J Carson Black sells 73,562 thriller eBooks in May. How many eBooks other authors are selling.

Posted: June 3, 2011 in #ebooks, #self publishing, Creating A Buzz, short stories, thriller reviews

Indie self-published authors of eBooks. Creating a Buzz

I recently wrote an article on J Carson Black, the American thriller author, with the astounding news she had sold 10,000 eBooks in one month following an interview with her for my Creating a Buzz page on my blog. The article prompted me to do a follow-up article, How not to sell 10,000 eBooks in on month. These latest figures show just how her reputation and success keeps growing. It couldn’t happen to nicer person and she frequently joins in conversations on kindle boards to offer advice, or just to chat. Here are the figures reported publicly on kindle boards on her sales together with a list of other author’s random sales figures. The full list is viewable at kindle boards. The higher sales figures represent mostly authors with multiple books and who have been established for some time. The purpose of this post is to show what is possible and that publishing eBooks is a long game.

J Carson Black

“The reason I post my numbers (other than being a complete notice box) is because the Writer’s Cafe taught me what was possible. The first thread I saw when I got here was one where people showed their numbers and how they changed from month to month. And I saw a lot of this:(these are my numbers since January)

I loved that thread! It told me anything was possible. Before I got here, I had no idea that you could start in one place and end up in a completely other home altogether. The first 7 months was a wash – I went from 1 book a month to a high of 17 books a month in November. It was discouraging, so I didn’t put much into it. Then someone suggested I come here—I started on this board just about the time I hit the 135-mark. So I’m here to say that there are many factors that go into this, but it’s possible. Seeing what other writers have done made a difference to me. Knowing that it can happen is a good thing. So, thank you.”

“I’m almost afraid to say this, because it scares the * out of me. Bear in mind, in February I sold a total of 135 books.”


PONY RIDES (short story): 206
THE SHOP: 36161

73,516 total.



Sales on Amazon over the other 5 books: 300 (US), 222 (UK), and 0 (DE).

I’m pretty happy with the May sales for my novelette but then it’s only been out a couple months and I’m hoping the numbers will continue to build.

Amazon – 558
B&N – 29
Smashwords – 2


ADoR (Romantic Suspense, released 4/1/11) = 81 + 2 UK (50 while at $3.99 and 31 over the weekend when I dropped the price to $.99 for a Memorial Day sale)
AUO (Hot Romance, released 10/1/10) = 271 + 2 UK ($2.99)


I’m slightly down this month Just over 5100 on Amazon but I did have sales elsewhere this month that I haven’t had previously. (Thrillers)
Amazon 5100
Smashwords 3
Apple 1
B&N 41
Kobo 48
and Sony 65.

Total 5,255


I released my first e-book on May 4 & my second on May 21 – both short stories.

If You Go Into The Woods (on sale since May 4)

Amazon 88
Amazon UK 15
Amazon DE 1
Smashwords 4

Total 108
Transfection (on sale since May 21)  (Short story)

Amazon 40
Amazon UK 2
Amazon DE 0
Smashwords 3

Total 45

Total Total 153!!!


Falling Star

I was hoping to meet or exceed my April numbers (944), but only made 715, across all platforms. Not that I’m complaining mind you.


Here are my figures for May: (Paranormal romance)

Amazon: 448 (309 book one, 139 book two)
B&N: 30
Smashwords: 1

Total for both books for May: 479


Remix UK 2,572
Remix US 327
Smashwords 2
Total 2,901
Replica UK 4,143
Replica US 152
(Haven’t bothered with Smashwords as Remix sales via SW are poor)
Total 4,295

Both books total for May: 7,196


Had my best month ever.

Just over 2500 total sales at Amazon UK, with 100 or so at Amazon US.

The Mercenary’s Price (novella) – 989 – $0.99
Honor Bound (The Witchblade Chronicles #1) – 599 – more than half at 99c and the rest at $2.99
Kiss Of Ash (The Witchblade Chronicles #2) – 347 – all $2.99
The Adventures of Miss Upton and the Sky Pirate – 158 – all $2.99
A Secret Life (Lord Hawkesbury’s Players #1) – 24 – all $2.99 – released on the 12th.


17,220 sales for May. Down a little from April, but I’m not complaining. About 11,500 of those sales were for The Righteous, but I had four books clear 1,000 for the month.


I was around 7k for the month, and adding a title at $4.99 was a huge difference-maker. I’ll get the exact count early this afternoon once I’m finished writing for today. Priorities!

Edit: 7122


The sales for three of my books were pretty stable or slightly up, but my bestseller was down by just under 30%.

April total 3110
May total 2342


Amazon sales: 93
Smashwords sales: 18
OmniLit sales: 81*
Total for May: 192


2700+ total for all three books on Amazon.com and .co.uk.

Weight: 451
Cost: 735
Death: 619
Shadows: 882
Sliver: 871
Omni: 850
Cloaks: 5529
Blades: 4407
Guardian: 314
Ash: 273

Total: 14,931


4787 for the month, not counting stuff distributed through Smash.

