National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo, for the hashtag obsessed) is moving along but my manuscript is only keeping a glacial pace. Part of the reason for this has been my focus on promoting my first novel, Adversaries Together, which I wrote last NaNoWriMo. The first week of November I made the book available through Kindle Direct Publishing and today I’ve made it available in a paperback edition through CreateSpace, which Amazon owns.
This month I’m writing the second book in the series, tentatively titled Stricken Cities. Although I’m nearly three weeks into the writing, I’ve only written about 10,000 words. I need to have a sit down and just turn all my notes into text. Going on at the same time, I’m trying to complete my manuscript on Minnesota writers that I’m contracted to do for History Press. The writing for this is coming along fine, it’s the getting photos that’s being a pest (I’m responsible for finding and getting the rights to 30-40 pics). We’ll see how that progresses.
Self-publishing is always iffy. You have to spend a ridiculous amount of time promoting your work and often the folks you’re trying to reach out to fall into one of two categories. Chances are your audience is either other indie authors trying to promote the shit out of their own book or readers who get irrationally angry when you contact them via social media. It’s frightening just how anti-social so many social networks are (Goodreads, Reddit for example). Point is, this is most of your time and what negativity you encounter you just have to let roll off your back.
When you do manage to find a niche, sales are also iffy. My e-book has from November 5th to November 19th sold fifteen copies. Not a lot, but the guiding question needs to be–how many copies would have been sold if I hadn’t made it available? The answer, of course, is zero. So in a way, it’s all positive. KDP gives me 70% royalties, which means I make just over $2 every time my $2.99 ebook is bought. Should anyone buy the paperback version, which is listed at $14.99, I’ll earn between $3 and $6 (depending on if it’s bought through Amazon or through CreateSpace, the latter being the greater royalty). Once I’m done hounding friends and family to buy it and then apologizing to them for making them read an epic fantasy novel with no magic, we’ll see how the numbers go. For now though, I’m happy and eager to see what I can make from this endeavor.
It’s not literary fiction. It’s genre. In my case, the genre is fantasy. Specifically, epic fantasy adventure–swords and magic and dragons, only my story doesn’t have any magic or dragons. What this means is, books are cheap (all senses of the word). These are books meant to entertain and amuse, so do they need to be Nobel Prize caliber? No. Nor should they. My story is at once different and exactly the same as all other fantasy stories. Why not read it? Is the question you should ask.
Chances are my novel is cheaper than your daily coffee, which you throw a quarter of away. Just buy the book. Chances are my paperback novel is cheaper than your favorite six pack of craft beer or the pizza you’ll order tonight, only my book will still be around after this evening. Just buy the book. In fact, buy the coffee, beer, pizza, and my book and make a day of it.
While you debate whether or not to buy my novel. I’m going to go get the first volume of Shutter (which I wrote about once here). You should also check out these other authors because, why not?