Question 1 - What were my goals and how have I succeeded this far in meeting those goals?
Initially I felt if I could sell one book a day for the first 30 days I'd been in good shape. For the second month I hoped for two or three books a days. Thus, my 60 day goal was somewhere in the range of 150 to 200 books, but I would have been please with 100 in total.
How have I done? I can't think of a way to say this without it sounding self-congratulatory, but I'll try. As of May 31 my total sales and borrows were just south of 1,600 books. And that's on Amazon (Kindle version) alone. Somewhere near the end of June, book one of the series (In the Beginning) will be available on Barnes and Noble, as well as other outlets, and in paperback. But to get back to my answer, I've been blessed and have sold far more copies of this initial novel than I could have ever dreamt.
Question 2 - What have been your highs and lows thus far?
Immediately after hitting the publish button I read a story on another blog, by a reputable source, that selling books wasn't easy. To be more precise, most indie authors sold less than 250 books a year. And, in a lot of cases, some books never sell a single copy.
My heart froze; what had I gotten myself into? Why did I ever think I could become a published author? How would I ever find readers for my novel? I took a few deep breaths and reminded myself I didn't get into this author gig to make money, or sell books, or become a famous writer. I did it because I wanted to; I wanted to tell my stories. Regardless of how well they may, or may not, be received. This was the low point in my journey thus far. The first, and only, instance of self doubt.
Then came the good stuff.
I sold exactly zero books the first day on Amazon. That was to be expected. Day two brought my first sale. Euphoric is the only way I can describe how I felt that day. Sunday, day three, brought me two additional sales. I was on top of the world. But Monday brought me back to earth – zero sales again. Oh well, at least I sold three copies. I was happy.
That seems like years ago now. Since then I did a small blog tour and experienced several days over 40 sales and even a day at 56. Not bad for a rookie. I knew the dreaded sales cliff may be fast approaching, so I held my breath. I've slumped some, but not much. I've only had one day of less than 20 sales in the past five weeks, and that was 19. I recent did a two-day Kindle Countdown Deal and sold more than 200 copies in 50 hours.
Question 3 - What is your current status on Amazon?
During the first few weeks I stayed in the 50,000 to 70,000 range of ranked books. I had a dream one night that I was in the top 20,000. I woke up excited and check my spot: still somewhere around 48,000. Oh well, it was a nice dream.
Then came the sales spike with the Book Blog Tour. I cracked the top 10,000 and got as high as 3,990. We need to remember something here: there are about 2.5 million Kindle Books. #4,000 puts you in the top 0.15% of the rankings. But you still haven't made it as a full-time author. Unless you can live on less than $30K a year.
With my recent KCD I rose into the mid 1,400 range. Since then I've settled in somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 – a nice spot in my mind.
Question 4 - How have you achieved this success? Any secrets?
I'm still not 100% sure why this book has caught a nice wave, and other novels by much better indie authors than myself haven't. But I can speculate.
First, I am fairly certain it has something to do with the awesome readers and fans in my chosen genre – Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic. These are great people and I appreciate their support so very very much. So, choose your genre carefully when putting your novel on Amazon.
Next, and I am very sure of these points, comes what everyone tells you to do to make a good book.
- Write a good original story
- Have it professionally edited
- Have your cover professionally designed
- Create a great title that fits the book
That's my secret; I followed the advice of many well published authors before me. I paid some money upfront and it has paid dividends that I could have never imagined.
Okay, here's a couple other things I have done to help the process move forward. I have a blog, I have a website, a FaceBook page. I Tweet regularly and post to G+ as often as I can. I am a member of Goodreads and try to beta read at least one indie author a month. Other than that, I work a regular job and pay attention to my wonderful family. I wish I had a top secret plan I could give you for my success (albeit limited thus far), but there isn't one.
Plans for the future? Keep reading, keep writing, publish three novels a year and never, ever sit back pridefully being full of myself. Never! Like most things in life, I'm most likely only as good as my next book. So I continue to work hard at making the next book better than the last.
I've been honest with my numbers and feeling above. Perhaps too honest for some. Please remember, I'm only giving you a glimpse into what I've accomplished to let everyone out there, who may be struggling, know that whatever you dream is, it's achievable. You have to believe you can do it. Whatever IT is. If I had sold just one book so far, I'd be content. Because that meant that at least one person was willing to give up their hard earned money to read something I created. If that doesn't make a writer happy, I'm not sure what will.
Until next time – read, read, read. June is a great time to start a lengthy classic novel like War and Peace. Consider a classic for your summertime list.