Blood Summit by Leigh Turner

How to publish a book: self publishing: how many can you sell?

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

If you are a self-published author, how many copies should you aim to sell?  How to publish a book and remain happy by managing expectations.

When I lived in Germany, trying to get my second book published, I was friends with a German author.  I was rather jealous of him: he had written four novels, all published commercially.

But he was not happy.

‘My publishers don’t know how to publish a book,’ he would say.  ‘They simply publish them and forget about them.  I keep trying different publishers, but they are all the same.’

I asked how many novels he had sold.  He told me he had never sold more than 600 copies of a novel.

I thought of my friend when I self-published my first novel, “Blood Summit“.  I set a target of selling 600 copies.  How did I do?

Blood Summit cover


The first year, I sold 246 copies.  The number includes on-line through Amazon, and copies I bought myself from Amazon and sold at readings.  But it excludes copies I have given away.  The second year, I sold 169 copies.  The third year, I sold 143 copies.  The total?  558 copies.

This is good news, as it means that I am within striking distance of 600 copies.  It also means that I have sold comfortably more copies than I have friends.  Whether I should celebrate having well less than 600 friends, I am not so sure.

Does writing make you rich?  Not yet, in my case.  But the sales do cover the cost of paper, ink and cover design.

I hope to sell my 600th copy of Blood Summit this year. [Comment from 2022: target since achieved!] If you’d like to boost my numbers, feel free to have a browse of my own books on this site.


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