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Here we are again, mid-month. That can mean only one thing — it’s time for another installment of What Happened Last Month in the Writerly Life of Self-Published Author #894752487652378465? Fear not, as there are answers anon. And below. Observe:

Not much.

Okay, that’s probably a little succinct. But things have been remarkably steady since I enrolled my humble scribblin’s in KDP Select a few months back. I’m not burning up the bestseller charts by any means, but a fair (to me, anyway) number of readers are taking a chance on my stuff via the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and parking my fiction of questionable merit in line behind the digital works of writers exponentially more talented than I. And for that, I bid them thanks. And a high-five. Couldn’t resist it.

The Age of the Crooked Number continued into May, and I may have found a way to continue it into June (he said foreshadowingly). A World Gone Gray, much to its cousins’ dismay, is still lording over them in the sales\borrow department, and seems to have firmly established itself as the alpha ebook of the pack. No news there.

On the social media front, I’m still social media-ing. Which in my case means Twitter. I’m up around 3,500 followers, which may or may not mean something. It only took me a year and a half to come up with the novel concept of adding a cover image to my tweets, and that seems to have increased the number of engagements I’m getting per tweet. Before you lapse completely into a coma, I’ll get to the point: there is none. I haven’t noticed any corresponding increase in actual sales and\or borrows. Sorry.

Remember that gun on the mantle way back in paragraph four? Well, it’s about to go off. But in a good and nonviolent kinda way. In fact, it could save you 25%, 50%, even 75% on A World Gone Gray. If you play your cards right…

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Bear with me for a moment while I attempt to come up with a colorful springtime pun to open this post. I hear I’m pretty litigious, and I’m trying to avoid plagiarizing myself. Let’s see. “April is the cruelest…” Done it. Something to do with baseball and rebirth? Done to death. Ah, here we go…

If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring? The obvious answer (according to the International Alliance of Archaic Jokes [IAAJ] ), is pilgrims. And in a roundabout kind of way, pilgrims had a lot to do with defining my April, writer-wise. I’m using the word pilgrim a bit loosely here. To me, a pilgrim is a risk-taker, someone willing to make sacrifices in exchange for a roughly fifty-fifty chance of achieving some great reward in the end.

I managed to extend my Cal Ripken-like streak of crooked-number sales/borrows into Month the Sixth. Three intrepid sci-fi aficionados borrowed AWGG using Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and one independently-wealthy soul slid nearly four dollars to the center of the table, betting heavily on the aforementioned tome. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who took a look at my fiction of questionable merit, and a special hollow in my heart (at no small cost to myself) has been surgically dug-out to house the Fabulous Four who joined me in this April pilgrimage.

I broke another streak of sorts last month. I hadn’t received a review of any of my books in close to half a year, but I noticed a review (Number the Second!) of AWGG on Amazon’s US site circa mid-month. Before my fellow stat-freaks freak out, I’ll let the cat out of the bag to feast upon the spilled beans: Three stars. Although in fairness (to myself), I must add that the reviewer gave me 3.5 in his/her title to the review. One-star, five-star, I don’t care. Anyone who takes the time to discover, buy/borrow, read, and review my humble scribblin’s gets a palm-reddening high-five in my book.

I’m pleased with Kindle Unlimited thus far. Sometime this month (May, for those as forgetful as I), I’m going to test-drive their Countdown and/or free giveaway promotion(s). The caveat continues; I’m new to this. I still don’t quite know what I’m doing, so nothing I type should be taken as gospel.

As always, thank you, thank you, thank you.

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You know you’ve been neglecting your blog when you have to sift through piles of handwritten notes just to find your password. In an attempt to make amends, I’d like to take a moment and issue a formal apology to Writes and Submission: Sorry, Writes and Submission. I promise to give you the attention you so rightly deserve in the coming months. And to my legions of readers (also known as Mom), thanks for hanging in there.

Last month I waved goodbye to Smashwords and their affiliates and decided to go it alone with a humble international multi-billion-dollar conglomerate called Amazon. You may have heard of them. The move made sense at the time. Over 90% of my previous year-plus of sales had come via Mr. Bezos’s brainchild. Still, I was dipping my toe into uncharted waters and didn’t have a clue as to what to expect.

Thankfully, my streak of crooked numbers carried over into March, even though I failed to sell a single copy of any of my ebooks. Before I’m indicted on murder charges for blowing all of your minds, please allow me to explain. Although I didn’t sell any books, I did manage to coax a few adventurous readers into “checking out” my stuff from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Even better, awesome readers from three different countries took a chance on two of my offerings of questionable merit. A World Gone Gray at AmazonUS had been bogarting things for awhile, so it came as a pleasant surprise to see other works and marketplaces working their ways into the mix.

