I have some very exciting news this week. I passed the one million unit sales mark at Barnes and Noble! I'm the first Indie author to sell over a million at the retailer through the PubIt! platform. A few months ago I passed the same milestone at Amazon books, making me the first Indie author to have sold a million on both platforms! Overall, my sales across six retailers is up to 2.7 million ebooks since January 2011.
The self publishing journey I have been on has been exciting and exhausting! I started out self pubbing some backlist titles that had gone out of print and then moved on to ebook originals. I love being able to get my books to so many fans and also new readers, and I want to thank all the readers who have discovered my books for supporting my work in such a big way. It makes going to the keyboard to write every day that much easier.
As some of you may know, I started my writing career in traditional publishing. I've published 32 books through four houses, Avon, Silhouette, NAL and most recently Pocket Books. And I've now published 3 ebook originals as part of the WISH Series. Book three in the WISH Series, WHEN WISHES COLLIDE, was released this month.
I'm currently working on a new connected series about a firefighting family in San Francisco called The Callaways. Generations of Callaways have been raised with the philosophy of “serve and protect” and those who haven't followed in the family business of fire fighting have still gone into careers where they serve the community like search and rescue, medicine and investigative work. The Callaways are a blended family. The father had four sons. The mom had two daughters, and they married, adding in a set of fraternal twins, making a total of 8 siblings, ranging from 23-35.
Of course, I can't write a series without lots of dysfunction, family secrets, and moral choices, so I think you'll enjoy watching the Callaways get tested by life and also by love. Many of the continuing characters will be seen in every book, so I hope you'll get as interested and addicted to reading about the Callaways as I am about writing their stories. The first book will be out by the end of 2012. More specific dates to come.
Many people have written to ask me for advice on how to successfully self-publish. My best advice, having watched how my books have performed the last two years, is to write a lot of books! I've discovered that every new book raises the tide on sales for the previous ones. I honestly think writing the next book is a more important and a better use of your time than investing too many hours or too many dollars into promotion. I do still believe in Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest and other social media experiments but only on a limitied basis. Don't spent all your time tweeting! Author newsletters are also great so that you can alert your readers to a new book. But I hope writers will think of self publishing (or traditional publishing) as a career. You're not going to write just one book, you're going to write many! And anyone who reads your first book and loves it is going to want to read the second. Plus, from a practical standpoint it is easier to promote and sell books when you can offer a sale price on the first book in a series or even just to another book you've written.
Aside from promotion, hiring the right team of editors, artists, marketing, whatever you need to put out a professional product, is very important. The readers can be harsh in their reviews. So you want to put out the best book you can. There are a lot of great freelancers available for anything you need. Take advantage of them!
While I've enjoyed my experiences with traditional publishing, I'm currently pursuing my own path. I enjoy the freedom to write what I want and publish as frequently as I can, so that my readers will no longer have to wait a year in between books for the next installment in a series. I hope at some point to make a print only deal that so my successful ebooks will get wider distribution in print, but we'll see what happens.
In the meantime, I'm very thankful to the retailers — the wonderful people at PubIt!, Amazon KDP, Kobo, Apple and Google, who have made this self publishing experience so wonderful!