No, it’s not at all what you might think (I wish!). Rather, I’m feeling naughty and delinquent because I haven’t come back to my blog to fill you in on my latest—and I think the most exciting—news.
Yes, my first suspense/thriller, DEADLY SWITCH: A Stone Suspense, was published on Amazon, November 30—ten days ahead of schedule. As we were leaving on December 16th, to spend Christmas and New Year’s in Mexico, I was hoping against hope that I could get the final edits done, and publish my book six days before I was to leave.
I have many people to thank, particularly my good friend, Martin Crosbie, who mentored me through the entire process. But as we got down to the witching hour, it was an intimate dinner party that Martin and his beautiful partner, Jacquie, threw for a few select authors, that prompted me to make that final push. You see, I flatly refused to be the only unpublished author at that dinner!
So, envision a frenetic me, running around doing early Christmas shopping, my super-supportive husband taking dictation and texting back and forth to my amazing formatter, Rich Meyer, who fixed all the glitches propagated by those mysterious Kindle witches. And voila—we went live on Amazon, just hours before said authors’ dinner party. It was pure magic.
So, “How Did It Go?” You Might Ask
As I’ve had so many people help and support me, all of whom were totally transparent, I’m happy to share with you, the exact numbers.
The honest truth is that after the first few days of DEADLY SWITCH being on Amazon, and preparing for Christmas and Mexico, I didn’t have a clue how to check my book’s statistics. Or even what I should be looking for. However, the print copies—forty of them—came in and sold out. I had been afraid to order more without having a physical proof beforehand. But they all went, plus I had a waiting list. Who knew!?
Then, I got to run my first ever, one-day ninety-nine cent promotion with the fabulous Michael Gallagher of Kindle Books and Tips. The only trouble was, the date Michael gave me was January 2nd, the day we’d be traveling home from Mexico. So, I just put on my big girl panties, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
The end result of that one-day promo, with very little marketing on my part, was that I sold 252 e-books. I know—you’re doing the math and realize that wouldn’t buy me more than a night or two in a decent hotel. No worries; I didn’t need a decent hotel and it got me a bunch of new readers. Out of 1.5 million titles on Amazon, I ranked as high as 3,400 overall in Kindle, and if I’d chosen my second category correctly, as I have now, I would have ranked #4. But, from just that one-day promotion, came…
Some Great Reviews!
It’s probably no surprise that you can’t sell many (any?) books without reviews. I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to my beta-readers (a special breed onto themselves) who kindly posted some great reviews on Amazon to get me started. Don’t worry, your beta-readers, although they may know and love you, will have been so brutally honest doing their initial reading of your manuscript, that you know you’re getting the straight goods when it comes to their reviews.
Once those 252 books sold on my one-day promotion, I started getting reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, from complete strangers. As of this writing, my average review is 4.6 out of a possible 5 stars. These are from readers who didn’t know me at all and reviewed the book strictly on its merit.
So Where Do I Go From Here?
Unfortunately, the after glow of finishing and publishing that first book, fades quickly. I became hyper aware of not becoming the Billy Ray Cyrus (do you remember any of his songs other than “Achy Breaky Heart?”) of the writing world. No offense, Billy Ray.
But as is the rule, there is always a way forward. I’d hoped that a super fabulous plot line would percolate while I was basking in the sun of Mexico. Not!
I’d thought that I’d be itching to get back to writing my second book as soon as I returned home. That didn’t happen either. First, I had a rotten cold for a week upon my return and then for another week, I suffered from a cold-induced brain fog.
But, I have now written the first four chapters of my next book and I am committed to getting it finished, or at least to my beta readers and editor, by early Spring. Have I made a fortune on my first book? Here’s my honest answer…
No, but I’ve Learned a Lot, Including:
You have to have more than one book; preferably three, before you can really use all of Amazon’s tools to market and position your first book effectively.
Should you wait until you’ve written more than one? I wouldn’t. Just know that is how the new paradigm works. If nothing else, it will give you the incentive you need to write—and write some more. Even a collection of short stories is helpful in getting your name out there and having your longer books sell.
As I leave you, I’m reminded of a quote I used to believe and unfortunately, propagated too often. It is, “Anything we fully do is an alone journey.”
I don’t believe that anymore.
Yes, it’s true that only you, and you alone, can write your book. Darn, hey? But, the process of making your story better (beta-readers, your peers, editors), polishing it to look and read the best it can (formatters, cover designers), and ultimately publishing (with the help of other writers and mentors), it definitely takes a village to produce a book.
Lessons learned? Too many to count, but number one: ask for and graciously accept help.
Oh, and of course—pay it forward by helping others!
- The (book) Baby is Almost Birthed!
- DEADLY SWITCH is featured today on the Fussy Librarian!