I seriously can't believe it is already March. Insane. You may have noticed that I've been pretty absent the last couple of months. I promise you it's only because I've been crazy busy writing. A few people have been asking about the next book in the CASTLE trilogy. I truly appreciate the interest, and I'm glad there are readers out there as excited about the second book as I am. I assure you, it's coming! It will definitely be out this spring. In fact, in April. I don't know the exact date yet, but I will keep you updated. If you haven't already seen it, check out the cover:
In the next couple of weeks, I will post some excerpts from FORTRESS. I'll also be publishing my middle grade book in the next few weeks and I'm having a blast finishing it up. I'm labeling it as middle grade, but I think it will appeal to young adults as well. Okay, back to writing!
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.
You may remember that I mentioned starting a new job back in August. I blame that job for my lack of posting. I've been crazy busy, but still loving the job. Unfortunately, with the increased travel component and some big releases, I haven't had as much free time as I would like for writing.
Good news though- my job gives me a winter break, which started yesterday. So with 11 days off, I hope to make some excellent progress on my current work in progress, the follow up to CASTLE. I also managed to get the final details wrapped up on the third and last installment in The Shadows Trilogy- The Warriors. It was a lot of fun to write, and very cathartic to be able to wrap up the stories and give the characters some closure. It's up and available on Amazon if you'd like to check it out.
What else is new... I had a recent trip to DC and NYC and finally got to see both the White House and the big tree in Rockefeller Plaza. I did the Christmas thing with my family yesterday and today, and now I have a lot of movies and books to catch up on these next few days. We got the first snow of the season (and I'm not particularly happy about it). We had a holiday office party that included not one, but two after-parties.
I'm still hanging out with the fam, watching the new Total Recall movie. So I'll include a much longer post later this week but just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays.
I have had quite a bit of dental work done the past couple of weeks, including a root canal (ouch) so I've been splurging on milkshakes and ice cream almost non stop. It doesn't hurt that it has been 100 degrees in Chicago lately.
I'm also in the midst of packing up my entire apartment to make a move eight blocks north. While I'm excited about the new place, I'm not excited about moving all my stuff. However, as I have been cleaning things out and packing up boxes, I've been formulating some ideas for a giveaway blitz.
I will be releasing the second book in the Shadows Trilogy, The Rebels, in August and I'm going to be doing 5 days of promotion leading up to the release. Blog readers and fans will have a chance to win copies of my books, both paperback and kindle version, and some other fun stuff. So be on the lookout for that the first week or so of August.
I will also be creating a nice long blog about my experiences as an indie writer. Part of the process is keeping track of what works and what doesn't, so I'll be including some details of my successes an failures over the past couple of months. While I've been writing for a few years, I only recently took the plunge and put my stuff up on Amazon and I'm quickly learning that simply loading your book doesn't guarantee you fans and sales. There's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into selling your books online and I'm just beginning to wrap my brain around it all.
So if you have read one of my books and enjoyed it, please tell your friends. And family. And pets. And neighbors. Tell everyone that will listen. I will be eternally grateful.
Has anyone else been watching the Olympic Trials? I'm a huge sports fan in general and the Olympics in particular. I think my favorite part is how everywhere you go during the Olympics, everyone is cheering for the same team. That rarely ever happens in sports.
Another reason I haven't blogged in a while is that I had one of those crazy weeks where I barely had any free time. I had to get a root canal a couple of days ago and had a lot of work stuff going on. But the crazy part was how even after working insane hours and sitting in a dentist's chair for two hours, when I came home I still couldn't wait to start writing.
So, you may be asking, what do the two distinct thoughts above have in common. I'll tell you. The title of this post is For Love or Money and it's something I've been pondering the last few weeks. I don't love my job, but I make good money and it could certainly be worse. However I do love to write, but I barely make any money at it. Olympians all over the world dedicate years to becoming the best at their sport but only a few dozen will become famous at any Olympics. Most of the others will never make any real money doing what they love.
So is there a way to make money doing what you love? Or is it better to take the job that will pay you and just keep doing what you love in your free time? If you start to get paid for what you love, do you stop loving it because it becomes just another job?
Okay enough of the deep thinking. I recently published my first novella, a follow-up to the the first book in the Castle trilogy. It's actually a prequel, but makes more sense if you read it after CASTLE. It hopefully answers a few of the questions people had while they were reading CASTLE about the characters' back stories. I had a blast writing it.
If you don't already know, my second young adult novel is free on Amazon today and tomorrow. Please check it out.
Some writers are completely against giving away books for free. Part of me gets this. Writing is hard work, and there aren't many jobs that people would do for months without getting paid. However, the Amazon free promotion is nice because it allows newbie writers like myself to get our work into the hands of a lot of people very quickly. Then those readers can fall in love with our books and tell all their friends. It's almost the reverse of how books used to work- read a great book and then lend it to a friend for free. So I guess I don't really see the problem with letting people enjoy my work for free for a few days.
Okay, enough about that. Go get my book!
I just made my second young-adult novel, CASTLE, available for purchase on Amazon. I've mentioned it before, but I'm super excited about this book. It has a lot of stuff going on and the characters are pretty cool. Shane is personal fave of mine because she's clearly someone you don't want to mess with (I may be channeling some of myself in her character.)
An interesting thing I've been thinking about is if a writer has favorite books that they've written. CASTLE is my second book to be published, but I was writing it off and on while writing other books including The Shadows. And so far I've loved all my books equally which leads me to believe that books are just like children- you love them for different reasons, but equally.
Anyway, enough random thoughts. Thanks for humoring me. Check out CASTLE if you are so inclined. It's the beginning of a great series.
I'm not feeling well so it's 3:00 in the morning and I am wide awake. Not fun. However it is a good opportunity for me to catch up on blogging. I was MIA all of last week because I was in Mexico for a wedding. It was an amazing time, and I even got to do some celebrity watching- Michael Bay and the Old Spice Guy! It was a great time, but now I'm back into serious writing mode.
My second novel, CASTLE, is in the final stages and should become available at some point next week. I've been working on it for a few months now and I think it's really coming together nicely.
The Shadows has been available for almost a month now and has been pretty well-received so far. I have to say, it's a really cool feeling knowing that people are reading a book you wrote. And then when someone actually enjoys that book, it's very satisfying. When I'm writing, I'm mostly writing for myself honestly. I try to write something I enjoy reading so it's pretty neat to find other people that enjoy the same thing.
With the release of my new book, I'll likely be planning some fun promo stuff. Look for another free run of my first book on Amazon. I've also got some other writings in the works that will be coming soon, including the follow up to The Shadows.
Okay, I may have talked myself into some sleep so I'm signing off for now. Good night!
As much as I love to write, I think I love reading even more. Tomorrow I'm taking off for 6 days of fun in the sun and plan to conquer a pretty large reading list (in addition to finishing up my novel CASTLE.) This list I have put together covers a lot of different genres and I'm really excited about these books. I'm also open to suggestions if anyone has read a great book lately. I read both Kindle books and physical books because true addicts get their fix in any way they can.
1. Game of Thrones- George R.R. Martin (I'm already about 60% done with this one and can't wait to finish it on the plane)
2. A Night to Remember- Walter Lord (Non-Fiction- all about the Titanic)
3. The Magician King- Lev Grossman
4. Legend- Marie Lu (Young Adult)
5. A couple of John Sandford novels. Perfect beach reading.
Suggestions? I love discovering new authors. Shameless self-promotion is also acceptable.
The Kindle version of my first book, The Shadows, is listed free on Amazon today and tomorrow. What are you waiting for? Click on the book image below to go right to the Amazon page for free downloading.