My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

News, trends, and the future of publishing
User avatar
Ryan
Posts: 205
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 2:25 pm
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by Ryan » September 15th, 2011, 9:21 pm

I just spent some time reading this thread and going through your blog Dave. Exciting, encouraging, and informative. Sharing your experience and what you know is leading people to your fiction. You probably have enough experience to be a consultant to other authors who are looking to navigate the self-publishing world. Keep it coming.
Last edited by Ryan on September 16th, 2011, 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My love of fly fishing and surfing connects me to rivers and the ocean. Time with water reminds me to pursue those silly little streams of thought that run rampant in my head.
http://www.withoutrain.com/

User avatar
dgaughran
Posts: 295
Joined: September 29th, 2010, 6:26 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by dgaughran » September 16th, 2011, 8:29 am

Thank you very much, Ryan.

It certainly hasn't been easy. That huge drop to nearly nothing in my second month was a real blow. And I will have another huge drop this month to deal with (unless some miracle happens in the next two weeks).

It requires constant work, and a lot of late nights, but it is very rewarding. I'm certainly very far from being able to support myself from writing, but I can now see that one day that might be possible - with a bit of luck and a hell of a lot more hard work - and that's certainly something I couldn't say six months ago.

Dave
Image   Image Image   Image <---NEW RELEASE!!!
Download the FREE PDF version at my blog: Let's Get Digital

User avatar
Ryan
Posts: 205
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 2:25 pm
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by Ryan » September 16th, 2011, 12:53 pm

It requires constant work, and a lot of late nights, but it is very rewarding.
Yes. Social media is very dynamic so you have to be on it all the time to generate traffic. You have really have to be "social" and not just cruise around trumpeting or bull-horning. That takes a lot of time. I do find it rewarding and I've 'met' some cool people through forums and blogging, but at times, it gets a little overwhelming--feels a little too much like WORK.

As you stated in one of your earlier posts, the model is a good one. It's not like making furniture or jewelry where you sell one and then have to make another. Once we get our books into world they are there forever to share and hopefully put a little-a lot! of money in our pockets. Just enough so I don't have to worry. Enough to buy organic all time, and enough to go to Hawaii to surf once year. That's all. :)

I'm super pumped to release the iPad version of my book soon. Fingertip-touchscreen-worldwide distribution....gotta love it!
My love of fly fishing and surfing connects me to rivers and the ocean. Time with water reminds me to pursue those silly little streams of thought that run rampant in my head.
http://www.withoutrain.com/

User avatar
dgaughran
Posts: 295
Joined: September 29th, 2010, 6:26 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by dgaughran » November 13th, 2011, 1:07 pm

Sorry, I lost track of this thread. I haven't been around the forum much in the last couple of months - I've been trapped in my writing cave getting a big Christmas release ready.

Anyway, my October numbers are here: http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011 ... milestone/

Things are a little down from the heady days of August, but I expected that given I haven't released anything now since late July. I expect things to remain that way until my next release comes out in late December, but the headline news is this: I sold over 1,000 books in my first 6 months. Woop!

I've also got lots of exciting projects on the go, which should jumpstart international sales and I've covered the cost of my next release by using a crowdfunding site to take $2,000 worth of pre-orders. All is good.
Image   Image Image   Image <---NEW RELEASE!!!
Download the FREE PDF version at my blog: Let's Get Digital

jenna234
Posts: 10
Joined: June 4th, 2011, 6:45 pm
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by jenna234 » November 19th, 2011, 9:41 pm

This is so interesting to read. I've always been a big proponent of the traditional publishing route, but my little sister had become a devoted disciple of Joe Konrath and she's been urging me to broaden my perspective. Now I've been trying to figure out how I can learn the mechanics of it without feeling like a complete nitwit. Thanks for showing how it's done!

User avatar
dgaughran
Posts: 295
Joined: September 29th, 2010, 6:26 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by dgaughran » December 6th, 2011, 1:32 pm

For anyone still keeping track, November was a great month.

