writer

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.

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

Self-Sabotage

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Do you ever get in the groove writing, where you really think that you could easily pump out 5k words in one sitting, maybe even more? You’re just typing away and you look down and see, “Holy cow I just wrote a thousand words in twenty minutes!”

If you can just forget about that, and get back to writing, everything would be fine. Instead I normally start checking email or Facebook or marvel at how awesome I am for having written so many words. Then next thing I know the baby’s calling for me, or my husband wants to show me something, or it’s time to cook dinner. All that beautiful momentum wasted.

Hopefully, now that I’ve recognized the problem, I can resist the urge to ponder my magnificence, or surf the web, and instead power on and finish up the story I’m working on.

What ways have you found that you self-sabotage?

November 2014 Numbers

November was a busy month and it’s just the beginning of the holiday season. I planned to write Thanksgiving week but I ended up meeting my monthly goal early, which worked out great since baking, cooking, and family took over.

 

Words

 

Writing Goal:                                                  7000

Words Written:                                               7881

Days Didn’t Write but Should Have:             1 (I’m not counting the week of Thanksgiving)

Days I Traveled:                                             5

Hours Spent Playing Fantasy Life:                 65

 

I’m glad I met my writing goal, but looking at those hours playing Fantasy Life I’m kind of embarrassed. It’s an awesome game and I plan on doubling that number, but maybe I should start keeping track of the time I spend writing, not just the words.

 

Sales

 

Books Sold                                                     2

Free Downloads                                              384

KDP Select Sales                                            6

 

So as you can see my free downloads took a huge leap. It was all, pretty much, on the day of my promotion. Sadly I didn’t get a sales bump and my free downloads quickly went back down to normal. In fact I had fewer sales this month than I had last month.

Overall I’m not sure if I’m happy with the promotion I ran. I definitely got downloads, but so far no reviews and only two sales. I did have one person go through and read the entire series through kindle unlimited, so that was nice, but it still doesn’t cover the investment.

Also, after I placed the order for the promotion, but before it ran, I got a five star review. I’m not sure if it was from the promo people or a legitimate review. Ultimately I decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and be happy with my new review.

December is going to be another rough month, more so than November since there are several hundred miles of travel in our future. I’m still going to set my writing goal as though I’m planning to write Monday-Friday every week, but hopefully I meet my goal early again.

Now I’d like to end this post by saying I am so thankful for my readers. I realized that I don’t mention just how wonderful I think the people are that read what I’ve written. To know that there are people out there that saw my cover, read my blurb, and thought:

“Hey I’m going to download this, it looks mildly interesting.”

It’s an amazing feeling to know you are out there and I’m sorry I’m not giving you guys enough credit, so I’m going to work on that.

September 2014 Numbers

Writing Goal:                                                5250

Words Written:                                             6075

Days Didn’t Write but Should Have:          5

# of TV Shows in My Fall Lineup:              24

 

My writing goal this month was not high, I spent most of the month editing. It took longer than I had planned, but I’m finally sending episodes five and six to my editor and I wanted them to be as perfect as I could make them. At this point I flip flop between thinking she’ll probably pay me to edit what few mistakes she finds to just hoping there are a few words left when she’s done.

I kind of like to watch TV, a lot. I’ve already dropped two shows from my Fall lineup so that’s a good thing. Also most of my writing has been sporadic and not focused on one single project. I’ve got more WIPs than I care to admit too, with none of them being close to finished. I really need to pick one and stay with it, but for now I’m trying to just get the words in.

 

Books Sold:                                                    11

Free Downloads:                                           75

 

I had fewer free downloads this month but more sales. I also decided to focus on one retailer and took all but my free book down everywhere but Amazon. I don’t really like putting all of my eggs in one basket, but I have no visibility anywhere else and I prefer to not spread my focus. I’m going to put all of my books in KDP select and we’ll see what happens from there.

I ended up having two people not progress past the second book, which over the life of the series has only happened two other times. Don’t really like that development but my read through rate is still good.

