I’ve been putting off this post for no good reason, other than sheer lazyness. I knew that I wanted to get a little in depth and that would require actually looking stuff up and I just wasn’t in the moooood.
But I’m sitting here tonight, nearly at the cusp of the New Year and I KNOW I will regret not taking a look back at this year and trying to sketch something out for the next.
So. Here we gooooooooo. (did you think you could get through a post this year without me mentioning *NSYNC? You thought WRONG).
It was a year. The end. I’m kidding.
My year actually began December 31 2014 when I submitted ANONYMOUS to Amazon and Smashwords for publication. Leading up to that, I had a couple of months of flurried activity- editing, rewriting, having a cover designed, learning eBook formatting for various outlets (smashwords is uber picky about how your document looks when it’s uploaded) and learning how to create my first kindle book. By the time it went up and went on sale, I was on pins and needles. But I knew if I could do it once, I could do it again.
Anonymous was free for a very long time, everywhere except Amazon where I couldn’t get them to make it free (cause they won’t do that unless it’s exclusive and only for 5 days at a time). This would be why my sales numbers on smashwords is so high–over 600 downloads for this title. Most of all it showed me that, start to finish, I could write a book and publish it. After spending a very short time trying to secure an agent and sell my novel, Brunch at Ruby’s, I was much more excited about putting it out myself.
So I went back to the book I’d been working on, editing for the last year. Finished editing. Formatted for eBook and paperback, because a lot of people I’d talked to said they wanted a hard copy. Had a cover designed, submitted it for pre-sale and told everyone and their grandma about it. I don’t have exact sales numbers on Ruby’s but I do have all-in sales numbers that I’ll go into later.
Once Ruby’s was out, things got really very exciting! Promo and blog posts and Kindle Direct links oh my! I was obsessed with the book, not so much with sales but with spreading the word about it.
That lasted about a month. Then I got tired of talking about the book. More than that, I wanted a backlist and something else to drive people to read my work. TIME TO PUBLISH ANOTHER BOOK.
I had a doc that I’d randomly been working on. It was fan fiction, but I’d rewritten most of it and changed my characters around to make it mainstream. This novel was going to be… shall we say… spicy? And I made the characters interracial because, and I am being honest here, an interracial erotic romance was going to FLY off the shelves. Right?
#Nah. I published Same Time Next Week in July via the same process I’d taken for the first two to very little fanfare or attention or accolade. It was like people sort of wanted to read it but didn’t want people to know they were reading it. Maybe the writing didn’t catch the eye, maybe it was too dirty, maybe it just wasn’t good. *shrug* I liked it!
So, I’m making that the last time I put something out to fit the market. It didn’t work for me…. I sold books but it didn’t go like gangbusters as I thought it would.
In between publishing books, I read a lot (134 books, 37 of which were pre-publication-ARCs) and I wrote a little. I mostly suffered from burnout after so much editing, rewriting a novel and getting them both out. My brain needed a break and I took it. I did manage to write three short stories, two of which were challenge submissions to the fan fiction archive. Every once in awhile I like to surprise them by posting something after being dormant for months! That’s always fun.
Paperbacks via LULU.com 30
Books via Smashwords, including free downloads 918
Books sold via Amazon Kindle, (includes free book promotions, does not include borrows from Kindle Direct, which are compensated by # of pages read) 736
So a total of 1684 books “sold”. Earnings were….. better than they’d be if I’d never published but I won’t be quitting my day job any time soon.
I also added up my expenses– what it costs to be a self-published author. Here are some numbers:
$130 inAmazon gift cards- I buy books usually via gift card. Every month or so I load up a card and when I buy books that are not part of KindleUnlimited, the cost of the book comes off of that card. It helps me to not buy everything I look at.
$65 in website hosting and domain name renewal for my author website
$238.62 in Facebook ads(!!!) This is on the list of things I will probably never do again.
$50 in Goodreads ads This too. WASTE of money, as was the Fiver person I paid to promo the book and the person I paid to tweet about my book but didn’t tweet when anyone was actually online.
$248.75 in hard copies of my books- for giveaways, gifts and personal copies. I would have bought more copies so I could always sell or give away or ask a bookstore if they wanted a few copies.
$230 in cover design (this doesn’t include $32 for a membership to deposit photos for stock images so I don’t get friggen sued!)
$81 in postage– this would be mailing books for the goodreads giveaway or sending a copy of Ruby’s to my mom.
$168 in internet, which is 1/3 of my internet spend for this year.
If you’re doing some quick back of the envelope math, you’ll guess that I spent way more than I made and you’ll be correct. There are several expensive lessons that I learned and some expenses I won’t duplicate for my next book. But for my first year as an indie author, I expect (and kind of hope) to spend more than I make. The day I earn more than I spend, I’ll feel like I’m cooking with gas!
That was my year. It was darn good, actually. Hoping the next will be better but slightly less butt numbingly harrowing. Slightly.
I told my friends today that I don’t do anything but read, write and sit on my butt. So, quite honestly outside of taking my butt to some sand and some blue water, I’m hoping this next year will be more of the same. I don’t make long lists of goals I will never hit, pipe dreams I will never accomplish. But here’s what I want to do:
- Pull out at least two of the starts I wrote this year and finish them. Publish them, I don’t know but I want them finished. They are great stories that I wasn’t ready to write. Next year, we push.
- And yes, Yes, YES for the love of Pete I will start writing the Ruby’s followup. I’m still deciding how I want that to unfold. I kind of want to write a traditional romance with dual POV’s from hero/heroine but the Ruby’s format is just the ladies, so……. I don’t know.
- Get Your Words Out Writing Decathlon– I did this challenge many moons ago back when I was still pounding out fanfic. I signed up for the 200K mark so I will be writing. Something. All the time.
- GoodReads Annual Challenge– I am physically incapable of not doing the GoodReads challenge so I’ll be back next year with my goal at 100 again. With all the writing I want to do, if I overachieve again, super but I don’t want to stress myself out by trying to hit a crazy goal AND write novels.
- NetGalley Annual Challenge– Doing this for the third year in a row. It’s pretty fun and I LOOOOVE e-galleys so I am in this year. I comitted to the 31-40 level. Reading books is like my research and study and I’m so spoiled with being able to read some books before they hit the shelves.
I have a link in my navigation bar called Challenges, where I’ll be tracking all three of these, if you want to keep up.