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An Update On My First Book Release

We’re two weeks into my first book release as a new author. I figured it would be a good time to update everyone on the progress. Dark Nebula: Isolation released on December 4th on Amazon. It’s been fun learning and watching my book trickle out into the world. I wasn’t expecting a huge release as this was my first book and no one really knows who I am.

Here’s a graphic from the KDP dashboard to give you a taste for what my sales look like.

I started the preorder for my book around three months ago. Leading up to the release I managed to queue up 50 pre-orders which I thought wasn’t too shabby for a first release. On the chart, that’s those first two days of bumps where Amazon normalizes them over two days. What follows are my first attempts at advertising an announcing my book to the world.

Here’s a look at what types of advertising I ran during the above period.

  • December 5th — I ran a Book Doggy ad for $20 that didn’t pay out at all, barely a bump. Add them to my do no use list.
  • December 6th — I ran a Bargain Booksy ad for $40 that also didn’t pay out. Add them to my do no use list.
  • December 7th — I ran a Fussy Librarian ad for $21 stacked with a Book Barbarian ad for $35. While I didn’t earn out, the spike was noticeable and went into the next day which means I’ll likely try this one again, starting with Book Barbarian as they’re more genre specific.
  • December 8thDecember 13th — I ran some BookBub ads in their newsletter. I was really just messing around, trying to figure out the tool, ad copy, images, etc. I figured it couldn’t hurt with exposure if people started seeing my cover. Based upon the clicks though, I netted nearly zero sales. I tried messing around with them since and continue to see zero traction of any kind. I have had a few clicks but until I raised my book price, the CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per 1k Impressions) was just too steep.
  • December 14th & 15th — You can see the result of my biggest bet yet, a BookBub Featured New Release deal (not to be confused with a BookBub Featured Deal). I knew this was either going to be a hit, or a miss as folks have been hot and cold on these Featured New Release deals. For this ad, I made a bet and I don’t know if it went the right way, but I had to pick a side. Up through December 9th my book was priced at $0.99 at which point I raised it to $2.99. I held that price through the BookBub ad. One can say that maybe I should have kept it at the lower price to get the biggest win here. I was nervous about only populating my reading audience with bargain readers rather than people who were genuinely interested in my books. That ad cost me $400 on BookBub and to answer your question, no, it didn’t make a profit either. Yes I had around 55 sales but my take home at $2.99 is only around $2.02, you do the math on the profit loss there. Had I had the price at $0.99 I would have made $0.35 per book (it drops from 70% to 30% royalty below $2.99). The earn out on $0.99 would have been 1,154 books sold. As it stood, at $2.99 the earn out was 198, and while I didn’t hit it, I felt better about that price and the quality of the reader.
  • Since then — I’ve continued running BookBub ads and I’ve dipped my toe in Amazon AMS ads. I’m taking a very conservative approach with AMS but I’m about to drop BookBub. I can’t get any clicks. I’m trying one last thing raising my CPC. It might not be sustainable but it’s a test.

So with all that said, where do we stand with Dark Nebula: Isolation? How many books have I sold? Pages read in Kindle Unlimited? Royalties? Here you go:

Estimated royalties for Dark Nebula Isolation
Unites ordered for Dark Nebula Isolation
Page reads for Dark Nebula Isolation

There you have it, 172 books sold + 3,748 pages read, bringing in a grand total of $178.55 in royalties after Amazon takes their cut.

So, in case anyone was wondering, no, new authors do not make a lot of money. But you knew that already if you read all the way to the end of this post. We do it because we love to tell the story. I love the idea of knowing that nearly 200 people have read (or are reading) my book and I have two more releasing soon!

Don’t forget Dark Nebula: Discovery releases on January 4th, 2021.

If you have any questions about anything I didn’t cover above, just let me know in the comments below or through email (address below). I only covered the release and advertising but there were many more steps involved in getting to where I am now with my first book released and two more coming.

Have a happy holiday!

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