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  • Money, money, money – the results of self-publishing one month recap

    It’s the one-month birthday for Haunt My Heart. In the spirit of full disclosure to everyone following my publishing and now my self-publishing journey and in the hopes of inspiring, informing and encouraging new authors with the truth… here’s what happened this month.

    Beware–the truth is in here.

    Thing started out pretty good (in my humble opinion). Of course, I only have my other author friends’ experience to compare it to. All in all it was better than some, worse than others. Still here’s what happened and how I did or didn’t influence it.

    The numbers

    I uploaded Haunt much too early on January 3 because I was anxious and unsure how long it would actually take to appear on Amazon. Official release day was January 5. I went exclusively with Amazon and enrolled it in KDP, which means it was also enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (the subscription program).

    Here are my Amazon sales rank results.

    Haunt Amazon sales rank month one

    It started out pretty strong. I didn’t do pre-order sales. It was REALLY hard to not do pre-order sales because I LOVE having those sales links. it makes it tough to do a lot of pre-promotion without sales links too but I wanted to biggest initial bump I could get. Right or wrong, I chose no pre-order. The highest sales ranking Haunt achieved was 24,881 on release day.

    Here’s my actual sales chart.

    haunt book sales month one

    I had a good bump the first evening after it went live and then the day after my Facebook book launch event. That other spike on January 16 was a result of the blog post I did The cost of self-publishing one book. That post got 1,149 hits to-date (547 on Jan. 16) and people went crazy over it. Mostly good, some negative. That post helped me to sell five books that day so, yay!

    month to date sales Haunt on Amazon

    I was a little underwhelmed with the Kindle Unlimited borrows. I mean, it’s FREE to subscribers. I thought it would reach a LOT more readers than it did. I’m not sure how to increase the exposure there. I started posting daily (for a week and a half) in six different FB Kindle Unlimited groups. I think that has gotten me maybe one borrow a day.

    No one likes to talk about the numbers but authors want–no–need to know. I don’t know why it has to be a big secret. We can learn from one another. It doesn’t have to be a competition. It should be a cooperation.

    Anywhooo…(steps off of soap box)…

    The money

    So, how much did all this amount to in hard-earned cash?

    This screenshot is my e-book sales.

    haunt royalties first month

    This screenshot was my print copy sales.

    haunt print copies royalties units sold month one

    Honestly, print doesn’t hardly seem worth the trouble EXCEPT for the ability to order your own copies for sale at book signings, conventions, promotions and to giveaway to family etc.

    $10.24 was the lowest CreateSpace would let me sell it for. $10.99 is pricey to me for a print book, but several people had insisted they really wanted my book in print. Ten of them bought it from Amazon.

    I did sell around 21 copies out of my car, at my in-person book launch and at my husband’s workplace. I sold those for $10 each so I pocketed around $5.50 a book on those sales, which was a better royalty BUT none of those sales counted toward my Amazon sales numbers. They could have really pushed up my rankings. Would it ultimately have made any difference? Gotten me onto any Top 100 lists? Would those same buyers have gone to Amazon to buy instead of buying my in-person signed copy? Probably not.

    I also gave away 15 copies to friends, family and for prizes.

    I gave away or sold the first 50 books I ordered and reordered another 40 for book signings etc. through the year.

    The review game

    Working with my street team, author network and some random strangers, I managed to accrue 18 Amazon Reviews and five on Goodreads. Of those reviews there were:

    Reviews for Haunt My Heart: 16 – 5-Star, 1 – 4-Star, 1 3-Star

    The 3-star review was from a random stranger who commented my book could have benefitted from some extensive editing (not for typos but for content). I refer her to this post The importance of beta readers and editing for self-publishing. You can’t please everyone 😀

    The promotion & marketing

    I couldn’t afford to spend much on promotion and marketing. What I did do was the following:

    • Facebook Book Launch event the night of release day online and in-person at a local coffee house FREE
    • Facebook post boosts with sales link $25
    • One day book blitz with Bewitching Books (around 20 blog posts, spotlights, interviews) $40
    • Guest posts/spotlights on author friend’s websites (around 20 posts) FREE
    • Posted daily for about two weeks in six different Kindle Unlimited Facebook groups FREE
    • Tweeted hourly for the first week, then backed off. I try to tweet a few times a day now $10 for Hootsuite but I’ve unsubscribed now. FREE
    • Random posts on Facebook until I annoyed all of my friends to death FREE

    The results

    So the grand total royalties for my first month of self-publishing Haunt My Heart?

    $246.87

    The irony of all of this is that as I was working on this post I received my third royalty statement from my traditional publisher. Since publication last March (for two books), I’ve made $287.01 with a traditional publisher.

    I’ve nearly made that in one month all by myself.

    The future

    My second self-published book, Reap & Repent, will release on March 2. Repent was first published last March with Harlequin. I’ve since had the rights reverted back to me to all three books in my Reaper Series. I’m excited about the opportunity to regain control of my writing and my career.

