Category Archives: Indie

Numbers

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Yesterday’s blog post was a bit out of character for me. It has always been my goal to make my blog a positive space where even my mistakes can be used to offer perspective and encouragement to other writers. But, because it’s also always been my goal to be transparent, I decided to be very honest about how I’ve been feeling about my latest release. Not to encourage or even discourage other writers, but to show people that no matter how many positive reviews you get, how many books you sell, criticism still hurts. Success does not separate the art from the artist. Nothing can. My books are me and when those pieces of me are rejected it feels like I’m being rejected too.

I’ve chosen not to dwell on that feeling today. Instead, I’m forcing myself to focus on data in the hope that I’ll gain some much needed perspective. You see, 2016 was an amazing year for me as an author. Denying that would just be another form of rejection, except this time I’d be the one rejecting myself. The truth is I maintained a level of success other authors only dream about. Just two years ago I was one of those dreamers. For five years I worked and hoped and worked and hoped and still I remained invisible. But I’m not invisible anymore. I’m not a millionaire but I’m no longer alone on this journey.

Readers-strangers I’ve never met before–are buying my books and then telling their closest friends who are telling their mothers who are sharing them with their daughters who are recommending them to their classmates who are showing them to their teachers and it hasn’t stopped. For 2 years these books have been working their way across oceans and continents simply by word of mouth. I have paid for 0 advertising. I haven’t begged bloggers to review one of my novels in almost three years. I am so incredibly lucky and I hate using that word to describe any part of my success because I have also worked my ass off writing 7 novels. But when I think about all of the other indie authors out there who are doing the same…and paying for advertising, and organizing their own blog tours, and taking every online course and reading every self-publishing handbook to try to conquer their own obscurity, I’m faced with this question: why me and not them? The only answer I can think of is luck.

So, while I realize that my blog may no longer be a place (and maybe it never was a place) where other authors can find formulaic advice guaranteed to help them duplicate the success I’ve had, I still believe my honesty and transparency can help someone out there gain some perspective on what it’s like to be an independent author.

It’s been a while since I talked about numbers, but when I was first starting out, they were the one piece of the publishing process I was the most interested in. Why? Because numbers don’t lie. They show the reality of what it means to be indie, and even though some indie authors are making a lot more money than I am, there are also many who are making a lot less.

*According to authorearnings.com any writer making more than $25.000 a year is considered mid-list and this is where I fall. You can check out the earning report for October 2016 here*

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2016-sales

These are screenshots of an excel spreadsheet where I track my monthly/yearly sales. If you look up at 2015, you’ll see that it was May when I finally got my miracle. I still don’t have an explanation for the huge jump in sales but after 20 months they still haven’t slowed down. Every once in a while I’ll get a spike in sales (again, for reasons I still do not understand since I do absolutely 0 promotion) that will take me into the $3,000 or $4,000 range but for the most part over the past 2 years I’ve been consistently making about $2,000-$2,500 a month. That’s almost what I make as a 1st year teacher.

TDOTN came out in October so payout for those pre-orders will be on 2017’s spreadsheet. However, you can still see the surge in downloads for that month, which adds up to about $7,000. Since then, November and December have also seen an uptick in sales due to the addition to my backlist. In November I made about $5,000 and this month I’m on target to reach $4,000. I’ll be interested to see if the addition of TDOTN keeps me in the $3,000 range once things settle down a bit or if sales will fall back down to the $2,000 range. Whatever happens should give me a better idea of how much I can expect to make with the release of future novels.

These projections will be important for figuring out when I might finally feel comfortable transitioning to writing full time or how I should reinvest that money in order to grow my reach & diversify my product beyond just e-books. If things fall off unexpectedly, it might also help me determine if going hybrid and subbing a few novels rather than self-publishing them would be a good choice.

Some people might think I’m crazy to still be debating whether or not to make writing my full time job but in my opinion 2 years of steady sales just isn’t long enough for me to see the big picture. While $31,000 a year is definitely enough to live on if I were to continue living in an apartment and had no plans to reinvest in my business…it is not enough to grow. And not just my business but myself. I want to grow this thing I’ve created and that means minimizing the risk now so I can take a huge one later. One of the greatest lessons self-publishing has taught me is to be patient so that’s what I’m doing. I’m still dreaming, except I’m no longer dreaming of conquering obscurity. Instead, I’m dreaming of something else. Something bigger and not quite fully formed. Something worth waiting for.

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Not Your Normal Paranormal

I promised goodies in exchange for this long hiatus, so I’m finally sharing a new FREE box set I’m a part of! There are nine books total by a diverse group of authors, all of whom specialize in stories that aren’t your “normal paranormal.” I hope this will tide people over until The Daughter of the Night comes out this summer!

Strange

Nine Complete Novels Featuring Psychics, Demons, Aliens, Angels, Gods and Goddesses, Time Travel, and More!

Amazon | Apple | Kobo | Google

Dive into nine different worlds that aren’t your normal paranormal. These aren’t your run of the mill vampire, werewolf, and witch stories. Immerse yourself in these unique, full-length novels from national bestselling authors:

Bad Vibrations ~ Christine Pope
When psychic Persephone O’Brien reaches out to famous ufologist Paul Oliver for help, they soon find themselves drawn into a far-reaching alien conspiracy that sends them on the run…and into one another’s arms.

Pisces ~ Rachel Medhurst
The bracelet around my wrist is a permanent reminder of my mission. The silver charm attached to the leather cord is stamped with my birth sign. Mission: Unite with my twin flame soulmate.

