From author M.C.A. Hogarth:
Here is my sales graph for November. As many of you have noted before, I never include the labels, which prevents you from knowing just how many units per day those spikes represent.
So I shall tell you that the high point on the graph, over there on the right, is 24.
That’s 24 units sold in one day, and for me that is a spectacular day, and I want to dance for excitement. A good day for me is a day I move 2-4 units a day. A happy day is over 10. Get above 15 and I start wondering if someone has done an article or a review somewhere pointing me out. That 24-unit day, for example, was the day after the PW article went live.
“Well, fine,” some of you may think. “But 2-4 books a day is more books a day than I sell.”
This may be true. But let’s consider this other fact: I have over 50 stories available for sale. If you count all the things I have available as distinct products, it’s probably closer to 100, once you add in the coloring books and children’s books and audiobooks, etc. So do a reset and realize that to move 2-4 units a day, I had to have over 100 different products available for sale. If you have only one or two products for sale and you sell even one a day, you’re already on par with me, if you’re looking at this from an effort standpoint.
. . . .
I do not begrudge my peers their better sales, because they don’t need to fail for me to succeed. This revelation is deeply freeing, because it means I can be thrilled for their successes, and fine with my own more modest accomplishments.
So I am a very solid indie midlister author, who is over the moon when she sells more than five stories a day (of whatever length, in whatever format), and who will probably continue to be thrilled that way for some time to come. I can say that without upset because the profile of the indie midlister is very different from the profile of the trad midlister. For one, I don’t have to worry that I’m not earning enough to justify my next work being made available. If my book makes $10 in a year, no one is going to tell me, ‘sorry, you can’t put your next one up for sale because your last one didn’t do well enough.’ This is a particular relief, because the thresholds for success as a trad author are often painfully high. ‘If this book doesn’t make $40,000 this year, I’m sunk’ is kind of terrifying. I don’t have that fear. I can cheerfully make $10 a month for the rest of my life and the only thing that will happen is that I have $10 a month I wouldn’t have had before.
Plus, every book I sell is populating an algorithm (or ten) that will make it more likely that someone else will see it, and buy it. It’s not like the old death spiral, where every sale is meaningless and will contribute to fewer sales unless you hit a certain threshold. The more I write, and the more I sell, the more likely it is that I will continue to sell.
And here’s the best news of all: I don’t have to be a bestseller to make comfortable money. In the past, if I had wanted to stay home and write books full-time, I had to hope I could sell my books to thousands of people. Now, I can make good money selling to hundreds. And hundreds of people is do-able. It might take some time to get there—I put my first story up on Amazon in 2009, so I’m into year 5 here—but it can be done.
Link to the rest at M.C.A. Hogarth and thanks to Liana and others for the tip.
Here’s a link to M.C.A. Hogarth’s books