After analyzing two years’ worth of book sales, I’ve noticed some trends. Some books do better than others, but even the ones that do better don't do so forever. It seems like every book has a natural lifespan of sorts. Take for example…
The Runic Series
My first fantasy series took off on the day of the presidential election here in the U.S. I’d started putting $50/day into Google ads and Facebook ads at that time, and sales took off. I sold 20-40 ebooks a day, and over 1 million Kindle Unlimited pages a month.
Unfortunately, this didn’t last forever.
After a few months of this, sales started to decline. I did start to taper off my advertising budget a bit, as an experiment to see if I was still getting any extra benefit from spending $50 a day. Sales began to tank, and when I increased the ad budget again, it didn’t stop the trend. Eventually, sales dried up, and I was only selling a couple books a day, and less than 100,000 Kindle Unlimited pages per month.
Now, while I’ve managed to inject some new life into the series with creative ad campaigns, I’ve never gotten close to the original success the first two books in the series enjoyed. Runic Revolt, the fourth book in the series, has been out for about 4 months and has only sold 69 ebook copies, and has barely made half the cost of the cover design.
Take-home point being, even if the first couple of books in a series does well, everything good must come to an end…and there’s no guarantee further books of similar quality will do well, even with advertising!
The Fate of Legends Series
My second fantasy series hasn’t done as well as the Runic Series, but responds better to advertising than the Runic Series does now.
Part of this might be because of the more limited audience. The Runic Series was more of a Young Adult, Coming of Age fantasy series. This has a larger built-in audience of interested readers. The Fate of Legends Series is harder to categorize, harder to describe, and is 18+. So the Young Adult demographic is effectively excluded. I suspect it also appeals more to men than to women, further limiting the audience.
So the sales of Hunter of Legends and Seeker of Legends have never reached even a sixth of what the Runic Series did in its first few months, but with advertising, they can sell a good 10 books per day, and a little less than 100,000 Kindle Unlimited pages per month.
I’ve clearly got a lot to learn about optimizing my ads, and getting my books in front of potential readers’ eyeballs. Also, I need to figure out the best way to notify readers of the first couple of books in the Runic Series that there are two more books they might like to read. I’ll keep on experimenting and learning!
Also, for those indie authors out there, I hope this information provides some reassurance to those who’ve experienced similar trends in their book sales. No good thing can last forever, and book sales will dwindle eventually. Enjoy any success that you have while it lasts, but have no expectations that it will last!
Book sales aren’t everything, of course. I have a day job, and have the luxury of not having to rely on the income from my books (If I did, I’d be in deep trouble). I write stories I’ve been holding in my mind for years…stories I’m passionate about and feel compelled to tell. I’d write them even if I planned on never publishing them. In fact, I had no intention of publishing the first three books of the Runic Series! So if lots of people happen to like my books, that’s great…and if not, that’s okay too.
Have a great holiday, and to all those writers out there…keep writing!