For the past couple of years my fiction book sales have been falling – from 1142 in 2015, down to 983 in 2016, and then 640 last year.  I wracked my brain to try and discover the reason why.  Were my prices too high?  What was I doing wrong?

Then I discovered through D.G Kaye’s  blog on WordPress, and realised that there were over 1200 illegal sites where people could download free copies of my books.  Blasty gives authors the opportunity to remove their books from these sites, and remove them I did.  It took forever, because there were so many ‘blasts’ that needed doing.  Every day Blasty emails me with more sites that have cropped up overnight, usually in the region of 4 or 5 per day.

No wonder my sales were dipping!

I’ve also lowered some of my prices but not all of them, and at last I’m seeing an upturn in sales (strangely enough the books which sell the most copies are the higher priced ones).  I’ve also removed all my non-fiction books from the vanity press that I originally started out using back in 2009 which was recommended to me by somebody at work when I didn’t know any better.  Surprise surprise, I now seem to be selling far more non-fiction books than they ever gave me royalties for.  I also ended the contract I had with an independent publisher and now have control of all my books again, apart from a couple of translated books via Babelcube which I will get back in 4 years’ time.

Let’s face it, we Indie authors generally do not make a comfortable living through selling our books and we all have to get by on incomes from other sources, but hey, we need to start off on a level playing field.  The only way we can do that (if we’re not lucky enough to be taken up by one of the big 5 publishers) is by having control of our books, pricing them competitively, and keeping on top of illegal download sites.  If you visit Blasty you will be appalled at how many illegal sites there are.

I’m also in the process of getting all my books professionally formatted, and moving the paperbacks from CreateSpace over to KDP paperback publishing.  I’d rather pay for the formatting as a one-off rather than have to pay a publisher, who will of course be taking their cut out of any royalties I may earn.  I’ve had two goes at using small publishers and to be honest, in my opinion it isn’t worth it, so I’m in for the long haul and I’m going to wait for one of the big 5!  I’m good at waiting… I’m still waiting to hear from the film company interested in ‘For the Sake of a  Child’.  Apparently they haven’t started reading it yet…

Have your book sales increased or decreased over the past few years?