Fat Mogul vs. How Much Other Authors are Selling

Just one of many different arguments on the subject!  (click for the original)
Just one of many different arguments on the subject! (click for the original)

Ever since I started even considering self-publishing, I’ve heard the countless reports from other authors (often directly) about how amazingly their books sold, one specific case expressing to me how he was about to be able to quit his well-paying job and didn’t do any sort of marketing (he neglected to note that his pen name was the same as another science fiction author (who happened to be much more popular), but even then, I’m pretty sure he was doing some major exaggerating).  Even today, talking to my friends, I often get this feeling of hesitation to tell the truth…people stating that they’re doing at least a modicum better than they really are, at least when they are noting it to the public.

I’m here to tell you, right off the bat…that everything you’ve heard is a lie.

You want to know how I know that?  Because none of it adds up.

I’ve had self-pubbed authors try to tell me that traditionally published authors sell, on average, 8 books before their books are never printed ever again.  I’ve had self-pubbed authors try to tell me that, well, as above, they make a healthy additional living off their sales.  I’ve had both traditional authors and self-pubbed authors tell me that their sales are way better than the other, and I’ve also had it go the other way.

At one point, I spent a great deal of time researching the standard sales routines of any new books on the market in order to gather some concept of how I might fit on the line of average, only to find that there was absolutely no data that actually lined up.

Which can really only mean one thing…somebody’s lying.

Or maybe…more likely…everyone’s lying.

Now, I get it.  I have a hard time wanting to announce on this space here that I got really excited this past month because I finally started making regular sales for the first time since August.  I mean, regular sales mean nothing more than I have now sold almost 20 books in the last 30 days.  That’s really awesome for me!  But…well…I mean…that’s pretty depressing for someone who has had his books on the market for almost 2 years now.

I also am really excited because the last few months my site has received an average of 800 page views per month!  Which…again…is really nothing, but a great increase from where I was.

But, of course, for myself, I didn’t really do much toward trying to increase my “BRAND AWARENESS” until approximately, well, August…which is precisely when I can mark how things began to increase (except for sales, which have finally come back).

I wanted to give you some real insight into what you might be seeing, should you make the leap into being published, whether traditionally or self or somewhere inbetween…but doing my research this morning, I again found that reports are drastically conflicting.

Which tells me one very specific thing…something that I think, deep down, everyone really knows.  There is no actual trend for authors.  Author success depends on a number of factors, all of which we have not come up with a conclusive method of measuring.  Dedication, skill, readability, and marketing (which encompasses a whole host of things)…but more than any of that, it really comes down to luck.

So, I’m keeping today’s post brief…mostly because there’s really very little to say, outside of that anyone who claims to real knowledge about what’s going on in publishing today is lying through their teeth.  All experiences seem to be incredibly personal and most of the time we don’t even know the truth because many authors don’t want to really tell you that when they said they sold 100 books this past month, they really only sold 2.

But…there is something to take note of here, something quite important to hold on to on those cold dreary nights when you’re snuggling your plush unicorn and hoping for the bright rainbow of tomorrow to give you the success you’ve been dreaming of…You’re most definitely not alone.  Your current successes (or lack of them) have much less to do with your abilities as a writer or even a marketer and much more to do with the fact that the marketplace being flooded and the readers having no real good method of digging through to find the diamonds.

So…any sale you make should be considered a success…even if it is just to your mother…because…well…there’s some Harry Potter fan-fiction she’s been meaning to read…

Have fun out there!

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