Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba

Nothing about writing or publishing today; just wanted to say that my son is of an age to appreciate "Yo Gabba Gabba" and Biz Markie's appearances there.  I am (unfortunately) of an age to remember Biz from the "Just A Friend" days and appreciate that my son is learning to beatbox from him.

Biz has aged pretty well, incidentally.  Devo, which has also appeared on Yo Gabba Gabba, has not.

As a real devotee of 80s music, it pains me to say that, but it's true.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Well, I am happy to report that I hit one hundred monthly sales today!  I had a goal of fifty, but when I set that goal I’d had no idea of what to aim for, so it really was a number plucked out of thin air and pretty much meaningless.  Yesterday was unusual in that it was the first day I sold copies of each of my three titles, incidentally.  I’m thrilled with the number, but I’m well aware that the only reason I sold so many was because they are all priced dirt-cheap (.99).  It’s also hard to get a handle on what a “normal” month would be since I added the third title a week or so ago, so there hasn’t been much time to see what happens when things just sit for a while.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My four-star review

Actually, it's not even a review; it's a four-star rating.  This means that after well over a hundred sales (cumulatively), only one person has clicked on the Barnes and Noble rating device for any of my books.  I'm not complaining (much); I'm just surprised that it's so difficult to get people to leave ratings—let alone write an actual review!


In any case, I'm extremely happy with how February has gone.  I now have two short story collections and a novella live on Amazon, B/N and Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble continues to beat up on Amazon.  As an example, in the last twenty-four hours I've had nine sales on B/N.  I've had one sale on Amazon in the last three days.  Must be the power of that one rating I got on Barnes! J


The novella, which I'd originally priced at 2.99, was selling a copy here and there, but I decided to experiment with the price and dropped it to 1.99, which resulted in absolutely no change at all.  This morning I dropped it to 99 cents.


As JA Konrath has said, the value of a book isn't the price you charge, but rather the profit you derive from it.  Gotta keep that in mind—for me, a few sales at 99 cents will rapidly outpace the earnings from the very few sales I'd had at 2.99, so here's to aiming low!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be undeniably good

OK, so apparently this quote from Steve Martin has been going around for a few years already, but I just heard it yesterday for the first time.  No surprise that I'm late to the party.  In any case, here's his advice on how to succeed:
Be undeniably good. When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them and nobody ever takes note of it ‘cuz it’s not the answer they wanted to hear — what they want to hear is here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script, here’s how you do this — but I always say, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” If somebody’s thinking, “How can I be really good?”, people are going to come to you. It’s much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.
I'm relieved to hear that this approach is easier than the cocktail party route, since I, for one, am so tired of attending cocktail parties!

I think that what he said is excellent advice for anybody venturing into self-publishing:  simple, easy to remember, and perfectly clear.  Whatever you're doing, keep that in the forefront of your mind and good things will come.

Incidentally, I can't be the only person who suspects that writer Steve Martini gets a small, but measurable portion of his sales from people who erroneously thought his book was Steve Martin's.  Or am I?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Amanda Hocking in USA Today

Here is a short article about Amanda Hocking; nothing really new but it does contain the astounding number 450,000, which is the number of books Hocking sold in January alone


Even if you're not into her genre, you've got to be inspired by that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Another interesting day--I finally had another couple of sales on Amazon, plus another good day on B/N, which resulted in another 8 sales, pushing me over last month's number.  Woo hoo! I am surely now going to get a swelled head and be disappointed when I "only" get 2 or 3 sales a day, let alone--God forbid--zero.

OK, back to work!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Amazon vs. B/N

OK, so I totally get that nobody has heard of me--let alone my pen name--and thus I shouldn't expect many sales, much less every day.  But Amazon, did you have to tease me last month?  Did you have to give me sales here and there--sometimes more than one a day--and then cut me off dry for February?  Very frustrating. 

