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?
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.