The Patriot Paradox – 4131
Self Arrest – 559
Fire: Elements of The Undead, released on 8 May – 97

Peace Army – 3,868
Peace Warrior – 3,936

Total sales: 7,800


Amazon US –
Never Forgotten: 1660
Good Tidings: 1204
Loose Ends: 1983
G of NO: 632

Never Forgotten: 192
Good Tidings: 214
Loose Ends: 550
G of NO: 24
Amazon Total: 5997

Pubit: Total: 199

Total sales – 6196


2 books (well, one really! Same book, just re-written for US market!) – 17,375. 1 book = 17, 259! Book1 priced at 71p/99c

I put my book out in the first week of May and here are the numbers so far:

Amazon: 34
Amazon UK: 6
B&N: 1

1557 B&N
2080-amazon us
2-amazon DE
154-amazon UK

Total: 3,793


Not What She Seems – 7,483
The Overtaking – 57

Total – 7,540


Amazon US – 4 ($2.99)
Amazon UK – 8 (£1.99)
Smashwords – 2 ($2.99)
Total – 14


  1. Diane says:

    A thought occured as I was reading this. Just how well do traditionally published authors know and understand their sales figures. Do they simply wait for the cheques to come in and does knowing just how they are doing make the investment in the work greater or is it simply another job to do along with writing, editing, editing again re-writing, editing, formatting, publishing and marketing. – Interesting post and great to know that indie authors are indeed watching the figures grow – thanks


    • declanconner says:

      I personally think, that after the initial euphoria of recieving an advance cheque, traditional authors will be interested to know their sales figures, as many of the first time authors don’t earn out the advance and will be just as concerned that the figures are good enough for their second book. The problem for them, is that if the figures don’t add up, they won’t get that second book and the first one will soon go out of print. It is then a waiting game to get their rights back.

      I think that many of these and other mid list authors are the ones who are gaining most from eBook sales. (although they deny it) Customers are canny, and if they see a previously published author selling their book for $0 99/2.99, word eventually gets around. The point is the customers will know their books have been through the gatekeepers and editing rounds.

      That was why my first article caused a stink on the kindle forums, but if you look behind the curtains of those doing well (I mean MEGA well,) most are mid list authors who have been given the boot. Many say they don’t know why they are successful, which I think is more out of politeness on the forums. I am sure they know that as previously published authors, their books carry some Kudos.


  2. Really good to know, Declan! Definitely a pick-me-up for any Indie struggling to get the ball rolling.


  3. Ellise Weaver says:

    So these are Indie published people? I’m trying to follow you here, and sorry, I get easily confused. These are AMAZING figures! I am swayed back and forth between traditional publishers and then epublishing with articles like these on each side…. UGGH!


    • declanconner says:

      Yes the figures above are from indepenently published authors’.

      Obviously, as an Indie published author, I champion the cause of other like-minded authors. I have to say though that every author owes it to himself or herself to try the traditional route first. For an Indie author to get their books in to actual bookstores is an almost impossible task. With top bookstores and supermarkets having limited space on their shelves in relation the millions of authors in the world, then the gatekeepers are not just about quality, but seeking out likely volume sellers. An example in UK is Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef. Jamie admits to being dyslexic and doesn’t read, but his cookbooks have produced sales figures for his publishers second only to JK Rowling. They also don’t always get it right. Many quality, or niche market books slip the net and eBooks have provided a platform for the independent author’s voice. Take my own efforts for example; publishers are not interested in compilations of short stories from other than existing famous published authors’. It makes sense therefore, that they would also not be interested in single short stories, which would not convert to print. The eBook platform has proved to be a valuable tool to have my work and others read. One other difference is that when publishers do chose a new author and their book fails in the bookstore then they are simply cut. There is a limited shelf life for most traditionally published books, in that all the marketing effort is geared to the release date to ensure maximum sales and then sales slow down until for publisher decides not to print any more. With eBooks, the reverse is the case, in that sales slowly build for most and are never out of print. It’s a sort of tortoise and the hare scenario. Many established mid list, or new authors that are cut from the publishers list and get their rights to their work back, go on to publish as eBooks and for some it re invigorates their career.


  4. Ellise Weaver says:

    Thanks Declan for taking the time to explain things to me. I really am trying to learn and understand. So thank you!



    • declanconner says:

      No problem Elise. I will aways try to answer in full, though to be honest I could write book to explain everything.

      I have every respect for anyone who manages to win a contract from a publisher. I also have every respect for the job that literary agents do, in ensuring contract terms are not onerous. I just get the impression sometimes that the sentiment is not mutual in relation to indie authors.

      If ever you have a question that cannot be answered from my various pages, articles and posts, don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best to give you my point of view, which I trust, or at least I will try to make impartial.


  5. […] Posts & Pages J Carson Black sells 73,562 thriller eBooks in May. How many eBooks other authors are selling.The mysterious ways of Amazon and kindle forums revealed.Authors: Setting the price of eBooks. The […]


  6. […] If you miss the chat, it will stay up on the Facebook page afterwards, and you can read the whole thing. For some more background on J Carson Black, check out this guest post on Mark Williams’ excellent blog, and this post on Declan Conner’s blog. […]


  7. […] 1,280 in March, in April 2011, her reported sales were 10,000 for the month and by May; the total sales to date were 73,562. They have now hit a mind-boggling 230,000 sales to […]


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