I’m still doing the Twitter thing. I still have no idea how it’s impacting sales and/or borrows, but I figure it can’t hurt. As always, discovering other writers, artists, musicians, comedians, filmmakers, and others of similar ilk is great. I also have this new icon thingy that allows me to see how many people have “interacted” with my tweets. It magically appeared right around the time I sent tweet #5,000. I’m not sure if that’s just a coincidence or if it’s a “welcome to the club” benefit of persistently using their product. In any event, it seems pretty useful.

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, thank you so much for giving my work a look. And an extra-exuberant high-five to the intrepid souls who invested in my scribblin’s in March.

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In between bouts of shoveling unseasonably-heavy amounts of snow and resisting the urge to punch the face of Winter Itself, I managed to do some self-published-writer-ish things last month. Here are the chilling details…

Actually, I can’t complain. I put another crooked number in the sales column, which is always a pleasant surprise. Appropriately enough, golfers in climes more temperate than mine would refer to said number as a snowman. Just like last month, all sales were of A World Gone Gray and came courtesy of the fine folks at Amazon (US incarnation). I’m sensing a theme here…

Speaking of the aforementioned theme, I deleted my books from Smashwords and their affiliates a couple of weeks ago, waited a while for the deletions to trickle their way down the affiliate stream, then enrolled all of my books in KDP Select. Again, nothing against Smashwords. I actually like them and their services quite a bit. I just wasn’t making any sales there, so the logical thing to do (after more than a year of crunching the numbers) was to go exclusively with Amazon. Needless to say (or type, in this case), I’m looking forward to seeing how the whole Select thing will affect sales, exposure, etc.

Again, I failed egregiously at keeping up with this here Web log last month. I’ve still been plugging away at Twitter, though. Again, I couldn’t tell you if 24/7 Twitter equates to more ebook sales or more pissed-off unfollowers. Who knows? As always though, it’s nice to discover other writers and artists (I can’t bring myself to include myself in that category — so alien) there. I mentioned in passing in last month’s AAR that I’m seriously considering publishing AWGG in paperback form via Createspace. I still may or may not do that. So there’s your update. Right there.

In all seriousness, I’d like to extend a cyber-handshake to any and all who perused my fiction of questionable merit in February. To those who spent their hard-earned cash on my words, you get either a cyber-fist-bump or a cyber-bro-hug. Completely dependent upon your level of comfort regarding personal space. Reader’s choice.

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It’s hard to believe I’ve been grinding away at this blog long enough to have to include years with my AARs for clarification’s sake. But there’s the proof, right there in the title. Here’s what happened last month…

On the bright side, I sold more books in January than in the previous four months combined. Unless you suffer (or benefit; who am I to judge?) from polydactyly, you’d be hard-pressed to count my sales of A World Gone Gray at AmazonUS on one hand. I’m sure lowering the price to 99¢ had a lot to do with the boost in sales. Although I didn’t quite crack the NYT bestseller list, it felt good to put a crooked number on the board. As always, thanks to all who took a look at my books. And extra-credit to those intrepid souls who wagered a bit of their hard-earned cash on my fiction of questionable merit.

On the social media front, I’m still lagging (obviously) when it comes to this here blog. I’ve been more consistent on Twitter, where I toss my humble wares into the digital void six or seven days a week. I haven’t discovered a correlation between Twitter activity and ebook sales yet, but I have discovered a lot of talented writers and artists and musicians and actors and comedians and directors…

So what’s your deal, Broome? Are you going to just keep on keeping on, or are you going to make some changes in regards to your writerly endeavors?

Glad you asked, though I kinda wish you’d’ve done it in a less awkward way. But yes. Yes I am. Regarding the changes thing.

Change the First: I’m done with Smashwords. I don’t have a problem with them; I’m just not selling anything there or at their affiliates. Well over 90% of my sales have come via Amazon, so it makes sense (to me, anyway) to put all my ebooks in one basket and take advantage of Amazon’s promotional tools. If exclusivity is the price I have to pay, I’m cool with it at this point.

Change the Second: I’m seriously considering releasing A World Gone Gray in paperback form. It’s by far my best seller (which ain’t sayin’ much), and I’m interested in seeing how it fares in physical form (#AlliterationNation). On top of that, I’m seriously considering releasing I Like Mike in ebook form. It’s a RomCom/political satire type thing that’s awaiting a final round of polishing and a cheap cover. I hope to have both secured by Spring. We’ll see…

Change the Third: I’ve finally started doing that thing where you type words and make a story and stuff. I think it’s called “writing,” but it’s been so long since I’ve done it I couldn’t tell you for sure. Anyhoo, I’ve been doing it consistently for a couple of weeks now. I’m hoping that means this hellacious case of writer’s block is unblocked. Only time will tell (he typed ominously…)…

Once again, many, many thanks to anyone who dared to read the stuff I wrote.

 

 

 

 

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…offer my humble wares at mind-bogglingly microscopic prices-*.

Yep, it’s true. If you (like me) harbor a raging hatred of Dollar General due to their exorbitant prices, I invite you to join me here on Ninety-Nine Cent Island. Tattoo and Ricardo Montalban are present and accounted for, eager to cater to your every whim.

