self-publishing

2016 Year in Review

Books Published              2 + 2 box sets

Book Sales                          1,534

Pages Read                         76,889

Free Downloads               10,389

Revenue                              $4,240.46

Expenses                             $556.64

Words Written                 145,348*

 

*I did a horrible job keeping track of this for half of the year so this number isn’t very accurate, but probably not as off as I would like

I had a lot of lofty goals for 2016, unfortunately due to situations within my control, getting pregnant, I was not able to meet them all. I have to say I’m totally fine with that. My self-publishing quest is not a short term thing, I’m planning on doing this for a while and slow years are inevitable and a part of life.

My hope is I’ll be able to pick up the slack next year, but I’m not going to kill myself trying. My priority is going to be my kids and the only writing goal I’m giving myself is to get back into the habit of writing.

I did amazing the first half of the year, writing over 2500 words a day five days a week and lately I’ve written nothing. Knowing that I’ve done it before, though, is encouraging because I know I can do it again.

To get a little insight into what I didn’t accomplish this year, I had planned to publish 8 books, plus box sets. I was also going to completely redo my mailing list because right now it’s pretty barebones and I feel like it could be a lot better. I didn’t publish anything after April this year and I know if I’d kept up publishing regularly I would have made more, though I’m not willing to speculate how much more.

The fact that I did as well as I did without publishing anything for the last eight months is pretty crazy. With Amazon there are cliffs and if you don’t publish regularly or get a huge number of sales you’ll fall off and people will have difficulty just finding you, which is why mailing lists come in handy.

I’ll try to get back into posting monthly updates on my blog, but I’ll more than likely wait until I’ve published something.

Self-Publishing/Writing Update

I haven’t updated since September but then I haven’t done much to update on. Still pregnant, back to no energy, but I have been writing more. I’ve written every week for a month and almost every day, almost. I’m up from writing 350 words to 500 and occasionally 1000, but I’m really not pushing it. I’d love to finish and publish a book before this kid is born but things aren’t looking like that’s going to happen.

Oh well.

My momentum is gone so if it takes a few more months to publish I honestly don’t see it hurting things any more than has already been done. Plus, when I’m back to my normal writing schedule (damnit I will get back to it, I’ve done it once I can do it again) I’ll be back to publishing regularly and build that momentum back up.

Unless I’m missing something, just because I’ve had a lull doesn’t mean I’ll never be able to bring my pen name back up to it’s old earning power.

I ended up taking the last book I published off of Amazon. The fact that it was up there with a massive cliffhanger was making me anxious. Then when I looked at the numbers and realized that in six months I’d only sold thirty copies I decided to just take it down and forget about a sequel. Yes there is at least one person out there waiting on a sequel, but I think they’ll forget about it given time and if not one day I’d like to go back to the series.

Actually, after reading Chris Fox’s Write to Market I realize why it didn’t do well. At least I think I’ve figured it out. I didn’t fulfill the Sci-Fi romance tropes that my readers expect and it was obvious from the blurb that I wouldn’t so they had no reason to buy. One day I might go back and completely re-work the book, either make it more Sci-Fi Romance or go full on Space Opera, but that day is way into the future. For now I’m focusing on my second series and writing book five in it. It’s my best selling and there’s definitely more I can do with the world.

Speaking of Sci-Fi Romance, right now things are going well so I’m liking writing in it, but I’d still like to write something new. After reading Write to Market I wrote down a few genres I thought I might be interested in, I followed the exercises in the book, and I’m still not sure what I want to explore. This is by no means a fault of Fox’s, it’s all on me and my indecisiveness. Some of that is pregnancy related, but about half of it isn’t.

I’m interested in writing a cozy mystery, a paranormal fantasy, and maybe a straight up Space Opera. Of the three Space Opera could have some crossover with my readers and if I made the paranormal fantasy a romance there would probably be a fair amount there too. Cozy mystery probably not though. Naturally, the idea I’ve got the most written for is a paranormal cozy mystery.

Whatever.

For now, it’s a side project. I keep hopping between writing the cozy and a space opera but make sure I get my words in for the Sci-Fi Romance.

Side note, I don’t believe I’d ever read a Space Opera until I got interested in writing them. I love Space Opera TV and Movies, but I’ve still yet to find a book I like. The whole Amazon best seller list seems to be dominated by military Sci-Fi and that’s not what I’m looking for. I’ve got a Lindsay Buroker sample download that seems promising, but everything else I’ve tried was either too hard Sci-Fi for my taste or had no likeable characters. After researching tropes for the genre I really feel like I haven’t misunderstood it, but if someone could recommend me something that would be great. I love Firefly, Star Trek, Dark Matter, Star Wars, stuff like that. I’m not a big fan of Battlestar Galactica because I like to read/watch characters that aren’t all assholes/unlikeable.

