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State Of My Personal Indie Nation – August 2011 Edition

01 Sep

You know, writing these is a really fun part of every month, no matter how productive (or unproductive) I’ve been. With that said, this month I got quite a bit done! First, as usual, let’s look at some numbers:

August 2011 Sales

Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns – 3
Miya Black, Pirate Princess II: Freedom & Responsibility – 1
Miya Black, Pirate Princess III: Fractured Lives – 6
Charlotte Powers: Power Down – 68
Charlotte Powers: Power Play – 1
Resonance Book One: Birds Of Passage – 0
The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud – 7
The Boy & Little Witch – 1

Total Sales For August: 87

Here’s an interesting little thing, from March to this month sales for Resonance: Birds Of Passage go 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Ahaha! Anyway, I love this month’s numbers, they’re a little better than last month’s but not excessively so. Gradual increase, that’s what I like to see. Apparently August is supposed to be the worst month for sales, so, well, hopefully that means next month will be even better? Also it turned out I was completely wrong in my prediction about August being the first month where I sold less than the month before, so … I don’t know, I am of course happy to be wrong about this, and with my plans to officially release Power Play next month I hope that I’ll see more sales in September than I did in August, but predictions don’t seem to be my strong point so, y’know, I don’t know, just wait and see I guess.

Power Down continues to be my runaway success, which I honestly wouldn’t have picked–oh, one interesting thing is that increasing the price to $2.99 from 99 cents doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted sales in the least. If anything it increased sales. So, well, yes. I don’t think I’ll be increasing the prices of my other books–I don’t think there’s much point until you’re getting at the least a sale a day–but it’s nice to know that I can get away with pricing the Charlotte Powers series at $2.99. I’m playing the long game with this indie author thing, but eventually money will become important. For next month, I’ll be interested to see just how the sales of Power Down translate into sales of the sequel.

TIP OF THE MONTH: If you want to see moderate success as an indie author, write a gosh-darned superhero novel. They actually sell.

I reached a few fun milestones this month: over a hundred copies sold of a single title (Power Down, of course) and over two hundred copies sold across all titles (almost three hundred, actually, which is kind of amazing). From tiny acorns do mighty oaks etc. etc. and so forth, I’m really happy with how things are going right now, how things have progressed over the last half-year or so. Speaking as someone who needs very little external validation I do feel validated by the sales I’m getting and (especially) the nice reviews and comments I’ve been receiving. It really does mean a lot to me, and it makes writing even more funner knowing that there are people out there reading and enjoying my work. Special mention goes to the great tweet I got last week demanding that Miya Black III be put out in print, I loved that! Considering that I’ve sold exactly two (2) print copies of Miya Black II, however, it’s not really financially viable at this point in time. I wish I could justify the cost of printing, but with how ridiculously expensive it is to get proofs sent to New Zealand (honestly, you would not believe me if I told you), I actually kind of can’t afford it right now.

Enough about sales and lovely readers and such, what have I actually accomplished this month? Surprisingly, quite a bit! Although I failed my self-imposed novella-in-a-month challenge I don’t regret doing it in the least–it just happened that the story idea turned out to not be good enough. I learned from my mistakes, I had a lot of fun writing it, and most importantly it broke me out of the series fatigue I was suffering and spurred me on to getting Power Play finished. With the first draft firmly in hand I ripped through the edits and the proofs, and now it’s ready to publish. In fact it’s already available to buy, but I haven’t done any announcements yet.

Anyway, releasing Power Play means I’m free to move on to whatever I want, which may be the sequel to Birds Of Passage. I know, I know, it’s my least-selling title, but I love the story and I love the characters and I’ve worked really, really hard on this book, probably harder than I’ve worked on anything (except maybe Miya Black V), and I want to share it with people. Even if it’s only my family, they all really liked the first one, probably more than anything else I’ve written, and the second one (in my singular opinion) blows the first out of the water in every possible way–characterisation, plot, story, quality of writing, moments, everything, it’s just such a better book. Perhaps my favourite of any book I’ve yet written. As it stands I’ve got 180,000 words down, I’m close to the end, so just getting a first draft done wouldn’t be a huge chore … yes, I should finish the first draft. It’s all outlined, I just have to write it.

So, with all of that said, let’s move on to goals. I accomplished all of my goals for August, but seeing as they were pretty much just “finish Power Play; take a deep breath” there wasn’t much chance of failure. Goals for next month, though? Well …

September 2011 Goals
1 – Release Charlotte Powers: Power Play. (Kind of already done!)
2 – Finish first draft of Against Darker Days.
3 – Maybe a proper outline of Charlotte Powers: Hidden Power?
4 – Editing run of Miya Black IV wouldn’t go amiss.
5 – Take another look at Jean Scarlet: Swansong?
6 – Continue picking away at Fantasy Losers.

Now that I come to think about it, I don’t really have a solid plan for the rest of the year. November’s coming up, not sure what I’m going to do for my NaNovel, maaaaybe a Charlotte Powers novel since they seem to come so easily–there’s a character introduced in Power Play who I am dying to write more about, not in diary format (she’s not a diary sort of girl) but she’d make an amazing narrator … hmm. Well, anyway, I should try to be more focused. Maybe a new paragraph would help.

What do I want to have achieved by the end of the year? I’d really love to have ten books out, that’d be great. Right now I’ve published seven, Power Play will make it eight, so two more … Miya Black IV would be easy, and although editing Against Darker Days is going to be a hard grind I’m fairly confident I could get it out before January. Focus on those two? Thinking about it like that, I’m almost certain that I’m going to have more than ten books out before next year. Charlotte Powers 3, for one, I’ve already got the basic plot figured out and I know exactly how it’s going to end, which always makes everything so much easier … if I don’t start writing it before November I could dash it out as my NaNovel. Hmm. But I’ve already started outlining, that’d feel like cheating, no, it’s going to have to be something else for November. Maybe one of my novella ideas, I have a Doctor Who/Sapphire & Steel-influenced story I’m quite keen to write, it’d likely fit into 50k rather neatly, Fantasy Losers would probably suit 50k too … but I can think about this later, closer to November (although I’m already getting rather excited about doing NaNoWriMo this year, REALLY looking forward to it). Besides anything the week before November the idea for a novel could just pop into my head–as happened last year with Power Down–scuppering any plans I might have. In any case I’ve already rambled on far too much, I do allow myself to get a little self-indulgent with these ‘state of my personal indie nation’ things. Once a month is allowable, I feel.

So, to wrap up, things are going really well! I’m getting some sales, I’m being productive, I feel like my writing is improving by the day, even my editing skills seem to be levelling up, and it looks like I’m going to easily meet–exceed, even–my goals for the year. Most of all I’m having just so much fun, and isn’t that what it’s all about, really?

August was a fun month; I’m looking forward to the next!

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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in My Personal Indie Nation

 

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