Monday, January 31, 2011


Well, my sales are now up to 24 for the month--including two on Smashwords yesterday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Busy weekend

My continuing formatting problems are largely going away; after learning about a technique to use Smashword's process in order to better  upload to Barnes and Noble.  I've uploaded both the novella and SC1 to Smashwords, and used the resulting epub file to improve the novella's file on Barnes and Noble.  Tomorrow morning SC1 will get the same treatment.  I've picked up a few sales over the last few days, so now I'm at 20 for the month so far.  Twenty days and twenty sales.  I'm happy with that for now!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Novella update

Two more sales of the novella--one on B/N and one on Amazon UK--put me in a very good mood this evening.  :)

Better and better every day...

So now I have covers!  At least on Kindle—I followed the instructions from the formatting book and things turned out nicely; I was able to get both SC1 and the novella finally, correctly formatted.  If nothing else, I think that I’ve now learned that it’s not worth it to rush.

Hopefully that will improve my Kindle numbers (although I have had another two sales(one from each site) today, so now I’m at 13 for January).  Pubit still has some problems (regarding the cover—the other formatting seems fine) but I’m moving ahead anyway and today registered for Smashwords—I had seen a “cheat sheet” for Pubit formatting that relies upon work done by Smashwords, and since that will expand my reach anyway, it seemed like a good step to take.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ups and downs

OK, so for some reason it turns out that the formatting for Kindle didn’t turn out exactly like I wanted, so there are some definite errors that I need to address.  On the bright side, the novella is live on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble as of this morning, and I already had my first sale on Amazon.  Kind of shocking!  Couple that with an SC1 sale on B/N also today, and it’s a pretty good way to start the day!  I’ve now sold 11 books in January.

I ended up buying an book about formatting, so perhaps that will help me out.  Clearly, I should have taken greater care in the first place, but considering that these are under a pen name in a genre I’m not planning to normally write in, I doubt that there’s any harm done.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Novella progress

Okay, I’m a-rockin’ and a-rollin’.  I was able to finally straighten things out and get the novella uploaded to Amazon and—after a nearly painless bit of reformatting—for Pubit.  I will say again, the work I’m putting up for sale so far is trashy stuff, but it has been extremely valuable helping me learn how to do this.  If I had been trying this on my “real” books, I would have been very discouraged with how I’d started off.  However, I have already learned a lot and one thing that I do really like about self-publishing is your ability to make changes quickly and fairly easily.  As an example, in my product descriptions I had started off with kind of a smart-alecky voice, trying to bring something unusual and fun, but after looking at it many, many times, I realized that it just sounded unusual, without necessarily being fun or even adding anything of value.  So this morning I revised and already republished more direct, informative text. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

God bless Barnes and Noble

Okay, so now I’m able to log into Pubit again, and it turns out that I had a sale yesterday and one today.  Thus my January sales total nine.  Not bad considering I’ve only had it live for 15 days (and quite a bit less than that on B/N).

Formatting problems

So when I had uploaded my short story collection, I hadn’t noticed many problems with my formatting although it was already complete when I began to read about the apparently-forbidden use of the Tab key at the beginning of my paragraphs.  However, since I hadn’t seen anything wrong in the previews, I paid that no heed.  Bad writer! Bad, bad! 

When uploading the much-longer novella, I now see that indentation problems are rife, and it has taken me much longer than I’d like to admit to 1) figure out how to fix things, and 2) fix things.  I now hope that I’ll be able to upload it tomorrow and get things rolling.

The Pubit website has not been letting me log in (well, it’s also causing trouble for others; it’s not personal) since yesterday.  Very frustrating.

Other than that, I’m overall still very satisfied with how things are going—the whole indentation problem is one I’d rather have now than later, that’s for sure.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Okay, so this is kind of crazy, but it turns out that I even had another B/N sale yesterday.  Three sales in a day, bringing my January total to seven!  Whoo hoo!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hot damn!

Make that six, with my first Barnes and Noble sale this afternoon!  Quite a weekend--sales three days in a row and then two just today. 

And then there were five...

