Friday, December 13, 2013
Here she comes apologizing again . . .
Photo courtesy of Michael Rad
It seems that every time I post this year, I have to start out with an apology. I do recall promising to post three times a week, but now I'm six months late. So here's my latest apology.
I am writing every day, because that is what I preach to my students and followers.
Yes, writing but not blogging. A week from now I will celebrate the first anniversary of publishing my first book on Kindle. I believe it sold 20 copies and I earned about $48.00. I was astonished that there was even one sale. It was a mystery to me that anyone found it among the two million ebooks on Kindle.
But I followed the lessonsI I had learned in an online class to make my book visible and, sure enough, it worked. Today I have eighteen titles on Amazon, seven of them are paperbacks and last month I sold over a thousand books. One thousand fifteen, but who's counting?
I have made many friends in ebook chat rooms and facebook groups. Some of those might find my numbers encouragement to start their first book, others will scoff and call me a loser. Well, not really. These people are too nice, but some people sell a thousand books a day. And more. I know of one woman who, in the course of two years, had sold one-hundred thousand copies of her list in January, 2013. That's huge. In June, she celebrated her millionth sale. That's nine-hundred thousand copies in six months. By September, it was a million and a half. If a book goes viral, it changes the author's life forever.
In August, I took a shot at changing my Kindle fortunes. My sales were in the 200-300 a month range. I was definitely moving up, happy and grateful for that bit of success, but I knew if I changed genres, I could possibly do better. But which genre? I am a literary writer and food writer. I was not into the moneymakers, zombies, paranormal, young adult, romance and mysteries. Those types of books required a totally different skill set and mind set. Then I heard a woman who was to become an online friend, Lee Dobbs who publishes as Leighann Dobbins, talk about her success with cozy mysteries. I didn't even know what a cozy was, but she was selling, at that time, five thousand copies a month. I checked out her books, read a couple and decided to give cozies a shot.
For those of you who don't know what a cozy is, Think Murder She Wrote, Agatha Christie and the like. The fun is in figuring out the whodunnit, with no blood and gore or overt sex.
Pshaw, I said to myself. I can do this. And then, Olivia M. Granville, OMG to her friends, was born.
However, much of what I've learned over the years did not serve me well as a mystery writer. I needed to cut to the chase, instead of languishing in pretty sentences. I had to figure out how to write a who dunnit. For example, who dunnit? Who was it done to? How did they do it and how would the scoundrel get caught. Along the way there had to be red herrings and other possible suspects to draw the reader off the trail and heighten the suspense. And then there was the background, the aspects of my protagonist's life and the town she lived in that added interest and fun and create fans for my books.
Many chewed fingernails later, six weeks to be exact, on August 9, 2013, I launched Armoires and Arsenic, A Darling Valley Mystery by Cassie Page. To my astonishment, it sold ten copies the first day and is now my best seller. I have added a second mystery, A Corpse In A Teacup, A Tuesday's Tea Leaves Mystery, based on Olivia's best friend. That also has garnered sales and since I added those two titles, and put my cookbooks in paperback, my monthly sales have doubled and my royalties are even better.
I am now on my third mystery, the second in the Darling Valley series, Groundbreaking Murders. I hope to launch it by the end of the year, along with another children's book, When Mikey Made the Rules, and will start serializing my Irish novel, The Equal of God, my literary effort.
So that's what I've been doing when not blogging, writing ebooks. I have seven paperbacks, three (about to be four) self-illustrated children's books, five cookbooks and two (soon to be three) cozy mysteries.
I detail all of this because I think you all, as writers, should know that there is an opportunity to publish your work that does not involve the agent/publishing house merry-go-round. Many ebook writers have enough success that they get picked up by a legacy publisher, as hard cover pubs are called, and some writers have so much success that they wouldn't think of signing up for the paltry royalties offered by a traditional publisher. Which is to say, there are many more options available to the writer.
Does this mean I wouldn't accept a publishing contract? Sure, if the terms were right. But if I were selling enough to get notices, I might not. I'd love to have my Irish novel picked up by one of the big houses. It would be so good for my ego, but the others, not so sure. I don't discourage anyone from going after a good agent, but if that isn't happening, Kindle is.
I'm going to write more about this new world of publishing. In the meantime, please feel free to write with any questions.