April 2016 Numbers

Words

Words Written:                                                       13,116

Days I Didn’t Write but Should Have:                11

Days I Didn’t Reach my 2500 Writing Goal:     1

 

So April was really freaking busy and none of it, as you can see, involved writing. My parents and brother came to visit, my husband’s aunt came to visit, and we went on our first vacation since our daughter was born. I also painted our master bathroom when my husband took our daughter to see his parents. I wasted primo writing time on painting. Oh well.

I did get SFR8 edited and published, so that’s good. I also finished writing PR1 since I wasn’t able to finish it on deadline. Right now I should be writing PR2, but I’ve decided to set that aside for a little bit and focus on the sequel and prequel to SFR8.

 

Sales

Book Sales:                                                               180

Pages Read:                                                               8,550

Free Downloads:                                                     1,669

 

Well everything is up from last month, so that’s nice. I was able to be a part of the Patty Jenson SciFi promotion and that accounts for a lot of the free downloads, love it when I’m able to be a part of her promotions.

Honestly, this was another poor launch for a new book. SciFi romance is apparently a very popular genre and it takes a lot to get noticed in it. Before, I could release a new book and I’d see a nice bump but that hasn’t happened for my last three releases. There’s just so much competition and I haven’t yet figured out how to get my books in front of people.

I keep submitting for a Bookbub and ENT, and keep getting turned down. I did a fivr ad for my newest book and I ended up getting no downloads and received a refund because of it. I spent $250 on a cover for my new book, I’d created a cover in Canva.com that I really liked, but was afraid that it wasn’t helping. This was the first time I’ve commissioned a cover and that was an interesting/confusing process. Still, awesome professional cover hadn’t been helping the book either.

I’ve reached a point where I feel like I’m just throwing money and time at things that aren’t helping me reach readers so I just want to say fuck it I’m just going to write and publish and who cares if anyone reads it. Thankfully my husband has said that he’ll look into things and take over marketing for me. He has ideas, but he doesn’t know much about self-publishing or marketing so we’ll see what happens. I’m grateful that he’s helping because it means I can hopefully not feel too bad about ignoring that side of things for a while and just focus on writing.

I have paperback editions up for all but three of my books, so I’m halfway done there. The new book got a paperback edition faster than any of the others.

Anyway, that concludes my update for April. Not sure how helpful, if at all, people find these, but I like to make my numbers available so people can feel better about themselves. Either because they are doing so much better than I am or because they now know that not everything has taken the publishing world by storm. I love the really positive I just sold 2 million books threads on kboards, but sometimes it gets depressing.

 

May Goals

  • Write Prequel & Sequel to SFR8
  • Keep submitting Bookbub and ENT
  • Work on Createspace editions for remaining books
  • Work on Mailing list

January 2016 Numbers

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Words

Words Written:                                            40,215

Days I didn’t Write But Should Have:      0

 

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it, but I met my goal amount and I wrote on all the days I should. I didn’t always write 2500 words, though so that’s something I’m really going to work on this month.

 

Sales

Books Sold:                                                   276

Pages Read:                                                   23,907

Free Downloads:                                          1,148

 

Another month with a decrease, trying not to let it discourage me, and so far I’m succeeding. I didn’t release a book last month, but I did run almost $100 in Facebook promos. I apparently have no idea what I’m doing there and saw no return on it. I was able to participate in a Sci-Fi group promo that was free and I saw a nice spike in free downloads, however my read through percentage is down so apparently they didn’t want to read the next book. I’ll be participating in another promo this month with a paid box set so we’ll see what happens.

I’m currently working on editing a book and should be able to publish by the end of the week, I’m really hoping that boosts sales. It’s a crossover between my two series, so we’ll see what happens. I’ve also been thinking about applying for a My Romance Reads spot, to try it out.

I finally updated the paperback edition of my first book, just waiting to approve the proof. Thinking about running a Goodreads promo once that’s done. I’ve also got the first book in my second series available on paperback. I need to just go ahead and get all the books in paperback, now that I’ve done it twice it isn’t as difficult.

I spent the last weekend plotting out a new Paranormal romance series. I like Sci-Fi romance, but it’s difficult to get promos and there aren’t as many readers, I’m hoping that’s it and not that people just aren’t interested in what I’m writing.

I’ve created a writing/publishing schedule through the end of 2017 that has me publishing 8 books this year and 10 next year. I’m not sure if I can do more than that, and honestly, I’m really happy with that number.

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant again and when/if that happens pretty much all my planning will be thrown out the window. We’ll see what happens.

February Goals

-Write 30k words on a Paranormal romance

-Edit Crossover book

-Publish crossover book

-Keep submitting for Bookbub and ENT

-Participate in group promo

December 2015 Numbers

Words

Words Written:                   9582

That’s all I’m posting this month regarding words because I wrote what I needed to and that’s all that matters. Sure it would have been nice to write the first 10k in my next book, but it also would have been nice to not be so sick through the entire holiday season. My body hates me apparently.