Sales, that is, after picking up another UK sale this morning.  I have nearly finished the novella and hope to have that uploaded tomorrow morning.  It's been a good weekend!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And another one!

Yet another sale on Amazon, bringing my total for January to 4.  Little steps, but I'll take them!

Friday, January 21, 2011


That's my rank on the Amazon UK site after my first sale there this morning.  Whoo hoo!  I wouldn't say that I'm exactly on the brink of success, but I am very happy with the progress that I've been making, especially since SC1 only went live on Amazon on January 10th (and yesterday on B/N, finally).

Only one more chapter to go in the novella, then editing over the weekend, and hopefully uploaded by Monday.  That's the plan, anyway!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sale #2

After sinking down to about 150,000 on the ranks, another sale today shot me back up to the mid-40s.  Not bad!

Progress on “Novella 1” is going well and I hope to have it completed by next week, at which point I’m going to get right to work on my second story collection, and then another novella.

I’ve continued to get reads and comments from posting on the UK site; the current numbers are over 1700 for the first story and an incredible 2658 for the 2nd one.  In addition, a couple of FB friend requests have come from there, so I’m now thinking that I need to set up a more professional blog that I can direct people to and add an Amazon widget.  Little steps, little steps.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Week 2

So it’s been about a week since I first put SC1 up for sale, and today is the first day that the price has been updated to 99 cents.  The views from the UK site are now:

Story 1: 1558
Story 2:  1384 views

And I picked up the following review:
FEEDBACK: Sweet! A great adventure.

So in spite of my low sales (putting it kindly), I’m going to keep my head down and plug away at the novella, which is coming along fine, thanks!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Big changes

One of the nice things about self-publishing is that you have total control over the entire thing.  It’s also one of the bad things–you are responsible for the entire thing!

I will say, however, that one of the benefits that I’d envisioned has paid off big time–I had thought that publishing stuff under a pen name would allow me to get my feet wet with different aspects of the process so that I have an idea of what I’m doing when it comes time to publish my “serious” stuff, and that has definitely been the case.  I’ve made a few mistakes along the way that I would have sorely regretted with my “real” work, so even if only for that reason, this has been a useful project.

My sale (which I mentally refer to as “Proof of Concept”) still sits alone on the DTP reports screen, but I’ve taken some steps to hopefully remedy that.  Work is going well on the novella and I hope to publish that in February.  I’ve updated my Amazon Author Central listing to indicate that as well as point out that I’m dropping the price of SC1 to 99 cents.  With a decent cover and a lower price, hopefully I can sell a few of these and garner a review or two, giving me something to build on for the novella.  I actually already have an idea for another one after that (in fact, I even have a cover ready to go), so perhaps I can build some momentum here.
I am encouraged by the continuing good responses I’ve received from the UK site, where Story 1 has garnered 1450 views and Story 2 has 554.  Of course, those are from people reading for free, but I’ve also received the following praise for Story 2:

FEEDBACK: Wow.. fantastic piece of writing, well formed…I look forward to reading more of your work… MUCH more.
FEEDBACK: Hi, just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed this story…I look forward to reading some more.
FEEDBACK: I was amazed; fantastic. Natural. I enjoyed much.

So, some people do like what I’ve been doing, which keeps me optimistic.  Now if only Barnes and Noble would hurry up and publish this thing (ironically, I’m anxious for it to go live so I can edit it with the new cover and updated text) I’d be all set!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quick improvements

Although I just said the other day that I was planning to use a professional cover for the upcoming novel, I have already changed my mind.  Why?  Because after looking around just a bit I was able to find royalty-free images on the web and used Piknik to add some text, coming up with a decent cover for the novel and a MUCH improved cover for SC1.  I uploaded the new cover and it’s already on Amazon (I was very pleasantly surprised by how quickly that happened–it was literally done in a couple of minutes, if that).  I also replaced the file with a new version adding the credit for the cover image as well as correcting a couple of typos that had still slipped through (which would have been more of a big deal if anybody had bought this before).

One more thing...

The story that I’d posted on the British site has had over 1300 views–a lot of exposure for very little work.

