So 2011 was my first year really working at the self-publishing thing. And it was a big year for a lot of people in my situation. Here are some overall numbers that might be of interest to folks starting out on their publishing journey. Feel free to take them wildly out of context to prove whatever point you’d like to prove.
$40,000 – roughly what I made last year as a writer. That’s a pretty good nut, considering things didn’t take off for me until April. It’s not quite enough to support me and Suzy, but when you consider that this year I’m staying in the day job for the first quarter of the year, I think we’ll muddle through.
25,000+ – The number of books I sold or gave away last year. My numbers aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty close, and I think I broke through the 25K number sometime in December. That would be a decent print run for one traditionally published genre fiction novel by an unknown author. I sold that many, but that’s across a dozen or so titles. Still, I’m pretty happy with those numbers, because it certainly proves that more people are buying my books than just friends and family. I’m a helluva guy, but I don’t have that many friends.
10,000+ – Number of copies Hard Day’s Knight sold last year. By far my biggest seller, with the sequels holding the #2 and #3 spots, in order of release. All in all, the Black Knight series accounts for over 17,000 of my books sold.
45 – Number of books I sold in January. I had two books out at that point, Hard Day’s Knight and The Chosen. Things really didn’t take off for me until I released Back in Black, underscoring the importance of continuity for continued sales.
4300 – Number of books I sold in August, the release month for Knight Moves. I had eight books out at that point, some of then only selling a handful per month. This further underscores the concept that a series sells itself. It doesn’t, but it sure is easier to get people to take a look when you’re selling a handful of titles instead of just one.
4 – books in the deal I signed with BellBridge books. They bought the omnibus edition to The Black Knight Chronicles, along with books 4-6. We haven’t really gotten cooking on things yet, but I think it’s going to be a good fit. They’ve got a lot of good plans for making my titles discoverable, and a good track record, so I’m excited.
1 – Book deal I signed in 2011. It may be the only deal I sign for a while, but I plan to keep my options open. I think BellBridge can do some good things for me, and I think I can make us both some money. If another company comes along with a deal that makes sense, I’ll talk to them, but I’m not out looking.
These numbers aren’t meant as a (total) brag post. There are a bunch of self-published authors out there doing as well as or better than me. It’s more to let you know that the midlist does still exist, and there are new voices on it, and you can be one too. Because gods know, if I’ve managed to find some level of success in this wild world of publishing, it’s proof that the sun really does shine on every dog’s ass at some point.