February 27, 2014

evolution of a book cover

Since I’m both cheap and somewhat skilled in graphic design, it comes as no surprise that I design my own book covers. I wish I made enough money from book royalties to justify paying a professional cover artist to design my covers, but I don’t. Instead, I fiddle around for several hours in Photoshop Elements until I have something I would be proud to display on a bookshelf. I’m lucky that I have the skills to do this (hooray for taking art classes throughout high school and college!) because as we all know, most writers don’t. They don’t really have a choice but to hire someone to do their cover art or purchase premade covers (which may be an option for me in the future too, if I don’t think I have the skills to pull off a certain cover). Anyway, lucky me for being so darn talented at things and stuff.

So, since I’m not paying anyone to do my cover for me, I have to spend several hours doing it myself. This post illustrates just how I go about that.

January 13, 2014

2013 sales stats

It’s that time of year again—time to review last year’s book sales.

I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed with last year’s numbers. I sold more books than I did in 2012, but I made less money (combination of having a lower priced title and two sales over the course of the year). Anyway, here are the stats. You can click the spreadsheets to the right to see the breakdown for each month.

2013 Sales:

Total Sales: 99
Total Royalties: $223.64

The Clockwork Giant
Total Sales: 52
Total Royalties: $148.65

Sales Channel Breakdown:

Ebooks: 47
     Amazon: 38       
     Barnes & Noble: 3
     Kobo: 0              
     Smashwords: 4  

Paperbacks: 7
     Amazon: 3
     Extended Distribution: 3           
     Direct: 1

Le Theatre Mecanique
Total Sales: 47
Total Royalties: $74.99

Sales Channel Breakdown:

Ebooks: 35
     Amazon: 32
     Barnes & Noble: 1
     Kobo: 1
     Smashwords: 1

Paperbacks: 12
     Amazon: 7
     Extended Distribution: 0
     Direct: 5

As you can see, between two books, I sold only 10 ebooks outside of Amazon, so in December, I decided to join Amazon’s KDP Select program, making my books available exclusively at Amazon in exchange for their promotional programs. I did a free giveaway of both books at Christmas, giving away 988 copies of The Clockwork Giant and 336 copies of Le Theatre Mecanique. Since the giveaway ended, I’ve received four new reviews on The Clockwork Giant, all but one favorable.

I also had a boost in sales in July and December due to two sales. I reduced the prices of both my books by two dollars for two weeks (with the free promo in the middle of my December sale). Sales were slow, so it made sense to do the price-reduction. I can’t say if the boost in sales is because people knew it was a sale or because the $2.99 and $0.99 price points are more attractive for a novel and novella. I’m averse to reducing my prices permanently. I feel like $4.99 is a good price for my novel, and $2.99 for the novella, but maybe that’s just my pride and feeling like I deserve that much. ::shrug::

Other than the two sales and free promo, I didn’t do any promotion except the occasional post on Google+ when I saw a surge of new followers. Of course, there was the novella release in April, but it didn’t really affect sales of The Clockwork Giant, so I wouldn’t really consider it promotional.

My hope is that 2014 will prove to be a better year for book sales. I plan to publish two books, and one is the sequel to The Clockwork Giant, so maybe that will affect overall sales somehow. Maybe not. But maybe. I won’t know until I release it. The other release is a standalone fantasy novel, so I don’t expect much crossover between sales there.

I probably won’t do much promotion for the new books except for what I’ve already been doing, in addition to Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals every quarter. I don’t see the point in seriously promoting the Chroniker City series until all three books are out. Until then, I feel like it would be wasted. As for the fantasy novel The Wizard’s Heart, I can’t say. It might be worth making a promotional effort, but I have no idea what I’ll do, so stay tuned for that.

December 30, 2013

goals for 2014

2013 was a rather interesting year. As far as writing goes, I didn’t write as much as I would have liked or publish as many books as I wanted to, but I have the best excuse in the world for it: my beautiful baby girl. Between pregnancy hormones, a not-working brain in my last few months, and taking care of a newborn at the end of the year, publishing books just wasn’t in the cards for me.

I did manage to publish one book, the Chroniker City novella Le Theatre Mecanique, in April, a book I started at the end of 2012. That was before the hormones and the pregnancy brain hit. I also worked on the second draft of The Wizard’s Heart and began working on the third draft with my editor, but unfortunately, that revision just couldn’t happen while I was pregnant. My brain wasn’t in the right space. It didn’t work properly. So, I had to step away from The Wizard’s Heart. I had to step away from The Guild Conspiracy, sequel to The Clockwork Giant, for the same reasons. I think I was more disappointed about that than my fans.

October 23, 2013

writing revelations

I posted this on Google+ and Facebook, but I felt I ought to post it here as well.

I have come to the conclusion that I really ought to write and publish more books.

This seems to be obvious, but it kinda hit me today that if I want to make a career out of this, I need to have more stuff for people to buy. Two books does not a career make.

I also realized that I’ve been holding myself back ever since I published The Clockwork Giant. I managed to publish Le Theatre Mecanique only because I didn't fret over it until I considered it publishable. I went by a schedule. I wrote it. I edited it. I sent it to beta readers. I edited it again. I published it. I haven't looked at it since. It’s out there, and that's good enough for me.

October 11, 2013

let's do this novel writing thing

So, apparently, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I had no plans to, considering I am expecting a baby soon and don't know when I'll sleep, eat, or shower, much less write. But, I have a bad habit of committing to overly ambitious goals, so this is right up my alley.

I'm actually looking forward to it. The story I'm going to be working on is the middle-grade humorous fantasy I've been contemplating for a few weeks now. NaNoWriMo seems like the perfect time to bang out a first draft. My writing muscles need stretching, and if I do it right, I should have a lot of fun working on this one. I'm not plotting or planning anything out, and as I write this post, all I have to go on is a loose premise, some vague scene ideas, and a handful of unnamed characters, and that's all I plan to have come November 1st. If I get stuck while writing, which I undoubtedly will, I have a mantra that I'm going to print out and stick above my computer: think of the most absurd, silliest thing that could possibly happen... and do that.

This is going to be a fun story. It's going to be fun to write, and hopefully fun to read (when the day comes).