I’ve been carrying out an internet experiment over the last month. I put two short stories up for sale on Amazon for Kindle downloads and waited to see how many random purchases might occur. The results were pretty much what you’d expect: none.
Oh, the Amazon sales report says that I’ve sold two copies of each, but that’s just me testing out two different platforms to see how the formatting carries through. Somehow that has netted me $1.40 US hard cash in royalties. Yippee! That only cost me $4.00 to acquire.
Since I’ve never sold anything before I guess I can call this a record for sales of my shorts, at least the electronic version. I have no idea what Storyteller Magazine’s sales figures were like back when these stories were first published.
The lesson I take from this is that the internet is very crowded, and if you’re just standing back in a corner waiting to be discovered–well, you’d have a better chance of being noticed in a football stadium at the Super Bowl with two minutes left in a tie game and a field goal in the offing.
So now to part two of the plan: e-pub the rest of the Sioux Rock Falls short stories, add some new ones that have never been published and package it into an anthology. Then I’ll put that up for sale and the true test begins: marketing.
Now I wouldn’t risk an anthology if we were talking about traditional publishing. An author once warned me that the big book chains have programs that check the sales of your previous book before ordering your most recent. So if you only sold five per store at the chain last time, they’ll only order five per store this time, and unless they get repeated requests they won’t reorder. Bummer. An author can’t break out unless, like Yann Martel, you win the Mann Booker prize for your second novel.
The problem with anthologies is they don’t sell well–see my previous post about short stories for my theory as to why–so by putting out an anthology you risk killing the sales of your NEXT book.
But e-publishing gets around that. No sales record at the big chains to worry about.
So let’s see if I can set a new sales record!