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Grey Daze: A Lance Underphal Mystery
by Michael Allan Scott


Kindle Edition published 2015-03-29
Bestseller ranking: 167157

Product Description
An IAN Book of the Year Finalist and featured on NBC's Daytime Show, the third book in the Lance Underphal Mystery series is part of a new breed of supernatural thrillers which can be read and enjoyed in any order. Based on real events, this is one of those dark, disturbing novels that keeps you turning pages.
 
Download the sample or use the "Look inside" feature for a FREE E-book offer.
 
It's a mystery- Something is wrong. As Lance Underphal pads softly across the cold flagstone, he hears her weeping. She is on her knees, hunched over in the middle of the room, her back to him, facing the dark fireplace. Something is very wrong. Lance wants to rush to her, but can't. In a hoarse whisper, he says, "Callie?" She lets out a mournful wail from deep within as she turns, their infant son in her arms, blue and still. He reels from the blow. How can this be? They don't have a son.
 

Author Topic: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You  (Read 3732 times)  

Offline Domino Finn

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What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« on: March 10, 2016, 04:10:20 PM »
Today is my Second Publishing Anniversary. Yup, two whole years ago I uploaded my first novel to KDP and woke up the next morning to a single review from a stranger who'd bought my book and read it in a few hours.

It was 2 stars.

An inauspicious start, but I wasn't deterred. There are worse things to say about a book than "it reads like a Sons of Anarchy episode." I was confident in my passion and, sure enough, the critical reception for my work has since been very flattering.

My sales? Not so much.

This is the story of an author who came into this business with naive assumptions but has since educated himself on the business of selling books.

I'm far, far from an expert (far), but over these two years I've taken direct, conscious action to improve my bottom line. The "how" is mostly outlined in my "Engineering a Bestseller" thread, but today I wanted to share the more frustrating (and ultimately redeeming) part of my journey: my income.

Mostly, I want to highlight why writing without a plan or a schedule is a bad idea - not necessarily from the Author perspective, which is the artistic side of the equation, but from the cold and calculating Publisher viewpoint.

*NOTE: These numbers only include Amazon US sales/ borrows and ACX (ignoring other countries like Amazon UK and other retailers entirely). I didn't make much outside this report but you can assume the bigger months were a bit higher than shown.

   2014
Mar      $    38.37      (Published Sycamore Moon 1 in Select)
Apr      $    30.91
May      $    26.03      (Went Wide)
Jun       $      1.70      (Depressing, but Published Dante Butcher 1)
Jul        $    19.32      (Okay, very depressing, Better write a sequel)
Aug      $    31.87
Sep      $  287.28      (Rejoined Select, some KU love)
Oct       $    14.72
Nov      $      4.74
Dec      $  228.72      (Okay, finally Released SM 2, and SM 1 ACX)

   2015
Jan      $  698.90      (First Profitable Promo!)
Feb      $  167.58      (But not very sticky)
Mar      $    76.14      (At all)
Apr      $    81.96
May      $  173.97      (SM 2 ACX - 3 digit months here on out)
Jun       $  162.01      (Already planning Black Magic Outlaw)
Jul        $  714.21      (Released SM 3 and Big Promo!) (But went Wide)
Aug      $  199.02
Sep      $  113.03
Oct       $  219.02
Nov      $  192.75
Dec      $  374.47      (Launched BMO 1 in Select on Christmas Eve!)

   2016
Jan      $2007.68      (Holy Crap! Without Promo!)
Feb              x         (payment pending) (But about the same)
Mar              x         (payment pending) (But Launched BMO 2)

So there you have it. I see posts all the time asking how long it took to make X dollars a month, or how many books did it take, etc. I thought charting my experience would be handy, especially since it isn't exceptional. There's no get-rich-quick here. There's not even a get-rich. I'm just a schmuck who doesn't write especially fast who was too embarrassed to post a 1-year anniversary update. But it's clearly evident that a genre-targeted business plan makes all the difference.

This isn't my Author story, it's my Publisher story.

I knew I had a handle on writing, but the last year has been a HUGE learning experience for me as a publisher. In showing my paltry numbers over so many months, I hope to reassure other authors going through a similar struggle. This can be done.

Domino Finn | website | twitter | facebook

Offline loriann

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 04:21:33 PM »
Thank you so much!!! It gives me hope!! (Working on my trilogy and hoping to make some money after two years of unprofitable short-ish stand-alones.)


Offline juliatheswede

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2016, 04:27:58 PM »
Thank you for sharing:) And congratulations on your success!

Offline Covervault (Mark)

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 04:28:57 PM »
Nice results Domino! I'm wondering if this is also a result of your awesome covers. Love them!

Offline dancing squirrel

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 04:35:50 PM »
Thank you, Mr. Finn.

Offline belindaf

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 04:45:21 PM »
Nice work! Congrats, and thank you for sharing.

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Offline Sonya Bateman

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 04:53:37 PM »
Happy anniversary! That is such an impressive progression -- I'll bet you're going to end up doubling, tripling, and more-ing your income as you release more books in this series!

I LOL'd at your first 3 months of 2015. :D You've mentioned stickiness a few times and you're so right. It takes more than a pretty cover and a cool blurb to maintain ranking (and income), and your experience shows you've got it! Of course, you also have pretty covers and cool blurbs. ;D

Congratulations, and here's to ever-increasing sales! :)
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Offline EvanPickering

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 04:58:41 PM »
Thanks for sharing dude! It's awesome getting to see how people got to where they are.

