My latest book has been on sale for a couple of weeks now, and while I’m hardly setting any sales records, I’m not disappointed either. This year has been, for me, a miserable sales year, but I’m looking at it as a learning experience, not as a disappointment.
I got some feedback last year that the covers of my books made them look like Young Adult, which they are not. While I’m not writing erotica, there is a scene at the end of Reincarnated Lover that would probably upset a few parents if they saw their teens and tweens reading it.
I also made a discovery when Scribd severely cut back the romance titles in their catalog. My books had been categorized as romances. The relationship between Paul and Dafydd is an important part of the Warlock Case Files series, but they are not romances. My sales drop suddenly made sense. I had been selling fairly steadily prior to the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. As soon as Amazon introduced the subscription service, my sales plummeted. It took me almost a year to figure out why.
Romance readers are voracious, and many of them flocked to Kindle Unlimited. As far as I can tell, from reading other blogs, sales of romance books were severely cannibalized by Kindle Unlimited. I’ve chosen to go wide, so my books aren’t available in KU. I knew romance readers were borrowing more than buying, but my books weren’t romances, so why did my sales drop?
It wasn’t until my books disappeared from Scribd that I figured it out. Back when I published Haunted Vampire, I selected “Gay” as a category, thinking, why not? Dafydd is gay. Oops. Gay is a romance sub-category (which was not and still isn’t obvious from the category structure).
So I finally figured out why my sales had dropped. I’ve deleted the Gay category, but it will take a while for the classification to go away. When you look at the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” recommendations, the “Also Boughts” are still almost exclusively gay romance.
So what to do about the situation? Changing my categories was step one. Step two is going to be a complete rebranding. I took the WMG Publishing Cover Design class earlier this year, and I’m going to create new covers for the Warlock Case Files books. I’ll brand them so they have a similar look and feel to Buried But Not Gone, which, I hope, doesn’t look at all like a romance cover!
I’m hoping new covers will help, along with changing the category. I’m also hard at work on the next Paul and Dafydd book. Having a new release in that series should also help.
So 2015 has been the year of learning, which I’m okay with. I’m here for the long haul, so I still have plenty of time to figure out all the moving pieces of indie publishing!