I don’t post a whole lot here about the business end of writing, nor about the ins and outs of self-publishing. This is partly because I think the business end of writing is boring as hell. I mean, I have to worry about it because the IRS might wonder where the extra income is coming from, but it’s not something I particularly enjoy dwelling on here. Also, I said pretty much all I’ll ever have to say about the pros and cons of self-publishing when I wrote for Publishing Renaissance, and I hate repeating myself. Repeating myself.
But the biggest reason I avoid those subjects is that there are a slew and a half of other, much more knowledgeable, writers talking about it already; for example Zoe Zoemeister Winters and Mr. J.A. Konrath (whom I don’t know well enough to -meister). I’m usually hanging out, doing my writing thing, and by the time I’ve thought about the possible ramifications of literary agent Andrew Wylie publishing his clients’ ebooks on his own or heard about Who said What about self-published books over at So-and-So’s blog, it’s pretty much been talked to death.
Recently, though, a fellow indie author told me that it was my responsibility, as a successful self-publishing author, to add my voice to the indie chorus once more. To help to dispel the notion that self-published books suck, that self-published authors do well to sell a total of 25 copies to their friends and family members, or that they might – if they’re very lucky – reach 150 sold if they truly bust their ass. My first thought was, “Dude! You think I’m successful? Rad!” Because I truly don’t know what, exactly, being successful entails. That is to say, I know that it means different things to different people, but it wasn’t an adjective I’d ever applied to myself. My second thought was, “Oy! People are still spouting that crap, aren’t they?” Then it was, “Do I have enough coffee to write about stats and sales and crap?” The answer was, I guess so (I love my Keurig) because here it goes.
Sales-wise Waiting For Spring is doing pretty well, particularly on Kindle. I haven’t been able to quit my day job yet, but when my hours at said job were recently cut, the ebook sales made up the difference (and then some), which eased the hit to the checkbook somewhat. For the boring stats part, this year I’ve sold nearly 7000 copies of Waiting For Spring on Kindle alone. I’ve sold about a quarter of that number in other places (print, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc). See? Sales figures are boring.
Other good stuff: Reviews keep coming in, the mostly positive kind, and I continue to get emails from people who say kind things about my book (although there are enough readers at Goodreads who think I suck to keep my hat size from increasing), and that’s cool, too. Inside The Writers’ Studio – the video show created by fellow Backword author, Kristen Tsetsi and myself – is doing very well (Episode V will be coming up shortly!), which thrills me to no end. Also, some of my holy-shit-I-can’t-believe-this-happened-at-work! blog stories are being incorporated into a screenplay that’s being written, as we speak, by Robin Altman and Carole Carlson. That is pretty damned exciting. There are other things going on as well – positive public mentions of my book by other writers, interviews, co-hosting Book Chatter – that make me think I must be doing something right.
But when it comes to considering myself successful…well, I guess it boils down to this: I’m having more fun than should be legally allowed. I love writing. I mean, I love it. Creating people and worlds, then tearing those lives and those worlds apart, and then putting them back together again…damn, what’s not to love? I’d do it if nobody else ever read my stuff. I’d do it for free. Hell, I have done it for free. But the fact that there are so many people who do read it, and who are happy to pay for the privilege of reading it – so that I can spend even more of my time doing the thing I love – is a neverending cause of amazement for me. And I hope that success continues for many more years to come.