Saturday, September 17, 2011

Self-Publishing: September Slump and Gratitude

For the first time in my four and a half months of self-publishing success, the sales of Wild Montana Sky and Starry Montana Sky are down, and have been since the day after Labor Day. I've read enough posts from other self-published authors to know that this seems (with a few exceptions) to be happening across the board. I'm hoping sales will change for all authors after families get settled into their school routines.

Since June, I've tracked my sales figures, writing them down every night before I go to bed--usually around 11:30. I have one of those big desk calendars that I write the numbers reached for the day, number sold, and a running total. (As of last night, 21,275 for the Montana Sky Series, and 230 for the Gods' Dream series.) I'm sure this could be done on a spread sheet, but computer challenged me doesn't know how to do this.

The September slump is interesting (and disappointing as well) because I just had my very best sales numbers a few weeks ago. Wild Montana Sky broke 200 sales in one day on August 27th. Starry Montana Sky broke 100 sales in one day on August 28. Up until Tuesday, Sept 6th, Starry's sales had been consistently above 60 a day, with occasional dips into the upper 50's, and often into the 70's and 80s. Reaching the 90s was always a red letter day. Sales for Wild Montana Sky were from the 140s and above, usually in the 150, 160 average.

I know many self-published readers would LOVE to have my sales numbers, slump or not, and I'm VERY grateful to have them. This slump blog is NOT a complaint. Rather, the slump has made me stop taking something for granted--that my numbers would continue to rise. It's not that that won't happen, but I need to know slumps will occur.

From the very beginning, realizing how much money I could make from self-publishing, I've tried to have a mindset that wouldn't depend on the income. I have cut back on my psychotherapy practice, but not because I've dropped clients. Like book sales, I've long known that the number of clients I saw weekly would also rise and fall. I've been at a low for several months, and instead of worrying like in the past, I've been SO grateful that I now have more free time. (I'd say more time to write, but that doesn't seem to be happening like it should.) Perhaps because while my private practice has waned, my corporate crisis counseling has been up, and that takes a lot of my energy that I then need to recover.

The goals I have in mind for the book money have to do with paying off debt, adding to savings, adding to my IRA, and increasing my charitable contributions. Therefore, if the book money goes away, I'm not left hanging on a limb, but have added to my financial security while I had a chance.

During this slump, I'm remaining optimistic and focusing on gratitude. I have SO much to feel thankful for, primarily for each reader who buys my book. When I feel disappointed about a low sales day, I stop and switch my thinking, often saying a prayer of gratitude for my readers and for everyone who has helped me on my journey, including each person reading this blog. I'm SO very, very thankful!


  1. This is great info to share, Debra. My game plan is slow and steady, build up the number of publications and reviews and hope to increase my sales that way. I drool over your big numbers, but like you said, they could dry up or shrink on a whim, so your mind set is quite healthy in that regard. Meanwhile, I rejoice every time a new reader tells me they love my work. :-)

    Regina Duke

  2. Regina, isn't that the best!!! I love feedback and fan letters!

  3. Hi Debra,

    As another author experiencing the September slump, I also turned my thoughts around after a lot of consideration and soul searching. Like you I had my best days just before the end of August. It's been an interesting trip and for me and I'm grateful to have to come to the point of saying 'thank you' for every sale.

    Of course I hope all the sales pick up!