Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review of My 2013 Kindle Sales

I've been keeping record of the short stories I've self-published for the Kindle and here are the results for 2013. The following are sales only--although I've given away a whole lot in promotions, promos are a means to making more short-story sales (in December I made only one sale until the "Christmas gift" and I made six more as a result) and in the long run, preparing the Kindle world for the coming of my novels.

*The best-seller has been "I am the Wendigo," with 23 copies sold. Since this is a reprint of a previous sale and is promoted as such, this isn't surprising.

*Next comes "The Beast of the Bosporus," a tale of Lovecraftian horror in the early modern Ottoman Empire. 17 sales. I've promoted this one via guest blog posts in different places and it's had reviews on multiple blogs. That it's been one of my best sellers hasn't been a surprise either.

*Now for the first surprise--"Illegal Alien." This has been a poor seller in the past even though it was one of my top-reviewed stories, but it takes third place this year with 13 sales. That's more than "Melon Heads," which was my first Kindle story and came out of the gate VERY strong.

*Now sales numbers start declining and the surprises grow less pleasing. My supervillain protagonist tale "Ubermensch" made nine sales in 2013, while the alternate-history spy tale "Picking Up Plans In Palma," one of my best-reviewed and thematically-deepest stories, has made only eight. "Melon Heads," once my best-seller, has sold seven copies. "Needs Must," the sequel to "Ubermensch," has sold only three. I set the Patel stories as freebies for a few days after Christmas and that helped move some copies of my other stories, but that's not the same as them selling themselves.

To be fair, I only published the Andrew Patel stories ("Ubermensch and "Needs Must") and "Palma" in September and I didn't promote them with blog posts here and elsewhere to the extent I did with many of my other stories. However, a faux crime news story intended to promote "Ubermensch" has gotten 25 hits but generated no sales so far. It hasn't been up all that long, so it may pan out yet, but still.

This will have its consequences. I'd planned two additional Patel stories to package with the first two in a Kindle anthology entitled "Consequences" (that I already have a cover for) but that's looking less likely. It might still happen, since they haven't had time to "earn their keep" the way the others have and a package of several stories might sell better than individual tales, but I'd still need to write the second pair and that might not be worth my time with a demanding graduate school schedule this semester. I'd also planned for another set of Patel stories featuring him facing off with a black-supremacist supervillain involved with the Nuwabian Nation of Moors, but that's definitely not going to happen.


  1. Iv'e been meaning to ask are your stories up any ware besides Amazon?


    Just "Beast of the Bosporus." I had other stories posted on SW but they weren't selling at all. And if a story is posted anywhere but Amazon, it can't be included in the KDP Select program--no borrows (which pay better than buys), no promos, etc.

    The only reason "Beast" is still there is because I have guest posts on other people's blogs linking to it.

  3. This is Zioneer from Here's my view of your stories: They seem like they would be better if you stretched them out (except for Beast of the Bosporous, which was an excellent short story as it is); your ideas are good, but the description and pacing seems to be a bit disjointed. The Patel stories seem to have suffered the most from it, along with Wendigo, though all three are still decent.

    Oh, and just picked up Melon Heads; I think I'll enjoy it.

  4. Got it. Thanks for the critiques.

    And definitely thanks for buying "Melon Heads." :) First sale of the month!