State Of My Personal Indie Nation – November 2011 Edition

01 Dec

NaNovember! And what a crazy NaNoWriMo this one was—my first attempt (Charlotte Powers 3) turned out to be only 40k long, which wasn’t so helpful with a 50k target, so I had to very quickly outline and write another book (Charlotte Powers 4!). Thankfully the second one clocked in at well over the necessary 50k and all was well, although it needs a lot of rewriting. In essence, my first effort was a technical failure but a success as a book, while my second effort was a technical win but a failure as a book. In any case NaNo was hugely fun and I had a great time with it, as always. That’s the real answer to any NaNo-naysayers; it’s fun. Like I always say, nothing’s a waste of time if you’re enjoying yourself, and getting a couple of first drafts out of the deal isn’t too shabby either.

Anyway, numbers!

November 2011 Sales

Charlotte Powers: Power Down – 58
Charlotte Powers: Power Play – 29
The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud – 3
Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns – 1
Miya Black, Pirate Princess II: Freedom & Responsibility – 0
Miya Black, Pirate Princess III: Fractured Lives – 1
Resonance Book One: Birds Of Passage – 0
The Boy & Little Witch – 0

Total Sales For November: 92
Sales/Day: 3

So! It’s finally happened! Finally and definitively I can say that November 2011 is the first month in which I sold LESS than the month previous. Phew! It’s such a relief to have that out of the way. Also, it’s only by four books so it’s not a huge drop. As predicted, the release of the Kindle Fire has resulted in a huge increase of sales of, y’know, ACTUAL comic books from the Kindle store, which has had the effect of pushing Charlotte Powers out of the Superhero Top 100 almost entirely. I’m actually not that upset about this, it was a great little boost for a while but I was never relying on it to continue forever (plus I’m mostly being beaten by The Batman, impossible to feel bad about that). Technically the books shouldn’t have ever been in there at all (it’s the superhero comics section, after all) but it really is the best category for a superhero story (as there isn’t a prose superhero category) (ALTHOUGH THERE SHOULD BE) (zombies too, there are MORE than enough zombie books out there to fill out a category) (but categories are definitely one area where Amazon is deficient), and it meant the book got exposed to people who became interested in it and bought it (and possibly read it and maybe even enjoyed it). What I mean is that I don’t think putting my book in that category was hurting anyone, so I never felt bad about doing so. Anyway! The free ride’s over and consequently sales are down, but that’s okay. YA’s a tough sell no matter what little lucky breaks you get, I just have to hope that enough people liked the story enough to recommend it to friends. (And hope also that it’s still showing up on some also-bought lists.) It might be that next year I have to do some actual (gnngh) marketing, but on the other hand naaaaah. Anyway, although I predict a further drop in sales for Charlotte Powers now that the Superhero Top 100 cheat code doesn’t really work any more, my hope is that they won’t stop completely. As long as I’m selling something I’m okay, it’s when nothing is moving at all that I get a bit down, worried that my fate is to write lovingly crafted, well-reviewed books that sell about ten copies a year.

Anyway, in 2012 I’ll be focusing on my episodic series, that’s going to be VERY fun. I was looking through my notes for it today and it really has the potential to become something pretty special. Of course it’s easy to say that when you haven’t actually written anything, but I’ve got a really good feeling about this one. I think it strikes a good balance between what I want to write and what people want to read, more than anything I’ve yet published—of course, when I say ‘what people want to read’ I don’t really mean mainstream people, I’m more talking about my people, those trope-savvy, webcomic, anime and game-loving people who are always on the lookout for something new and interesting and depthy to latch onto.

Milestones for this month? Over five hundred sold, that’s pretty special. Half a thousand! Also, with Charlotte Powers 3 & 4 done for NaNoWriMo I have now written over eight hundred thousand words of fiction in 2011. I’m not sure if I can crack a million words by January 1st, but I’ve surprised myself in the past so, y’know, we’ll see.

Aside from the aforementioned Charlotte Powers 3 & 4, what did I accomplish in November? Quite an entirely surprising amount, actually! I did take a break from NaNo for a few days to work on an unrelated project, around 30,000 words that may or may not be useful (I just couldn’t help myself, I really got sucked into that thing almost to the point of obsession, although I’m still not sure if it’ll go anywhere). I also picked away at some notes and research for Tactics Heart, and even started doing the second draft outlines for the episodes (up to nine already and having a ball). Charlotte Powers 5 also called, said, “Hello, I’m pretty much definitely going to be the last book in the series and I’m kind of slightly just a bit epic, so keep that in mind, okay?”. I’m almost certainly going to have the entire Charlotte Powers series published by the end of next year, it’ll be nice to actually have something ‘finished’ out there. This seems like an ideal point to segue into:

1 – Tactics Heart. Lots of stuff to do there. Most importantly, writing up proper outlines for every episode (twenty-one at this point, in the first season) and lay groundwork for the website. Maybe write an actual episode or two.
2 – Edit, proof, polish Charlotte Powers 3.

That’s probably enough, considering I’ll be in Japan for most of the month (and the next). This does mean that I won’t achieve my goal of having ten books published by the end of 2011, but I’d rather fail a self-imposed challenge than push things out too quickly. I guess I could publish Miya Black IV but considering the potential market for that is less than a dozen people I’m not really in too much of a hurry. It is pretty much finished, though, and having it out there wouldn’t hurt … well, maybe. I’ll see how things go. In any case getting Charlotte Powers 3 published is a definite priority—in time for Xmas! Maybe I should churn out a Christmas-themed novella too. Haha. Kind of half-serious about that.

In any case, NaNovember was (as always) both fun and productive. December is going to be busy, but I’m always happiest when I have a lot to do and deadlines to pummel into submission.

Next year will be, I predict, unusual and exciting. I’m looking forward to it already.


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


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2 responses to “State Of My Personal Indie Nation – November 2011 Edition

  1. George

    December 2, 2011 at 17:19

    Sorry to see you dropping in the category. Actually, Superhero category sales have dropped a bit for everyone (a month ago VI3 would have been beat handily by Ex Patriots). Since, in my opinion, Charlotte Powers is better than both Confessions of A Grade-D Supervillain and In Hero Years I’d Be Dead, I honestly don’t know why she’s not doing better.

    • Ben White

      December 2, 2011 at 19:00

      Two letters, YA. It’s just such a tough sell—a lot of adults won’t touch it no matter how good it is, and the number of actual young adults with Kindles isn’t huge. I think this will (slowly) change, for now I’ve just got to grin and bear it 🙂


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