That’s how long it took Caroline Bingley to sell 1,000 copies. I am grateful to everyone who decided to try a book about one of Jane Austen’s least liked creations. Thank you. I hope you grew to like Caroline a tiny bit after reading my take on her.
Now for some analysis for those of you in the indie pubbing biz.
Before I begin, I’d like to say that I wanted to make this a worst-case scenario experiment: less popular character, higher price, and extremely minimal outside marketing. If I was invited to blog about Caroline, I did, but apart from that, I’ve done no marketing for the book. So, without further ado:
Caroline Bingley fits into the same niche market as Charlotte Collins, which sold 1,000 copies in 4 months and 2 days. Though Charlotte sold at a slower pace, it attained much higher Amazon ranks, often in the 1,000s. Caroline has never broken 5,000 in rank. So that tells me that the ebook market has grown significantly in the last year. There are more ereaders and also more ebooks available, so more competition for rank spots. It also means that lower ranks don’t necessarily mean slower sales.
Charlotte was priced at $2.99, and Caroline is priced at $3.99, so the slightly higher price has not hurt sales as far as I can tell. Of course, there are too many variables to make a truly accurate comparison on that.
Caroline has rarely made the Regency Romance Best Sellers List, but it is still selling well. I used to believe that it was critical to make a genre list in order to get exposure on Amazon. I still believe it’s a desirable thing, but I’m starting to think that the “customers who bought also bought” list is more important. Caroline‘s sales have also been mostly level from day to day, with a spike starting after Christmas. It will be interesting to see which books seem to bring in the most income long term: those that spike and drop off in sales or those that are level from day to day. Not sure yet.
The fact that anyone at all bought Caroline Bingley reconfirms that there is a market for books about Austen’s minor characters. Yes, books about Elizabeth and Darcy will always sell better–look at Nancy Kelley’s His Good Opinion–but if you are like me and have no desire to dabble with their narrative, you can be successful by taking another path.
And finally, thank you again to everyone who bought, read, and reviewed Caroline Bingley. I appreciate it.