Crave an eclectic mix of ten dark tales for $0.99? 112,000 words of epic sci-fi for $0.99? Your wish is their command.

Perhaps you’d like to delve into a bit of quirky rom-com, but you fear said rom-com will set you back an entire Washington. No problem here. Simply purchase a copy of The Transience of Youth at Amazon for a mere 99¢. A penny saved is a penny earned, is it not?

Feel lucky? Well, do you? Then go ahead and risk a cent less than a buck on Signal Fire. It’s good. No doubt about that. But will its flaky author finish its sequel before 2015 becomes 2016? Who knows. But at 99¢ a pop, can you really afford to pass this opportunity up?

In summation: Lots of words, few cents. Do with them what you will.

And, as always, thanks to each and every one of my readers.

 

* — It looks like the new $0.99 prices are live at Amazon in the US, Australia, and Canada. Not so much in the UK. But then it’s kinda late there… Stay tuned, and feel free to refresh…

December 2014 provided me with my first full-month year-over-year sales statistics. It also provided me with many reasons to curse the literary Gods, hurl my copy of The Elements of Style to the ground in a huff, and vow never again to grace the InterWebs with my self-published genius. Then I took a deep breath, relaxed, and began the second paragraph of this blog post.

First, the gory year-over-year details:

December 2013 — A World Gone Gray: 18

December 2014 — A World Gone Gray: 1

For the math-challenged (myself included) that comes out to an 18:1 ratio. In the negative. Generally, one hopes to see improvement over time as far as sales of ebooks is concerned. Clearly, in this case, no. The possible reasons for this drop-off in sales are myriad. Maybe it was the favorable conditions provided by Amazon at the time of my first book launch becoming less-than-favorable over time. Exposure seemed to be at an apex when I released AWGG (Thanksgiving-ish, 2013), and I managed double-figures in monthly sales through March. Sales gradually dropped off after that, month-over-month, due in some part, I imagine, to the advent of Kindle Unlimited. Frankly, I have no idea what’s driving indie ebook sales at Amazon these days. All I can confirm is that the overall sales for AWGG over the 13.3 months of its existence resemble the right side of a bell curve.

Clearly, changes need to be made. The slipshod gameplan I had in place prior to my foray into this self-publishing thing has proved less-than-successful. In lieu of firing my offensive coordinator, head coach, and general manager, I’ve decided to…

 

If you’re like me, you’ve spent the past couple months curled up in a corner, begging God and Baby Rudolph to please make the holiday season go away. If, however, you’re a normal, well-adjusted member of Western society, you’ve been running around like a crazy person since All Hallow’s Eve, stretching your nerves and your credit cards to the limit in order to make Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa just so. I both pity and envy you.

Anyhoo, I’d like to reward you all for your hard work (and help ease the pain of next month’s bills) by offering unprecedented savings on my humble scribblin’s through New Year’s Day. Use the special coupon codes below and save 67-75% on each (or every!) one of my unique little snowflakes at Smashwords. Just 99¢ apiece!

 

A WORLD GONE GRAY COMPLETED DESIGN200x300px 112,000 words of epic apocalyptic Sci-Fi. Just $3.99 $0.99 when you use coupon code NQ95H.

LIKE LIFE ITSELF COMPLETED DESIGN200x300px Ten dark tales, a few of which have some light at the end of the tunnel. A mere $2.99 $0.99 with code JP77W.

TransienceOriginal 79,000 words of unconventional Rom-Com! Only $2.99 $0.99 using coupon code EY83H.

SIGNAL FIRE COMPLETED DESIGN_thumbnail 95,000 words of apocalyptic Sci-Fi. First of a planned two-part series. $2.99 $0.99 when you use code GQ98Y.

 

All coupons good through January 1, 2015.

As always, a sincere thanks for your patronage. Best of wishes to you and yours in 2015!

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Since I went all verbose on ya’ll in my last post, I’ll keep this one short and sweet.

November, compared to the previous month that shall not speak its name (mostly because it’s a month and by definition can’t), went better than I anticipated it would. Imagine, if you will, my total sales were represented by fingers. One could conceivably (a) flash the peace sign, or (b) flip the double-bird, depending upon one’s current state of mind. For the sake of humanity, I hope one envisioned the former.

Anyhoo, I always get a kick out of selling books in OTA (Other Than America) countries, and I was pleased to sell one of the above-mentioned (albeit cryptically) copies of A World Gone Gray in the UK. The other sale of AWGG went to the US, as have the majority of my overall sales. Let the rivalry begin.

On the social media front, I sucked at blogging but rocked at Twitter. I know I need to pay more attention to the grind that is this blog thing, but Twitter is so fast and easy. I mean, look at the size of the Notifications on that one.

Honesty, I’m humbled to have sold two books to two (or one [jet-setting]) adventurous reader(s). It gives me the motivation to keep on keeping on, and it makes me want to write a better book next time. Sincere thanks.

 

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.


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