You Can Become a Kindle Millionaire, Part 12

January was my best month yet in sales & royalties for my out-of-print books on the Kindle (click on the photo above for a larger, and clear, image of my royalty statement). THE WALK remained my best-selling title with 536 copies sold. MY GUN HAS BULLETS was a distant second with 164 copies sold. And coming up third was THREE WAYS TO DIE, my collection of previously published short stories, with 148 copies sold.

I lowered the price of my .357 VIGILANTE books from $2.89 to $1.99 and sales went up. It seems to me that Kindle readers are more inclined to take a chance on books if they are priced under two bucks.

All told, I made $775 in Kindle royalties this month…and all found money on out-of-print books that were boxed up and forgotten in my garage (I really do owe Joe Konrath a drink for getting me into this back in May). I credit the jump in my sales to all the people who got Kindles as Christmas gifts and were eager to test drive their new toy for as little money as possible. I suspect my sales will slowly decline once the novelty of the Kindle wears off, but  THE WALK has already sold 50 copies in the first two days of February, so maybe I'm wrong (by the way, THE WALK has already sold more copies on the Kindle than it ever did in hardcover). 

I'll be curious to see how my MONK books did on the Kindle during the same period…but it will be some time before I get my royalty reports from Penguin.

BEYOND THE BEYOND continues to sell poorly, or at least below my expectations, so I lowered the price in late January to 99 cents and sales immediately went up…though not by much. I'm hoping I can use the book as a "loss leader" to draw people to my other ebooks.

All of these Kindle editions of my out-of-print books have also been available for two months now as ebooks on Barnes & Noble (via Smashwords) and I have sold less than half-a-dozen… COMBINED. Clearly, B&N and the Nook have a long way to go to catch up to the Kindle.

14 thoughts on “You Can Become a Kindle Millionaire, Part 12”

  1. Lee, my results are very similar to yours. January was my best month so far, selling about 1000 books total at $4.76 for a net royalty of $1682. I have a few books that dominate the sales and one mysterious book that sold only one copy all month, even though it’s one of my best. Since it’s an upcoming title, I’m going to redo the title, cover and product description and see what happens.

  2. THE WALK is a terrific book and deserves readers on Kindle on paper on on Smashwords anywhere. But, Lee, $775 is, as you say, found money and very nice to have, but don’t you think you have a few months to go before you hit $1,000,000?

  3. I only just now realized that this can be a great way to get older books. Out of print copies – especially paperbacks – can sometimes be hard to find in libraries, and if you can find purchase an old paperback it may be falling apart and smell awful.

  4. You going to be making a lot more now that Amazon is reducing their ‘take’ from 70% to 30%. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

  5. I’m getting royalties on Kindle also. I’m about ready to add five more books very soon, along with new covers, and I plan to have 7 more scanned into Word and readied for Kindle over the next month or so.

  6. Yes, Kindle is generating revenue for me also, although not at the level of you folks. It may be a simple matter of promotion — I’m no slouch at that. Interesting that Secrets of a Hollywood Private Eye by Fred Wolfson (and Burl Barer) was optioned for TV development following a Kindle download. That proves something, although I’m not sure what.

  7. You’ll sell even more if you price them at .99. Believe me, I know.
    Even though you’ll get a smaller amount in percentage, it’s more than made up for by the increased volume.

  8. Lots of authors are doing well on their own–I wonder if NY publishing is even noticing all this lower-level activity. It almost seems like the underground. I am not a “revolution” type of dude but the bottom line is my cheaper self-pub titles are selling much faster than my one NY kindle book and are far more profitable (not to mention the all-important aspect of getting lots more readers.)
    As for DRM, I was at first protectionist, and then realized there wasn’t that much difference between $2 and getting ripped off, and I think my readers deserve the right to transfer the books they buy, especially given the uncertain future of divergent ereader formats.
    Scott Nicholson
    The Red Church

  9. Congrats on the continued success, Lee.
    I too wonder why some of my ebooks sell better than others, some by a wide margin.
    Is it title? Cover art? Description? Genre? Subject matter?
    To make things more confusing, my Kindle books are also available as free downloads on my website, with the same covers and descriptions, and my bestselling Kindle book is not my most downloaded freebie. In fact, the numbers are almost bipolar.
    I really don’t understand it. There has to be something I’m missing.
    What I think I’ll try is changing categories on Kindle. You can pick three sub-genres. Perhaps Kindlers browse by subject and some genres are more popular that others.
    Also, on a semi-related note, it tickles me to see seven of my Kindles books in the top 100 bestsellers in the Police Procedure category. And many of these are on the overall bestseller list (which includes print titles.) So I’m outselling paper copies of a lot of big names.
    Also found out something else worth noting. The print publisher of my Jack Daniels books, Hyperion, has the Kindle rights, and they’re all priced above my $1.99 self-pubbed titles (between $4.79 and $9.99). Every one of my six Jack Daniels ebooks are in the overall top 50 Kindle bestsellers for Hyperion.
    Many folks have postulated that I’m selling well on Kindle because I’m a name author. Yet my self-pubbed titles vastly outsell my Hyperion titles, which I’m known for.
    So my conclusion is that people try my self-pubbed titles, like them, then move on to the Jack Daniels series at a higher price. Like a gateway drug leading to a smack habit.
    The thing is, I know Hyperion could be making a lot more money if they dropped the price. And yet print publishers insist on raising ebook prices…

  10. I’m not a name author (I don’t even have a traditional publisher) and I sold 1,124 downloads of my novel IDENTITY CRISIS just in January. I made almost $400 last month on one book. Why? I dropped the price in early December from $1.59 to $.99. I had been selling anywhere from 40 to 70 downloads per month. But merely dropping the price by one dollar caused sales to go through the roof.
    Now here’s where it gets interesting. When I sold ebooks at the higher price, I was making $25 to $45 a month. With the lower price, I started making hundreds of dollars a month. (Clearly, I more than made up for the lower price with increased sales volume.)
    Not to mention that I’ve also been marketing and promoting the hell out of it (on email lists, my blog, Facebook and Twitter).
    Hmm . . . now what does this tell us about pricing ebooks, boys and girls? 🙂


Leave a Comment