Indie sales for 2011

On this lazy New Years Day Sunday morning, I’ve done a little number crunching while the household sleeps. Below are my approximate sales numbers for the 11 titles I had available. I say approximate, because it will be a while yet before the full tale can be told vis-a-vis my sales through Smashwords distributors for the last reporting period. I should also mention that one title – Lauren’s Eyes – has been pulled and is no longer available in my self-published catalogue. Happily, it will soon be available again (Spring 2012) from Montlake, the romance imprint of Amazon.

Okay, on to the numbers, which take into account sales through Amazon, Smashwords and its distributors (including Apple, B&N, Kobo, Sony & Diesel), and AllRomanceEbooks.


Title Price Units


# of Months

available / year


Guarding Suzannah $3.99

(briefly $2.99)



Saving Grace $3.99



Protecting Paige $3.99



Needing Nita (15K Novella) FREE


12 (3 on Amazon)

Lauren’s Eyes $2.99





The Merzetti Effect $3.99 ($0.99 briefly for holiday promo)



Nightfall $3.99





The Case of the Flashing Fashion Queen $0.99 (was $2.99 for 3 months, then free for 3 wks)



Family Jewels $2.99





The Summoning (Book 1 Gatekeepers) $3.99



Ashlyn’s Radio $3.99






While 181K books sold sounds very impressive, bear in mind that more than 133K of them were free. Which means I sold approximately 47,500 paid units. Also, the biggest earner (the Dix Dodd Mysteries) are jointly written with a partner, so the income is split.

Any way you cut it, though, it was a very nice year. On the solo side, my romantic suspenses continue to find an audience, and the paranormal romance is starting to come along. With respect to the joint work, my writing partner and I plan to publish two more Dix Dodd mysteries in the coming year, as well as launching a website specific to the series, so I believe the cozies will continue to be the best-sellers. Our YA clearly needs some help. It has suffered from lack of promotion, as we focused our attention on the better performers. However, we do plan to put those books into print and budget a little more promo time for them to see what happens.

The indie publishing landscape seems to be changing beneath our feet yet again, so it’s difficult to predict what the year will look like in retrospect when I sit down to do this on New Years Day 2013. However, I think it’s safe to say it won’t be boring!

32 Responses to “Indie sales for 2011”

  • Nice showing Norah, let’s hope that 2012 is even more amazing!

  • Wow, Nora, you are a talented and prolific author! You are also one of the first to step up and help others, and I really don’t know how you find the time. Thank you. Congratulations on all the sales and best wishes for 2012. “…safe to say it won’t be boring!” lol

    • Norah:

      Awww, thanks, Bev. That’s so kind of you to say.
      As for being prolific, it helps to have a writing partner. And a stash of Golden Heart finalling manuscripts I couldn’t sell to a publisher. ,-) Those romantic suspense stories were what got me started.

  • Congrats on those amazing numbers, Norah. The difference between genres is interesting – I’ve noticed a similar difference with sales for my two novellas (regency vs. paranormal). Best wishes for your writing in 2012!

    • Norah:

      Thanks, Gwenan. Yes, huge difference between genres. I’ve found romantic suspense the easiest sell. The paranormal has been a tougher sell, mainly because they’re vampire romances and people are so oversaturated with vamps. But as I convince people that these books are not just another vampire story (they’re more paranormal suspense, or romantic suspense with vampires, if you like!), they’re starting to come on board. I think other paranormal themes probably do better.

      • I bought your book this past month and look forward to reading it. Yes – I agree about the over-saturation. Glad to hear what you say about romantic suspense though because I’ve got one of those too. 🙂

  • Lori Gallagher:

    Great job, Norah! I enjoy your books and am looking forward to seeing what’s up next – especially with that entertaining Dix Dodd! I hope 2012 brings even more sales your way as people discover your wonderful writing.
    Happy New Year!

  • Thank you for your honest reporting, and here’s hoping you get an even better year. And, yes, it’s in a state of flux all right.

    • Thank you, Barbara. Here’s hoping the indie market is good to all of us! I can’t wait for your new romantic suspense to go up. (Folks, I’ve had a sneak peak at her cover. It was so good, it moved me to start thinking about new covers for my own RS.)

  • Congratulations on a successful 2011.