Right now my hope is to have episodes five and six out either later this month or early next month, it depends on when I get them back from the editor and how much work is needed after that.

Kill Your Darlings

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I just finished reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s book Styxx. For anyone unfamiliar with it there are about six hundred pages where she tortures the titular character. It’s numbing to the point where the brutal rape scenes stopped having an impact.

I’ve put my characters through some shit. I’ve made Amelia experience my worst nightmares. Episode six, which is still a rough draft, has her going through a lot of crap I hope to never experience. I’m not sure if I could ever put a character through six hundred pages of it, though.

I know I can’t coddle my characters, and I don’t, but I’m not sure if I could kill my favorites. I have plans to kill some, but there are certain ones that are off-limits. George R. R. Martin I will never be.

Could you kill a character, that you loved, if the story called for it?

End of January and Bonus 2012 Total

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January 10th I released three episodes in the Amelia Bennett Chronicles. They did not do as well as I had hoped but oh well. I loved writing them and any time I need a break from writing Book 2 in the Twin Moons of Andove I will write more episodes. Anyway, not only did I release 3 new titles but on the 25th I published on more platforms. The AB Chronicles are available on Kindle, Kobo, and Pubit; and Stolen Memories is available on Kindle and Kobo. January ended up being my third highest month in regards to sales, unsure how the money side is going to land since my episodes started out at $.99 then I increased the price to $1.99. So here are my sales totals for January:

Kindle .com: 12

Kindle .uk: 3

Pubit (Nook): 3

I published Stolen Memories on September 1st so I was only published for four months in 2012 and I only had one book available. For anyone that cares to see the numbers of a newbie published author who has done little to no marketing here they are:

2012 Total Sales: 79

So close to breaking triple digits! With January’s sales I’m up to 97, so I just need one person to read all the episodes in the AB Chronicles!

I publish my sales because I think it provides a nice contrast to all the articles and posts I see of authors who are selling in the hundreds and thousands. It’s possible I’m the only one who can barely break 10 sales in a month somehow I doubt it though.

Branching Out

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So I finally have most of my books on multiple platforms. Over the weekend I was able to upload the Amelia Bennett Chronicles on Pubit and Kobo. I was also able to get Stolen Memories on Kobo, because of the many format changes when I first wrote it getting it uploaded on Pubit is going to take some work I am not qualified to do. Thankfully I have a big strong man who knows some HTML and happens to be the King of the Internet so I should be good. Once he actually gets down to doing it. I still plan on getting them all uploaded to Smashwords but I’m happy with the dent I’ve made in expanding to new platforms.

Out of the three platforms I’ve uploaded to now by far the easiest was Kobo. I really liked their layout, they also converted my .doc to an .epub and that made uploading to Pubit so much easier. The only part about Kobo that was difficult was coming up with a publisher name. I finally decided on “Top of the Mountain” with no publishing at the end.

Pubit will hold a special place in my heart just because the day after I uploaded someone purchased all three of my Amelia Bennett Episodes. So far, over all platforms, the only people to have purchased these have been myself, my mother, and my sister. So the fact that someone purchased them was pretty awesome to me. If they had been the first thing I’d published I think I might have been crushed by how they are selling; but I’ve grown a thicker skin and realize that while I loved writing them they aren’t what everyone is looking for.

Now that my books are available for more people to download I’m back to working on Book 2, I have a fan that keeps asking when it will be out and I can’t let her down 😀

I’m Back!

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Well I’ve been gone for less than a month and while I haven’t gotten everything done that I said I was I don’t feel like everything is crashing down on top of me. The wonderful thing about self-publishing is that I can do things at my own pace. So I don’t have everything up on any other platforms but I do now have Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the Amelia Bennett Chronicles published on kindle. I have a long list of things that I need to get done and I will get to them but I’m going to cut back on the pressure I’m putting on myself. As much as I would love to be a full-time writer the truth is right now I’m not. This week I put in 40 hours at my “real” job and another 16-18 hours working on writing and publishing. That’s nowhere near what I’ve read some people are doing but that’s enough for me for now.

