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…
I’m the type who tries to plan every hour of every day at least five years in advance. I don’t fear change–burying a parent at 18 will teach you that things don’t always happen the way they should and that you can’t control everything–but I would much rather be the driving force behind any changes in my life rather than a helpless bystander. Yesterday was my last official day as part of the 9-5 workforce that sucks the life out of so many of us creative types and today is my first official day as a full-time author.
I hadn’t planned to leave my job so soon–I have student teaching next semester and was anticipating staying around until January–but then the universe intervened and I really had no choice. Work stress is one of the worst kinds, not only because that’s where we all spend most of our time, but also because it seems like the majority of people in leadership roles are borderline psychotic and therefore there is only one means of escape for those of us caught in their cross-hares. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding my early departure, the point is that I’m FREE.
I woke up at 9AM this morning and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m sure the next few days will be the same. But it’s a wonderful feeling. I took an “artistic sabbatical” once before while I was writing Breathing Ghosts but all it amounted to was six months of stressing about money and the eventuality of finding a job and the BIG UNKNOWN that was my future. This time around I feel like I’m standing at the precipice of something wonderful. The future is no longer dark and obscure but wide open and expanding in an infinite number of directions. This time around I have options and that is true freedom. And it’s all thanks to my readers. You all have given me the financial freedom and the courage to pursue my dreams and I can’t wait to begin this adventure with all of you by my side; I can’t wait to share more stories with you; I can’t wait to be the most unencumbered, most creative, most authentic version of myself I’ve ever been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And now, after such a devastatingly long break, it’s finally time to start putting Bryn’s nightmares to bed.
Better late than never! July was steady and actual sales remained pretty level throughout the entire month. Downloads finally started to trickle downward but it makes sense if you think about the fact that most working indie authors publish something new about every six months in order to make a living. The first three months after I changed the tags on my books my sales and downloads rose at a constant rate. Ever since I hit the three-month mark at the end of July both sales and downloads have been on a slight downward slope. I’m anxious to see at what point sales trickle out altogether or if they ever do. Since book four in TGIB series won’t be out until 2016 I’m hoping sales will at least hold long enough to make 2016 the YEAR OF BEING A REAL LIFE ACTUAL AUTHOR! I’ve got a specific number in mind that I’ll need in order to make that happen but even if it doesn’t, at least I know that once I have more time to write making a reasonable living will actually be possible. And more good news, now that my first semester of grad school is over I’ll actually be able to tend to this blog, which has been severely neglected. Well…for two weeks until the next semester starts again.
The upward trend has finally steadied and all I can do now is keep my fingers crossed that this journey isn’t nearing the end. I have a total of six books out but only one series and I know that taking advantage of my current momentum is the only way to keep it going. That’s why the most successful indie authors are putting out something new every six months in order to counter the ebb and flow of their sales. But I’m in school full time and I work full time and every day it gets harder and harder to show up and waste 9 hours of my life when I could be writing. But I have to be patient. I’ve never experienced success like this before and I’m not sure how long it will last. I need to be sure that it’s sustainable before I make any life-changing decisions.
If you’re an indie author who’s already made the decision to write full time how did you finally make that decision? What benchmark or end goal were you aiming for before you finally decided to take the leap? I think the smartest thing to do would be to monitor my progress for the next 6 months (6-8 months being the average amount of time it takes me to complete a novel) and see how much my sales fluctuate and how greatly they’re effected by a new release (specifically TGIB book 4, which I hope to release in spring of 2016). I hate reducing this experience to numbers but I can’t get ahead of myself. I have to be smart. I have to be patient. Very. Very. Patient…