When my first book launched in the summer of 2020, sales were not spectacular but they were enough. I never had delusions of grandeur of becoming an overnight success or even ever being able to retire from my day job to live like a fat cat on royalties alone. I did, however, hope that at some point my books would find a market and maybe with that find steady sales through each quarter. And by steady I only mean that each quarter would see a few books sold, nothing massive but maybe consistent.
My publisher doesn't give me access to real-time sales data. I have have to wait until the end of each quarter and then wait another 30 days before I can see what my sales were for that period. It certainly lacks the instant gratification that many of us have come to expect and desire in today's ultra-connected society but given the varied sources of input from print sales and ebooks it is something that I can understand. Still, it is very nerve-racking in the month following the end of each quarter as I login periodically to my dashboard on the publisher's site to check my sales to see what updates have been reported.
With Q3 of 2021 I had hoped to see a nice spike in sales. I had run a few ads on social media to market my books. I had joined a few groups on social media to help market my books. I had solicited reviews for my books by giving away free copies to those who wanted to read and review them. I even was the subject of an article in a local publication that was delivered to readers in early August.
It seemed that all the factors were there for me to have a successful Q3.
Sadly, I waited until all of the Q3 sales had been tallied and I logged in to see what my sales were only to find that each book only sold 1 copy. Even more depressing was that I was the one that bought each copy! I needed the Kindle versions of the book to do some promotional stuff after I realized that the final pdf copies provided by the publisher were "locked" and I couldn't use them. For it still being my intellectual property, the publisher files seemed to restrict my access to my content so I found a workaround which required me buying my own books.
Regardless, it did bring a sense of sadness to me to see that the only books sold in Q3 of '21 were the books I bought for myself. Still, I don't expect or hope to get rich from selling books but I had hoped to at least garner more interest than that. Even if it was only 1 book sold per quarter, I'd like for them to be books sold to someone other than me.
Marketing and social media are not my forte and who knows, maybe if I were better at one of those things then maybe my sales would be better. All I can do is strive to improve and do better. The idea of giving up is not an option. I'd rather put my stories out there for nobody to buy than lock them away without trying. The only guarantee of failure is to never try. That's not me. That's not my way. Q3 of this year was a huge bummer to me but now I want to take that bummer and use it as motivation to improve.