Eleven days ago I unceremoniously published my debut novel, WWIV - In The Beginning, on Amazon. Without any huge announcements, no fanfare, I simply uploaded the book and let it go. Today as I look back on the first eleven days, I realize I've already met my goals for my debut novel.
One of the lessons I learned early on in this self-publishing game is to be realistic in your expectations. Define success on your terms, not others. I have a famous saying that my kids have heard a billion times, and today it rings truer than ever before. Don't measure your life with someone else's yardstick.
Without any advertising, without any heavy promotions, how well could I expect this book to do? I knew several relatives would buy it. So I could count on two or three sales. Maybe someone in my Twitter or G+ groups might purchase a random copy. There's another one or two. But I wanted to see if I could generate any organic sales. Solely based on the book itself. Kind of silly I know, but I just wanted to try it before moving to the next stage.
Here's the results:
Sales - If figured if I could sell half a dozen copies in the first two weeks, I would consider it a success. Actually, a glowing success. As I approach the 20 unit mark, my face breaks into a huge smile. I am so grateful.
Reviews - I expected zero. I mean, come on, I barely mentioned to anyone I'd written a book. Just my family mostly. So maybe, if I was lucky, I'd get a review from one of them. Perhaps the first few reviews would be family members; I could live with that. Yesterday, I received my first 5 star review on Amazon. From a nice guy living in Illinois. Someone, before yesterday, I didn't know from Adam. I actually felt my heart flutter reading his nicely worded 5 star review. Thank you so much Matt!
Then, I noticed on my Goodreads feed that one of the members had also read my novel. Again, someone I didn't know. She rated it; gave it four out of five stars. My smile widened. I don't expect everyone to enjoy my writing, either style or content. But Sarah enjoyed it enough to give it four stars. Again, thank you.
So far this has been an extremely enjoyable experience for me. Enjoyable and very satisfying. I've kept my expectations reasonable, and have thus far met and exceeded every one of them.
This week I move into promotion mode. I hope to have the book up on a story review site soon (like within a few days), and that will hopefully give me more reviews. I've started a small video campaign on YouTube. I'm not real sure what I'm doing there, but we'll see how it goes. And later next week I have a Book Blog Tour scheduled.
I need to reset my goals and think where I want the book to be by the end of April. Again, I will keep all expectations reasonable. With any luck, I might have sold 100 books by May 1st. And I will have five reviews to boot. I don't expect them all the be 5 star, but every review helps.
I'll keep you updated as my journey continues.
Until next time, lose yourself in a book. Remember, reading is food for the brain.