    Best Wishes for even greater success in 2012!

    P O Dixon

    • Norah:

      Thank you for the kind wishes. Right back atcha! May it be not just an interesting year but a good one for indie authors.

  • Thanks for posting this. IT’s great information.

    • Norah:

      You’re welcome, Linda. I wanted people to see that not everything we try works, and also to show what *has* worked for me. The free novella to promote the romantic suspense has really worked, as did making the cozy mystery free for a period.

  • Congrats on a successful year, Norah, and thanks for sharing sales figures. It looks like quantity of books and length of time are important keys to strong sales…well that and a quality read. *grin*

    Best in 2012.

    • Norah:

      Definitely, Monica! I attribute my success to the sheer volume of works I have available. And have series really helps. I’ve found that promotions don’t necessarily transfer well among genres. Dabbling in so many sub-genres has been a bit of detriment that way. It also helps that I’ve been around doing this since the summer/fall of 2010, when this indie environment really started to evolve. Not that I’m much of a pioneer. I followed some much braver women who went before me, like Delle Jacobs.

  • These were very interesting, Norah.

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been wondering about YA. For a while they were so hot, but I haven’t heard much about YA books lately, which had me wondering if that fad had cooled.

    The sales your cozy mystery series took in is a bit of a surprise too. I can’t recall anyone actually saying this-but for some reason I thought that was a market that wasn’t getting much movement.

    One thing I would request is a price next to your title. How much are you charging for each book? But huge congrats on the amount of your sale. That is a impressive number of paid books you’ve sold

    I’ve no doubt you are right about the changing dynamics of Indie publishing. It is very difficult to predict anything for next year, we’ll just have to surf the swells and valleys and hope we come out on top!

    May 2012 be good to both of us!

  • Norah:

    Thanks, Trish. Great point about the price points for these books. I’ll have to go in and edit that table.

    And yes, the mystery was a surprise – sort of. I call it a cozy because the tone fits there better than anywhere else, despite the fact that the heroine is a PI, not a amateur sleuth. They’re almost slapstick funny, sort of in the vein of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. That said, I think others are having great success with more conventional cozy mystery. I think the market may not be broad and deep enough for the big publishers who need to sell a gazillion copies, but it’s plenty sufficient for an indie in this environment.

    Speaking of congratulations, I don’t think there was a new book that grabbed me harder than your Forged in Fire. The cover alone triggered a “must buy” response in my RS-programmed bra, and the story carried through in spades. If it had been released a little sooner, I’m betting it would have been on a lot of people’s best of 2011 lists. If I’d actually made a list, it would be on mine.

  • Wow, Norah! You have a lot of books out there! I give you and Cate Rowan credit for inspiring me to self-publish. I can’t thank you enough for all the help you’ve given me and others.

    Great numbers! Congratulations.

    Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!!

    • Thanks, Theresa! That’s very kind of you to say. But if anyone needs inspiration, they should look to you. Holy cow! I just looked at your December update – 145K, not counting another 64K free downloads. You are rocking the indie dream. 🙂

  • Norah, thanks so much for sharing your numbers and for all you’ve done to help self-published authors. I so appreciate you lighting the path! To anyone who hasn’t read Norah’s books, they’re great! 🙂

    I, too, benefit from having a stash of unsold Golden Heart finaling manuscripts. If only I’d known then what I know now, I’d have written more of them!!! I took inspiration from Norah today and crunched my numbers for the year. I’ve posted them:

    • Thanks, Debra! I just checked out your post. Those are awesome numbers on the Montana Skies series, and with another one scheduled to come out shortly, I see rosy sales in 2012!

      You also highlight a point that I love about indie publishing. Two great agents couldn’t sell your sweet historical westerns because the market wasn’t broad enough for trad publishing. But it seems plenty deep enough to sustain individual authors.

  • Norah:

    Per Trish McCallan’s suggestion, I’ve edited the table to include the price of the book in question. Hope that helps add a dimension.

  • Kat Jorgensen:

    WooHOO, Norah! Fantastic numbers and good to hear that the cozy series is doing so well. I’m cheering you on. You’re an inspiration.

    • Norah:

      Thanks, Kat! That’s very kind of you to say. And yes, the cozies have been great. They’ve been leading the way, for sure.

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