Last year I took my first steps into self-publishing, uploading one short story and then adding two re-vamped public domain farm and garden books. Though I felt the expected rush of joy when I made my story available to the world, I was well aware that one short story isn’t enough to hang a writing career on. Last Night happened to be the one relatively polished story I could find, since I’m not sure what I did with the other dozen stories I’ve written over the years, and my one finished novel is also missing (I still believe they are all in one of those boxes in that pile of boxes over there, on the other side of my office. Perhaps I will find them someday.)
So even though I wrote Last Night twenty years ago, I went ahead and used it for my ebook guinea pig. At the time I promised myself I’d keep a public record of how my publishing efforts were going. So here are the full results for 2011. My results haven’t been particularly great so far, but I am certain I’ve made the correct choice in deciding to self-publish my work. I will publish more stories in 2012, new work all, and continue writing the novel I began last summer. That said, here are the numbers.
Last Night, available May 2011 and ongoing: 5 sales on Amazon (all on the US site), 0 on B&N, and 144 free downloads on Smashwords, for a total of 149. Note: This number is incomplete. Please see my update on reading the Smashwords dashboard.
200 Eggs, available from the end of July 2011 and ongoing: 3 sales on Amazon, 1 on B&N, for a total of 4.
Cassell’s, Vol. 1, available December 2011 and ongoing: no sales yet.
Total royalties for the year: $7.18, so not enough to even get a payment so far.
Some notes on my efforts this year: I did nearly zero marketing. I am not a known name, don’t have previously published works (Last Night was actually my first story that was nearly published, back in 1991, and that’s a story I might tell some day. It wasn’t a great experience.) Neither my own name or the name of my story is particularly recognizable. I did send the story for one review, and that review was good if not outstanding. And I started this web site and a Facebook page to showcase my work going forward.
Mostly though, I am not focused on marketing this story because I know what I need to do now is simply write more, not worry over this particular effort. And so in one sense it’s not a success story so far, but on the other hand it really is. It’s a success for me, because I had given up on publishing, since I found the traditional process to be both discouraging and inhumane. Now I’m writing again, and plan to publish more, and I am clearly on the path that’s right for me.
I’m very lucky in that my husband and friends are all very supportive of my efforts here. I want to thank everyone, known and unknown, who has been so encouraging this year. I hope to do even better going forward, and continue to entertain you all.