Thursday, December 11, 2014

Entering the Debate....What's really hurting our Amazon sales?

I'm an Indie author who's been extremely lucky with how well I've done the first couple of years of writing and releasing my books. I know that and I am so thankful for that.

But like so many Indie authors, I rely heavily on my Amazon sales which I've watched tank over the last few months. (To put this in royalties last month were pretty much dead on to what they were the first month of my very first release...and I have 9 books out now...that's terrifying.)

And it should be absolutely stated that a lot of that probably rests on my head. My two big releases this year have been out of my normal genre and at first I figured that was a gamble that simply didn't pay off for me. Lesson learned (although I'm not going to stop writing those series, because I love them...I write for me. I'm lucky in that my family doesn't have to rely on my income to get by so I can write what I want regardless.)

But then I began to hear the rumblings from other Indie's about how Kindle Unlimited has slaughtered their sales. Could that really be the root of the problem? I honestly have no idea. Amazon is very secretive about how all their analytics work. To tell you the truth, I'm just thankful that they worked on my behalf that first year especially with my first release when I had no clue, but had incredible sales anyway. Maybe it wasn't all because no one wanted to read my books anymore. Which face it, no author really wants that to be the case.

But then this morning, I was thinking. Maybe Amazon isn't the big, bad evil. Maybe it isn't either of those things. Maybe there is another culprit that can share a lot of the blame for this circumstance so many of us find ourselves in right now.
Note: this graphic is only here as a graphic of the bundles. I didn't want to single out any other author's group anthology. This bundle isn't available in e-book anymore...just print.

But honestly...
Could we be doing this to ourselves with bundle sales?

And here's why I'm thinking this. I'm a reader. I'm a HUGE reader. In fact, I have a book review blog, Smitten with Reading. Right now, I'm trying to get through a 20-book anthology that was released for $.99. That's huge. 20 books. $ a reader, that is an INCREDIBLE BARGAIN! As an author, it makes me cringe.

At the same time that Amazon's Kindle Unlimited happened, we saw a HUGE UPSWING with the offering of these amazing bundle deals. There are new ones coming out EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I read over 400 books a year, but even at that, for me to read all of this anthology will take me better than a week...more like two weeks. And I read every single day. I'm not your typical reader...not anymore.

But back when I was a typical reader, if I had more than 10 books in my TBR pile, I simply didn't buy anymore books.

With these kinds of bundle deals coming up for sale every single day, there is absolutely no reason your typical reader needs to buy anything else...unless an author comes out with something amazing that they simply can't pass up. pressure there, right?

And I know the arguments for them...I know. They are only out there for a limited time, they get you as an author in front of new readers, there's a good chance that these bundles will hit the bestseller lists. I have to ask the long run, are we as authors shooting ourselves in the foot?

When we can no longer afford to write, finding new readers is a moot point because you won't be able to afford to write anything for them to read anymore.

This is NOT a condemnation of anyone doing these bundles. In fact, I'm slated to be in one at the beginning of I am certainly not throwing stones. As someone who's sales are hurting, I have to consider all aspects and it was just a thought. Another consideration and I thought it might open up an interesting debate. Does anyone else think this has influenced the decline in sales?

Honestly, my personal decline in sales can probably be contributed to all three things...
  1.  Change in genres for my recent releases
  2.  Amazon's changing programs
  3.  Upswing in huge book bundles which fill up reader's TBR's/time for very little money
There's certainly no one answer or solution. 

For me, I plan to just keep writing what I love and hope that my readers follow along with me and read what I write. But I will tell you, I am even more leery of these bundles as an author the more I think about the long-term impact.

And yes, this was a blog post mainly aimed at authors, so....

If you're one of my readers, THANK YOU!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sticking with me and continuing to buy my books. I love you all!!!

I have a ton of new books slated for release 2015. 

If you stuck with me through this rambling post...thank you. I'll have another blog post up next week about the fun stuff...what's coming out soon. And I may just have a cover reveal or two to share along with new story blurbs.  2015 is going to be an amazing year!!


  1. I love your books ALL of them. You are a skilled writer and I constantly look forward to when you send out something new.