Chad Grayson

My 2023 in Sales

I hardly ever look at my sales dashboard on the kdp site. I maybe check in once a week (or less) It’s not that I don’t care, its that looking at it too often drives me to despair. But tonight, I took a look to see how 2023 went. I’m not going to use specific numbers but focus on comparing this year’s performance to previous years (no one needs to see these numbers. I am not a bestseller). This is a much more hopeful way of looking at things.

I released 2 books last year: The Soul Cages, which was a standalone paranormal romance novella, and Blade of Shadows, Wings of Light, the doorstopper first book in my Ascension Apocalypse Urban Fantasy series. I was nervous about this, because these were both queer books, and I would be trying to break into a completely new audience for myself. I had no idea how that would go.

Well, I sold three times the number of total books than I sold in any year before. I made almost four times the amount of money.

All the Promised Stars was still my bestselling book, but I think its numbers are inflated because I spent a week in July advertising it and giving it away for free. So, that’s probably skewing the numbers a bit. I did make money from that book, but probably a quarter of those ‘sales’ were free downloads. Which, I’d done that in years before and not found many takers, so this is absolutely a victory.

But right behind ATPS was The Soul Cages. I sold almost as many copies of that. I did run a bargain booksy promotion combined with a 99 cents sale, and that helped. But still. A lot of people (for certain values of a lot) bought this book.

Right behind TSC was Blade of Shadows, Wings of Light. There’s a little bit of a drop off here, but it’s not as large as it could have been considering that I basically released this book into the wild and asked it to fend for itself. I promoted it on my social media, but I didn’t run any ads or a bargain booksy for it. It was so long, no one in the usual groups I can count on even wanted to review it (which, fair). So, I’m really happy it seems to have found an audience.

A couple of takeaways for me here.

I should keep writing queer books. I don’t absolutely suck at it! I’m as surprised as anyone!

Also, there’s a huge drop-off between book 1 and the rest of the Broken Stars books. I think I know why that is. I’ve gotten pretty good feedback on book one, but I pretty much wrapped up the story. It was intentional. It was sold as a romance book and the romance threads were closed off. Also, when romance readers read an entire series, they usually want a new romance in each subsequent book. They want that series to stay like romance novels. The Broken Stars books change genres into the romantic sci-fi drama category. That is not necessarily the same audience. The romance readers who came in liked the romance book but weren’t interested in the thriller that was book one, or the dramas that were books 3 and 4. That is because of the way I sold them. Going forward, I can refocus my marketing efforts to attract readers who would be more interested in what the rest of the books were.

That said, if people bought book 2, Among the Captive Stars, it looks like they went on to buy books three and four. I’ve done no marketing at all for these three books (except a blog tour I did for book 4). Huge drop off from 1 to 2, not much of a drop off at all between the other three books. Which means, when the right readers found the books, they read the rest of the series (I hope they stick around for the next 2 books). If I refocus the marketing on book 1, maybe I can get more of those readers who will stay for the whole thing.

Also, my standalone romance did well. It was actually a romance. I was pulling no bait and switch series shenanigans here. People liked it. It got some complimentary reviews. Some people lamented that it was too short, but that just tells me they wanted more. I should absolutely release more standalone queer speculative romances. I’m working on one now, in fact! And it left Novella territory a long time ago.

I feel really good about all of that information.

I don’t focus a lot on sales because that is not why I do this. It does appear that, as small a number as the dollar amount is, I am slowly finding an audience. I just need to market correctly to find the people who will love my books. They are out there. I’ve never had a return (if that means anything)

Also, about 40% of my monetary earnings were from Kindle Unlimited Page Reads. As tempting as going wide seems, I’m probably staying in the KU program, for now. We’ll see if that dries up in the future.

So, that was my 2023 in sales. If people saw the actual numbers, they would laugh. But Every year my audience grows and that is what is most important to me.

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