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By The Numbers: Six Months In

As an indie author, I believe that demystifying publishing is helpful to everyone. It helps people understand the author experience better, whether or not they ever intend to publish a book. With that in mind, I have made a commitment to share information about my sales and costs publicly.

There are a couple of things that I think are important to keep in mind. Sales are not directly related to the quality of a book. While I think No Heart for a Thief is great, there are far too many factors to account for why one book sells more or fewer copies than another.

The second thing to keep in mind: publishing is a long game. This premise is the basis for my entire marketing strategy. My debut is on Kindle Unlimited and the ebook is $0.99. I have committed to making sure that readers have as few barriers as possible to finding my work. I believe that if I build up a readership, I will be able to better succeed in the long run.

Which means, if you aren’t selling well right away, that is not the end of your writing career. The thing that makes most of the more successful indies so successful is having a backlog of books. Time and hard work can lead to developing more readers and sales.

Highlights from the Last Three Months

Three amazing things have happened for my book in the past three months:

  • The Broken Binding picked up my book for a limited run of signed and numbered copies

  • I entered the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off

  • I won a grant from the Indie Fantasy Fund

Any of these three milestones would have been a big deal on their own, but all three have made a big impact for me.

The Broken Binding is an indie bookstore out of the UK. They specialize in special editions, and have become wildly popular over the past few years. One day I hope to have a special edition with them, but for now, I was extremely excited to have signed and numbered copies with them. The first 50 went on sale June 20, 2023 and sold out in 5 hours. We are in the process of arranging the second 50 of the 100 numbered copies now. I have never sold 50 physical copies of my book in a day, especially 50 hardcovers. This was a huge boost to my sales and visibility.

The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) is an annual competition founded by author Mark Lawrence. It takes the entire year, and those who have gone far have seen amazing lifts to their author profile. It’s still early in the competition, but people like to follow along and read books that are a part of the competition.

Last but far from least, author Zack Argyle and booktuber Bookborn host an annual fund for indie authors. This year several people from the community donated to the fund, and I was selected to be one of the 10 authors to receive $1,000 grant. This meant the world to me, and it is something that I hope to give back to in the future.


Before we get into the exact numbers, I think it’s helpful to acknowledge the trends. My book sold 196 ebooks in the preorder, and I had an amazing first month. I would say that my numbers have been solid, but they have definitely declined from month-to-month.

There are exceptions and deviations from this trend. I released my hardcover at the end of April, which brought in 18 orders on Ingramspark immediately. The Broken Binding purchased 50 hardcovers in June. However, if you look at my sales on Amazon they have trended downward.

This graph shows the number of book sales I have had through Amazon (ebook and paperbacks) over the last six months. Note: My book launched January 24, and preorders all came through in one day.

This graph shows the number of pages read on Kindle Unlimited over the last six months. Note: My book launched January 24, giving far fewer days for KU subscribers to read in January.

I am not sure where these numbers will stabilize over time, but they will likely jump when my next book comes out in October. If I happen to have success in any of the competitions I have entered, that might help sales as well.

The Numbers

You. I see you. You scrolled down and skipped the context to see the numbers, didn’t you?


My ebooks are exclusively available on amazon so I can be a part of Kindle Unlimited. I sell them for $0.99 a book, except for April 1-4, when I made them available for free. I make about $0.30/ebook sold, depending on which country they are sold in.

Kindle Unlimited

KU offers subscribers the ability to read all KU books for one monthly fee. The total revenue owed to authors from subscription dollars is split amongst all the authors based on the pages read. Essentially, if an author’s pages read equate to 0.01% of the total pages read that month, the author gets 0.01% of the total author revenue from KU that month.

This usually works out to about 0.3 cents per page read. That seems like a negligible amount of money, and I won’t deny that. However, with my book, I make about $1.60 for every full read-through of my book on KU. When you’re sell your ebook for $0.99, KU brings in more dollars.

Paperback and Hardcover

I sell my physical books through Amazon, Ingramspark, and my personal site. There are also signed copies available on Silverstone Books. My profits don’t vary much from site to site because I tried to keep the price low. I make between $2.75 to $4.50 per physical copy, with hardcovers being on the higher end.


Free ebooks on Amazon (April 1-4, 2023): 2,552

Storygraph Giveaway: 21 ebooks, 10 paperbacks

ebooks sold: 751

Paperbacks sold: 124

Hardcovers sold: 80

Kindle Unlimited Pages Read: 141,819 (approx. 329 read-throughs)

Units sold: 955

Units sold including Kindle Unlimited: 1,284

Units moved, including free books: 3,921*

This number does not include review copies or advanced reader copies.


Amazon: $980.65

IngramSpark: $227.20

Personal Site: $901.22*

Indie Bookstores: $1,070.94*

Indie Fantasy Fund: $1,000

Total Gross Profit: $4,177.01

*Does not subtract expenses such as purchasing books, shipping, credit card fees.

Total Net Profit: $2,491.76


I have taken an expensive path through being an indie author. It is possible to do it for less. You can spend less on covers and editors. You don’t have to send out as many review copies as I have. There are plenty of ways to slim down the budget. I see my spending as an investment in my writing career. But that is all just a way of justifying this scary high cost.

These costs include production of No Heart for a Thief as well as the upcoming book two, No Safe Haven. Most major payments have been made on No Safe Haven at this time.

2022 costs: $5,867.75

2023 costs: $7,599.95

Total costs to date: $13,467.70

Net balance to date: - $10,975.94

Now that I’ve reached the costs and net balance portion of the blog, I’m a little depressed and hoping this publishing is a long game thing works out. I hope this helps. I’m going to stare into the endless void.


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