Happy New Year from S.C. Jensen and Bubbles Marlowe!
2021 was an absolute whirlwind year for me as an author. I finally decided to go all in with indie publishing and set myself some aggressive writing and release goals. I managed to get out five full length novels and two novellas, along with two short stories and another novella which will be released in early 2022.
I’d like to thank all of the readers and reviewers who have supported me this year and helped to make the Bubbles in Space series a resounding success.
No, I’m not going to be able to retire on my income this year. In fact, I spent the majority of my book earnings on covers, editing, and advertising… *sad laughter*
I have sold 1400 books, and had and additional 198,968 page reads in Kindle Unlimited, since the release of Tropical Punch on March 31, 2021. For an indie author without an established fan base, that is a phenomenal first year!
Did you know that many books, including those published by major publishing houses, never sell more than 1000 copies? Not per month, not per year, but in their lifetime? Relatively successful traditional books often only sell 5000-10,000 copies in their lifetime. (Never mind those bestsellers that sell this many every day, there aren’t that many of them and they tend to skew the results.)
I’m not anywhere near those numbers yet, but for less than a year in the field I’m feeling like I’m off to a strong start. If you are an indie author and are looking for some hard numbers, here’s what I sold in 2021.
Tropical Punch (Bubbles in Space #1) sold 709 copies in nine months.
Chew ‘Em Up (Bubbles in Space #2) sold 307 copies in seven months.
Pop ‘Em One (Bubbles in Space #3) sold 160 copies in five months.
Spit ‘Em Out (Bubbles in Space #4) sold 79 copies in three months.
Cherry Bomb (Bubbles in Space #5) sold 40 copies in one month.
Bubbles in Space (Digital Edition Boxed Set) sold 15 copies in 10 days.
Dames for Hire (HoloCity Case Files #1) sold 82 copies in nine months. [Note: This is my reader magnet, which I give away for free when people join my mailing list, which is why this number is so much lower. There were 82 people who chose to buy it instead.]
HoloCity Hard Boys (HoloCity Case Files #2) sold 8 copies in 1 day (It just came out yesterday, so it’s not really of interest yet, but it was a part of my total sales for 2021.)
The Hard Truth
Getting and staying visible in an industry that has thousands of new books and new authors being pumped into it every day is a challenge. It requires either a lot of time and social media know-how to leverage free promotional sources and fan groups and/or a lot of money to throw into advertising on Amazon, Facebook, and other major outlets.
Bubbles in Space grossed $3280 USD in 2021. That’s great! But I spent almost all of that on ads to get there.
The good news is, I’ve learned a lot about how ads work and how best to market my series going forward. The bad news is, I didn’t actually make any money on my books this year.
Please don’t let this discourage you! One of the reasons that I spent so much on ads was that I’m writing in a very small, hard to target niche. Many authors who have done a better job at writing to market in a larger niche do much better with much less ad spend.
You do not have to do it the way I did. I decided to invest into building my readership because I set aside money specifically for this before I started. I actually don’t plan to make much money for at least 3-5 years.
Bubbles in Space will always be my passion series. I absolutely love it and my readers love it and I look forward to growing this world! My next projects are going to attempt to broaden the appeal of this series by reaching two larger genres, namely Space Opera and Techo-Thrillers.
I hope to learn from the mistakes I made this year and make 2022 an even bigger success than 2021.
Maybe I’ll even get to keep some of that book revenue…
And indie author can dream, can’t she?
If you are an indie author looking for insights into the business, is there anything that you would like to know? Please ask! I will be as transparent as I can (I’ll have better numbers once I do my taxes).