Whoo hoo!

First sale!  Thus marking the first time in my life that I will be paid for my writing.  And the empire begins to grow…..

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rethinking things

So I’ve been trying a variety of things to get my name out there and stoke some interest.  No sales yet, but that’s not surprising given that nobody knows who I am yet!

I’ve created a FB group in which I’ve posted some stories, and I also posted a short story on a UK site.  So far I’ve had 967 views in two days!  If only those translated into some sales!  I did also just get my first feedback from a reader on that site:

This is simply excellent. I mean the crafting; the style of telling the story…

So that was encouraging.  I’ve also begun work on a novella that I think I’m going to get a professional cover for and see if that works out better.  When I finish and upload that at 2.99, I’m going to drop “Story Collection 1” to 99 cents and see what happens.

So far still SC1 is still “processing” on Barnes and Noble.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Well, I’ve been learning quickly and making a few errors here and there, but nothing too bad.  I hadn’t been on Facebook so I set up an account and started adding friends and joining groups–little did I know that unsolicited friend requests can get you in trouble!  I was banned from adding new friends for two days but now I’m back in the saddle.  I’ve got over 50 friends and belong to a couple of Kindle groups, so my network is slowly growing.

I was going to add a free story on Amazon as a sample, but found out this morning that you have to set a minimum price of 99 cents.  Curses, foiled again!

Instead, I created a Facebook group for short-short stories and listed the story there, so perhaps that will work just as well, if not better.

No sales yet, apparently, but it’s a bit early to worry about that, I’d say.  Instead, I have already planned out a few new stories.  Gotta get my (pen) name out there!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1

Hello world!  Welcome to my blog detailing my leap into self-published fiction.

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer.  Big surprise.  I wonder how many blogs of this type have some variation of that line in them?  A precious few, however, include this:  as proof of my youthful interest in writing, I can report that as a teenager I bought, read and enjoyed Isaac Asimov’s autobiography.  Yes, you may assume that I pretty much had my pick of the ladies when I was in high school.

I’ve written on-and-off for years, and like many hopeful authors I have a collection of half-finished things collecting dust; the only thing I’ve ever had published, however, was an essay in Foreign Service Journal a few years ago, for which I received three contributor’s copies.  Incidentally, as a teenager I sent a few things out and got a few rejection letters back; at the time, the idea of getting paid in copies seemed insulting.  When I actually got mine, it seemed kind of sweet.

With a family and a full-time job, I had essentially resigned myself to not pursuing writing until retirement.  It worked for Frank McCourt, didn’t it?  Nevertheless, in 2010 I decided to start writing again and I began plotting out several stories.  Sometime late in 2010—I don’t remember when—I happened to read JA Konrath’s blog, which I had first read a few years ago but had ignored for some time.  By this time, Konrath was on the self-publishing bandwagon (hell, he pretty much WAS the bandwagon, it seemed) and the more I read, the more I began to think about doing the same.  In December 2010, I first heard about Amanda Hocking, who hails from right next door to my native Wisconsin (and Konrath is from IL.  The Midwest really is underrated).  Hocking sold 100,000 books in December, and her story is really incredible.  The more I read Konrath’s blog, the more convinced I was that this was something that I could do (er, self-publish, not match his or Hocking’s numbers). 

I decided to really make an effort, but with a roundabout route.  While I have a plan for a series of YA novels, I have not yet begun to assemble my stuff into anything publishable.  I also didn’t want to miss out on the chance to learn as I went, but I did not want to put my “real” stuff through before I knew what I was doing.  Thus I decided to begin publishing under a pen name so I could see how to do things.  If it sells, great!  If not, no big deal.  I wrote a three-story collection in a genre I’d never even tried before, and as of today, my first book (which I’ll refer to as “Story Collection 1”, or SC1) is now live on Amazon.  The process for uploading was actually amazingly easy; while I confess that this wasn’t how I imagined entering the publishing world, there is something absolutely thrilling about seeing my work out there on Amazon.  If things go well with this first collection then I may do others, all the while working on my “real” fiction.