Monday 5 March 2012

One Year Indie

I sent my first indie ebook out into the world at the end of February 2011. I'd been thinking about it since the previous Christmas, but getting a kindle as a birthday present in January gave me the final push I needed. Firstly it was a collection of short stories, Maniac, with a cover by the amazingly-talented Pete Gorrell. This was my test-ebook, to get a feel for the amazon upload process and how it all worked. And then, after a last-minute edit, panic and crisis of confidence, my two wonderful beta-reader friends Lallie & Jake gave me the final push I needed to launch my novel onto the unsuspecting public.

So what happened next? I flirted with the amazon forums for a few weeks before they got anti-author. In lurking there, I met a some interesting people and was lucky enough to connect with writer, agent and editor Al Guthrie, who politely told me that he'd love to feature my book on his blog, but I needed to redo my cover. With his help and that of his recommended designer JT Lindroos, we came up with the awesome current cover for Hamelin's Child.

In June, I was invited by award-winning fantasy writer Katherine Roberts to  join her at the start of a new writing initiative AuthorsElectric, a blog by traditionally-published writers self-publishing their backlists and/or new works. As someone who has never been traditionally published (though I've had a couple of near-misses), I was chuffed to be asked and have been contributing a regular monthly post ever since.

In September I published a YA fantasy Edge of Dreams with another Lindroos cover and uploaded all 3 to smashwords.

In October, a paid-advert with E-Reader News Today generated more than 500 sales of Hamelin over a few days. Apart from that peak, sales have been steady, with mostly great reviews. In fact the only negative review I had on Goodreads was more to do with subject matter than writing and that's fair enough. I know it's a marmite novel and that's why it has a warning in the book description. Sales of the other two books are nowhere near as high but then I don't promote them much - I haven't quite worked out how to be both an adult thriller writer and a YA fantasy writer and I'm still paranoid that a YA reader might come across my thriller (despite the fact that one of my readers said he'd be happy letting his teenage daughter read it).

Over the first few days of this month, sales have rocketed - I have no idea why - but I'm currently selling more than 3 times my normal numbers each day. There've been rumours of issues with amazon's KDP process, so maybe I have somebody else's sales figures! Either that or I'm on an also-bought list somewhere, but long may it last!

And what's on the horizon? I'm mid-way through Paying the Piper - a follow-on to Hamelin's Child, plus there's another YA title Flashpoint in the pipeline. Then I have a traditional high fantasy that I spent several months working on with an editor from Orion many, many years back. Real life got in the way and said editor departed publishing for a life in the country. But given that I've built some kind of platform now, I might try the traditional route for that one - just to test the water. I'm also writing the occasional short story for anthologies and competitions.

So one year on. I'm a published author. I've made some money - not enough to give up the day job, but better than nothing. And was it worth it? Hell, yes!

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