Friday, July 13, 2012

A Year of Publishing: First Anniversary


Wow. It has been a year since my first book was published. I look back on this year in amazement, excitement, exhaustion from all that has transpired. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect so much to occur in one year’s span. But I know I need to stop and be thankful for each milestone, accomplishment, award won, book published, marketing opportunity, person who read, and life I was able to touch.

As an indie author, I am well aware that I am fighting an uphill battle. (Like that Miley Cyrus song that sticks in my head “It’s a CLIMB!”) And it has been. Had a traditional publisher grabbed me up, who knows where I would have been at this point? Well – I do. A year later, I’m sure I would have still been waiting in anticipation for the book to make it to the shelves. There is a different pace in that world than what Indies do. For us, it is harder to find an audience – so when you do…you want to have an inventory of books for readers to say “I like that author, I’d love to read something else by them.” For me: that too is difficult as each of my books are vastly different, not sticking to a genre or a certain mold. But I had worked on several books prior to even starting down the road so they were written (many of them had gone through the eyes of an editor) and just sitting in the proverbial drawer.

First Milestone 1 & 2 in Kindle & Books in Blended Familes
A recent report has shown that some of the numbers of Indie published authors have been slightly altered because of those few break-out writers who have been discovered by everyone. Half of Indie & self-pub'ed authors make less than $500 a year. (I don’t see quitting the day job any time soon.) But is it about money made or amount of readers you can reach? It depends on the person you speak to.

I never expected to make a ton of money by being a writer. I just love to tell stories. The bonus (for me) has been the people I’ve met, the connections made, the awards I’ve won. Stepping outside of my circle of family and friends to generate a small buzz about my work has been thrilling. But I’ve made many mistakes along the way as well (and in my effort to pay-it-forward: I’ve tried to share as many of those mistakes as possible).

Cool Milestone - Japanese
A few of those: 1) my desire to get into stores meant my publisher had to give a much larger discount to buyers across the board – so basically I made nothing off of Well With My Soul when it sold so well in the fall. (Lesson learned by book 2.) Now I know it is next to impossible for Indies to get into stores unless the owner knows you and you can prove your book to them. 2) Editing/proofing. Even though my books have gone through so many eyes (eyes that were paid to look at them), mistakes got through and that absolutely kills me when I see them or when someone points them out. (Especially when they use that very thing to give you a bad review.) 3) Not putting marketing dollars into the correct places: something every author should think long and hard about before buying an ad in “X” or spending money in other ways. 4) Setting expectations too high. We must live in reality and know that copies of our books are not going to sell daily…no matter how many bloggers, twitter friends, and other authors say otherwise by sharing their numerous sells and downloads. I don’t know where they are living – but it is not in the world I live in as I don’t see those kinds of sales.

WWMS breaks top 100
But the joy…the excitement from watching each book climb the Amazon list when they would come out. Words can’t describe (even though you know it is because your dear friends have hit the site all at once and the strange algorithm used by Amazon sees you as a ‘book on the move’ and you shoot up (where you don’t stay for long…but you did have that one moment in glory at the top of an online chart). No. I didn’t ever see my name in the NY Times, but I was in several magazines, radio spots, and a PBS TV show: so that was not too shabby. Publisher’s Weekly wouldn’t touch my book as it was tainted as an Indie Book, but strangers read my work and wrote amazing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (and one owns an Indie bookstore in Colorado and after reading Patchwork of Me requested copies of all of my books to sell in her store). Wonderful friends and mentors encouraged me to submit my children’s book to MeeGenius and because of an outpouring of votes from so many people, it won the People’s Choice award and I was able to get it into print where I took it to schools and talked candidly about autism.

It has been an amazing year. I can’t kid myself. I challenged myself to try new things. To submit articles and blogs to websites and get those published which meant more people reading my work and my words being used to stir controversy or make someone think. That’s what I want. That’s what I hope to continue doing. Sure, I’d love to venture out into the vast world so that more people can find me, but for the past year…I am thrilled with the 28,000 hits to my blog, the 600+ people following me on Facebook and the 2,300 on twitter. These are the people that have encouraged and inspired me and hopefully: tell a friend or two about something I've written.

It’s been a great 1st year in publishing. Happy Birthday to Proud Pants. The small story that was only  released to 'test the waters' prior to my 1st novel and yet so many people responded to it.

Now don’t you want to run and download it for your favorite eReader for $1.99?     

5 comments:

  1. What a great post. Thanks for being such an inspirational realist, and friend.

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    1. Thank you, Brandon! You are definitely one of those I speak of when I talk of those great people I've met.

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  2. Congratulations, Gregory. Publishing a book is an adventure and you have the right, positive attitude. Keep on, keeping on!

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    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Carol!

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  3. Congrats, Greg! What an impressive "climb"!

    I'm hooked. I'm a fan :-)

    Thank you!

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