I find it interesting that hardly anyone ever talks about their sales when they suck. When they do, about 90% of their blog post turns into an argument against self-publishing. Well, I’m proud to stand here and confess that my sales suck AND…I have no regrets about going indie. 🙂
Now when I say my sales are crappy, I’m comparing them to other authors I know who are doing quite well, which I really shouldn’t do. However, when I compare my sales to my original expectations and views toward self-publishing, they look pretty good. On average I’ve been selling about 10 copies total per month. With numbers like that, I should be tearing my hair out and screaming “F*** it!” until my lungs burn dry. There isn’t any, “Wow, look at me! My sales are going up every month!” They are what they are and that’s okay. In fact, I LOVE it when my indie friends are hitting leaps and bounds they never thought possible. I just wish there was a better way for me to express how happy I am for them than just saying it on this blog. You just have to take my word for it. 😉
Now before you start thinking this is a pity party, do me a favor. Keep your pity for yourself because I don’t need it. Read on to find out why.
There are reasons for why my sales are so low, and the biggest one has to do with my lack of marketing more than anything else. People always tell me you have to bust your ass to get your books in the hands of readers. Yeah, I already know that, so I don’t need that recycled advice. Seriously, folks. I don’t. Having sold a few thousand copies of Stripped and Unstable Enviroment, I know how important marketing is. But what people don’t know is that I wasn’t a single mom back then when those books came out, which means devoting 6 hours a day toward marketing and promo wasn’t a big deal. Today is a different day. When I come home from my day job, my priority is my daughter. Not writing. It’s a choice I’ve made and I’m loving it. Although, I swear my child was advanced when came to the “terrible twos” stage. 😉 But, I love her all the same…especially when she crawls into my bed at night and wants to cuddle. NOTHING can compare to the love that’s been cultivated between us. Not writing. Not publishing. In fact, she’s the reason why I chose to go indie. I get to continue to do what love by setting my own pace and working it around her schedule. Not a publishing house’s.
So, my sales aren’t that great. Big deal. The point is I have a LONG time to find out how much they stink because as JA Konrath says, ebooks are forever. Or maybe that was Dean Wesley Smith. Hell, if I can keep it straight anymore. I just know that these guys have some valid points that really resonate with me when it comes to doing it the indie way.
When I decided to embark on this journey, I wanted to do it the right way. I figured out how to format my books for Smashwords, Kindle, and Pubit!. I figured out CreateSpace so I could have my books in print, too. I wanted a publishing imprint because–to me–that ramps up the legitimacy and seriousness of my publishing path. Hiring editors and cover artists were a must. This had to feel and look as legit as possible and I’m having a lot of fun doing it. That’s also why I have no regrets. I like the freedom of getting my work in the hands of readers without a middleman. I can’t tell you what everyone is saying about my books because I don’t follow the reviews that closely. I just look at the average-star rating on Amazon, and then, go about my business. That’s it. So far, so good. I’ve got no complaints. In fact, my self-pubbed books are beating out my non-self-pubbed books in terms of ratings. 🙂
So since I can’t do much marketing because motherhood comes first, I do what I can with what I’ve got. I’ve hired Author Island to help me with some promo. I’ve emailed a few bloggers to review my books. I’m also going to do signings at conventions/conferences next year, which is my most favorite promo of all. Oh, by the way. One of the coolest things about doing it yourself is you can guarantee your books will be at a signing. When you ask for five copies, you won’t get stuck with taking home twenty. Anyway, I try to stay somewhat active on Twitter and Facebook, though it doesn’t always happen. I try to blog at least once a week, but you guys know how that goes. I have a website and a Goodreads page. The only way I can chalk up my lack of sales is because I don’t do nearly as much promo as everyone else does. Luck isn’t on my side, I don’t have the golden touch, and I refuse to become a promo whore . I believe in staying the course and letting readers decide if my books are worth word-of-mouth spread.
Whatever you do, please, don’t take this as a woe-is-me post. Take this as the flip side (a.k.a. non-milk-and-honey side) to self-publishing. My books aren’t on bestseller lists and they haven’t been chosen for anyone’s book of the month club. They are what they are and that’s fine by me. After all, I have this little one to make me feel like I’m the luckiest women in the world. 😀