A self-published author's diary, podcast, Self publishing, Self-pub corner, writing

A Self-Published Author’s Diary: The Little Book That Could…and keeping track of sales.

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who’s been reading these posts and listening to my podcast “A Self-Published Author’s Diary”. This blog post is also available as episode and you can listen and subscribe and review to “A Self-Published Author’s Diary” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more…You can also become a monthly support of my podcast by clicking here.

And thank you to everyone who’s already added #THELEFTOVERBRIDE on Goodreads and those of you who already pre-ordered it! If you have already added it to Goodreads and or pre/ordered it (on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo). I’ve also been sharing little snippets with everyone who has left a comment on my Facebook Author Page and/or Facebook readers’ group. I will also do the same with my readers’ mailing list and Instagram.

On Friday, I talked about The Ulman Foundation and how much their work has meant for me, they have a wishlist if you’d like to donate items for the Ulman House in Baltimore. At Ulman House they provide free housing for young adult cancer patients, and their caregivers.

A couple of months ago, I shared the fact that A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER had 115 reviews on Amazon.com…and guess how many reviews it has now? It now has 155 reviews!

The quick hook for A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is:

She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all. They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting. It’s going to be A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER.

Did you know I wasn’t planning on writing A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER? Did you know that this is the book that got the attention of a French publisher, got picked up by said-publisher and enabled me to be in French bookstores? Did you know this book now has 155 reviews on Amazon?

I published A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER in July 2015. Almost six years ago.

A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER has been translated in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. It is currently perma-free in English on all e-retailers (AmazoniTunesKobo Google PlayScribdHoopla). It is available in paperback on Amazon and on Bookshop.org.

It is also available as audiobook (AudibleAmazoniTunesGoogle Play Chirp Nook AudiobookScribdBingeBooks ).

Here is a little excerpt of the audiobook, narrated by Megan Carter.

Excerpt narrated by Megan

Actually, the French translation of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER (which is called UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES) is my most sold book…

I sold more more than 1300 paperback copies of the English edition of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER since 2015. And it has been downloaded for free more than 17000 times. I haven’t advertised this book in English for years and just last July, 400 people downloaded it and I sold 56 paperback copies.

The French version has even much better numbers: both for the paid e-book and for the paperback version. Especially since the French paperback version was picked up by a French publisher and was also sold in bookstores and supermarkets and Cultura and la Fnac and in libraries…:-)

I have sold more than 4000 copies of UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES . I have sold 2992 copies (ebooks + paperback) through my different publishing platforms as well as 1011 paperback copies through my French published (those numbers are from 2019 – I haven’t gotten my 2020 sales numbers from them yet). And this doesn’t count the pages read when UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES was in Kindle Unlimited.

It is truly the little book that could. 🙂

How do I track my sales…

I track my sales mainly using TrackerBox and BookReport and my wonderful husband, The Chemical Engineer, has also started helping me analyzing some of the data. He’s very very very busy so I do appreciate whenever he takes the time to help me out with some of the business side of things. I mean, yes, he also does inspire some of my characters (as he will tell you) and does listen when I’m talking about plotting my novel…

In TrackerBox I can add all the sales report from all different platforms and I can see all historical data, revenue data, unit data and everything. In BookReport which is a browser extension, I can see my Kindle Direct Publishing Data.

The problem with TrackerBox is that again it uses the monthly report data and some of them (like KDP) do not report that data by day. You can access the historic data by day on BookReport for Kindle Direct Publishing but I’d really like to have the data by day for all e-retailers.

Why? Because as I’m starting again to lean into doing advertisements for several of my books, I need to know what my Return On Investment Is.

In the Ads for Authors class I’m currently taking by Mark Dawson, he provides students with an excel list on how to keep track of Facebook Ads and sales. Buuuuuut, in one of the groups I’m in for the 5 Days Amazon Ads challenge (that is a free class), someone has shared a screenshot of their excel list and it looked great to keep track of all ads and sales and ROI. I’ve tried throughout the years to come up with different tables and such but nothing that really worked for.

I checked on Etsy to see if anyone had made such an excel table available but I still need to dig in other places to see if I can find the excel worksheet that will enable me to be even more strategic and more aware of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to advertising.

155 reviews on Amazon.com and counting…

I mean, granted, not all reviews are raving…the one on top of the Amazon page is a one-star review, telling readers not to read A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER because it will make you angry. And another one on the German Amazon site talks about the fact that this book isn’t Oscar Wild-esque and lacks moral…

I wanted to share those full reviews, but apparently, Amazon reviews belong to Amazon due to copyright? Something else to check out in more details later.

Why am I sharing that this book has some negative reviews? To show you that all books get negative reviews. And that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone will like what you’re writing. Not everyone likes what I’m writing.

And some of those negative reviews might actually help your sales, believe or not. The sales of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER didn’t dwindle since that 1-star review took center stage on the product page.

