In November 2015, I finally made the move to indie publishing, becoming a hybrid author like so many of my fellow writers. Although it is still early days, I wanted to share some of the income data I’ve collected so far.
Using the average monthly income of each book during the initial year of release as the jumping-off point, I looked at what several of my books have done over the years. In the chart below, you’ll see four sets of book data. Again, these represent the average monthly income of the books each year. You can see that while my bestseller, Mating Season, was published at Liquid Silver Books, my average monthly income for it fell 96% from 2012 to 2015. I then re-released Mating Season in April of 2016, and the short-term data I have so far shows a 7% increase. That’s still way down from the glory days of 2012, but all the authors I’ve talked to have seen a similar decrease during the same time period, 2014 being a particularly bad year.
In Season saw a similar decline of 79% from 2013 to 2015 while it was at Liquid Silver Books, but it has actually gone up 29% since I re-released it independently. That means In Season is now making 8% more now than it did when it was first released in 2013.
I looked at the Alien Sex Ed Series as a whole. From 2012 to 2015, my average monthly income from the series at Liquid Silver Books decreased 60% (again, a big decline in sales happened in 2014). After re-releasing the series independently, my monthly income has gone up 57%, almost back to what I was earning in 2012.
Switching Positions, while published at Loose Id, decreased 91% from 2012 to 2015. I re-released it independently at the end of February 2016 and have already seen an uptick of 15%.
Book sales can really change a lot over the years, so I wanted to take a closer look at what happened from 2015 to 2016, both for the books I re-released independently and for the ones I left at the publisher. My average monthly income for Mating Season has gone up 7% since I re-released it independently. In Season has gone up 87% during that time frame, and Switching Positions has gone up 15%. In contrast, three of the books that I’ve left at the publisher have seen a drop in income during that same time frame. Husbandry has declined 3%, Tribal Shift has declined 6%, and Unmasked has declined 37%.
I would like to see more sales figures over the coming six to twelve months before I reach a definite conclusion, but so far, indie publishing seems to be an improvement to my income. Not a life-changing increase in profits, but worth doing. I should point out that these are average gross monthly profits. I did not factor in the costs for any of the books, either at the publisher (e.g. printing costs for contracts, mailing costs, etc.) or for independent publishing (cost of editing, cover art, etc.). I know I’ve broken even on my indie-publishing costs, but that’s for everything combined, not broken down by book. Obviously, some books have done better than others.
Are you a hybrid or indie author? What sales trends have you seen for your books?