I often write articles that relate to writing, and I often I tie these articles back to my books in a shameless attempt to self-promote (indie authors gotta do what we gotta do). But I rarely get to write about how I'm actually doing?
Well, thank you for asking, and I'm happy to say I'm doing splendid. And why wouldn't I be? In September 2011 my first novel The Bird With The Broken Wing was released through indie US publisher Etopia Press. This news sent me leaping over the moon a few times. This was my dream come true. Little did I realise (or realize since my publisher is US) this was only the beginning.
The Bird With The Broken Wing came out as a standalone ebook and the first thing I learned was that ebooks are actually hard to sell. You don't just put things on Amazon and have them sell, just like you don't create a website and have people visit it, nor do you open a store and just have people travel hundreds of miles to buy something. You need to let people know that you've got something they need, and to do this you have to do a lot of marketing and promotion to encourage readers to visit these sites. Admittedly I knew this, but still, selling ebooks in an online environment is harder than I'd anticipated, especially since I am not at liberty to give them away nor would I wish to. (That's a totally separate topic which I'll take about in a later post.)
What about Amanda Hocking or E L James, I hear you ask? Amanda is self-published author and E L James was indie published, and they sold millions. Put the success of these two authors out of your mind. Like J K Rowling or Stephenie Meyer, there ARE a few exceptions and the chance that you or I will become an exception are rare and thinking like this will just deter you and me from doing all that necessary hard work. You can read an article by Amanda Hocking where she says that she doesn't compare herself to J K or Stephenie (read full article here) but when I look for a comparitive author I don't put myself in the same ball park as Amanda Hocking or E L James either.
So anyway, in September 2011 I realised my dream but it took my publisher an entire year to get The Bird With The Broken Wing out in print. It is available as print on demand so it isn't in all the bookstores but one by one I'm getting it into store through book launches and visits to schools and writers festivals. So far the print sales have far exceeded the ebook sales which is good thing. Onwards and upwards I say. BTW - as much as people say they like e-readers, it is my opion that they don't. What they actually like is downloading free books. That's all. I've got loads of comments from readers who want the print copy of my books, and yes, while the artwork has a lot to do with that decision (covers to both of my books are superb), even if my books didn't have great covers, readers tell me that they JUST LIKE REAL BOOKS.
You can imagine how eager I am to have my second novel Feedback released into print. It was released in October 2012 in ebook and meant to be out NOW but it's not. (Mmmm maybe if I had an agent I'd have someone to do the bad cop routine with me). But that's publishing for you. No point me jumping up and down because there is more work than there are people available to do it. Even I'm backed up with promotional work and I only have two books released! What's going to happen when I have ten or twenty, as is my goal.
Sales of Feedback have been okay, I guess; I say guess because it takes 3 months for sales reports to come through so I won't be getting my first sales report of Feedback for another few weeks. It takes 5 months for the print sales to come through so I won't know until April how many copies of the print version of The Bird With The Broken Wing I've sold. This waiting game is often the hardest. In the meantime I just plug away at promoting my work. Oh, and I consume bucketloads of coffee, diet coke, and Red Bull/V/Mother energy drinks.
What's next on my plate? Aside from trying to overcome my addition to caffeinated beverages and trying to appease my husband who doesn't remember what the front of me looks like any more (he walks past the study and only sees my back these days), Well, my third novel is finished - I'll just have to wait and see what comes back from the queries I've sent out. Plus I have a truck load of guest posts to write, articles to submit, I've started the follow up to The Bird With The Broken Wing (I know I said it was a standalone book but SO many people want to know more about these characters and I'm happy to oblige), and I want to write a few short stories to get my name out to another group of readers. My February To Do list is hardly finished and the end of the month is rushing toward me.
Yes, it's stupid, crazy busy, but would I swap all this craziness for a normal life? Not a chance. You wanna know why, because this IS my life.