No Sales? Try Changing Genres

I have sold over two thousand free copies of Darkin: A Journey East over the past two months. That has resulted in very few sales for the sequel, Darkin: The Prophecy of the Key. And the sequel has received no reviews so far. Bummer.

After I finished the editing for Darkin: The Prophecy of the Key, I decided to write a horror story I’d had in my head for some time. The premise: What if, on the way home from walking your dog late at night, you saw an intruder moving about in your window? What if cops came but found no one in the house? I finally put metaphorical pen to paper (typing in Word) and produced House For Sale. It was the first non-fantasy book I had published on the Kindle Store so far.

Lo and behold, the book started to sell a few copies ever few days. Now in its second month, the book is on pace to sell two copies a day for the month. That is way more than I’d ever sold of anything else (that I actually charged money for). Now, the only book I have ever paid for advertising for is the first in my fantasy series, Darkin: A Journey East. I paid quite a bit to advertise it all over the place. While I amassed reviews and such, I made no sales, not yet anyway. I think, it being my first novel, and rather inaccessible as a fantasy book, and perhaps rather generic in structure and tale, it may lose readers halfway through at times, as the story gets slow at about the midpoint. Despite the fact that the second book, Darkin: The Prophecy of the Key, is much better in my opinion, it has virtually no sales. The success of House For Sale (in my measure of success, two book sales a day is quite good without advertising, although it amounts to paltry sums of cash), drove me to write a second short horror tale, this time based around a Craigslist serial murderer. It is entitled Living Alone and is priced at 0.99 cents as well. So far, Living Alone hasn’t caught on, with only 3 sales this month. But I am hoping the House For Sale buzz continues. Here’s a recap of my sales for the past 6 weeks, my author rank in horror, and this month’s sales.

So, I am pretty excited, although I’ve made barely any money. Just to have customers enjoying my horror story, and buy it continuously, is an awesome feeling. It is surely a first for me as an author. Amazon thinks I am in the top 1,000 horror authors on its site. That is pretty encouraging. It can all change tomorrow, sales can deteriorate, and I’m at the bottom of the barrel. But for no advertising, I feel this is a word of mouth phenomenon. I am currently writing a full-length horror novel, and hoping that will build off the success of the two short stories. Living Alone clearly hasn’t caught on yet, but I’ll be using the last of its free KDP days tomorrow through Saturday, so hopefully it gets a review or two and gets some momentum. I am nearly halfway done a sci-fi thriller, which I am hoping Amazon will serialize for me. But with all these hopes and dreams, I can say I have now achieved some small measure of continuous success, and it is thanks to a genre change of all things. I knew the type of fantasy I was writing was a niche audience, but I’d never tapped into any other markets. And I found something else out as well: I enjoy writing in other genres as much as I enjoy writing high fantasy. So, all I can tell you is, as a shameless self-promoting bastard, go read House For Sale, and here’s hoping it keeps you up tonight.

3 Thoughts on “No Sales? Try Changing Genres

  1. I think this is pretty common, actually. Hugh Howey had thrown Wool out there for free, not even on a retail site, before it started to get traction. He had done a lot of promotion of his other stuff, did none for Wool, it exploded. He said he felt a little frustrated over that, too.

    IMO the best thing we can do as self-pub writers is to try a lot of stuff, and when something starts to catch on, immediately double down on it. Nearly no one does that with their first project or so.

    • josephturkot on January 15, 2013 at 11:18 am said:

      I didn’t know that about Wool, but I think the double-down idea is pretty good advice. I initially doubled-down on my first series, which is fantasy. Though I hope the sequel gets traction eventually, it may not be until some of my other stuff starts to pick up. In my case, horror. Thanks for the comment.

      • I hear that a lot of readers intentionally hold off on a series until it has been fully written. I can’t confirm that at all, but if it’s true, it could be a good idea to have a “series” that consists of trilogies, giving people the idea that they’ll get to read an ending. WoT made them gun shy, I guess?

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