    I’ll never give control away again.

    Viva, Indie!

    Want to read Haunt My Heart or Reap & Repent?

    Haunt My Heart is available on AMAZON now in e-book and print.

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Reap & Repent:  Book One – March 2015

    Repent600x900Reap & Repent blurb

    They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

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  • 5 Lessons From Self-Publishing

    happy first birthday

    Today is the one-week birthday of HAUNT MY HEART, my first self-published book.

    It’s not, however, my first book. My publishing career began last March with the release of Reap & Repent and continued in July with the release of Reap & Redeem by Harlequin E. I was pretty excited to sign with a big-name publisher even though it was a new, digital-only line.

    Let me tell you. I’ve learned a lot in this past year, which is exactly why I self-published my ghost romance, Haunt My Heart.

    1. The best thing about self-publishing is that you get to make ALL of the decisions.

    After spending a year at the mercy of a very, very, speed-of-silence publisher, not having to ask anyone for permission, or an ARC, or a cover pic, or a timeline is nice. Self-publishing is sort of like being a construction contractor. You hire all out all of the work. Since those subcontractors work for you, you have the power and set the deadlines. Yeah. That’s really nice.

    2. The worst thing about self-publishing is that you HAVE to make all of the decisions.

    Sure, you get to hire out all of the work (Or do it yourself. Don’t.), but the problem is deciding who to choose. I googled until my eyes crossed, consulted with other authors I trusted, and agonized over each decision. Was this the right cover artist? Should I try to format it myself? Can I afford to pay an editor,  and then a copyeditor too?

    It comes to the point where you just have to take a leap of faith and forge ahead. Not blindly, you’ve done some homework, but if you second guess each step, you’ll be paralyzed. Make a choice. Just do it.

    The cool thing about being an independent author is if you discover you did make a mistake, you can fix it. Immediately. Without an email committee of gatekeepers to struggle through.

    3. Money is not the root of all evil. Access to real-time sales statistics is.

    Amazon shows me the money. And the stats. And the rankings. Dear sweet and fluffy lord.

    After having very little insight into real-time sales and royalties, self-publishing is like being paroled. Or I assume it is. I’ve never been in actual jail. (No, that trespassing ticket didn’t count.) I published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct and CreateSpace where you can see if you’ve had a sale practically minute-by-minute…or not.

    I swear if Amazon ever makes an author app that dings or sends  a notification for each sale and/or review, I’m sunk. I’m already addicted to obsessively refreshing the page on my phone and laptop. Yeah. It’s bad.

    I’m the poster child for Pavlov’s dog.

    4. Marketing is annoying. For you and for me.

    I hate being THAT person on Twitter and Facebook, but if I’m not tooting the Haunt My Heart horn, who will? A big-time publisher sure didn’t. If someone knows of a better way, I’m all for it. The hardest thing about publishing is building a platform and finding your people. I’ve been following the Field of Dreams philosophy so far. If you build it, they will come.

    5. You can make money and still not make a profit.

    There are some amazing self-publishing success stories out there. Amanda Hocking, Hugh Howey, Jacinda Wilder…you know the names. Of course, the dream is it could just as easily be YOU. Lightning could strike.

    After my first week of sales, I’m pretty pleased. No lightning strikes, but I have earned 4.5x as much in one week being self-published as I did in two quarters with two traditionally published books. Yeah. That math makes your head hurt doesn’t it.

    That said, I’m a long, long way from profitability.

    But, I’m in this for the long-run, and I know you have to plant a lot of seeds sometimes before you can reap a harvest.

    Good that I know a thing or two about reaping.

    Want to read my first self-publishing effort? Lucky you! You can get it here:  Amazon Kindle     

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - CopyBook Description:

    A Civil War soldier dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF, and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex—a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for my NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

     


  • Haunt My Heart is LIVE on Amazon!

    Haunt My Heart is LIVE on Amazon! In my excitement, I jumped the gun, ha! It’s available in e-book and print starting…NOW. If you buy the print version, you can download the e-book version for FREE with Kindle Matchbook as an added bonus! Comment here if you need help with that part!

    Kindle: http://amzn.to/1Bx3fzQ
    Print version: http://amzn.to/1Bwurio

    HauntMyHeartFinal (533x800) - Copy

    A Civil War soldier is hexed and dies to save his men. Can he find true love to live again?

    Sarah Knight has a job she’s good at, a quirky BFF and a boyfriend who’s bad for her. When Sarah unearths a Civil War artifact on a ghost hunt at Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg, VA, she brings home more than a souvenir.

    Lieutenant James “Tanner” Dawson fought for the Union, working as a supernatural liaison for his Major General in a secret Masonic offset called the Brothers of Peril. When he’s hexed by a witch, he learns the only way to save his men is to die himself. But death is not the end. Awakening 150 years later, he knows if he wants to be corporeal again, he has to find true love to break the hex: a task no easier in 21st century than it was in the 19th.

    Thank you!!!