I like numbers. What can I say? I use a couple of different reporting services for my book sales that give me a better overview and more analytics than just plain ol' Amazon reports. (Datasprout and BookReport) I like them both for different reasons, but one thing that I do like seeing is yearly and monthly sales figures broken down by books. How does this tie into writing advice?
In 2018 when I began writing my equestrian lit, I did so for two main reasons. One, as a horse crazy person I always wanted to write horse books that horsey people would love. And secondly, I needed a break, a change. I was getting discouraged writing erotic romance. And I wrote it with a "what the hell" attitude. I mean I wasn't selling much erotic romance, so if I didn't expect to sell much equestrian lit, well that wasn't changing anything.
Except, one of the things I like about BookReport is it gives me a cool "ka-ching!" noise when I sell a book. And a good amount of the time, when I'd peek and see what happened with the ka-ching, it means I sold an equestrian book. Whoa! Fancy that!
I've always thought about my equestrian lit as a nice hobby, something I do "on the side". I write a lot of erotica and erotic romance, so having the urban fantasy and equestrian lit that I can well, tell people about, without worrying if they'll get offended, is nice too.
And then I looked at my 2018 numbers.
My top selling book was an erotic romance where I busted tail for 3 months to build pre-orders and I did better than I thought I ever would with it. I made my money. I'm easing out of that multi-author project for a few reasons, but I learned a lot. The next selling book, selling only 2 copies less? The first book in the equestrian lit series. After that? With nearly 60% sell-through on the series, the second book, with the third book following right after where there is only one sale difference. So that means that 60% of readers went on to read the second book. Those that read the second book? 99% went on to read the third. (The fourth and fifth are in my "dear lord these need editing" pile.)
So what I'm trying to say is that it's important that you don't get focused on day to day stuff. If I had, then I would have thought that I did so much better with the multi-author project than I had with the equestrian lit, AND, I would have still considered it a side project. Now, I've moved that author name up in my writing schedule and I can't wait.