This is a great article I read about how many self-published books you should expect to sell, supposing that you are an Indie author. As any Indie author knows, writing a book is the easy part: getting your book in front of readers is where the hard work comes in.
I think it’s good for debut authors to manage their expectations about how many copies they will sell. From reading around on various threads on Quora or Reddit, where some Indie authors have been very honest about their sales, it seems that many books sell less than 100 copies in the first year, with some selling only 5 or 10 in the first month of publication. Apparently the average yearly sales of books in the US is less than 200 a year, with less than 1000 in a book’s lifetime. That’s not to discourage new writers of course; in my opinion, it’s worth it to have your finished book in print, a lovely feeling to sell your first copy to someone outside your social circle and great satisfaction to read the first review of your work by a fan.
But, the best advice I’ve read is that if you want to sell books, write more books. It’s true that readers will often look up an author’s back catalogue if they like one of their books; as a reader in addition to being a writer, I can vouch for this as I do it myself. Being a successful author shouldn’t be about one book, but about your writing career as a whole. As for me? It’s still less than a year since my Indie author career started, as I launched The Buddha’s Bone on 25 October 2021. With the one year publishing anniversary of my second novel approaching, and the recent launch of my third novel on 29th July 2022, I’m happy to have already joined the 100 club (counting over 100 paid sales not free downloads – I’ll talk about those in another post).