This week I reached a number of milestones. Exodus: Empies at War: Book 3 went over 10K sales, a year after it was released. Book 1 of the Exodus series went over 18K, a year and a half after its release. Book 2 went over 14K sales. Several other books went over some level of thousands sold. Refuge: The Arrival: Book 1 went over 4K sales, while overall I have gone over 84K sales of ebooks and paperbacks, mostly ebooks if truth be told. This all happened in the last week, in a weird juxtaposition of things coming together. But to this author The Deep Dark Well going over 5K was the most significant. The Deep Dark Well started the whole thing off with a giveaway of over 4K books. Two months later Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1 was released and took off. The Deep Dark Well was my first book released on Amazon. It was also the first book I submitted to major publishers and actually received personal rejections for, somewhat of a victory in and of itself.
So what is so significant about this one book that is not even in my most popular series going over 5,000 sales in a little under two and half years? Because, even though it is not a top seller, even for this one author, it has been steadily selling books every month. Fifty so far his month, sixty-five last, seventy-four the month before. If this had been a traditionally published book of the old model, with sales numbers like that through a worldwide distribution network, it would no longer be on the shelves. But the wonderful thing about the new self-publishing model is that books stay on the digital bookshelves forever. With no sales, or twenty thousand sales, New York Times Best Seller or unknown, it doesn’t matter. The book will stay there forever (or at least until civilization falls), allowing people to browse the electronic stacks and find the book. The Deep Dark Well did not put a lot of money in my pocket last month, and probably won’t this month. Still, last month it earned about $130 that it otherwise wouldn’t if it wasn’t available. Not enough to pay rent, or even utilities, but enough to see some movies and eat out. And it looks to continue to sell some books each month for years to come.
I have several books that are approaching the 300 sales mark. One book, The Hunger, just went over 300, which again is not much to brag about. But even with slight sales, those books, which are all highly rated in the few reviews they have, continue to sit on the electronic shelves, hopefully to one day take off. If they never do, if they continue to sell two to ten books a month, it is still income from my work.
Overall, this is very good news for authors. I remember years ago when an author friend of mine, who was a midlist writer, was complaining about how none of her past work was still available. This traditionally has been the steady income stream of midlist writers. And was taken away from them by the economics of limited space in the bookstore. She has since bought the rights back for all of her books, and has published them as ebooks. So now, in the electronic publishing age, we can all keep our past work on the shelves, continuing to sell a few here or there. They never go out of print.