278 books sold, $565 in revenue. Plus I raised $2,300 in crowdfunding (through taking advance orders for my December release).

Full deets here: http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011 ... ak-or-two/

I'll probably stop updating this thread soon enough (unless people find it useful). I think my point has been made - namely that an unknown, unpublished writer can do well from self-publishing. I've made nearly $5,000 now in 7 months, maybe $3,000 after costs (and those books will keep selling, with no more costs on my side).
Image   Image Image   Image <---NEW RELEASE!!!
Download the FREE PDF version at my blog: Let's Get Digital

betsylycheung
Posts: 2
Joined: January 9th, 2012, 8:11 am
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by betsylycheung » January 9th, 2012, 9:03 am

How did you sell a single story of a few thousand words for two three dollars and what did you do interms of marketing ?

User avatar
dgaughran
Posts: 295
Joined: September 29th, 2010, 6:26 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by dgaughran » January 9th, 2012, 11:26 am

Hi Betsy,

I sell the short stories for 99c. The blue one in my siggy is about 6,000 words. The black and white one is about 4,000 words. That one is actually two 2,000 word stories bundled together, because I felt 99c was a bit steep for something that short.

As for marketing, I could write a book on that. And in fact, I did! You don't have to buy the book. There is a link in my siggy to a free PDF download of the book. There are several chapters on marketing in there (the answer is far too long for a post) - Part 2, Steps 6 to 10, if I remember correctly.

I will say this though, the best marketing you can do is to invest in your product. This means a professional editor and cover designer, and either learning how to format your book to a professional standard or pay someone to do it for you.

Look at the books at the top of the charts in your genre. That's your competition. Present your work to that standard, and marketing is much easier.

Dave
Image   Image Image   Image <---NEW RELEASE!!!
Download the FREE PDF version at my blog: Let's Get Digital

User avatar
dgaughran
Posts: 295
Joined: September 29th, 2010, 6:26 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by dgaughran » February 13th, 2012, 11:36 am

January was a good month - 2nd best so far. I sold around 300 books, and made around $800. UK sales are growing faster than anything else, which is interesting, because I've never done anything to push my books there. Which gets me thinking... why promote at all!

I've sold well over 2,000 books now, so I'm about as happy as I can be. Sales are down significantly in Feb, but I couldn't give a fiddlers. I'm writing every day. That's something I can control.

But the big deal was getting "A Storm Hits Valparaiso" out. (Print edition too!) I funded that book through a crowdfunding exercise. That brought in more than expected, so I was able to add some nice extras like a map I commissioned for the interior, done by a very talented illustrator called Jared Blando. The map is below, and if you want to see more of his work, his site is here: http://theredepic.com/

Image

The above pic is the Kindle version. The contrast is a bit stronger there so it can be viewed nicely on the e-ink screen. There's a bit more shading etc. in the print version.

I can't remember how much the map cost, but I think it was less than $200. I know he's done simpler maps for less.

This book was the one I was querying for 18 months (I think I had a never-ending query thread here for a while!), so it was lovely to finally get it out. I just shipped off the last of the paperbacks to those who pre-ordered through the crowdfunding site. My own copy arrived the other day. I still can't stop looking at it.

Image

Sales are really, really down in Feb. Not sure why - I think there have been some probs with Amazon reporting, but I think mine are down anyway (despite ending January with my best run of sales so far). Kinda puzzling, but I'm focused on writing this month, so trying not to pay any attention.

