Archive for November, 2014

According to the automated notices I’ve received via Twitter and WordPress, this week marks the one-year anniversary of my foray into self-publishing. Seems it was twelve short months ago that I unleashed my debut ebook, A World Gone Gray, on an unsuspecting and largely uninterested public. Let’s all take a moment to remember where we were when that momentous occasion occurred… Then let’s all slap me for my gratuitous use of alliteration.

And no, the irony of paper being the traditional first-year anniversary gift does not escape me.

Anyhoo, I thought I’d share some thoughts on Año Uno. Fair warning — anyone looking for substantive information on How to Become a Successful Self-Published Author should avert their eyes immediately. I still have no idea what I’m doing, and there are a bazillion scumbags out there happy enough to take your time and money and leave you just as confused as I am. This is simply a rehash of my personal experience.

And so it begins…

I went into this thing with what I’d hoped were reasonable expectations. I wanted to offer nicely presented (i.e., attractive cover, solid formatting, tight editing) fiction of questionable merit to potential readers at a fair price through Amazon and Smashwords (and their affiliates). I hoped to entice readers with (1) an eye-catching cover, (2) a compelling description of the work, and (3) a free preview of the first 10-15% (at many sites, anyway) of said work. I also wanted to do all of the above at minimal cost to myself.

[I realize I began every sentence of the preceding paragraph with “I.” I know I used alliteration in the previous sentence. I don’t do this nearly as often in my fiction. I swear.]

How successful I was presentation-wise, I’ll probably never know. You’d have to ask a member of the daring band of devil-may-care readers who saw the covers, read the descriptions, perused the samples, then risked their hard-earned cash on an unknown writer. To them, I’m eternally grateful. Personally, I’m more than pleased with each of my covers. On a down note, I suck at describing my books so it isn’t much of a surprise that my descriptions suck. As far as the free samples go, who knows? Like most writers, I love my own work one day, hate it the next. My taste in fiction/non-fiction is just as schizophrenic. Depends on my mood. I’m guessing most readers are the same way. I know I am.

Blah, blah, BLAH! Enough with the chit-chat, Broome. Stat me!

Okay, okay. Jeez…

As a lifelong seamhead (baseball freak, for the uninitiated), I understand the need for us humans to organize information into nice, tidy, palatable, bite-size chunks called statistics. So here come some chunks:

  • I sold a little over 100 books during my rookie year, which fell right within the five to 30,000,000 range I had in mind before I set out on this journey. About 90% of the sales were at Amazon, and about 90% of them were A World Gone Gray.
  • As noted above, I wanted to keep my out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. I spent roughly $180 (US dollars) on four pre-made ebook covers from The Cover Collection. I’m not a paid sponsor, just a very satisfied customer. Well worth the investment in my case, I think.
  • On formatting, advertizing, marketing, hookers, and heroin, I spent a grand total of $0 (US dollars). I did it all myself. Except for the hookers and heroin. I had help with them.
  • I received six greatly appreciated and completely unsolicited reviews of my ebooks (a wonderfully symmetrical two each at Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Smashwords). Average: 3.83 stars out of 5.
  • I managed to trick over 2200 Twitter folks into following me. About 97% of them seem to be actual people and not software. A lot of them are fellow writers and really cool.
  • Bottom line, you ask? Minus expenses, I’m about $50 in the black after my first year in self-publishing.

The takeaway? Hell if I know. I’m still new to this. Ask me again in five years when I’m sure I’ll still be equally mystified.

In all seriousness, though, I’d like to sincerely thank the nine dozen or so readers who took a chance on me. I hope my books didn’t disappoint you too much, and I hope to pique your interest again someday.





Let’s be honest, folks. October sucks. The entire month’s a blur of non-stop raking, complaining about the chill in the air, and cursing the birth of your favorite baseball team’s general manager. Sure, Halloween provides a sugar- and vandalism-fueled eleventh-hour respite. But otherwise? October is Suck City.

Speaking of suck, here are my sales numbers for the aforementioned month:





That wasn’t a glitch in the Matrix, and I didn’t pass out on the enter key; I simply failed to sell a single book during the entire month of October. Surprisingly, that’s my first shutout. As a semi-professional writer of fiction of questionable merit, I figured my first shutout would’ve come a half-year ago. At least. So in that respect, I consider myself lucky. On the other hand, I now know how every opposing batter felt while facing Madison Bumgarner last month. Helpless.

But October wasn’t a total failure. I received a nice four-star review of Like Life Itself (its first ever!) at Amazon UK on the first of the month, and picked up over 250 Twitter followers, which is awesome. I’ll never win the World’s Biggest Extrovert Award when some extrovert invents it, but I love discovering fellow writers in the Twitterverse and in Otherverses.

What does the future hold, you probably didn’t ask? I’m reevaluating Amazon, though their algorithms are obviously ten steps ahead of mine. After a hot start, my sales have been decidedly cold (see above) for the past nine months or so. Smashwords? Same story. I’m not quite ready to hit the Everything’s Free! panic button, but I fear I’m getting close. November will tell me a lot. I uploaded AWGG around Thanksgiving last year, so I’m (kinda) looking forward to the year-over-year sales numbers. We’ll see.

As always, thanks to everyone who took a look at my books. And huge thanks to the reader who reviewed my short story collection!