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**Update on The Amelia Bennett Chronicles**

Episodes 1, 2, and 3 are published and live as of 01/11/2013 on the kindle platform. It took longer than expected because the holidays slowed down my editor. Instead of the mid to late December she said in her original email she wasn’t able to get to me until last week. I would have loved to have them up at Christmas, and I spent a ton of time checking my email over the holiday just waiting for her, but since I hadn’t scheduled a spot and she was fitting me around other projects I can’t complain. She was amazing! It was so awesome to have someone go in and put the commas and semicolons where they needed to be and catch misspellings of words that are real words that Office didn’t catch. It was a thrill. She even wrote little comments telling me she liked certain spots which was even awesomer (she would edit out this word).

***Update on Book 2 of the Twin Moons of Andove***

I was able to get another couple thousand words written on this. I’m not yet back to the point I was at when I started my rewrites but I’m getting there. I did write out a detailed outline for this book and a rough outline of the one after it. I’ve been feeling really inspired to write on this but haven’t been able to because of the AB Chronicles. Now that the first batch of those episodes are out I can bring my focus back. For now though I do not have a deadline, though I would love to have it published first quarter of the year. We will see.

***December Update***

This is later than I have been doing but here are my stats:

Stolen Memories sold seven books at .com and one book at .co.uk

So not as good as my best month but not my worst month. I’m really curious to see my numbers next month.

Until next time, have a great weekend!

Hurdles

Hurdles

So after just posting the question of whether or not I should upload my books to other formats before or after I’ve gotten some editing done there are two blog posts by authors I respect saying get your work on everything possible as soon as possible. So right now I am reading up on how to upload to Kobo and Barnes and Noble (pubit!). My husband uploads apps to Apple for a living so I’m going to see if he can look into that for me. I seriously doubt if I will get this done by the end of the month, there is just too much going on in my non-writing life to be able to get done all that I want to and need to with my writing. One thing’s for sure I won’t be able to afford edits on Stolen Memories until February at the earliest. I want to get the edits back from AB Chronicles before I set up a time for SM to be edited. It might come down to getting edits done on Book 2 before I can get professional edits done on SM, maybe I can read through it again and catch some things that I’ve missed. Publishing is an expensive hobby/career.

When I think back to just six months ago I’ve learned so much about publishing. I use to think that writing was the hard part, if I could only finish writing a book doing everything else would be a breeze. It’s amazing how much I didn’t know. I was sure I knew what I was doing dreaming about becoming a successful author. I knew nothing. At least it gives me something to laugh at while I try to figure out my cover art and how I should word my mailing list sign up sheet.

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who jumps into something blindly, we studied cars for well over a year and spent several weekends test driving before we finally made a decision. When we moved to a different apartment we started looking 6 months before we could even give notice on our lease, I had an excel spreadsheet with all the information about each apartment we’d been to. Occasionally we will make quick decisions, but that’s life, sometimes you have no choice in the matter. With publishing it was something I had wanted to do for years, but when I felt traditional was my only option I didn’t put forth much effort. I wrote down ideas and started plenty of things, but I never finished any of them because it seemed so hopeless. When I started hearing more and more about how popular Indie publishing was becoming and how eReader’s were making an audience available that hadn’t been before it all of a sudden became an obtainable dream. It was no longer on the level of winning the lottery. I would be able to publish, I may not sell anything, but it would still be out there for people to find.

When I started writing I chose a genre that I had read a lot in and I thought I could do well with. Halfway through I started looking into what else exactly I needed before I could publish. There was cover art, formatting, social media, website, editing, so many things that I had never given much thought to, some I wasn’t even aware of. Finishing something was supposed to be the only hurdle and it turned out to just be the first in a long line. Here I am 3 months after publishing SM and I’m still working on it, still have plans for it. Maybe everyone who goes into self-publishing isn’t as unprepared as I was, but just in case know that you are not alone.