Monday, July 22, 2013

One Month as a Published Indie Author

What a mouthful, that title. Which is fitting for the subject matter, of course. A month ago, I published my first short story: Purity Taken. A week later, I published a second book, two short stories combined into one. The month leading up to the release was an adventure of rediscovery for me. I had tons of ideas (I still do) and I wrote what I wanted to (I still do, mostly). 

Even though I told myself not to make a big deal of anything, not to expect anything, I still felt somewhat disappointed when both books were released to a thunderous emptiness of response. I didn't sell a thing, probably to do with my obscurity as an author and the fact that I offered both books for free from Smashwords until the 30th of June. I didn't -sell- anything, I should stress, but the books were still picked up, although not in huge numbers. Less than 10 copies in the first 2 days.

I was told to expect this, of course. I tried very hard to tune my expectations with the harsh reality that most indie authors face: Obscurity. It didn't work so well, and the fact that I had workers and a torrent of family obligations in the week after releasing Purity Taken didn't help me feel any more comfortable about publishing or writing in general. I struggled just to keep up.

Even once the workers and family obligations were done, I had difficulty focusing on writing, and when I left for a 2-week holiday in the country, for the longest time (Over a week) I didn't write at all. But, you know what? During all of this, during my own troubles, due to a mixture of motivational issues and neurotic issues, my books steadily sold on Amazon. Not tons, but it seems to average out to around 1 book every other day between the two of them. Roughly. That's -good-. Selling more than 5 copies per month per book on average is -good-.

And this is incredibly encouraging and motivating to me, of course. Not to mention that I have a longer story that will soon be ready for editing and proofing. I managed to look ahead and realize that a period like the one I went through here could and would happen, so I had "Cheating in the Caribbean" saved up and ready for release. Even though I have written very little, my public output will not be noticeably impacted. And the books I do have out don't care if I'm having an episode or not.

So, the first month published has been both eye-opening and encouraging. Eye-opening due to facing the realities both good and bad of publishing, and encouraging because of some of those realizations. I look forward to my next month, and with a little luck, I'll be on track to release 2 stories as well this month, with 1 already done and 1 well on its way. My desired pace when I started was 2 stories a month, so that's good.

For now, my goal is to be able to afford good covers. There's a site out there that offers decent, premade covers for 30$ apiece. Certainly more expensive than what home-made ones based on stock images would cost, but also more professional-looking. The sales from the latter half of June add up to about half of what I'd need for one cover, though, so until I'm earning 60$ a month on my writing, I'll have to get by with making my own covers. If my current sales trends continue, that 60$ a month may only be 1½-2 months away, at which point I can start getting professional covers for all of my releases.

Oh, and on a last note, I'll be extending the time-period of the next report to around the 1st of September, just to make it easier for me, and to synch up with various other things.

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