25 Sep How Many Books have You Sold?

It’s coming up on a year since I started this publishing journey and I figured it was time to take stock. I have been immensely grateful for many other authors who have generously shared their publishing experiences online, including their sales numbers and tips about what worked for them…and what didn’t. Without their transparency, I would not have had the courage to leap into this journey myself. Without the benefit of their shared wisdom, I would have made way more mistakes than I have! Valuable resources for anyone considering self-publishing, I am indebted and inspired by the experiences of:
JKonrath
Amanda Hocking
Catherine Ryan Howard
Kristen Lamb
Liz Reinhardt
Jillian Dodd
And more.

When authors have shared their sales numbers, it has been motivating because it showed me that yes, it IS possible to take a book that agents and publishers said NO to, and earn money from it. One of my favorite thoughts from Konrath, goes along the lines of – “Any writer who can put food on the table from their writing – is a success. Regardless whether that meal is steak and champagne OR macaroni and cheese…” (or in our case, rice and tuna)

A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of self-published authors, earn less than $500 a year from their books and only a few earn a full-time income from their writing.  Self-publishing is not for the faint hearted. Or the lazy. Or those in search of a quick buck. It requires creativity in one’s approach to promotion and marketing and relies heavily on teamwork. I have been blessed to have the support of many other professionals in their fields, ranging from photography to writing/blogging to sports to fashion and blessed with the support of fantastic readers. With everyone’s help, the Telesa Trilogy has been able to find readers worldwide.

Am I selling zillions of books and living on Easy Street? No. But I’m happy to be living my dream-job, writing full-time. And that meal of rice and tuna, bought with money from a book that thirty lit agents said no to? Believe me, it tastes a lot like steak and champagne!

Joining the ranks of other authors who step up and share their numbers, here’s mine. For everyone and anyone who contributed to these stats by supporting the Telesa Trilogy books – thank you. Faafetai lava.

Books Sold Since October 2011

Electronic Books Online
1. Telesa:The Covenant Keeper                                           – 3,885
2. When Water Burns  (released Jun 2012)                          – 2,160
3. Afakasi Woman (released Mar 2012)                               –    406

Print Books                                                                            – 5434

Total Books Given away Free               37,071                           
Electronic books   – 36,851
Print books            –      220

                                                          Total Books Sold:      11, 885

7 Comments
  • How do you say MAZEL TOV in Samoan??

    September 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm
  • How do you say MAZEL TOV in Samoan??

    September 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm
  • Woot!! That is awesome Lani! I found you and your work through Telesa being a freebie on Amazon, loved it, then as soon as When Water Burns became available on kindle, snapped it up. I believe if a writer's work is truly great, then it will find its audience and snowball. Thats what I see happening with yours. Congratulations and keep them coming! 🙂

    September 26, 2012 at 8:52 am
  • WOW almost 1000 books sold per month, 250 per week, 36 per day, 1.4 per hour!!! Congrats and all the best for more rice and tuna dinners 😉

    September 26, 2012 at 11:29 am
  • Congratulations, Lani! I love your books and they have opened up a whole culture to me I knew little about before ( but fantasizes a out!) I'm glad you've been in contact with other generous writers who have been willing to share their experiences with you! When creative people support each other, rather than seeing each other as threats to their "slice of the pie" EVERYONE benefits

    September 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm
  • Congrats. Sheez I didnt know you gave away THAT many books. Glad to know I contributed at least a bit by buying the first and second books despite getting the 1st for free. I hope soon your sales are such that even JK Rowling and Ms Stephanie Meyer will be jealous. Until then, keep up the good work!

    September 27, 2012 at 12:06 am
  • Thanks for the interesting sales information Lani. I have done a rough estimate of minimum and maximum possible sales for "Dragon Waif" and think I might be able to sell a bare minimum of 50 and a maximum of 200. But it is poetry and I do not think many people are willing to pay for poetry except out of curiosity.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:43 am

Post a Comment