Never in my wildest dreams, when I began publishing ebooks, did I ever think I would sell 10,000 books in a year! So selling that many in a month just takes my breath away. I had read that all predictions indicated that ebook sales would skyrocket after Christmas 2011 because over 4 million e-readers had been shipped as Christmas gifts and I suspect quite a few of them came with gift cards. Beginning Christmas Eve I saw the sales figures climbing. November and December had been good sales months anyway but on Christmas Eve the sales figures went ZOOM!
My custom is to check my sales figures every morning and then try to ignore them for the rest of the day but when I logged on Saturday morning and saw how close they were to 10,000 I admit I spent much of the day checking and re-checking until about 4:00pm when they hit the magic number – 10,000. That is over 16 titles but the title far in the lead is The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic. Still it is fascinating to me to see what other books are doing well. They top five sellers of my books are:
- The Crazy Old Lady In The Attic: a 15k word novelette that is listed under both horror and psychological thriller. There are people who have taken issue with those categories but I tend to think they are people who are accustomed to reading more gruesome and brutal horror stories. To me the story's horror is in the gradual, slow realization that Mattie comes to as she uncovers secrets from her past. By the end her sense of her history is completely shaken by the realization that what she thought was a cute, funny comfort was, in fact, something cruel and unimaginable. As a lifelong fan of Shirley Jackson and Henry James that is the kind of horror I aimed for in writing that story.
- Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter: a 20k words novella it is a ghost story set in the off-season in a beach town. I thought this a very dark, disturbing story as I worked on it. Neither of the two main characters are very stable people. Layla is a lost soul trying to be what her husband wants her to be and Joel, her husband, has aspirations as an author but it may well be he wants to be an author more than he wants to actually write.
- The Old Mermaid's Tale: a 132k word novel that is, I think, my best published work so far. It is a complex 1960s era coming-of-age tale about a young woman who longs for romance but who is fascinated by the dark side of the seaport in which she lives. It has received very, very good reviews so far which makes me happy. Baptiste, the man she finally loves, seems to capture a lot of hearts.
- Arthur's Story: A Love Story: this 12k word novelette has really picked up a lot of sales in the past month which is gratifying because I think it is a very warm, tender, uplifting story with a feel-good ending. I hope more people find it and enjoy it. Arthur himself is hard not to love.
- Each Angel Burns and The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelts' Wood are tied for fifth. The former is a 123k word novel and the latter a 23k word novella. Each Angel Burns has garnered a fair share of controversy because of the combination of strong religious themes and strong (though not explicit) sexuality. The Belsnickel story is a warm, charming story about a wounded man who finds his way back into the world through an ancient cultural tradition.
So, these are the books that contribute most to the 10,000 sales. I also have a bunch of knitting booklets, my cookbook/memoir, and some anthologies all of which had enough sales to make them worthwhile.
This is an exciting time to be an independent author. I have no idea how long the e-book market will stay brisk but with hand-held devices selling at the rate of a million a week the future looks promising. I am just grateful and thrilled.
As always, thanks for reading!