Writing positive SEXY-MODERN-ROMANCE about African American Couples!
So I’m sharing this because I don’t think many folks understand the life of an Indie writer. Now to be sure EVERY SINGLE AUTHOR EXPERIENCE is different. I’m in lots of writer groups and some are doing worse than me (and have been writing longer) some are where I’m at (some new like me and some who have written longer) and some are WAY above me (both newer and longer term writers.)
Also let’s be clear, genre and even me being an African American writer, writing African American stories/characters AND being in the overpopulated field of Romance, plays a part. As does how/when/if I market, what connections I have or don’t have AND what platforms I’m on or use. AND a WHOLE long list of other things, go into how well any induvial author does at any given time.
So sharing this to remind readers that it’s important to give Indie Authors a chance, to share our work, to review (if you actually like it, and even if you don’t-giving “constructive” criticism can help an author grow.) To hype up Indie books as you "traditionally published works". Encourage friends to read it and to BUY it. Yes a full length Ebook IS worth .99, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99 $4.99. I wanted to show you the reality is for the “vast majority” (and this is data driven fact) Indie Authors across “most” genres are not making money hand over fist. Again yes it takes time to build a following but I know folks with 2 plus years of writing that haven’t made what I have in 6 month-it’s never a SURE thing on either end of the scale.
For Authors who may read this. I’m sharing so if you are one that doesn’t know “if you are doing avg or good” well this gives you at least 1 other person to compare to. Though again there are many different factors that go into sales etc. How many books are out, level of writing skill, genre, marketing, book cover, blurb catchiness etc, etc. Also if there are future writers--here is a realistic look at what the journey “may” be like for you. Again don’t let anyone else success or failure deter you. You never know til YOU try.
Now for ME and my realistic expectations (I) had--I’m actually HAPPY with my results! Overall I think with what I have found out about the market and book writing and the huge amount of variables I’m doing fairly decently. So the follow results is with me having 1 novel out. I’m a first time published author as of Jan 2018. I didn’t do ANY pre marketing before my book was released (didn’t know I had too, lol you don’t know what you do know). Not sure I would have anyway, I’m an ambivert and was just focused on after decades ACTUALLY writing and completing a novel. Also didn’t know the process for publishing would be so quick after I put it in the createspace and KDP systems. I actually published before I wanted to LOL.
6 Months to the day Jan 19 to July 19-results
So for my Ebook Contemporary African American Romance book it’s priced $3.99 I’ve done several sales usually once or twice a month for short periods of time at .99 and $1.99 and $2.99. I’ve sold (i.e) someone paid some type of money for my book:
120 copies (ebook, paperback, direct sales) that is 19.3 books (avg) per month!
Platforms -Amazon (including PB & KU the first 3 months) Ingram (April on-at one point I had the Ebook and paper back on their ), Google/Kobo/Barnes & Noble (since april). I have a profile and book info on Allauthor, Bookbub, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Mybookcave. I’ve used routinely-AMS ads(about 10 in the 6monhts), did a Google Ad once, did Mybookcave sales a couple of times, done 3 Kobo sales, done Cover Contest on AllAuthor, Ads and small giveaways on Black Love Books done 1 add on each-Instagram and Pinterest. Also on my 3rd Book Bub ad (not deal…lol that would be a dream come true). Was included in a least one that I know of another author newsletter.
I am in a variety of book promotion/reader/writers groups and I promote 1 or 2 times per week. I did 2 events, both extremely small and sold no Romance books at either (sold small amounts of my poetry books at both). Have bought one ad in a big Romance conference booklet, and paid and donated my postcard ads to 3 other events. Okay I think overall all that is the sum of what I have done, as of today. Oops, also recommended my first book to library’s to carry a digital copy (got it in 2 libraries as physical copies TIP-be sure to ask libraries are they accepted your book for CIRCULATION, not just to sit(and not be able to be checked out) in the "local author section") in the hopes that this may help future releases.
See readers I had to do ALL that just to sell 120 books. Some authors do way more, some less and each get a variety of results for their efforts. SN: out of the 120 copies (you never know how many have READ the book) I have received 9 reviews (between Amazon and Goodreads) and a hand full of ratings. All very good except one that was not bad/not good rating. So that is nice, but lower than my expectations before I learned that reviews (good or bad or indifferent are REALLY hard to come by).
Sales (how much I have a made from selling the 120 books ( sales & reg price)-hold your hats) = $223.21 cents!
PB-priced $9.25 I get= $2.11
Ebook-priced $3.99 I get=$2.75
That is before sales. For .99 I got .36 per book and $1.99 book I think it was about $1.11 per book
Now this is not real profit. I added it up yesterday and came to what I believe to be a 98% accurate estimate of what I SPENT (cover, editor, formatter, copyright, ISBN, marketing (materials, business cards, table items for events, signage, ads, paying for booth space, etc) anything to do with writing/publishing the book and to market it these last six months is =$1850.25
Now a big portion is I bought 100 ISBN and a few copyright (digital) packages. Those were approx. $1200 By having your own you keep more control over your work and it allowed me to add to Ingram spark (after I researched before publishing (I) thought it was the best route for ME to buy my own ISBN. I didn’t even count what I spent to buy physical copies of my book for events-didn’t pay off yet but I have stock for the many future events I plan to do at least, another investment like the ISBN. If I did add all that in it would probably put me at around $2100
From the advice I’ve seen in groups, if I write more I should make more, and continue to market and try a variety of ways and spaces to market in, until I find something that works “well”. I just started a newsletter about 2.5 months ago and sent out my first one at the end of June. My next release is Sept 2018. Potential and expected releases (not written yet) in Jan and April 2019. So my HOPE is to see a steady increase in sales by/through next April. Do I expect to have broken even from the original expense listed above by next April-no I don’t expect it but I’m hopefully LOL.
Writing is what I plan to do regardless. It’s not free and even outside of money it takes a lot of physical time and emotional drain BUT I love creating and I love sharing what I have created. My original thought from 20 years ago as a teenager was “I want to publish at least one book before I die and know that even one person has read it and enjoyed it.” I’ve been an avid reading since 10 years old, reading of a wide variety of genres has enriched my life in so many ways.
I have accomplished that goal, and moving on to the next goal which is to continue to write what (I) believe to be well written, interesting, enjoyable tales for the (few or many) readers who buy my work!
Remember set your OWN expectations and “levels” of success and work towards them.