December was a fantastic month, and a great end to a fun and eventful year. Before anything else, some numbers:
December 2011 Sales
Charlotte Powers: Power Down – 57
Charlotte Powers: Power Play – 46
Charlotte Powers: Hidden Power – 37
The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud – 6
Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns – 29
Miya Black, Pirate Princess II: Freedom & Responsibility – 6
Miya Black, Pirate Princess III: Fractured Lives – 5
Resonance Book One: Birds Of Passage – 16
The Boy & Little Witch – 3
Total Sales For December: 206
Releasing Charlotte Powers 3 this month definitely gave my numbers a boost, but it was the new KDP Select program that really brought in the sales, especially making books free (I know, it’s kind of paradoxical but giving books away really does help sales, mostly because of the magic of also-bought lists). So, aside from those numbers up there I also had a couple of thousand free downloads, and around thirty ‘borrows’. Giving away books is fun, and when it leads to actual sales it’s even funner.
So anyway, I achieved my goal of selling more than a hundred books in a single month. In fact, I sold over two hundred! And this with higher prices, too. (My new pricing policy is $3.99 for first-in-series, $4.95 for subsequent books.) (Seems to be working so far!) While I’m happy about these numbers, mostly I’m just pleased that I got to release Charlotte Powers 3 and that people like it. Number four is proving to be a tricky beast–there’s just so much I want to put in it, so many things that I want to explore, picking and choosing is really hard. I might have to write book five (or at least thoroughly outline it) before I continue on four, they’re pretty heavily linked.
Anyway! Since it’s the end of the year I figure I’ll make this a kind of wrap-up post too, so here come some more numbers:
2011 Total Sales
Miya Black I – 74
Miya Black II – 23
Miya Black III – 16
Charlotte Powers: Power Down – 425
Charlotte Powers: Power Play – 90
Charlotte Powers: Hidden Power – 37
Resonance One: Birds Of Passage – 34
Undying Apathy – 77
The Boy & Little Witch – 10
Total Sales for 2011 – 786
I started at the end of February so it’s not really a full year but whatevs. More than seven hundred books sold, some really lovely reviews, nine books released and a lot of valuable lessons learnt, I think that’s none too shabby for my Year One. Looking ahead to sparkly fresh 2012, I feel outrageously optimistic. Back when I started this whole indie author adventure I was really pretty directionless—just writing books and putting them out there with the vague hope that they might get bought or something. Now I feel like I might actually know what I’m doing, that I have a much better idea of what sells and why, that I’m comfortable with my simplistic, hands-off approach to marketing/promotion, and that (most importantly) I’m a much better writer than I was at the start of the year. That’s really the big thing for me, I feel much more comfortable and confident about handling a story now, I’ve got a good handle on my process for developing an idea into an outline and then a first draft, even editing and proofing is less of a chore than it used to be—just a necessary part of things that takes a certain amount of time to do properly. I don’t regret the hours I put into it. Anyway, all in all I like where I am now, and I’m looking forward to where 2012 will take me.
Moving on, to something I’ve been thinking about recently. I have two main long-term goals; to have forty books published before I’m forty, and to be consistently earning more than $4,000 a month from book sales. At this point in time, I feel that I’m going to accomplish the second goal before the first. Overly optimistic? Arrogant, even? Let me up the stakes a little; I think I’m going to achieve this before the end of 2014, and here’s why: by that time I’ll have twenty books out (at the least), priced between $3.99 and $4.95. In order to earn my target of $4,000 per month I’d have to sell around 1300 books/month, which is around forty books a day. Spread over twenty titles, that’s just two sales per day per book—not unrealistic, I feel.
But anyway. This is normally the point at which I’d talk about what I accomplished during the month but actually I didn’t accomplish much, mostly due to being in Japan for most of the time—I did edit and proof Charlotte Powers 3 to a publishable standard at the start of the month and fiddled around with a few things, did some rewriting on a couple of different things and did an edit/total freakin’ overhaul of Miya Black IV and picked away at Tactics Heart and Resonance 2: Resonate Harder but nothing of any real substance. I’m on holiday! I’m just relaxing. January will be more of the same (which is what happened last year too, I seem to recall), but once I get home things are kicking into gear—building a website for Bright Battle, figuring out more episodic mechanics, finishing Resonance Book Two (currently a priority), working on Charlotte Powers 4 & 5, maybe even working on this new ‘promises and sacrifices’ story that popped into my head like two hours before I had to get on the plane (that always happens). Plus I still want to do my timey-wimey story and and and argh there’s just too much. One thing at a time, though, one thing at a time. I think I need a new paragraph to help me collect my thoughts.
In terms of 2012 goals I want to get Charlotte Powers 4 & 5 out to complete the series, Resonance Book Two released sometime in the next three months would be nice also. Bright Battle of course, that’ll be an ongoing thing for most of the year, then I’ll probably kick Miya Black IV and V out of the nest too, they’ve been bumming around for far too long. I’d like to have fifteen books published by the time 2013 begins, which means six books over twelve months, but considering quite a few of them are already mostly written that’s not such an unrealistic target. Miya Black IV & V are easy, I just have the edit the heck out of them. IV is mostly done, it just needs around 20k added to the middle, it’s already vaguely outlined … maybe near the end of the year if I’m in a piratey mood (and if the other books are selling). I have around fifty thousand words of CP4 done already, but I’m not sure if I want to use them. The story isn’t as strong as it should be. Resonance 2 is about ninety percent written, I just have to do the last bit then take a good hard objective look at it and make sure the way I’ve structured things is the absolute best way to tell the story, because I suspect it’s not. Let me just give you a little tip here, if you’ve got a book with four concurrent storylines featuring dozens of characters … look, just try not to get in a situation where you’ve got a book with four concurrent storylines featuring dozens of characters. Sorting it all out and making sure everything lines up and makes chronological sense is a real headache.
Anyway, enough rambling. Let’s wrap things up with … a score tally!
Words Written: 762,000 ……… 762pts
Titles Published: 9 ……… 900pts
Books Sold: 786 ……… 786pts
Stars Collected: 167 ……… 167pts
UNCOMPROMISED PRIDE BONUS ……… 50pts
EFFORT BONUS ……… 25pts
Total ……… 2690pts
RANK ……… B+