Showing posts with label erotica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label erotica. Show all posts

Monday, August 20

Fifty Shades of Alice In Wonderland: Sales Peak At $1,000 Per Day

Ever wondered what other authors are making on their self-published titles?  Melinda DuChamp, author of the indie bestseller Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland, shares how much her book has earned. (All quotations are from Joe Konrath's blog post Independence.

Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland: Marketing
On July 23, 2012 Melinda DuChamp self-published Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland. Over the next two days her novel sold one copy. (Melinda also bought a copy to check the formatting, but that doesn't count!) Then, on the third day after it was released, Melinda set Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland to free for the next five days.

Other than enroll Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland into Amazon's KDP Select program and take advantage of the free days, Melinda did two other promotions:
The only promotion I did was the interview on Joe's blog. NYT bestseller Ruth Cardello was also kind enough to include Alice in a contest for her fans. Joe also was sweet enough to mention it on the Facebook page "What to Read After Fifty Shades of Grey" because I'm not on Facebook yet (I know! I know! I need to get on Facebook. I'm trying to become more like Joe and Ruth and get into social media, but I'm a Luddite and I was on a deadline for another book.)

Other than that, I didn't do anything to promote Alice. I figured it would sink or swim on its own merit.
Downloads of Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland
Melinda writes:
During the free period, I gave away 22,740 copies in the US and 10,255 in the UK and hit the Top 10 free list in each. That surprised me, because I'd done free promotions before but had never given away that many.
Sales of Fifty Shades
Downloads when a book is free is one thing, how did those downloads translate into sales? 
Assuming the loans are $2 each, Alice has made close to $15,000 in the last 20 days. That's more than many of my advances. [....] Alice peaked at #194 in the US, and #56 in the UK. It is currently #643 and #208. At its peak, it was earning over $1,000 a day. Things have slowed down, but it is still outselling all of my other novels on Amazon.
Melinda's Plan
Where does Melinda go from here? How is she planning to capitalize on the incredible success of Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland?

Melinda has done what any smart author would do in her place: write a sequel. Fifty Shades of Alice: Through The Looking Glass is now available on Amazon. Melinda writes:
At the height of Alice's sales, I was fantasizing about money. What if I had twenty ebooks doing well instead of just one? Making $20,000 a day is almost impossible to comprehend. But is it really impossible?

I'm working on the third book in the Alice trilogy. When finished, I'll release it as a stand alone, and also package the trilogy as a set. So I'll have four ebooks (each individual title, and the combined collection.)  If I did this four more times with four more trilogies, I'd have twenty ebooks for sale. With twenty for sale, I could have one ebook always free on KDP Select. Twenty ebooks at five days per free promo is one hundred days of free promo. KDP Select resets every three months, and then you can use the free promo again.

Writing twenty ebooks might seem like a daunting task. But remember, five of those are box sets, and each ebook is only around 30,000 words.

So in order to have 20 erotica ebooks, and one title always free, I only need to write 450,000 words. That's less than five full length-novels. Writing 2500 words per day, that's only six months of writing.

Half a year to write twenty ebooks? It sounds crazy, but it is entirely possible, even though I really believe $20k a day is a fantasy that can never happen. It's just too big a number. And who knows when the mommy porn bubble will burst?
I'd never thought of it quite like that, but Melinda's got a point.

If an ebook were only 30,000 words long and every three books written was a trilogy, each trilogy could be bundled to make a fourth book. In that case an author could write 20 books after writing ([3 x 30,000] x 5) 450,000 words. At 2,500 words a day that would take about 6 months to do.

Amazon Select allows an author to offer her book for zero dollars for a maximum of five days every 90 days. With 20 books on Amazon's virtual shelves an author would have 100 days of free promo time which means that she could always run a free promotion on one of her books.

Here's Joe's comment on Melinda's plan:
If she [Melinda DuChamp] wrote 20 ebooks (15 titles and 5 collections) and each one earns only $150 a day, that's a million dollars a year. That's just 75 ebook sales and loans a day per title, and I've hit that number many times and for extended periods.
2,500 words a day, huh? Where'd I put my pen ...

UPDATE (February 25, 2013): Joe writes:
I ... asked my buddy Melinda DuChamp for a sales update, and she emailed me.

Melinda: "Happy to share, dearie. The two ebooks have made me over $65k in seven months. I'm working on a third, then I'm going to follow your lead and make a trilogy boxed set and a paper version via Createspace. Considering how quickly I wrote these books, this is the highest paid I've ever been as a writer per hour, even with traditional paper sales in the millions under my other names." (Ann Voss Peterson's Big Regret)

Other articles you might like:

- Kristen Lamb: 5 Steps To Writing Success
- What To Write About: Fiction That Sells
- Update On Amazon's KDP Select Program
- Indie Authors: Bad Sales? Redo Your Cover!

Tuesday, August 30

Erotica: To Write or Not To Write?

Back in the day, writers were told that if you wanted to make a lot of money, fast, then you had to write pornography. They used the word 'pornography' rather than 'erotica' because back in the day there was no erotica! Well, maybe there was, but I don't think it was called that.

As the end of the month nears and I contemplate my back-balance being plundered as my rent cheque barely squeaks through, I wonder if writing about something other than urban fantasy would be more financially lucrative (hell, almost anything would be more financially lucrative!). I've gone so far as to try to calculate the average Amazon ranking for books in each of the categories (fantasy, science fiction, erotica, and so on) to discover which kind of books sell best, but, as far as I can tell, books with erotic content don't seem to do markedly better or worse than any other kind of book.

I will confess to putting some thought into the question of whether an unknown author of erotic romance has a better chance of selling their work than an unknown author writing in another genre. Personally, I doubt they do. Here's why: I think that, all things being equal, the key to an unknown writer selling a story is how easily the writer can define and write to their market for that story.

Let me try to say that again, only in another way. (Here we are stipulating that the stories we are comparing are equally well written.) A writer who knows more about what her audience wants to read, and who writes accordingly, will have a better chance of selling their story, provided they can connect to that audience. I think this counts for a lot of the success Harlequin has. They know the demands of their audience and they give their audience what they demand.

Of course the size of the audience matters. I imagine that the market for erotic stories is enormous (suddenly it seems all my words have a double-meaning!), but so is the market for urban fantasy, or just plain old romance stories. Also, as John Locke mentioned in his excellent book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, it isn't just the size of the audience that matters, it is whether you can connect with that audience, as well as how engaged that audience is with you as a writer, and with what you write (that is, how likely they are to buy your work; the more likely they are, the smaller the audience needed). Or something like that.

I'm blathering. If anyone would like to share your thoughts on this, please do, mine seem to be running around chasing their collective tails. Also, what genre do you think is the most profitable?