Sunday, October 14, 2012

Have your book sales plummeted?


I received an email from an author today. He was worried about his recent book sales. Here's a few quotes:

…something terrible has happened to my sales…

Sales went from 27 to 40 a day up through the end of August, then took a huge fall in Sept to 5 or 6 a day... then, in Oct […], my book took another dive to between 0 and 2 a day, depending on the day. This is crazy!

He acknowledged that Amazon's algorithms could have been playing a role in the decline, but he was also worried about something else.

I read where Amz was seriously hacked last February, with additional hacking that may have gone on through August (FBI arrested about 20, who hacked into Amz, Netflik's, AT&T and others, but many other hackers are still out there). Despite the earlier hacking, that's when my numbers were the best. Of course, the timing of the current losses also seem to be tied to Kindle's timing with the addition of India to the US reports.

Then, Amazon was down for two hours yesterday. I'm beginning to think there's more to what's going on than what they're admitting to, in public (or to publisher's/ author's on Kindle). Have you seen KDP Discussion threads about this? Hundreds and hundreds of discussion notes have been written by authors/pubs who are suffering the same fate!

And, indeed, he is right. The downturn in sales is system wide, it seems. But not all authors are facing such a drastic downturn as this particular author: 30 odd sales down to nearly nothing.

So, what's causing it?

Taking this discussion to Twitter, here's what one follower had to say:

A seasonal slump may not be the only variable working against authors right now, especially Indies. Are FREE promotions via Kindle Select hurting sales?

Whatever factors may be at work here, one thing is clear in my mind. The writers that keep writing will be the most likely survivors of the current woes the publishing industry is facing. No longer can an author—traditionally published or not—rely on a single book's sales. Each writer must be working on the next book.

What do you think? Why have sales plummeted?

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