Saturday, May 7, 2011

Living the crazy Indie life

My day job has demanded all of me for a week now, and working on my stories has been something I could only dream about doing, but regardless of other obligations, I see my writing as a business deserving my attention. I continue to spend a bit of time each day doing what I consider to be the "business" side of Indie publishing.

The first thing I do is check email in all locations and answer all notes from readers, websites, my editor, my cover artist, and well--you know what I mean. It's only a few minutes--maybe twenty--a day, so it takes little time. I'm not exactly overflowing with them yet on two books, but I consider each one very important.

Next, I want to find out how I am doing so I first head to Smashwords. I check download numbers at Smashwords for Dating A Cougar (Book One of the Never Too Late Series) which is still free there. I see interest in that book as a barometer of interest in all my work so noting that downloads are hitting the 4400 hundred mark at two months is very encouraging. The ten reviews about it are equally so and make me want to go back to my writing immediately. To those of you tracking real numbers, my publish dates on Books 1 and 2 were both in mid-March so I had two weeks of sales on Book 2 before the official end of the Smashwords first quarter.  I just received my first royalty payment from them. It was a grand total of $15.13. Are you laughing? If you are, I can understand your mirth, but I will quote a fellow Smasher and kind mentor Brian S Pratt about this first payment and just say it was $15.13 I did not have so I was very excited to see it. I am using the proceeds to help me pay for the cover of Carved In Stone which is Book 1 of my new series releasing this month.

After I have gotten my warm fuzzy from Smashwords, I jump over to check Amazon to see how I did overnight. Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world buy while I am visiting dreamland. Based on their net 60 pay habit, this month I finally get a payment from the March proceeds at Amazon which was also about two weeks worth. It's about $35 before taxes. I was pleased. The April proceeds I will get in June will be about $80. This is the first week of May and I have three books up now. Dating A Cougar is .99 cents. The other two are $2.99 each. Since May 1, I have sold 38 books total in seven days for a total of about $50.  If I do that good every week, my May royalties (paid out in July 60 days net) will be around $200 before taxes for just those two books. I plan to have Carved In Stone out in a few weeks and Dating A Metro Man (Book 4 of Never Too Late series) out in June.  I am nothing but excited at the possibilities of what having more books for sale might mean.

Then the last thing I do is pop over to Facebook and try think of something to say to the readers and friends who post to me there. I do the same for Twitter which I am just finally getting the hang of after a couple of months. If I'm feeling really brave, I might go check a few reviews. I keep hoping to see some positive ones at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Sony. Now and again I might see one or two. It seems unhappy readers post the most <sigh>.  As I blogged before, these are needed and useful, but I'd like to see the positive ones there, too. Amazon and Smashwords have the best reviews. I know as a consumer and book buyer that I read reviews to see if I want to purchase. So I understand their importance, but I like them to be organic. The best ones are those from readers who just want to say "loved the book, loved the characters, and looking forward to reading you again". I have those and I remind myself frequently to be grateful.

All of the above, including email, social networking, and checking reviews, takes me about forty minutes and I do it once in the very early morning, and sometimes again in the late evening if I have the energy.

Writing this blog is the longest time I spend during the week. It takes me about an hour to write it and another to agonize over whether I should post it or not. The agony seems to be the writer equivalent of an actor's stage fright. But if you're reading this, then you already know that I eventually pull up my big girl panties and put it out there for you.

What I guess I want to say in closing is that the business stuff just seems like such a natural flow to me. I've had a business before that was ten times more demanding and I worked on top of it. When my day job contracts end as they are going to next week for me, then I will use most of my time until they start again to write. I can't tell you how good that feels. I just can't. If you're a writer, and you love to write, then all I can say is Indie publishing has given me the life I have dreamed about and wanted. If you believe in the "math" of sheer numbers (check out blogs of JA Konrath, Barry Eisler, and Dean Wesley-Smith), then at the speed in which I plan to publish books, in a year or so I might not need a day job.  If it were not for the writing risks I took with my work this year in abandoning the traditional route and just putting my work out there for the masses, I would not even have this possibility. 

So if you are hanging on the precipice and wondering if you should spread your wings and try to fly, check out me and all the other Indie authors who are out there learning.  It's hard work, but that's nothing new for any of us, right? Two months in and still hopeful, I'm very satisfied to be living the Indie life.
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