And when I feel blue, I can just look at my new (print) baby!
Image   Image Image   Image <---NEW RELEASE!!!
Download the FREE PDF version at my blog: Let's Get Digital

User avatar
MattLarkin
Posts: 346
Joined: July 31st, 2011, 9:37 am
Location: St Petersburg, Florida
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by MattLarkin » February 14th, 2012, 8:38 am

That's awesome, Dave. Glad to hear sales were up in January. Map looks great!
mattlarkin.net
larkinediting.com - freelance editing for fantasy and science fiction
ImageImageImage

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by Margo » February 14th, 2012, 11:39 am

dgaughran wrote:January was a good month - 2nd best so far. I sold around 300 books, and made around $800. UK sales are growing faster than anything else, which is interesting, because I've never done anything to push my books there. Which gets me thinking... why promote at all!
Yeah, been asking people that for awhile, but most are too busy on Triberr, Facebook, Twitter, their blogs, other people blogs, writing forums, the Kindlboards, and Goodreads to pay attention to the question. So, while I wait, I just get some more writing done, release some more titles I don't promote at all, and keep cashing the checks. I could buy a new car with what I've made in the last three months. I won't. But it's nice to know I could.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
MattLarkin
Posts: 346
Joined: July 31st, 2011, 9:37 am
Location: St Petersburg, Florida
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by MattLarkin » February 14th, 2012, 4:47 pm

Margo wrote:
dgaughran wrote:January was a good month - 2nd best so far. I sold around 300 books, and made around $800. UK sales are growing faster than anything else, which is interesting, because I've never done anything to push my books there. Which gets me thinking... why promote at all!
Yeah, been asking people that for awhile, but most are too busy on Triberr, Facebook, Twitter, their blogs, other people blogs, writing forums, the Kindlboards, and Goodreads to pay attention to the question. So, while I wait, I just get some more writing done, release some more titles I don't promote at all, and keep cashing the checks. I could buy a new car with what I've made in the last three months. I won't. But it's nice to know I could.
I'm kind of feeling the same, though I certainly don't have the momentum yet you guys have. But in Dave's case, his platform probably gave him some initial sales. This may have led to word of mouth. It's those initial sales that seem really hard to get. With 2000 sales, I'd imagine it only gets better as long as he keeps releasing titles at a reasonable rate.
mattlarkin.net
larkinediting.com - freelance editing for fantasy and science fiction
ImageImageImage

Claudie
Posts: 707
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:57 pm
Location: Quebec
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by Claudie » February 15th, 2012, 12:08 am

Matt, it's been my understanding (through observation only, I haven't published OR self-published anything yet) that those initial sales will come with time and other releases more than with anything else. Most of the numbers I've heard were similar to what Sommer always says about starting a blog: give it six months at least. While you can certainly warn your social circles that you have a book out, your best promotion remains the other book.

I'm curious, though, about whether this applies with series. If I recall correctly you're writing Book 2 of a trilogy, not a different story (not that it's the same. You know what I mean!) Since the theory is that if readers find one of your books and like it, they might buy the other one... in your case they can only start by book 1, no? Anyway, I'm throwing the question out there. I've never heard of whether or not the boost sales from 2nd title helped as much in the case of series.

Local experts? Any thoughts?
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

User avatar
MattLarkin
Posts: 346
Joined: July 31st, 2011, 9:37 am
Location: St Petersburg, Florida
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by MattLarkin » February 15th, 2012, 8:14 am

Claudie wrote:I'm curious, though, about whether this applies with series. If I recall correctly you're writing Book 2 of a trilogy, not a different story (not that it's the same. You know what I mean!) Since the theory is that if readers find one of your books and like it, they might buy the other one... in your case they can only start by book 1, no? Anyway, I'm throwing the question out there. I've never heard of whether or not the boost sales from 2nd title helped as much in the case of series.
That's something I've been thinking about a lot, as well. I'm not sure what the answer is. Having another book could help increase visibility of the series, of course. But, yeah, starting with book 2 is not something most people do.
mattlarkin.net
larkinediting.com - freelance editing for fantasy and science fiction
ImageImageImage

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: My Self-Publishing Experiment - Initial Results.

Post by Margo » February 16th, 2012, 12:50 am

Regarding series, you'll also find readers who say they won't begin a new series until it has a certain number of titles out or even until it's finished. They're tired of writers who either never finish a series or drag out a series that was advertised as 3 books into 10+. **cough**Jordan**cough**Martin**cough

Sorry, furball.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests