Chris A. Baird | September 17, 2020
How Many Books Do Self Published Authors Sell?

There is a strategy that I have been following that has helped me sell more books. Let me tell you more about self-publishing and how many books do self published authors sell in a year.

Today's question has three answers and the third answer is a secret as to how you could do much better than the average number of sales.

The question that was sent in today was, how many books do self published authors sell? This is a very common question when you're first getting started and writing books or considering whether you want to self-publish.

You're going to want to know what is a reasonable number of books that are going to be coming through, that you're going to be able to move on through? Because let's be honest, writing a book is not easy.

Putting a book together and then paying to get the cover done. Editing the book and getting the tools necessary to get the formatting right and all these things. Then finally, you put the book in the market.

It's your baby and then what? It sells a couple of copies. Is this really worth the effort? So this can sometimes give you the idea there.

On the other side of it, maybe you've already put a book on the market and you're simply not seeing the sales that you would like to see against the book. And you are wondering, is this all that I'm going to be able to get?

Am I doing better or worse than the average author? That is another common question and we are going to be answering all of these questions today. But before we get into the answers, grab a copy of my completely free Self-Publishing Checklist.

So, how many books do self published authors sell? Let me tell you a little bit about my story. When I first got started back in 2015 and I was starting with my very first book, I put it out and I was completely not sure of what the answer to this question was.

So I put the book out there. I did the best that I could. I followed a basic recipe for how exactly you can optimize some aspects of it without completely following any of the rules.

I was getting so much confusion from different directions. That was one of the things that made me come to the desire to try to help others break it down into easier steps. As opposed to just being flooded with too much information, too many courses with too many different methods and styles.

It was so confusing but I came through all of that and I put a book out there. Now, what happened with my book? I started seeing one or two sales here and there.

It wasn't anything that would compensate. I was wondering how many months or years will it take me to even get my money back? The money that I invested in the covers, on the editing, and all of these different aspects.

I mean I was seeing money coming back but at a slow pace, a very very slow pace. I was thinking, is this as good as it can get? Am I not able to do better than this?

Because if this is as good as it gets, this is lousy. I don't see a way that I'm in the long run going to be able to earn a decent salary off of the money that's coming out to keep the company going.

Target Those Hungry Markets

That was my thing until I learned that it doesn't have to be so complicated. You can break it down into simple steps to get your book optimized. But we are going to get a little bit into that in today's secret answer.

So, how many books do self published authors sell? Let's get into the answers. The answer is at least according to some marketing experts, the answer is 250 books on average for self-published authors.

Now, this is terrible news because the reality you have these huge best-sellers that are selling millions of copies. Then you have a lot of people who are just selling maybe 5 to 10 books or something.

But when you average it all together, you get 250 books a year. The average money that's being earned during the lifetime of the book of about 500 and this comes out to the average author on Amazon making about $1000 a year.

That is about it which is unbelievably, terribly bad. Now, maybe these authors are super happy with that because they didn't have many expectations. But if with only some small changes, breaking it down and keeping things simple, they could have made a lot more money than that.

Perhaps you can too, that's what I'm here today. To try to help you do that. For our third answer which is the secret answer of the day, it is if you break these rules you are going to start seeing your money go down.

The most important of everything is we write our books for hungry markets. That's right, we are not creating brand new markets. We are finding underserved markets.

I use a program called KDP Spy or KDSpy. This is one that I use to make sure that the books that I'm putting out are coming to markets that are hungry for those books.

There should not be too many of those books that are in the markets but there should be lots of people buying them. That is the key to finding the right market. This tool like KDSpy is the perfect way to go about finding it.

Because then, you would just say, show me all the books that are showing up on Amazon search for a given keyword. Then you would see how many of those in the top hundred thousand on the basic sales rank.

That would be like a sale a day is what they are getting. Then what we would do is we just divide the total number of books that exist for that keyword divided by the total number in the top hundred books. Those that are showing up in the top hundred thousand and that would give us a ratio.

That would give us the idea now if the book is under 30, then that would tell me this is probably a good book, a good market to publish to. People are buying lots of these books but there are not that many books available in that market.

So, this is one of those key strategies that we're going to want to follow to make sure that we can make as much money as possible. If you choose the wrong market, you will make no money. It's almost impossible to make money.

Do not think you're going to create a market that doesn't exist. That is a losing strategy and you become part of the average or below average publishers on Amazon. So the next one is you need to optimize your book.

A Winning Strategy

You need to make sure the manuscript is well done. I use a program called Jutoh which makes it super easy to put that book together in the perfect format. That will work on EPUB, Kindle, print-on-demand copies, and all of those.

So you want to optimize it. You want to make sure it covers high-quality. I use Fiverr to do it. If you click that link you can see who I use on Fiverr to go about making the book covers that are looking great at $20 or less.

Then we are going to have our market. We want to make sure we market the book. We are running ads against it on Amazon ads.

Checking those daily and making sure that we are getting at least a cost of $40 or $50 or less. So that we are at least breaking even on any of the sales that we're doing. Then, we are going to distribute the max number of channels that we have.

We are putting it out onto all sorts of networks. We are putting it in all different formats which are the final point there. So it's going to be an audiobook, paperback, hardback, Kindle, and EPUB.

Then they will be distributed to all the different channels. So literally, anywhere on the internet that you go, you want people to find your books so that they can buy books. This is the whole point of it, you don't know where they are going to sell.

Check out this related article: How To Self Publish An eBook On iTunes?

And what format people want to buy your books in. So the way that we solve this issue is that we simply don't guess which format they want. We put it in all of the formats in all of the locations. Then what happens is it trickles.

You get a little here, a little there and then we put out more books. You follow this strategy, you're going to be selling more than 250 books on a given book on average. What you're going to do is you're going to find yourself selling a thousand, then thousand.

It starts to jump, it's unbelievable. I was shocked when I realized all of the mistakes I have been making as a result of listening to all of the noise that was coming in from so many people giving contrary advice on how exactly to go about self-publishing.

I know they meant well but their courses are just so confusing. All of these modules 1, 2, 3, up to 59, and each one contains 30 individual lessons. It's just so confusing.

Then they want to charge you $3000 for it or whatever. It's not something that I found useful. I found it very confusing, demotivating, and it causes most people to never actually even get their books published.

As a result, I would stay away from courses that do that to you. That overload you as opposed to breaking things down and keeping it simple.

So, how many books do self published authors sell? Why don't you let me know what you found? How many copies have you sold off your average book?

Let me know below in the comments, I answer every single comment that is sent in. Check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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