business / digital books / marketing / social media / writers tips / writing

Digital Books Are My Untapped Market

Last week, I posted on how I doubled my book sales. What I didn’t cover in

detail was how much money I was talking about or where it came from.

Then, I ran into Joe’s post on his ebook sales:

March Kindle Sales Top $4200 and 5850 Ebooks

As of 11pm March 31, I made over $4200 on Kindle this month. That’s over 5850 ebooks sold in just under four and a half weeks.

Here’s the screen

shot. It doesn’t include the money earned on FLOATERS and SERIAL UNCUT, which are listed on Amazon by my co-writers Henry Perez and Blake Crouch.

I’m pretty surprised by this number. And it has lead me to some startling conclusions.

Back in October
, I looked at my ebook sales and said I’d never sell a book to a publisher for less than $30,000.

I’ve revised that a bit. I added a “1”. My new number is $130,000. (read more on ebook sales)

Now, my sales are less than Joe’s, though I aspire to his success. I’ll keep the exact number a secret for a while–keep you coming back. What I will share is where my sales come from. Because I sell non-fiction, heavy in graphics and tables, they don’t translate well into ebooks. I’m working on that. My digital books are all pdf’s, with the exception of two Kindle books I sold before I decided the appearance was less than preferable.

Here’s the breakdown:



Teachers Pay Teachers—4%

Publisher’s website———8%


Here’s the breakdown between hardcopy and digital:


Digital (pdf)——————18%

Bestsellers across both platforms are:

Building a Midshipman–43%

5th Grade Technology—-12%

Kindergarten Tech———-11%

The good news is I have huge upside potential  in the most dynamic part of the publishing market–as soon as I figure out how to harness it. I’m working on that. I have some ideas I’ll share with you this summer.

More good news–Google Books will start selling hard cover and digital books soon. I’m ready and excited about this potentially massive influx of visibility. Where lots of people may never have heard of TPT or Scribd, everyone knows about Google.

Now, I’m not at the ‘holy sh*t’ level that Joe is, but I know this much: That light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train.

And writing beats hitting golf balls into sand traps.

7 thoughts on “Digital Books Are My Untapped Market

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Digital Books Are My Untapped Market « Word Dreams… --

  2. I’m with you on both. I have to promote my current books while writing my next. Let’s set some goals, share them with our readers and each other, chat about our progress, see where it goes.

    What kinds of goals? Words toward our book, marketing outreaches, what are you thinking? (This sounds fun!)

    OK. Back to my novel…


    • This does sound like fun! Thanks for coming up with the idea!

      One of my major goals is to sell 5000 copies of Separation of Faith before the end of the year (in the first six months after release). I know that probably doesn’t sound like many copies when compared against the mega-sellers. But 2500-5000 is actually quite huge for the average book, especially for a relatively unknown novelist.

      That target sales range is the one that indicates to the publishing world that there’s some sort of buzz circulating around a book–and that will attract the attention I’m seeking (as presented in my blog’s mission in the launch posting on November 4).

      That’s why securing the Editor’s Choice designation was so important during the editing process I blogged about during the first few months of this year. I need to be able to present with confidence the fact that Separation of Faith is every bit the quality book coming out of a mainstream publishing house–and now I’m able to do that.

      Of course, reaching that goal will reguire a huge amount of legwork to promote the book in my local area (tri-state New York City area–New Jersey, New York, Connecticut), as well as a comprehensive management of social media. The scope is so enormous that I need to take the list and break each item down into small pieces that can be realistically handled in a day. If I look at the whole list at once, I get sort of weak.

      My second goal is to have my third novel ready to pitch by the next Writer’s Digest conference in January 2011. That doesn’t mean that even the first draft of the novel will be finished. For me that means the story will be fully outlined; the characters will be developed; and the bulk of my research will be complete.

      That three-part effort is a tall drink of water running in tandem with the Separation of Faith goals. But that’s what I’m going to shoot for, and then we’ll see what happens.

      Knowing that all of this is on my plate will, I’m hoping, help me move quickly through my surgery next week and the recovery. I’ll need two more surgeries over the next five months, but those will both be outpatient. And barring any complications from this first (and biggest) one, I’m told that I should be feeling well enough to give my next speech on May 18. (Pretty unbelievable, right?) So I’ve left the commitment on my calendar–sitting out there as a magnet to help pull me forward.

      All the little goals feeding the big ones will be what’s fun to follow during this intra-blog inspirational publishing duet!

      Now I’m excited to hear about what you have in mind on your end. Would you like to stay within the 6-7 month timeframe for this inspirational plan? Or would you prefer to stay within the summer months? I’m good either way since I can figure out where I’d need to be by September in order to be on track for my end-of-year objectives.

      Hopefully we’ll get some input from our readers on this too. And I think this endeavor will help me more effectively target my blogging efforts and more efficiently use my social media time. Of course, I will continue to learn as I go, testing the waters to see what works.

      Great idea again! I’m going to copy and paste these initial comments of ours into a blog post to officially announce what we’re doing. Can’t wait to get started with you!

      Hope you’re having a terrific week!



  3. I’d love to set up an inspirational plan with you! Separation of Faith will be coming out in June (not sure of the date yet), and unbelievably, I need to get started on my next novel. Somebody is bound to ask me what’s in the queue while I’m promoting the new novel, and I need to have an answer. So having an inspirational plan that helps both of us sounds like a terrific idea!


  4. Fascinating article. I’ve been following Amazon and their efforts to keep ebooks below $10. Seems they’ll lose, but it’s early in the game. The biggest news is that ebooks open the door to many non-traditionally published books. Mine, unfortunately, have too many tables and pictures for most ebook platforms. Yours though, won’t have that problem. I’m sure you’re looking into it.

    Let’s set up a plan in June–inspire each other to make some goals and meet them. I’m done teaching so I’ll have the time. Until then, I’ll be checking your progress on your book!


  5. Hi! You might have already seen the April 26 article in The New Yorker–Publish or Perish by Ken Auletta. But if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look:

    It’s long and makes for good reading over lunch or coffee or a glass of wine. But the insights presented about the digital era of publishing are amazing.

    Let me know what you think. Meanwhile, I’m really impressed with your sales progress thus far, and I hope to be following in your footsteps beginning in June.



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