 

Sales

Books Sold:                           284

Pages Read:                           36,300

Free Downloads:                 1400

My books sold are down from last month which kind of stinks, but my pages read and free downloads are up. I released the third book in my second series in the middle of the month, later than I had originally planned, and I ran a bknights promo. Overall, money wise I made more this month, but I’m really hoping for an upward trend and I’ve sort of stalled out. At least that’s how it feels.

I ended up not updating the paperback edition of my 1st book, but creating a paperback edition for the 1st book in my 2nd series. Not sure what spurred it on, but it’s done and I’m waiting for a proof. That’s pretty much it for December.

 

Some Year-End Data

Total Expenses:                    $717

Total Revenue:                     $3,560

Works Published:                20

Words Written:                   251,550

All of that is an increase from last year and I’m very happy with all of it.

 

2016 Self-Publishing and Writing Goals

Write my series crossover book, edit, and publish

Write three books in a new paranormal romance series

Increase daily word count to 2500 words

Put more money earned toward my self-publishing instead of boring things like paying off debt

Make paperback editions of all of my books

Write and publish 10 books (I’ll be happy with 8-9 though)

Run more promotions (I can feel it, this is going to be the year I get a Bookbub)

 

I think that’s about it, I’ll update this monthly, though. What is everyone else planning to do in 2016?

October 2015 Numbers

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Word Goal:                                                   20,000

Words Written:                                           12,693

Days I Didn’t Write but Should Have:    3

 

I didn’t come close to my word goal, which is a bummer. I did, however, learn some things this month. I can’t write/edit when visiting family and I can’t write/edit when family is visiting me. I already knew this, but maybe this time the lesson will be learned.

I also learned that I can’t write while I’m sick or my daughter is sick. Between visiting and sickness I lost over two weeks of work time, so I’m behind and having to redo my schedule for the year. I’m hoping to still publish a short and a novel, but it’s going to be a lot tighter than I like.

 

Sales:                                                              356

Pages Read:                                                   39,652

Free Downloads:                                         1933

 

I ended up with six sales on Nook and Kobo both and somehow two physical copies were purchased. I feel kind of bad about those two because they still have my old cover. The plan is to update that and make it the size of a mass market paperback in December, but because of the whole writing re-schedule we’ll see what happens.

I’m pretty ecstatic about those sales. I published my fifth book and sales hadn’t quiet dropped from my last release. My husband also started to take an interest and submitted to a lot of free sites for me, not sure if that did anything, but it was really appreciated.

I’ve decided to keep my first series out of KDP and wide. I didn’t make much from the other vendors, but people on Amazon were forced to pay for the series and I make more money from a purchase.

I’m also going to try and stop reading reviews. I got some really awesome reviews on my newest book, but I got one stupid review. I say stupid instead of bad because I honestly have no idea what book the woman was reading, but it wasn’t mine. Apparently she thinks my characters yelled at each other too much. My characters didn’t raise their voice to anyone, no idea what is going on there. Instead of remembering those amazing reviews, though, all I can think about is that stupid one.

 

November Goals:

-Write and Publish Christmas short story

-Write 20k in 3rd book or possibly finish it

September 2015 Numbers

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Word Goal:                                                                        40,000 or finish book

Words Written:                                                                 39,408

Days I didn’t Write but Should Have:                          0

 

Very happy with that last number, but technically I did end up taking one day. However, since I wrote on the weekend to catch up I didn’t count it.

Anyway, I finished the second book in my new series, I’m going to spend the first week or so editing it in October. It should be published Oct. 6th or 7th, but we’ll see. I have a vacation with the in-laws during that time and who knows what I’ll be able to get done.

I’m really surprised how well I’ve been able to write 2k words a day. I went from struggling with 1k to working up to 1.5k and then 2k hasn’t been nearly as bad. Some days I even go over, though, I don’t think I’m going to increase my word goal amount. 2k is a nice number and gives me a release schedule I’m happy with.

 

Sales:                                                                        226 (Includes my 2 sales on Nook)

Pages Read:                                                            55,911

Free Downloads:                                                   918

 

I had a much better month in September than August, it’s amazing what a difference releasing a new book does. The momentum from that book has started to decline, but hopefully it doesn’t completely drop off before the next one comes out.

My free downloads are up by a lot, but that’s because I now have two permafrees. One is a short 5k intro to my new series and the other is the first book in my first series. Right now my read through rate is about 2% from my freebie to my second book and 87% from my second to my third. I honestly have no idea if that’s good for a freebie, but math-wise if I get that percentage to purchase my second a freebie bookbub pays for itself.

Marketing, I applied and was turned down at bookbub and ENT. Life then happened and I didn’t have money to try other places. I’m hoping that with a freebie available everywhere that Bookbub will finally pick me up the next time I enter, we’ll see.

 

October Goals:

-Edit and Publish Book 2

-Write 30k in third book

-Do more marketing!