April by the Numbers

I will always remember this month as my first as a full-time writer. And I have to say, this month has been very encouraging, sales-wise, and probably won’t be equalled for a long time yet.

A lot happened in April. First, it was my first month as a full-time writer. Second, BookBub ran my book on April 1st, which resulted in about 30,000 downloads on Apocalypse on all retailers throughout the month. BookBub caused me to gain precious traction on Barnes & Noble, which historically has been a poor seller. And probably most importantly, I released my newest book, Extinction, in the middle of the month. It almostalmostbroke the Top 1,000 books, which would have been a new milestone for me.

Extinction sold about 185 copies on the day of its release on April 13, about twice as many as Darkness sold:

ImageApril was my best month ever, sales-wise. On all retailers, I sold 6,866 books, outselling my next biggest month, January 2014, by 2,759 books. To me, that’s absolutely incredible and a bit unexpected.

I’ve remained a Top 50-ish sci-fi author, according to Amazon’s rankings. It’s kind of crazy to be on the same list as a lot of my heroes. It’s also crazy that the majority of these authors are self-published.

Here’s the vendor breakdown of books sold:

Amazon: 4,930 (As usual, Amazon is the top player. As far as market size, Kindle will be king for a long time to come, to the point where it’s hard to imagine it being any other way. Things can change quickly, though.)

B&N: 677 (Even if Barnes is on the downslope (sadly), it’s encouraging that there are a lot of loyal Nook users. BookBub allowed me to reach a lot of them this month, which is GREAT, and I hope Nook will remain a player for a while to come).

iTunes: 975 (I’m also very happy with iTunes this month. Like Barnes, it’s difficult to get traction there, and it’s easily lost if you’re not releasing consistently and promoting. I’m hoping for a late May release on Xenofall to keep interest in the series.)

Kobo: 50 (Kobo has been very lackluster. I think it’s a visibility issue, and it’s not very friendly to the permafree model, at least in my case. When I try to search The Wasteland Chronicles there, Apocalypse isn’t even listed first, and that makes all the difference. That, and someone browsing the site itself is very unlikely to stumble upon Apocalypse, unless they were already planning to get it. It’s weird that I actually used to do better on Kobo when I had far less books. I hope they can perform better in the future).

GooglePlay: 116 (GooglePlay is an up and comer, and I hope Google chooses to place a lot of resources for their book platform. I know that’s not really their emphasis as a company, but it would be nice. They offer 50% royalties, which is less than Amazon and the rest. Coupled with their price slashing, I have to charge a bit more per book. Still, GooglePlay has a strong global reach, and I get downloads in loads of different countries that even Amazon might not be able to reach).

Smashwords: 7  (I’ve made the decision to publish all my books to Smashwords, in the interest of making my books as freely available as possible. Some readers prefer to have the book and many different formats while ensuring that it is DRM free. I publish all my books DRM free, but it’s really just a little extra effort on my part to make them available on Smashwords, so why not)

CreateSpace (paperbacks): 111 – This is my best month for paperbacks, and I’m actually surprised at how well they’re doing. I think Kindle Matchbook makes readers more likely to buy the paperback, because then they can get the Kindle version for free.

Total books: 6,866

Breakdown by Title:

Apocalypse: About 30K freebies

Origins: 1,727

Evolution: 1,409

Revelation: 1,189

Darkness 1,152

Extinction 1,341

Having almost 30K downloads on Apocalypse vs. having 1,727 on Origins might seem horrible at first, but most of those free downloads came from BookBub, which offers free books every single day. Retention will naturally be low, because these readers are far more likely to have LOADS of books just sitting on their ereaders. Still, for all those who do read the book go on, it gives a very nice boost that lifts the whole series for months.

Overall, I’m HUGELY pleased with these numbers. Every title sold over 1,000 copies! It’s an encouragement to keep working to release Xenofall this month (probably later).

It makes me a little sad that the series is about to end, but I don’t think it will be my last book in the Wasteland. I’m thinking of a possible follow-up series to The Wasteland Chronicles, and have some pretty awesome ideas bouncing around.

Well, that’s April in a nutshell. My plan for May is to finish Xenofall and release it later this month. And then I’m off to Europe (most likely) in June to visit friends and do a bit of exploration on my own as way to celebrate the end of a series I’ve been working on for so long. Yes, dear reader! It’s looking very likely that I will be in Europe from early June to mid-July – about six weeks. While there, I’ll be visiting friends in Germany, traveling around on my own to various countries, doing loads of writing, and sampling the fare, culture, coffee, and of course, alcoholic beverages. I’m talking about this as if it were an absolute, but I have yet to buy a plane ticket or make concrete plans! I plan on doing everything as cheaply as I can, since it’s just me.

The current plan is to leave early June, visit with friends for a bit, then travel to Vienna, Prague, possibly Budapest, Trier, and maybe Paris or Marseille. Also, I really want to visit San Marino and Capri. I probably wouldn’t be able to fit that all in. But, however you cut it, I’ll end up at Rome for the last leg of my journey, where my family will conveniently be vacationing. If this does end up happening (and it probably will) I’ll be sure to take copious amounts of pictures and relate my adventures. At this point, I will be working on my new series, hopefully releasing the first book by early July.

Well, that’s all I have for you, and I know it’s a lot! It’s exciting times in the life of Kyle West. I’m hoping all the cultures I see we be inspiration to work on my next thing! Even though I’ll be in Europe, I’ll still be writing like a madman – it’ll be half work, half play. I don’t know, we’ll see!

Now, I’m going to get back to writing. They’re about twenty-five miles from Ragnarok Crater and I have to see if I can get the crew out of some trouble they got “tangled” in.

Comment Section

  • Congratulations!

    Visit – Prague, Czech Republic. The most amazing city in Eastern Europe. I studied there for 7 months and travelled around a bunch, but always thought Prague was the best.

    Enjoy and relax.

    • Thanks! I’ll definitely be going to Prague. It’s only two hours away from where my friends are in Bavaria. It will be probably be my first stop after I leave Germany.

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