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My Author Journey – in stats!

Last updated: June 2023

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60k Case Study




2020 Overall revenue: $21,960.53
📚Bought 2,824 of my ebooks
📚Read 3,711,113 kindle pages of my books (if you divide by the average length of my novels, this comes out to about 13,300 books 😱)
📚and ordered 56 paperbacks


What changed?

  • My year started off working in a blockchain startup (random, right?) and ended with me being a full-time author of crazy scifi romance novels (super random, right??). Because I lived in Germany and received social benefits after quitting my job, I was able to keep my head above water for the next few months while putting the first Xiveri Mates books out into the universe.

  • I started with the most modest social following, a rapidly cobbled together ARC team from past releases, and zero clue what I was doing other than writing (what I think are) good books.


What I got right:

  • Xiveri Mates marketing 👉🏽 my stories, covers, blurbs, and the timing of my releases (when more folks started picking up monster and scifi romances, and just before Ruby Dixon popped off) all worked together

  • I managed to rapidly release the first three books 2 months apart (the release of Taken to Sasor was my best selling month in 2020 and my first time earning over 4k in a month)

  • I was introduced to several super helpful author online groups and to Nick Eric's online 30 day author marketing challenge course which marked the moment I started actually trying to think like a business person and earn money and not just an author trying to write stories (though I still do more of the latter than the former)

  • Relationships with my people


What I got wrong:

  • Experimenting with marketing strategies and tactics, I definitely lost money as I learned which platforms were best and which ones were the worst for me

  • Switching series didn't work so well – the release of Generation One in November 2020 has been my worst performing month to date and was a month where I barely broke even

  • The Population rebrand also didn't go very well (as evidenced by a survey I sent out recently) BUT word of mouth sales have continued to bring in more revenue than expected for that series considering I put no effort into marketing it


Overall revenue: $59,406.01 (and yes, I’m counting every cent 😏)
👉🏽Kindle Pages read: 9,613,061
⭐️ most KENP read in September (following the Lemora + Pikosa rapid release): 1,201,578
👉🏽eBooks sold: 7540
⭐️ most books sold in January (y’all love Krisxox and Svera): 1,118
👉🏽Paperback books sold: +/-380
⭐️ most books sold in December (thanks to the special edition cover): 64
👉🏽Hard cover books sold: +/-34
⭐️ most books sold in December (thanks to the special edition cover): 21

What I changed going into 2021:

  • Cut out what doesn't work and what brings me no pleasure, i.e. Facebook. I stopped using Facebook as anything except for a tool to communicate with other authors, that means ads, groups, etc. and chose to pick two social platforms only that make me happy and do those "well" (I chose Insta, and then about halfway through the year, TikTok)

  • Launched a Tiktok account

  • I took a break to move internationally, which was only possible because of Tiktok and organic growth "snowballing" a little bit and keeping my revenue relatively stagnant

  • Tried a back-to-back rapid release (separated by thirty days) as an experiment


What worked:

  • Back to back release of Lemora and Pikosa Warlord

  • Releasing all in the same series

  • TikTok as an unpaid sales platform

  • Bookbub ads (finally figured them out and now am converting above 10% and spending less than .35c, per ad on average – best ad performance is at 20% click through rate)

  • First illustration (by @mermammal) and special edition cover – y'all really love bringing my characters to life and it's been fun selling more signed books (though exhausting 😅)

  • In the break I took in the latter half of the year, I managed to write the first book in my new Omegaverse-inspired fantasy, Dark City Omega. It's LONG and it is, to date, the best book I've ever written. I am obsessed with it.

  • In the break I took, I also managed to write my first ever short story and I absolutely love how Jaxal and Lisbel's story turned out!

  • Generally, I want to learn how to write faster. I'm not a naturally fast writer. (I'm not a naturally good marketer of my own books, either, but that's another point lol) I want to get more books written this year than any other.


What didn't work:

  • Amazon ads - I still haven't figured them out

  • Instagram ads - a total flop, money down the drain

  • Facebook ads - great conversion, but the amount of time wasted on the phone with FB reps for "violating community guidelines" was absurd; no explanation ever given, my FB ads account was shut down a dozen times; became absolutely not worth it

  • Too many giveaways?? - I gave away almost 30k books because, as I mentioned, I'm not a great business woman and I really love my books and want people to read them 😅😅😅 But too many giveaways may have killed some sales. Hard to know for sure though as giveaways have been a great marketing tool for getting my little author name out there.


Overall revenue: $92,786 (plus I got state maternity pay around 8k)
👉🏽Kindle Pages read: 14,333,392
⭐️ most KENP read in April (following the Population series rebrand + release of book 3): 2,483,884
👉🏽eBooks sold: 5353
⭐️ most books sold in September (following the release of Evernor): 812

👉🏽audiobooks sold: 992
⭐️ most audiobooks sold in September (following the release of Evernor): 247
👉🏽Paperback books sold: +/-950
⭐️ most books sold in January and March (thanks to the special edition cover): +/- 180/month
👉🏽Hard cover books sold: +/-120
⭐️ most books sold in March (thanks to the Population rebrand and book box sale): +/- 65

What I changed in 2022:

  • TikTok and Translations! Both helped keep me afloat in 2022 when pregnancy really slowed me down creatively

  • Also experimented with audiobooks and rebranded the Population series, which worked incredibly well thanks to the talented cover designer, Regina Wamba

Plans for 2023:

  • Finish the Xiveri Mates series 

  • Experiment with special editions via kickstarter (concluded as of the writing of this and made $25,312 in revenue!)

  • Release Dark City Omega (as of the writing of this, currently experimenting with going trad for this – will keep y'all posted on the outcomes)


2019 Overall revenue: $2,437.18
📚Bought 337 ebooks
📚Read 389,541 kindle pages of my books

2018 Sales: 378.72

📚NubiTales: 47.56
📚Smashwords: 10.82
📚Ingram: 245.15
📚KDP: 75.19

What changed?

  • I started my writing journey at 11 and my publishing journey at 23 when I met a woman through my mom who had started an indie press focusing on authors and characters of color; with this indie press, I published Population, discovered my hatred of publishers and subsequently went full throttle into self-publishing; I published 3 other books over the next 3 years

  • At the same time, I was working full time as an independent communications consultant, a ghost writer, and then later, as a full time employee of international NGOs across the African continent – I had ZERO intention of ever becoming a writer full-time

  • Even though I LOVE storytelling, I never thought I would have fun having to do it as a retrospect, that was dumb lol because I have had a billion jobs in my short career and being a romance author beats them all by a long and lovely mile – if you're considering dropping your day job, DO IT!!! Writing books full time is the absolute best


My favorite resources

Facebook groups

Classes and resources

Other author case studies (with stats!)


Just remember, every author journey is super different and not comparing other authors to each other and especially to ourselves is *SO KEY*. I tend to find figures more helpful than hurtful however, and learning from each other more key than anything.


- A note from Elizabeth -

If you have any questions, comments, or resources you love, please reach out! 

I'd love to hear from you.

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