It never fails to amuse me. All I have to do is post sexy vege pictures and a Gerard Butler video and my site numbers spike up by hundreds. Many people from all over the world (Indonesia, I'm looking at you) are in love with Gerard Butler. I'm not sure what people have in mind when they google for sexy veges, LOL.
I know writers don't share sales numbers because of...I don't know...because of some unspoken professional rule, but since Big Bad Wolf was a self-pubbed experiment, I'll do so on my blog for those who are interested in whether this option is viable for you.
At the end of 2009, one year after BIG BAD WOLF came out, I've sold 700 copies, mostly through Amazon. Those that I sold from Createspace are mainly orders from overseas, especially from wonderful Australian booksellers who keep my Aussie readers Glow-happy and to whom I'm eternally grateful.
Overseas sales are about 100 copies, ordered by readers from Australia, Malaysia (yo, homies!), Singapore, Thailand, England, and France. I'm sure I missed a few international readers, especially Canadians, who ordered through Amazon, which I must seriously thank because I know the shipping charges got to be painful to the wallet.
When I started this project, my research said I could expect about 250 sales at most because, other than family and friends, self-published books aren't going to catch much attention. So that was my target. I figure I could possibly get 250 sales at 12 or 13 books a month.
My main worry was the price. Amazon takes a big chunk of the $11.55 price I put on the book, almost 80 percent. I needed to make back some money to:
1) prove that it's a business venture that can bring in profit
2) pay a bit of taxes (I didn't have a contract with Samhain when I started so I needed to show income for my GLow entity)
3) pay for the odds and ends, like the cover art and shipping charges
Most trade paperbacks are $14 and above. Most self-published books are set at incredibly self-delusional prices (some at US$40). I really tried to get it as close to $10 as I could, but couldn't do it at that time. I think, at this point, after a year, I can lower the price to $10.55.
My only problem was that I didn't know how to set my .pdf file into Amazon's .css requirement. Someone mentioned that Word would automatically do this but maybe it's a newer Word since my version (2003) doesn't seem to have this function. I just didn't have the time to sit down to learn. I'd love to be able to get on Kindle and sell it for $4 or whatever it was the wise and funny J.A. Konrath was teaching at his blog. Maybe that would be my 2010 goal...learn Kindle-ese.
Okay, that's my self-pub numbers in a few paragraphs. I'm not an expert. I mostly muddled through the process and did very little publicity except blog about it. The numbers stand on their own, with no big stores selling the book, no big push from anyone, a couple of wonderful reviews from Mrs. Giggles and Riley Merrick (sadly, I'm heartbroken, I couldn't get Harriet Klausner to give me five stars, heh), and no advertisement. All I had were my readers and I'm eternally grateful to everyone who ordered the book because you trusted my writing enough to know that I'd try my best to give you a worthy book. Thank you.
I think I'd try another self-pub book this year, so that I can LOWER Big Bad Wolf's price. Just to see whether Amazon would do a 2-for-1 sale or something like that. I'm curious at how they recommend their Createspace books. Besides, the income from those 700 books was enough to pay for most of my health insurance. So, yay. That was much, much more than my original 2 bks a month expectations, yes?
Last year I also went epubbed for the first time. My New Year's resolution was to sell Virtually Hers by-hook-or-by-crook and I accomplished that in May, when the wonderful Angela James, then Samhain editor, bought my book.
Virtually Hers has been out three months and has done okay. Again, with a two-year lapse between Book 1 and Book 2, I wasn't expecting much, so was pleasantly surprised at the first month's sales number (in the hundreds). I'm looking forward to the print version of Virtually Hers coming out this August because I know many of my readers are waiting for the print format to read Jed's and Hell's continuing story.
Many readers are still not familiar with the e-book world. Or they don't hear much news about it. I get a number of emails a month asking where they could find Virtually Hers, after they googled the item and found that it was out in 2007. That's OLD news, of course, and I have to explain that THAT book never came out, and that it is now available through Samhain. Two out of three would then re-email me, confused about how to order the print book from Samhain, even though I've earlier explained that VHers was an electronic book first.
So, as an e-author, I've to learn how to communicate clearer about book formats and how the e-book world works (first e-format, then months later, print format). Most of my readers are looking for the print format and although some are willing to download the e-book, many opted to wait. I adore their patience. I adore their wonderful steadfastness. I adore that they keep looking for Gennita Low's books.
Many of my emails often ask about Alex's and T's story. I cannot tell you how popular these two are to readers and how many times I've to explain to them that although my agent is shopping their story around (with my proposal), she hasn't been able to sell it. And you know I love Alex and T as much as you do. I wrote their story in series-contemporary format years ago and even then they were special. I posted their original meeting a while back as a Christmas gift and I still get readers asking for a repeat after I've taken it off. I'll probably have to do it again.
So, anyway, I guess I should be bold and announce that my 2010 resolution is to get Alex's and T's story published by-hook-and-by-crook, eh? But I do have two projects that I need to get to:
1) For my agent, a new proposal about treasure hunters, with a spec. ops. flavor
2) For the self-pub, the Viking Dude urban-fantasy/alternative first POV story. It's not doing too well as a proposal, so I'm going to get it done (because I love my story) and put the first five chapters out for you to read free to see whether you'd like to continue. If there are enough thumbs-up, I'll self-publish it on Amazon.
Enough about boring numbers and intentions. Thought I'd share with you my 2010 writing plans after Virtually One (Samhain, hopefully late Spring 2010). I should be doing my first e-book signing at Romantic Times Booklovers Convention! Another first, and not sure what that entails. And yes, I'll be giving away free copies of Big Bad Wolf ;-).
For those who have requested, I'll put up the first chapter of T's and Alex's story again
this afternoontomorrow (sorry, had to take off to measure a roof. In the cold, argh! And after that, I was so frozen, I was tempted into putting liqueur in my hot chocolate....) some time and put the link here. Stay tune.
Now, if only I could put a Gerard Butler original video in my ebook, you know I'm going to get some fantastic sales numbers :-).
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