Adventures In Indie-Publishing

So, it has now been two months since the April 25th Kindle publication of Wearing the Cape on Amazon. How is it going? Hard to say since I don’t have a lot to compare it too, so lets look at the good and the bad, bad first.

The Bad: I published too soon. I’d thought WtC had been properly edited, but several reviewers commented on grammar/spelling errors. Also, due to my unfamiliarity with Kindle, several corrections I thought were made were not applied. Consequently, I just finished up a week long reproofing process where I proofed each page with both Microsoft Office and my own eyeball. I have just posted the reproofed manuscript and hope any previous purchasers will forgive me. I am also experiencing an ongoing problem with Amazon which is preventing WtC from appearing in its preferred category (a “team” is working on it).

The Good: despite the proofing problems, WtC has done reasonably well for the indie-publication of an unknown author. Keeping the price at $.99 makes it an easy impulse buy, and the weekly numbers are promising. In the last four weeks they have been: 11, 22, 30, and 52. I credit the June jumps to reviews done in ComicAttack! and The Comic Book Bin (click on their banners to go there).

Both reviewers had both good and bad things to say, but recommended WtC as a good read–especially at the price! Add these reviews to a couple of regular blogger reviews, all of which posted their ratings on Amazon as well, and I ended the month with 10 Amazon reviews and a healthy 4.5-Star average.

Thoughts and plans: Are 100+ sales in the second full month of an indie release a good result? Hard to say, but right now I seem to be experiencing a succession of firsts, and as of this morning I have sold 20 copies since the beginning of July and am averaging 8 sales/day. I am hard at work on WtC’s sequels, while seeking other ways to market WtC.

I am nearly finished proofing a Print On Demand paperback edition, which will also be available through Amazon.com. I don’t expect to sell many of these, but they will increase the book’s visibility and I will try to place them through comic stores, first in Las Vegas, then the West Coast, and see how it goes. Producing the paperback edition will also allow me to sell WtC through Barnes and Noble on the Nook, another market.

I understand that First Novels are only the beginning; a successful indie-author needs a stocked shelf of 5-8 books, helping to sell each other, to have a chance at striking out and becoming a full-time author living off his sales. So I have a ways to go, but my experience so far with WtC is promising. And in the end, writers don’t write for money–we write to write, because we can’t help ourselves.

Ah, the glamor of it all.

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About George

I am a reasonably successful self-published author ("successful" means I can pay the bills and am highly rated in my Amazon category), former financial advisor (writing is more fun), and have something in common with Mitt Romney and Donny Osmond. Guess.
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6 Responses to Adventures In Indie-Publishing

  1. Typos and such are an occupational hazard at this stage. Most readers and reviewers understand that new indie authors do not have professional proofreaders on standby. That said, check out Amazon reviews of big-name sellers and see how many complaints there are about typos!

    Sounds very promising so far. Particularly the increasing numbers. I’d say your sales curve is very healthy. On target for 250 a month, and that will almost certainly rise as those who have bought it get round to reading and recommending. From here things can accelerate fast.

  2. Hello MG,
    I see lots of people who are buying my novel (Confessions of a D-List Supervillain) are also picking up your novel. Congrats on your sales numbers – they’re solid for a 1st novel. Maybe we can set up some kind of cross promotion at some point.

    Regards,
    Jim Bernheimer
    http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Bernheimer/e/B0028OE2UA

    • George says:

      The first thing we could do is review each other’s books–I certainly wouldn’t mind a review on WtC that referenced Confessions if I could do the same. I’ve also been talking to Ben White, the author of Charlotte Powers: Power Down, and perhaps we could find moderator and do a kind of three-way discussion of the superhero genre to mutually post on our blogs (could be interesting, since it looks like all three of us have taken very different approaches to the genre).

  3. George,
    Drop me an email jim at jimbernheimer dot com (Darn spambots! Where’s a real superhero when you need one!) and we can toss around some ideas.

    Jim

    • George says:

      I’m really new at this self-publishing thing, and full of questions but completely blank when it comes to ideas. For example, what do you already do for promotions? Have you noticed a difference in sales numbers between $.99 and $2.99? How many paperback editions of your books do you sell? Etc.

  4. When you guys do get something together there’s a guest spot waiting for you all over at MWi to come and reveal all. The idea of a three-way discussion sounds great.

    Jim, you’ve probably never heard of MWI but check out

    http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/05/07/move-over-spidey-theres-a-new-kid-in-town/

    and

    http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/06/10/bearded-ladies-and-overweight-donkeys-benjamina-white-on-role-models/

    for George’s and Ben’s recent guest posts.

    For my money the big tipping point in e-books is going to be Xmas 2011-New Year 2012 and you guys should be looking to build something to engage with the coming surge.

    One idea would be freebie anthology. Check out what we’re doing with the Summer Book Club:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Summer-Book-Club-ebook/dp/B0058KA72S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1310110098&sr=1-1

    Priced on Amazon because we have no choice, but free via Smashwords and hoping Amazon will price-match. A group of authors offering some new content (short stories, articles, etc) and excerpts from their books. Something like this for a group of superhero novelists, given freely (the Amazon royalties are being donated) and well-promoted, would be snapped up by genre fans who might otherwise think twice about paying for unknown names.

    A free superhero anthology in time for Xmas would be perfect to ride the next surge. If you could grab a couple more superhero authors to join in, all the better. And worth sounding out “bigger” names. They can only say no (or just ignore you) but the more the merrier. More appeal to readers. Further reach for the promotion.

    With the Summer Book Club we have eight books (ten authors) and between us over fifteen sites and blogs, plus supporters all doing their bit to promote. We hope the Christmas Book Club to be even better!

    One other immediate cross-promo suggestion: Put recommendations and links to each other’s books in your final pages. “If you enjoyed this you may also like… by… and … by…”

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