Saturday, April 23, 2011

What I Should Have Done Six Months Ago

Fair warning: It's one of those "Big Experiment" posts.

I should have started this "indie publishing" thing six months ago. Am I going to retire soon? No, not at $0.35 a book, but my sales are definitely growing month to month. And when I write "sales" what I really mean is "potential readers". This week alone, I've seen more sales than the entire month of March. The Bottom Feeders continues to be my bestselling book, with 22 copies and counting out the virtual door. Notice: I'm not selling a ridiculous amount of any one book, but several are selling modestly well. Each book is a potential reader--note I use the word potential. Do you read everything you buy?

Will the trend continue? I hope so. It's a pretty steep curve.

Scott Nicholson, an indie author who has traveled the "traditionally-published path" and man for whom I have a great deal of respect, recently posted a blog entry Marketing is Not Selling. Read it and the companion piece on IndieReader. My favorite bit: "...I am not screaming "Buy my book." I'd rather you feed your family, or buy some seeds, or donate to your favorite local charity. That's what I do when you buy my book."

Feed your family.

For the first time I feel like I might be able to actually contribute to my family through writing rather than taking away. Think about it: years spent banging at the keyboard when I could have been doing something else. I've taken myself away from my family for my fictional worlds. It isn't as simple as that, but the kernel of truth is there.

Look in the mirror, Aaron: You are not evil because you want to be compensated for your time and effort. Got it? Good.

Yes, I've been releasing e-books faster than Jerry puts the smack-down on Tom. I have a pool of over 100 published short stories, some of them smelly as last week's garbage (don't worry about seeing them again) and several unpublished shorts which were "that close". Why let them fester on my hard drive? It's taken me years to arrive at this point. Years and thousands upon thousands of words.

After my current round of edits on The Sons of Chaos and the Desert of the Dead, I'm going to put the finishing touches on Borrowed Saints for a May release. I'm toying with the idea of writing a House Eaters sequel this summer.

The bottom line: I want to be read. I might be able to spread some good fortune to my family. Sounds like goals are meeting reality, right?

I just wish I would have started six months ago.

What are you waiting for?


Laura Eno said...

Exactly! Congrats on making the decision. You're right - .35 a copy isn't much but it garners potential readers. Keep multiplying the novels and it builds.
And no, I haven't waited. :) I've .35 my way to over $500 last year. That may be only a month's worth of groceries, but it's better than sitting on my hard drive.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Best post I've read, EVER, on self-publishing. Congratulations on all your success, Aaron! And you too, Laura - you both deserve it!

Aaron Polson said...

Congrats Laura! Yes, it's much better than gathering virtual dust.

Caty - I owe it all to Mr. Nicholson. ;) Thanks!

Unknown said...

Rings true enough. I'm slogging away in hopes of having something publishable. Don't dare rush into anything, as I'd hate to put out a shoddy piece of work or naively sabotage my efforts on a good piece of work.

Fox Lee said...

"What are you waiting for?"

Good question. Next week - edits. It's time for me to get something bigger than a short published.

Aaron Polson said...

Gef - There's some pretty lousy stuff out there that has, somehow, not sabotaged its author. I don't claim to understand it.

Natalie - The world is ready!

K.C. Shaw said...

Congrats on the sales! I hope they go up and up. Every time I think about self-publishing, I dread figuring out the formatting and covers and so forth. Other than that, I'm starting to think more kindly on it. It's certainly better than letting stuff sit on my hard-drive forever.

Aaron Polson said...

Thanks, K.C. There are some really inspirational writers at Kindleboards. It's a different mindset--but, then again, it's a different world.

Katey said...

At the risk of sounding like a massive snob, you are precisely the person I want doing this, too. I keep trying to push the point (to the naysayers) that the independent spirit, the ability for authors who don't fit into some BOX to get their stuff out there is SO FUNDAMENTAL to the exchange of good ideas--fictional or otherwise (what's one but a way of exploring the other?).

I'm so, so happy to know that your sales are on the rise. Like, for you, for me, for the whole effing world of publishing. This is what it's about.

Cate Gardner said...

"Do you read everything you buy?" Not always all the way through, but I try everything--eventually.

So glad to hear your sales are on an upswing. :D

Daniel Powell said...

Hi Aaron,

Great to hear the units are shifting, as goes the lingo. I definitely agree with you--why wait when the technology is here, and will only improve?

Time to get some content out there...

Ben Godby said...

The greatest thing about the e-book revolution is that your stories never have to languish. Personally, I'm still pushing all my work at the traditional markets first; but with the knowledge and know-how to do it by myself if a particularly story runs out of markets.

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - Thanks, Katey. If all I do is stir the pot a little, I've done my job.

Thanks, Cate. (I try, too)

Daniel - The technology has really made it work. The best gatekeepers have always been readers.

Ben - And I encourage you to do so. I'm still trying the market for short stories. Most (75% or so) of my collections are previously published work. Kindle is just placing those stories in front of more eyeballs.

Ricky Bush said...

That's the way to re-bound after our publisher went south. Good Luck To Ya.

Barry Napier said...

I can second that. While I don't think my numbers are rising as significantly as yours on a monthly basis, I can see a definite upward curve in week by week sales. I think your "experiment" back up Mr. Konrath's belief of success also hinging on how much virtual shelf space you are occupying. I have also started looking closely at a few things that were "that close" (including a novella) to try to take up some more of that same shelf space.

Congrats on the sales! Onward and upwards!

Aaron Polson said...

Ricky - I'll be following your journey as well--best of luck.

Barry - Bottom Feeders is at 26 copies for the month (as of just now). Not burning up the world, but I might hit 100 overall. I can't complain about that.

craighallam said...

Every time I read one of your posts, I get a little kick in the ass to keep writing. If my ebook does half as well as your have, I'll be uber-impressed. It's all about gaining readers. After all, what is a writer creating if no one ever discovers it?

Simon Kewin said...

Good for you Aaron - couldn't agree more. It seems to me that having multiple things out there helps : it's a bit painful adding links to all your pieces at the end of each, but it does seem to pay off.

I recently received my first Amazon KDP check, which I paid in to the family holiday fund. That felt very, very good.