Recently sitting on an Author's Row at a conference, I had some time to talk to a few fellow authors about their sales. One of them actually earns a living writing travel pieces and contracted non-fiction about local towns and attractions, but like all of us, she'd like to do well in fiction. I asked how her new mystery series was doing. Good sales when a book first comes out, and then it flat lines. I've experienced the same thing. I think it means we have fans who wait for the new book, but we aren't attracting new readers which is very hard to do. Every once in a while, I notice someone has bought the entire run of Sinners sports romances, all nine of them. I am so grateful for those sales. It does mean someone new has discovered them, but it doesn't happen often enough.
I've always thought certain times of the year should be great for book sales like December as I feel books make great presents and stocking stuffers, but my holiday sales don't back this up. December is always a quiet month for my books. Sales pick up again in January, perhaps because, baby, it's cold outside, and there is nothing like a good read in front of the fireplace with a warm drink in your hand. Then, along comes Lent. Hard to believe my sales plummet during Lent, but they do. I think romance novels must fall into the forbidden pleasures category and are given up for a time. After Easter, sales perk up again.
You'd think people wanting a good beach read would buy my books in the summer, but no. My sales are higher in spring, fall, and winter. I'm guessing people are too busy vacationing to read. Just because I don't travel without several books in my suitcase, doesn't mean everyone does. Of course, they can buy my books on their Kindle, Nook, and many other devices wherever they are in the world. However, it doesn't appear to work out that way. I do participate in some summer giveaways through The Romance Reviews and get a fair number of hits on the answer to my questions. Still, I haven't notice much of a bump in actual sales.
I do remind people of my long back list of titles on Facebook fairly often and try to add interesting facts about them to bring them up to date. To be real, I know my eyes tend to skip over any book cover promotions to get to the real news and connections with my favorite people. Others must be doing that also. As the market gets more and more crowded by indies, sales have gone way down. It's hard to attract attention among so many, and readers flee back to the New York published as a sure thing rather than spend money on the unknown author. Not an indie, I write for a small press and got into the business eight years ago, enough time to gather a modest following who stay with me. The slump in sales does make me wonder if all the time and effort is worth it for scant rewards. I know many who have given up. Right now, I am writing mostly for my own pleasure and hoping others will enjoy my work, too. Every time I notice a sale on Amazon or my publishers' site, I have to shout a triumphant yes! And be happy with that.