Wednesday, October 24, 2012

State of the CW--the Great Self Publishing Exparament

Last April and May my ambitions took a gut shot. I realized that it didn't matter how perfect conditions seemed or how hard I worked, how close I got to being "good enough" for professional publishing or what, it wasn't going to happen with this book. And that if I did the "smart" thing and wrote another book to sell, it'd be two years to write and perfect the book, another two-three years submitting to agents, and another six years submitting to publishers, all without a gaurentee of any success at all.

That, more than the thing that happened in April and May, is what made me decide to self publish my books. Yes. It's a career killer. But the thing is, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I don't have a career as a writer. I don't consider myself an author. I consider myself a writer the way I consider myself a knitter. It's a cool hobby and it's awesome that I get to make money at it, and it's even more awesome that people are buying my books and reading them. Would I have liked to have been a professional? Fuck yes. But I'm not going to shoot for the moon anymore. It's unhealthy. It takes me to a really dark place that I just don't want to visit anymore.

So in June, I sat down and wrote out "the Plan". Here, in a nutshell, is what The Plan was:

Write many small things, some directly related to The Book (Exiles) and some that are not (Starbleached)

Publish one a month

Double sales every month

Publish The Book when number of people buying the new books indicates publication of The Book would be successful.

I've spent part of this month assessing my sales and what they mean. And I'm about to post some numbers, some terrifying small numbers, I know, but some numbers nonetheless. Because from here on out? My success is ENTIRELY dependent on YOU.  And if you're going to spend money buying my books? You deserve to be in on this part, too.

July: 1 book

August: 3 books

September: 15 books

October (so far): 28 books

Step three? Is happening so far. Yes. Those numbers are pathetically small, compared to lots of other people...but the growth I wanted to see is there. And it means that some of you guys are totally buying my books. And that there are probably a couple of you who are here because you bought my books and liked them (I hope).

This is awesome and you all deserve a huge and wonderful hip-hip hooray for being this cool.

However, I'm at the point where, if I want to push things any further, I kind of need your help to pull this off.  Not a lot of help! Just a little. Two things, actually:

1. Amazon reviews

2. Participation in "Buy Day".

Amazon reviews are obvious, right? You bought the book there. Go back and review it. Why is this so important? Am I that desperate to go have my ego stroked? No. There are a few websites that will help me market the books that won't touch them unless they've got X number of reviews.

But "Buy Day?" what is this, you ask?

It's either stupidity incarnate and a bad idea, or a pretty good idea and I have no idea which, but I'm going to go with it because my well of options is pretty much dry.

It's something you only need to do if you plan on buying the next book, Prince of the Gray Keep. It's epic fantasy and a direct continuation of Rise of the Winterlord. About three or four days after it is released, go to Amazon and buy it. Everybody on the same day. Then you can go back to your regularly scheduled programming until the next month.

If we can keep this momentum going, I'll celebrate the one year anniversary of the Great Self-Publishing Experiment by publishing Project:Dragon on July 4th, 2013, a second full length novel that December, and The Book, the one Exiles is leading up to, July 4th, 2014.

Sound cool? Yay or Nay?

Third point: Mailing list. Everybody hates being on a mailing list unless it is about something they actively want. So this is what the mailing list would be for:

Organization of "Buy Day" for those of you who want to support me with money.

Notification of upcoming Kindle Free days.

Sneak Peaks of upcoming books and artwork.

Actively talking to me and/or everybody else on the list. Hell, maybe we'd turn this thing into a Yahoo group or something, if ya'll are interested in that sort of thing.

So please. If you do nothing else, SIGN UP FOR THE LIST. Send me an e-mail. Also? If enough people sign up for the list? I'LL STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS SORT OF THING ON THE BLOG. Sound good?


  1. Are you still distributing through Smashwords? I looked a couple of days ago and didn't see any books in your profile.

  2. I wanted to exparament with Amazon. Expariment results are relatively successful, but I'll probably be putting everything back up in December.