I just had to post this picture of my awesome new slippers. I love them. They are big, warm and have eyeballs hanging off them. What you can't really see in the picture is that your foot actually goes in their mouth which has felt teeth and blood around it. Love. A must-have item for the zombie lovers in your life.
Okay, I started this post with a ridiculous picture because the rest of it might be a little boring and dry for some people. I sat down this morning and ran some numbers. I've been wanting to do this for awhile, to give some concrete numbers for people who are interested in the indie-publishing world. There are a few success stories out there about people making six figures selling their books online, and while I do think these stories are amazing, I also don't think they are probably the norm. Writing/publishing/selling books is hard work, and at the end of the day it's just like any other job. In theory, the harder you work and the more time you put into it, the greater the rewards.
For me, I don't have a lot of time to put into marketing or promoting my books. I have a full time job that is more than 40 hours per week. I travel for work, and I travel for fun (as evidenced in my prior posts). I'm not complaining. I love my life. But I don't have as much time for my writing job as I would like to be able to make it a successful career. It's my own fault. I know that. I'm just pointing out the fact that the people who have been able to make self-publishing a successful career have likely put in a ton of time and completely deserve their success.
That's not to say I don't consider my own results to be a success. I'm thrilled beyond belief to even have one sale of a book I wrote. It's an amazing feeling. So while I'm certainly not making six figures, (probably not even four figures), I still think my 2012 was successful. Let's dig a little deeper.
I published my first book, The Shadows, toward the end of May. I had 2 sales. It was awesome. I released five books total in 2012, including the complete Shadows Trilogy. I also released two novellas in the Castle Trilogy. In the very last week of 2012, I released a Shadows Novella, and a complete set of the trilogy. Neither of those had any sales until January of this year, so my sales for 2012 include the three books of The Shadows Trilogy, the first book of the Castle Trilogy, two Castle novellas, and one stand alone adult book. So that's five full books and two novellas. Here's the numbers.
May - Dec 2012: 235 sales, 13 loans on Amazon, and 5,565 free book giveaways.
Again, not a roaring success by some people's standards, but I was pleased. The last book in my trilogy wasn't released until toward the end of December, and I think having the complete set out now will help sales quite a bit. Lots of people don't like to start unfinished series by unknown authors.
Something else worth noting is that January of 2013 has already been a huge improvement for me. Let's look at those numbers:
Jan 2013: 97 sales so far, 34 loans on Amazon so far, and 2,955 free book giveaways so far. And the month is only 2/3 of the way complete.
I don't want to draw too many conclusions from these numbers. January was bound to be a better month with the after Christmas bump. Who knows if it will last.
What I do want to point out is that 332 people have paid good money for my books, and that is awesome. So thanks if you are one of those people! Another 15 people took time to leave reviews on amazon, and again- thank you! Even if someone leaves a less than stellar review, it means a lot that they take the time to write it at all. Also, 8,554 people have taken the time to download my book, either through a loan or a giveaway. Many of them may never read it, but a few probably will. And that is awesome.
I have a ton of projects underway right now. I'm working on the second book in the Castle Trilogy, Fortress. I have a middle grade fantasy/adventure book halfway done. I love this book, by the way. I think it will be part of a four or five book series. I can't wait to publish it. I also have another adult novel underfoot. I'll be finishing up the Castle Trilogy in the first half of this year. I have a mystery adult series outlined. So yeah, I'm a busy girl. Even if I never get another sale, I'll still be working on these things. That's the thing about stories- they have to be told, even if only the person that writes them is also the only one that hears them.
Happy Sunday, everyone! I'm off to buy some bananas for the deep fryer - don't ask. Oh- CASTLE is on free promo on Amazon today so go check it out.
It's October. When did that happen? I swear it was just May and I was hyperventilating about turning 30. I love autumn, don't get me wrong. But I HATE winters in Chicago. And Winter is coming, my friends. Winter is coming.
