six different Kindle Unlimited Facebook groups FREE
  • Tweeted hourly for the first week, then backed off. I try to tweet a few times a day now $10 for Hootsuite but I’ve unsubscribed now. FREE
  • Random posts on Facebook until I annoyed all of my friends to death FREE

The results

So the grand total royalties for my first month of self-publishing Haunt My Heart?


The irony of all of this is that as I was working on this post I received my third royalty statement from my traditional publisher. Since publication last March (for two books), I’ve made $287.01 with a traditional publisher.

I’ve nearly made that in one month all by myself.

The future

My second self-published book, Reap & Repent, will release on March 2. Repent was first published last March with Harlequin. I’ve since had the rights reverted back to me to all three books in my Reaper Series. I’m excited about the opportunity to regain control of my writing and my career.

I’ll never give control away again.

Viva, Indie!

Want to read Haunt My Heart or Reap & Repent?

Haunt My Heart is available on AMAZON now in e-book and print.

HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

Reap & Repent:  Book One – March 2015

Repent600x900Reap & Repent blurb

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

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5 Responses to Money, money, money – the results of self-publishing one month recap

  1. Good info! I won’t to help you this time!

  2. Great post, Lisa. Thank you for continuing to share.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Lisa. It’s great info for future. I’m considering going strictly indie from now on (except for the ones I’ve already committed too.) I think $4.99 for an ebook is too much, which is what mine sells for. Hoping my next one is $2.99. We’ll see. Good luck for future sales.

  4. Everyone who indie publishes and those who go traditional should read this post. I’ve done both. Indie has a lot going for it if you ask me. Thanks for helping us all out.