Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in review

Well, it’s been nearly a year since I began self-publishing—I actually started in mid-January 2011, but we’ll call it a full year to make it easy.  Overall I’ve been very happy with how things have been going.  I’ve made some cash and learned a lot and I feel well-prepared to keep moving forward.  Here are some random thoughts:

My experience with KDP Select is mixed—I have one story and one story collection in the program right now.  My sales have been good, but I couldn’t say that they’re a direct result of any exposure I have in KDP Select, since it might just be holiday buying.  Also, I find it maddening that Amazon’s sales reporting is so mushy, lumping in free “sales” with paid sales.  I really prefer B/N’s system.  As I’d said in an earlier blog post, I think that for those with a wide variety of other books, Select may be a useful way to introduce a new title, so I may try it again in the future.

I’m planning to focus almost exclusively on novels in 2012.  I released my romance novel the second week in December and I’ve had 10 sales, which I am thrilled with—no marketing, no ads, nothing, and I still got 10 sales.  I fooled around with the price a bit; it’s currently at 3.29 but I’ve had it as high as 3.95 (and I actually had some sales at that price).  The followup book is well under way and I hope to release it in February or March.

I absolutely love the Kindle Fire I got for Christmas, but I have decided to buy all my new books from Barnes and Noble from now on.  Amazon doesn’t need my help, but I would like to do my part to make sure B/N sticks around for a good long while.

November was my best month all year, and just today I edged past that on Barnes and Noble (and I am guessing that I passed last month’s Amazon total earlier), so December now jumped into the number one spot.  It’s still not a huge amount of money coming in—enough to pay some bills, though, so I’m not complaining.  I’m earning about 3% of what I would need in order to write as a full time job.

My goals for 2012 (keeping in mind Dean Wesley Smith’s recent post about the difference between goals and dreams):  finish and release three more novels (thus a total of four on sale), as well as two stories and a novella I have on the back burner.  Considering that the 2nd novel is about halfway finished, I think I’m making good time.  And as for dreams?  Well, I have plenty of those too, believe me.

Happy new year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today's big, huge, enormous Amazon news

So I'm not going to pretend that I know enough about self-publishing yet to say that I can fully appreciate the announcement of KDP Select this morning.  But in a nutshell, holy shit! :)  So you can put up a title exclusively at Amazon to be lent to Amazon Prime members, yet still get paid a percentage of a monthly pot of a half-million dollars.  AND you can choose 5 days every 90-day period to make that title free--thus stimulating downloads by non-Prime members?  Amazing.  Of course, this will work best for those who have other titles that the above will generate interest in, so it might be a tad early for me.  And I'm sure that even this will not sit right with some authors, based on the never-ending debate about pricing, lending and so on.  But I'm certainly going to be watching this closely, that's for sure.  Once I have a larger backlist available--I'm thinking a year from now--this could be huge.  For others, this will be huge already.
About the only downside I see at the moment is that it requires that the titles are not available elsewhere in the same format, though if I remember paper books are okay.  Thus you can't sell from B/N, Smashwords and so on, or even your own website.  For many authors who have books out through other available channels, I suspect it would be more trouble than it's worth to take down titles, but for somebody who's just about to put out a new one, this Christmas gift came early.
Very, very interesting day.