So let's talk a little about what I've been up to lately. My new job (2 months in) has been going well. I passed my first certification (of many), and even got to hit the road. I was in Philly and New York last week. I've been to NYC a couple of times and always love it. I almost moved there after college for law school but chose Chicago instead and I have to say I don't regret that decision. I love visiting New York, but I don't think I could ever live there. Namely because it's too expensive. But I'm also a midwestern girl at heart.
I had never been to Philadelphia and I must admit, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It almost felt like a small New York to me. I woke up early before my business meetings to stop by the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Swung by Ben Franklin's resting place and Betsy Ross' house. For a huge history nerd like me, this was not an inconsequential trip.
So why am I telling you all of this? A couple of reasons actually. One, it explains why I haven't gotten a lot of writing and blogging done in the past couple of weeks. But also because it has really made me reflect on the last decade and a half of my life.
When I was fifteen, I was living in a small town in the middle of the midwest. Life was pretty simple and bland. I was relatively smart, and that meant I was often bored in school. I couldn't wait for college and life beyond because I was certain I was destined for greatness. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to live in a big city, have a fancy job as a lawyer, go on business trips. Basically, I wanted the exact opposite life that I was living.
Fast forward fifteen years later- I live in a cool apartment in Chicago. I spent five years working as a lawyer, and now I'm still in the legal industry. I work for a hip, trend-setting company and take business trips to amazing cities. I've travelled to a bunch of different countries and seen a lot of America in the process. And now, I'm also a (self)published writer. It's a pretty cool thing to see your dreams come true, even if they don't turn out exactly how you see them in your head.
And one final dream is coming true later today- I'm going to see Taken 2. Loved the first movie and pumped about the second one. I'll let you know my thoughts on it later.
Oh- writing update. Working on the final book in the Shadows Trilogy. Should finish it up this month. And I'm also working on something a little different that I'm still feeling out so I'll update you about that later.
So I'm going to let you guys in on a secret. One that you already know, but my family and friends do not know. I'm a writer! I have four novels and two novellas published, and no one in my inner circle knows. I mean, no one. There are a couple of reasons for this (no, not because I'm paranoid and/or crazy).
1- When I first started this undertaking, I did tell a couple of people. That was like four years ago I think. I wrote a rough draft of a book that was really bad, and told a couple of friends about it. But then it needed rewriting, and I got super busy with work and life. So whenever I would see them, they would ask me about my book. And I didn't have anything to say. It made me feel like a bit of a failure, so I just let them think I had given up on it completely. Which I had for a while. But when I started up again, I never told them because I wanted to make sure it was for real this time. Which apparently it is :)
2- I would like it to be a fun surprise. I'd like to get to a point where I'm making strong sales and I could just present them all with copies of my books and be like- here's what I've been doing for the past year.
It's not a bad secret to keep; in fact, sometimes it's kind of fun. I write under a pen name, so it allows me to really write whatever I want and not worry about judgment. Though to be fair, I don't write anything too scandalous. But if I wanted to, I totally could ;)
It does pose some problems though. When I talk to my parents and they ask me what I've been up to, I have to bite my tongue. I could be like, oh I just published by fourth book or whatever. But instead I say, oh not much. Just the usual. Again, I don't want to say anything to them until I can prove that this is going to be sustainable. I think it will be much more fun that way.
My friends are another problem. Because they constantly want to do stuff with me on the weekends. Ugh! (Kidding) So I have to be "busy" all of the time without telling them why. But again, it will be super fun if I wait until I can take them all out to a fancy dinner or something and then be like, oh yeah I'm a best-selling author (dream big!).
So thanks for sharing my secret with me. It's part of the reason I keep up this blog. This is only place I can talk openly about my writing. Sorry if it bores you sometimes, but for me it is very cathartic.
Shameless writing plug- Searching for Glory has been discounted to .99 cents for the near future so be sure to pick it up!