And while, I still get these little moments where my stomach clenches as I release a new book…wondering about those first reviews trickling in, checking my book page to see if anyone reviewed it or what readers thought about the story I spent months on…I don’t dwell on them as much. Right now for #TheLeftoverBride I am at the very excited stage because I believe in that story, in my writing and this upcoming book has been with me for the past year and a half…

And fine it’s also true and easier not to dwell on them when most reviews are four and higher, and some readers call A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER the greatest book they’ve read or that they fell in love with the characters.

And did you know A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER got reviewed in The Guardian? I mean that’s pretty cool.

The story behind A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER…

I wasn’t planning on writing A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER.

My goal was to write ALWAYS SECOND BEST as a standalone companion novel to ONE, TWO, THREE. But as I drafted ALWAYS SECOND BEST, I kept on thinking about that summer between Nick & Em. I kept on thinking I needed to really get to know them better. I kept on thinking maybe I should write it out.

So, I did. I did it as a way to really get to know Nick & Em and to make ALWAYS SECOND BEST stronger.

It was only supposed to help me understand the characters better, but I fell in love with that summer story.

And I drafted it very very quickly. It took me a few months only between the moment I started drafting it and the moment I sent it to my copy editor.

My critique partners loved the story and this was one I didn’t need to revise a lot. I had been thinking about it so much while I had started drafting ALWAYS SECOND BEST that I couldn’t wait to dig deeper into their summer.

And it ended up being A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER (Nick & Em #1). And the rest is history…

Languages and more languages…

A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

I even signed with a French publisher!

Throwback to December 2016: Signing the contract with my French publisher for the French versions of ASLNO & ASB.

The French version of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER was translated by Edith Girval. No, I do not translate my own books in French, but I can re-read them and talk to my translators through the process. Me translating my own books in French would take me forever and would require a lot and I mean a lot of editing after. Not because I don’t speak or write French but because I’ve been living outside of France for more than half my life. I’ll discuss this in more detail later. I think it can be an entire blog post or podcast episode.

UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES really took off when I published it. It shot up the charts…

The reason why UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES did so well in French is that I think I got into the French-speaking Facebook Ads when there weren’t yet a lot of authors who were advertising on Facebook in France. My cost-per-click was very low (less than ten cents and is still to this day about 17 cents) and converted very well into sales.

I mean look at this…And the ad got so much traction at the time, even though it has text on it which is usually said to not be great for conversion…I replied to all comments and answered questions readers had about the book, about follow-up books and so on…

One of my successful FB ads in French for the French version of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER.

I released ALWAYS SECOND BEST in French not long after and it also did very very well…and that’s how A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER caught the attention of a French publisher. And made me a so-called hybrid author (self-published and traditionally published).

On November 21st, 2016 I received an email from a French publisher, who contacted meto see if I would be interested in signing with them for the French versions of A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER & ALWAYS SECOND BEST. Plus a possible option book.

At first, I thought it was a scam.

Really.

I don’t have an agent and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I don’t recommend selling your foreign rights without an agent. An agent may have been able to negotiate different aspects of the contract for me. I got lucky, I think. One, because I speak French 😉 and thus, I was able to do my research, see the story of their imprint, look at the other authors they had signed with, and negotiate with them directly. I only sold the rights to the paperback version and not other format or languages. Two, they have been very good with all follow-ups. They, unfortunately, no longer carry the YA line but they were part of a bigger imprint and thus, I still am receiving royalty information and everything.

They also ended up buying the option book! And they acquired the French version of ONE, TWO, THREE as well.

September 2018 – Signing my contract for the option book: The French version of ONE, TWO, THREE…

I got an advance. I got author copies. I got promotion. I even saw my books in French bookstores and grocery stores! Kind of like one of my books making it into Target-level of excitement!

Writing this still feels surreal, even though I signed the first contract for UN ÉTÉ PAS COMME LES AUTRES and UNE SECONDE CHANCE more than 4 years ago.

Bilingual copies…

A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER is available in several bilingual editions (I really need to add a tab on my blog for those 🙂 – coming soon!):

German/English, German/Italian, Italian/English, French/English – English/Spanish and more coming soon…

And it will be soon available in even more bilingual editions, as I’m regaining the rights of several languages in the coming weeks/months.

The first sentence in different languages…

The pop music blasts from the speakers so loudly that it resonates within me.

Des haut-parleurs s’échappe une musique pop assourdissante ; le son est si fort que chaque note résonne dans mon corps.

Die Popmusik dröhnt so aus den Lautsprechern, dass sie in mir widerhallt.

La musica pop esplode così forte dalle casse che mi risuona dentro.

La música pop suena tan fuerte en los parlantes que retumba en mi interior.

Uma música pop explode nos autofalantes, tão alta que ressoa dentro de mim.

Bonus scenes, anyone?

If you’ve read A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER and would like to receive some exclusive bonus scenes, don’t hesitate to sign up for my newsletter. 🙂

Thank you to everyone who has given this little book of mine a chance, from my critique partners to my French publisher to all the people who have read it in whatever language and format. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review it. Thank you to all the readers who have sent me an email to let me know how much they loved this book…

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