This is a follow up to Azaaa’s post and podcast last year when she was in the preparation stages of indie publishing her first novel. Now, several months later, she goes over what she spent and what’s she’s earned.
I started writing This Time, my debut urban fantasy novel, in March 2017. By the time my book was published on October 1st, 2018, I had already spent over $1,100.
While it’s not comfortable to share financial information, I chose to do so. Why? Because I know how important it is to have articles published by independent authors discussing their book sales, successful strategies, expenses and earnings.
It’s a reference, a reality check, an inspiration and a way of measuring how the heck you’re doing compared to someone in similar shoes. And I say “similar” because each independent author starts off with a different definition of success, a unique set of skills and resources, their own marketing plan and budget.
From my research, anything under $2,000 is pretty darn low for the expense of self-publishing a professional quality novel. I had to decide early on (because of my tight budget), what I would spend money on and what I would try to do myself.
I paid for a professional ebook cover and created the promotional images myself. I paid for professional editing services and used beta readers first to help develop the story from draft two to draft four. I paid for a business website which included my own domain name and learned how to blog on my own.
In September 2018, I spread the word about my book and got over ten pre-orders as an unknown writer! I was impressed and grateful for the wealth of information and encouragement I found in a few Facebook groups for authors. As I completed my final edits, I focused my efforts on author interviews and spotlights to help increase pre-order sales.
In October 2018, I realized my dream of becoming a published author!
In November 2018, my focus was on submitting book review requests to bloggers, creating a paperback version of my novel and developing a better newsletter style. My mailing list subscribers increased drastically and I had a few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads right away. Many close friends and family members waited until the paperback was released to show their support by buying my book.
In December 2018, I had both a paperback and ebook version of book This Time and it was professional formatted. My book sales, book reviews and followers (Facebook, Bookbub and Goodreads) all increased. I also experienced my first online book tour. While the book tour did not generate many sales or reviews, I gain a lot of exposure.
So far, I’ve invested a little under $1,800 in my author business.
My greatest accomplishment other than seeing my book for sale on Amazon was getting my paperback novel on a bookshelf at a local bookstore in New Hampshire!
For October 2018 (my book launch month), I earned $95.20 (Amazon) + $17.57 (Draft2Digital) = $112.77. I sold 66 books and had 6 reviews.
In November and December, I sold 21 books each month, brining my total to 108. Most books sell less than 250 in their first year, so I’m well on my way to beating that!
I have a total of 16 reviews, enough to start advertising with sites who require a certain number of reviews.
Final thoughts in the 3 months since publishing my first novel:
The joy of writing, the pride of having a published novel, all that I learned about writing, publishing and marketing, and the connections I’ve made are all priceless to me.
When I decided to distribute my book widely, I knew that I was selecting a long-term strategy with gradual results. I could have put all my eggs in one basket and sold my book exclusively on Amazon, but I decided not to.
At this time, I am a mom first, a wife second and a writer third. Aside from Sunday afternoons, my books are written at night when my family is peacefully asleep.
Did I advertise enough? No. I did what I could with my limited budget. Some indie authors spend $500 to $2,000 on various ads and promotions in a single month. I have not delved into the world of Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads or Bookbub ads yet, but I will once I have more books published. These are commonly used by authors and get results.
My definition of success is to publish three fantasy novels and to make a profit from my novels within a three-year period. This means I have until 2021 to decide if my new career is successful and to simply enjoy the journey until then.
Azaaa Davis is a writer of urban fantasy novels. She debuts with This Time, A Nadira Holden Novel, about demon hunters, family ties and the magic of love. She is working diligently to finish writing more fantasy novels and her next book is expected to be released in early 2019.
Her book: books2read.com/u/mgLEgR