Books By C. LItka

Books By C. LItka

Thursday, November 1, 2018

3 1/2 Years in Self-Publishing: A Report

Since 23 Oct 2018 marked my 3 1/2 year anniversary as a self-published writer of adventure/travel/romance novels set in imaginary places, it’s time to publish my semi-annual report on my past six months in the self-publishing business.

Let’s start with the numbers. Please note; the vast majority of “sales” are free downloads. These numbers are from Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, B & N, and Kobo. There are other sites, like Obooko, where my books are available but do not report downloads to me. For the first six months of the year I had listed my books on Kobo directly, since that would allow me to see how many were downloaded in that store, unlike when I was selling them on Kobo via Smashwords. I found that sales were nothing to shake a stick at, so I moved them back to Smashwords distribution. In September I was able to list my books in the Google Play Store, so going forward I will be including numbers from Google.

A Summer in Amber (23 April 2015)
Download/sales: as of:
May 1 2018: 4,915
Nov 1 2018: 6,000
Six month sales: 1,085

Some Day Days (9 July 2015)
Download/sales as of:
May 1 2018: 2,050
Nov 1 2018: 2,758
Six month sales: 708

The Bright Black Sea (17 September 2015)
Download/sales as of:
May 1 2018: 7,836
Nov 1 2018: 9,012
Six month sales: 1,176

Castaways of the Lost Star (4 Aug 2016 – withdrawn: 13 July 2017)
Download/sales total: 2,176

The Lost Star’s Sea (13 July 2017)
Download/sales as of:
May 1 2018: 2,078
Nov 1 2018: 3,265
Six month sales: 1,187

Beneath the Lanterns (13 Sept 2018)
Download/sales as of:
Nov 1 2018: 565
1 ½ month sales: 565

Total download/sales as of 1 May 2018: 19,055
Total download/sales as of 1 Nov 2018: 23,776
Total download/sales six month sales*:   4,721

Average number of C. Litka titles download per day: 25.8*
A more realistic average (excluding the 1950 day) is 15 copies a day

*The May-Nov download/sales numbers include a one day sale on Amazon of 1950 copies, spread almost equally between my then four books. I can not explain this strange jump in one day sales, and treat it with some skepticism. I did, however, call it to the attention of Amazon, and they assured me that it represented true sales, so I have included it in my numbers.

Beneath the Lanterns

I released my 2018 novel, Beneath the Lanterns on 13 September 2018. It is the first non-sequel book I have released since I released my first three books in 2015. My goal for this year’s book was to expand my readership by writing something of a fantasy novel. However, beyond the story being set in an imaginary land, it had little other fantasy trapping. There is no magic, there are no dragons, elves, and vampires in it. So, like most of my books, it lands in the cracks between different genres, spanning fantasy, science fiction, and plain adventure.

As you can see from the figures above, Beneath the Lanterns has been downloaded 565 times in the last month an a half. This compares to 582 for Some Day Days, 1331 for The Black Bright Sea, 867 for Castaways of the Lost Star, and 1071 for The Lost Star’s Sea. I wasn’t keeping records at first, so I don’t have the corresponding figures for A Summer in Amber. No doubt there are a number of reasons for this slightly softer launch, including not being a sequel to my most popular book. However there may be industry-wide reasons as well. One is likely the growth of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program of free, unlimited books to read for a single monthly subscription fee – which can be as low as free. Since this program caters to the most active readers, the types of books that these avid readers read now dominate Amazon’s best seller charts, since borrowed books count as sales. The second reason is that advertising is now driving readership, giving the biggest indie publishers, with a large, guaranteed readership the ability to outspend, out-advertise, and outsell the newer, slower, or less business savvy writer. Just as the textile mills put the weavers in their front rooms out of business, the well financed, entrepreneurial focused indie publishing business is displacing the writer-focused self-published author. And that is the way of the world. As an amateur author, money doesn't matter, so I can sleep well at night.

With the publication of Beneath the Lanterns, I now have a little over one million words in print, the equivalent of twenty 50K word pulp-sized novels. While I have published these million words in the last 3 ½ years, they were produced over the course of a decade since I had most of my first three novels finished by the time I published A Summer in Amber. My current, one book a year pace, is not from a result of lack of speed – Beneath the Lanterns, at 126K words, was written in five months – it is a lack of story ideas that I feel are worth writing. I have to live with a story in my head for a year, so I want to be able to enjoy imagining and re-imagining the story and characters over and over again in my imagination as I build the story and find the words to tell it.

I am hard at work on my 2019 novel, and since I have both a beginning and an end in hand, I am confident that it will see the light of day. Stay tuned.

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