Silence at the Lock went into the world yesterday, and while it wasn’t the “tear down the walls” release that I think every writer hopes for, even if we try to temper our hopes, I was pleased.

Here are the sales’ numbers for Silence at the Lock as of today, April 3 (day after release) at 11am EST:

  • 117 Pre-Orders – 71 ebook; 46 print.
  • $354.32 Income

You’ll remember that I have $2565 in the production and promotion of this book, and I’ve actually invested another $125 in book promo sites.  So my all-in cost for the production and promotion of this book (or the first book the series to encourage read-through) is $2690.

Thus, my ROI is -86.32% . . . which is a scary figure.


Given that I was promoting Steele Secrets for most of the promos, it’s important to factor in those sales numbers. Also, given that there’s a middle book in the trilogy, we need to count the figures for Charlotte and the Twelve, too.

In March and April, Steele Secrets made $58.77 in royalties, and Charlotte and the Twelve made $53.50 in royalties.  So for the trilogy, I have made $466.69 in just March and April.  That’s a ~81.98 ROI.  Still not great but getting better.


If you consider that the sales of one of my books often brings with it the sales of other books, even not in the same series, and that each new title I add increases my presence in bookstores, we need to factor in all my book sales, and here’s where the numbers really climb. 

In March and April, I made $637.21 in royalties, which is a -75.40% ROI.  

So it’s improving. . . and the book only came out yesterday, so it will only improve.

Here’s the bottom line.

Do I wish I had made back everything I spent? Of course. But I have spent – except for promos – all I need to spend on this book, and from here on, it just makes me money.  Self-publishing is – as my friend Ginger reminded me – a slow burn, so I’m holding steady, coming up with a promo schedule for the rest of 2019, and starting my next book TONIGHT.

If I had to change some things, I probably would have done more research to make the covers of the whole series fit more fully in their genres.  I love these covers, but they aren’t quite “on market” as beautiful as they are. I chalk that up to a lesson learned for next time, and my designer and I will come up with something that meets the expectations of magical realism readers more.

I would also do more to stack some promos at launch.  Finally, I would have – life allowing – released the books more rapidly to grab those readers who read quickly.  (Instead, I have a baby, so . . . I’ll take it.)

Plus, I still have a launch party coming up on April 12 at Books Bound2Please in Orange, VA (Join us at 5:30 for a great party?), and I know we’ll sell some books there . . . and the promos I did yesterday may well have a good tail and keep selling for this week.  The numbers can only get better!


I’m still a bit disappointed, but not devastated.  Because here’s the thing, in March and April of last year, I made only $56.79.  This year, I’ve made $321.52.  That’s an 82.33% increase in income.  I’m always going to write books. . . it’s just part of who I am, so to be helping our family’s income with better sales, that’s a HUGE win!!  

Plus, there’s still so much to learn – about how to tweak my categories, about how to do ads, about how to market outside of Amazon more effectively.  I’m only going to get better at this, and that’s so exciting.  Stay tuned for more updates on my Facebook page.  Ooh, I’m all giddy with the thought of what I can learn.  (Yep, total nerd here. Total nerd.)

Now, tell me – what can I break down further? What impresses you with these numbers? Scares you? What lessons do you take for your own publishing journey?