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…
September started to show the dramatic downward shift I’d been anticipating, which was not entirely devastating since it was expected. But, it does prove that all success is finite and that if I want to continue making money as an author than I’m going to have to do the most obvious thing, which is keep writing. Which…I’m struggling to do right now while I’m in school. The good news is that I’m getting caught up on homework and will soon have lots of time–more time than I originally anticipated (due to quitting my full-time job and whatnot)–to finish TGIB series and move on to NEW projects!! But those things are still a long ways off (I’m shooting for a March 2016 release for TGIB book 4) and there’s still a TON of work to do in the meantime. Since it’s likely that I won’t have a new book for sale for another 5ish months I’m trying to research ways to break into more international markets. My success in the UK sort of just happened, which means that I’m not exactly sure how to replicate it. But my sales in territories like Canada, Australia, and India have slowly been on the rise and even though they’re somewhat minuscule at present I know that if they pick up I’ll have a stronger financial foundation to support future projects. I just have to figure out how to make that happen. So, if anyone has any resources–blog posts, promo sites, etc.–that talk about breaking into international markets, please share them and I’ll be sure to do the same!
So much for tending to my blog. Those ten days between the summer and fall semester flew by. In between I took a trip to my hometown, I bought a new car (more on that in a later post as it was an incredibly liberating moment and entirely thanks to all of YOU), and I didn’t write a single word. I take my first cert exam on September 16th and afterward will finally be able to incorporate writing back into my schedule, even if it’s only one day a week until the end of the semester (also in a later post–my anxiety surrounding my return to writing after a much-too-long hiatus).
The good news is that sales still haven’t trickled out. October is officially the six-month mark and I’d anticipated a more dramatic decrease or some kind of fluctuation at least, but so far nothing catastrophically devastating has happened. In August sales slowly dropped from 200 books a day to around 170-180 but downloads remained strong, which has really been key to my steady sales from month to month. As long as people are still downloading TGIB for free I can anticipate sales for the following month, although what percentage of readers actually go on to buy book 2 I haven’t calculated yet. At the end of October I plan to analyze all of this data more thoroughly and compare Amazon’s numbers with my other retailers along with blog stats and new newsletter followers. But for now, please excuse my hibernation (I know, I know, AGAIN) while I cram for cert exams and try to psyche myself up for my return to the Dreamer Universe.
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…