And then there's Barnes and Noble, which has turned out to be much more consistent and which is just killing Amazon right now.  Crushing it. Literally 20 to 1, after eight sales yesterday.  Kind of amazing and a great way to start the day!  My goal for February was to hit fifty sales, so unless B/N also goes off the tracks I should be able to do so.  Knock on wood!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quiet times on KDP

So apparently that has been no glitch; they are just not that into me at Amazon this month.  Oh well, Barnes and Noble has been picking up the slack, and I've already sold more than half the number I did all last month, including 9 sales in just the last two days.  I can't complain!

Bakari Akil had posted a while back about self-publishing being a source of passive income, which had also been on my mind recently.  Several years ago I used to read a lot of personal finance blogs and "passive income"--income coming in without requiring any real work on your part--was a popular topic.  If I recall correctly, one blogger was a big proponent of owning gumball machines, like you see in malls and supermarkets.  While it could be a while before my sales are enough to make me consider quitting my job--and by "a while" I mean a good long while--self-publishing could eventually be my source of passive income.  Given that my job requires us to move every couple of years, it's hard to think of another way to do it.  Sure beats refilling gumball machines, that's for sure.

Of course, the "without requiring any real work" part doesn't address the part where, you know, you write a book.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sales report (and a new strategy)

Wow, either my sales have really been zero at Amazon for the last three days, or there is a hiccup in the sales reporting system there.  The Amazon forums seem to indicate that it could be the latter, so I'll just hang tight.  Fortunately, I had four sales at B/N yesterday, so I'm still pretty happy.

I decided to put together another story collection and include as "bonus material" the first chapter of the novella which I've already released.  You know, to cross-fertilize the synergy by thinking outside the box.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fun with pronunciation

I'm not a Packers fan, but I do love watching people from outside Wisconsin trying to pronounce our place names....

Kids and e-readers

This was a very interesting article in the NYT this morning.  I'd been wondering about what kind of market there was for young adult fiction on Kindle, etc., since a couple of things I'm working on are aimed at that age group.  I thought that this paragraph summed things up nicely--and by that I mean it's astounding:

In 2010 young-adult e-books made up about 6 percent of the total digital sales for titles published by St. Martin’s Press, but so far in 2011, the number is up to 20 percent, a spokeswoman for the publisher said.

"So far in 2011"?  You mean in these last not-quite-five weeks?  And this is while (as JA Konrath recently posted) e-readers still only make up about 11 percent of overall sales?  Amazing.

Aaron Niz, if I remember right, had posted a while back about how this time is like the Gold Rush.  I agree with the sentiment but in my mind I'd compare it to a land rush, and I'm just a homesteader trying to get out there and claim as big a space as I can right now so that I stand out when things really get going.

Yesterday, incidentally, was a Very Sad Day.  No sales of any kind.  This shows me two things:  my expectations have already grown so ridiculous that I think I need to sell something every day even though I've been at this for less than a month (fortunately, B/N shows one sale already this morning, so I'm set for today).  It also shows me that I need to get going on my next project.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


So I've got a snow day today due to the enormous blizzard crossing the country.  Fortunately, I woke up at my normal time (lately) and did a bit of writing before my son got up; since then we've pretty much been playing Plants vs. Zombies.  Not a bad way to spend the day, actually, though I notice it's been very slow, with no sales yet today.  I did, however, tweak the product description for the novella to add a bit more detail.

I also made some notes for later development--there was an idea for a middle grade book that I had a while ago and last night it became much clearer how I might be able to do it, so that was nice, and I also had a revelation regarding the novel that I started several years ago after returning from a stint overseas.  So it's been a worthwhile morning.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First sale of the month

Barnes and Noble just listed the first sale of February.  Good times!

January review

My first book, SC1, went live on Amazon on January 10th.  It went live on Barnes and Noble only several days later, and on Smashwords only a few days ago.  Thus it was far from a full month, yet I still managed to do 29 sales:

Amazon/Amazon UK: 8 SC1, 5 novellas
Barnes: 12 SC1, 1 novella
Smashwords: 3 SC1, 1 novella

I have to say, I'm surprised a bit by the numbers (especially Smashwords--the novella has been live there only since 1/29 and SC1 since 1/30).  Going from zero to 29 in only 3 weeks seems like a pretty good start to me!