Keep at it!  ;D

Evan

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Offline jessie520

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2016, 04:58:54 PM »
Congrats on your success! Your post is extremely inspiring.  :D


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Offline ilamont

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2016, 04:59:50 PM »
This is a great story of persistence and experimentation. I hope the upward trend continues!

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2016, 05:06:47 PM »
Thank you for posting this. It was very helpful.

Online GhostGirlWriter

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2016, 05:15:20 PM »
Congrats! This is a great story. Thanks for sharing it. We hear a lot about successes (which is awesome in its own way), but not nearly so much about the hard work and frustrations that go into them.

ETA a question: Are you seeing more backlist sales due to the success of BMO? Or are BMO readers pretty much sticking to that series?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 05:22:39 PM by GhostGirlWriter »

Offline geraldmkilby

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2016, 05:22:08 PM »
Way to go,  it takes a long time to be an overnight success.

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Offline Matt Ryan

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2016, 05:24:21 PM »
Love the breakdown. Thanks for putting that together. I hope you have an awesome 2016.

Do you have a publishing schedule set out for this year?

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Online Jenny Schwartz

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2016, 05:34:12 PM »
Domino, thank you

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Offline JTriptych

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2016, 06:44:55 PM »
Like the others have said, a very inspiring thread which gives prawns like me hope. Thanks.  ;D

Offline RJ Crayton

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2016, 07:21:40 PM »
Thanks for sharing. Slow and steady wins the race -- or at least it keeps you in it. :) Congratulations on finally breaking out of the ho hum and into the woo hoo!


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Offline kimberlyloth

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2016, 07:36:56 PM »
It was interesting seeing your numbers. I've experienced something VERY similar. I don't think this is uncommon at all. I'm a few months ahead of you, it does keep climbing.

Also, just one piece of advice. Don't get discouraged when suddenly things plummet because they still do that once in a while. December and January were both 3-4k months for me, Feb was less than 2, March looks like I could have my first 10k month. But I'm not holding my breath :-). Maybe. If I maintain my current numbers, it will be. But I don't have any scheduled promotions.

I've put in my notice, I'm quitting the day job in June (I'm a teacher.) But February was really scary because I thought, "Oh, crap, what have I done?"

Now, I'm glad I didn't go begging for my job back.

I hope you keep climbing!!!  Good luck!!!




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Offline Domino Finn

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2016, 07:42:35 PM »
Thanks for the support everybody! It is a little daunting posting my numbers like this, even to my usual steely self. I thought showing the month to month grind was important.

Happy anniversary! That is such an impressive progression -- I'll bet you're going to end up doubling, tripling, and more-ing your income as you release more books in this series!

Thanks Sonya! Here's hoping we all have a great 2016.

Are you seeing more backlist sales due to the success of BMO? Or are BMO readers pretty much sticking to that series?

My stand-alone, Shade City has definitely had an uptick in sales, going from a perpetual 200-300k ranking to 20-30k. That book is closer to standard urban fantasy, although it deviates quite a bit. I hadn't ever even read the Dresden Files when I wrote it!

My Sycamore Moon series reads more like supernatural crime novels, so those haven't upticked as much.

Do you have a publishing schedule set out for this year?

Having a plan of future books is absolutely part of my business now, where it wasn't before. I only plan out about 6 months ahead right now, though. It's better to keep things simple while I'm launching this new series. 6 months from now my plans might fork in a couple directions.

It was interesting seeing your numbers. I've experienced something VERY similar. I don't think this is uncommon at all. I'm a few months ahead of you, it does keep climbing.

Also, just one piece of advice. Don't get discouraged when suddenly things plummet because they still do that once in a while. December and January were both 3-4k months for me, Feb was less than 2, March looks like I could have my first 10k month. But I'm not holding my breath :-). Maybe. If I maintain my current numbers, it will be. But I don't have any scheduled promotions.

I've put in my notice, I'm quitting the day job in June (I'm a teacher.) But February was really scary because I thought, "Oh, crap, what have I done?"

Now, I'm glad I didn't go begging for my job back.

I hope you keep climbing!!!  Good luck!!!

Thanks for sharing, Kimberly! I SO hope you're right! But it's true that we can't sit on our laurels and that income every month isn't automatic. It's the long-term picture we need to figure out. Congrats on figuring out yours and setting up your new day job!

Domino Finn | website | twitter | facebook

Offline Lisa Blackwood

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2016, 07:47:30 PM »
Great numbers. But your humor is far more priceless. Thanks for sharing both.

Offline kimberlyloth

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2016, 07:51:54 PM »

Thanks for sharing, Kimberly! I SO hope you're right! But it's true that we can't sit on our laurels and that income every month isn't automatic. It's the long-term picture we need to figure out. Congrats on figuring out yours and setting up your new day job!

Oh yeah, it wasn't until I sat down and outlined a plan to become successful, that I actually starting being successful. I don't have them all in my signature (because I can never remember how to update it) but I have seven books out with four more coming out in the next six months.

I'm working my rear off, but it is soooooo rewarding. I can't wait to be able to focus only on the books.


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Offline Jakob Brown

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2016, 07:58:58 PM »
Great read.  I love reading the incremental guys rather than the ones who put out a book and magically became #1 on the amazon store.  You've given me a lot to hope for.  Thanks Domino.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2016, 08:16:03 PM »
Wonderful. :)

Offline Maia Sepp

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2016, 08:25:01 PM »
Thank you for this, and all your recent posts about your progress. They're awesome :)

Offline Johnconner

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Re: What 2 Years of Self-Publishing Gets You
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2016, 08:28:21 PM »
Thanks for the thread Domino. It's really helpful and inspiring.