Beyond the Veil ~ Pippa DaCosta
Muse must decide whether to trust a Prince of Hell or the assassin sent to kill her. Little do they know, she’s more dangerous than both.

Bitter Ashes ~ Sara C. Roethle
She’s not their long lost fairy princess. She’s their executioner.
Thrown into a world of Norse Myth, Madeline must work her way through a web of deceit and intrigue. Maddy might just survive, but many others may die in her place.

Deception ~ Stacy Claflin
After meeting a gorgeous stranger on a blind date, Alexis feels like she’s known him her entire life. Suddenly, dark long-forgotten memories swirl in her mind. She realizes she’s powerful, stunningly beautiful, and marked for death.

The Legacy of the Key ~ S.L. Morgan
Men in Black meets Avatar! Reece Bryant is just an average young woman on Earth, or so she thought! Follow Reece as she is brought into an enchanting dimension for protection and discovers the truths of who she really is!

Nolander ~ Becca Mills
As an orphaned and perpetually single photographer in a tiny rural town, Beth Ryder Knows she’s different. Still, when strange monstrosities begin cropping up in her photos, she thinks it’s a cruel joke, until she’s plunged into a world she never knew existed.

The Girl In Between ~ Laekan Kemp
Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty who spends most of her time alone in a dream world made up of her memories. Until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

Rune Gate ~ Mark E. Cooper
Alex Yorke is a top police clairvoyant on the edge of sanity. Living inside the heads of serial killers has taken its toll. Can she do it one last time?

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The Indie Graveyard

When I first started blogging I followed every indie author I could find; every writer, poet, and book reviewer. I was a sponge, reading every blog post and soaking in every bit of information on building an author platform, formatting e-books, and contacting reviewers. For a while I was sucked into this black hole of anti-productivity surrounded by a bunch of people who seemed to write about writing more than actually…well, writing. It’s that way for a lot of us in the beginning. We blog constantly about our dreams not realizing that what we’re doing is actually counterproductive to reaching our end goal–being an author. We make the excuse that we’re learning from our peers but really all we’re doing is spending hours scouring their blogs and secretly comparing ourselves to them. And comparison is more than counter-productive, it’s toxic. So I retreated, avoiding my feeder, Facebook, and twitter and I finished two novels.

Since then I’ve realized that social media must be kept at an arm’s length and that the only connections worth having online are real ones. While planning my upcoming revisions I started reaching out to critique partners I hadn’t spoken to in almost an entire year, some even longer, and found that many of them were at a standstill with their own projects…or that they had given up writing altogether during the past twelve months that we hadn’t spoken. I found the same thing as I started weeding through all of the blogs I used to follow in an effort to make my return to the blogging/writing community more manageable.Blog after blog had either been deleted or frozen in time and people whose journeys I used to admire had disappeared. After removing all of the inactive blogs I whittled my list down from almost 2,000 to just 200. The majority of the deleted blogs were former indie authors, people whose websites were a formal and defiant declaration of their dreams. And now they’re just gone.

The internet isn’t just a place for us writers to declare our dreams, it can also be a graveyard for them. If we let it. Blogs and social media can be dangerous if we use them for the wrong reasons, especially if blogging and maintaining an online presence become more important than our actual writing. But blogs can also be powerful tools for holding ourselves accountable. That’s what I’m looking for as I return to the blogging community. Not a place to compare word counts and sales numbers but a place to connect with other writers who are in this for the long haul.

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Thanksgiving Treats!

The past six months have been a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who read one of my books and told their friends who told their friends and made all of this madness happen!!!! I can’t tell you how much every second of every day of my life has changed. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know how many strangers have read my words and fallen in love with my characters. Thank you. Thank you for giving me the freedom to create. Thank you for making it all worthwhile.

newgirlthanksgiving

To celebrate Thanksgiving and all there is to be thankful for this year my standalone are all just 99 cents on Amazon! And keep an eye out for my re-read of The Boy in Her Dreams!

The Things They Didn’t Bury
Orphans of Paradise
Breathing Ghosts

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October Totals

Oct15

Oct15-totals

October officially marks the 6-month mark from when this whole adventure first began. It feels like just yesterday that I woke up one morning to find that I was no longer as invisible on the internet as I thought. It all started with a newsletter from another indie author sharing advice on how to properly utilize tags and six months later I’ve sold over 25,000 books! That’s sold as in people actually purchased my books, not free downloads, which have amounted to well over 175,000!!! I’m not ready to exit this thrill ride. It’s been such a dream come true. But as you can see both my sales and downloads are steadily declining and that can only mean one thing–it’s time to publish something new. While I’m working on making that happen (and creating a future publication schedule that takes into account the 6-8 months it takes for a book to break through the sludge, climb to the top of the charts, and then fizzle out) I resubmitted TGIB to various promo sites (author Andrea Pearson lists several sites to list your book in her guest post on JA Konrath’s blog). I haven’t seen any significant results, but then again, maybe the fact that my sales haven’t dropped to 0 is a significant result… However, none of the sites I found or submitted to were directed towards an international audience besides those in the UK and I’m still trying to figure out how to focus my efforts on reaching readers in Australia, Canada, and India. Once I pick up steam on book in the series I plan on taking some time this month to really evaluate my sales across platforms and figure out how to maximize my results in the future. Hopefully more research will give me the insight I need in order to break into those international markets. Until then, I think a celebration is definitely in order. Because…

6MOTOTAL

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