The sales of my self-published ebooks have just crossed over the 3 million mark!!! To say I’m astonished and amazed would be only a few of the adjectives I could use to describe this accomplishment. And I really want to thank the readers who have purchased many titles from my extensive booklist. Some people have written me to say they’ve read every single book, and I am deeply honored and touched by the support.
As some of you know, my self publishing journey began in January of 2011 when I published SUMMER SECRETS, a story of three sisters, an around-the-world sailing race, a lot of secrets, and one man determined to uncover them all. Summer Secrets had been originally published by NAL, but rights had reverted to me, so I decided to self publish the book. I loved the story, and I knew I had a lot of fans who hadn’t been able to find it in the bookstores before it disappeared. The first few weeks sales were slow. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the self publishing world was very new at that time. There was a lot less information available for self publishing authors, so there was a lot of trial and error involved and a steep learning curve. As part of that learning curve, I watched videos on how to use Photoshop so I could make my covers, I studied every how-to-format an ebook article that was available (not as many as there are now), and I got my book up at the various retailers.
As I said the first two months were slow. I put up another couple of books during that time period. I played around a lot with my cover choices, sometimes changing them a couple of times. And I also played around with price points. I did all the social media I was already doing for my traditionally published books. I dedicated myself to learning how to publish and sell ebooks. I read everything I could. I talked to all the retailers whenever I could find them, and I studied what other successful self publishing authors were doing.
Then something wonderful happened, SUMMER SECRETS started to sell and sell and sell. It eventually hit #1 on B&N and a month later hit #1 on Amazon, and then the biggest feat of all, it hit #1 on the New York Times EBook List. It also hit #3 on the NYT Combined
Print and Ebook List, even though there was not one copy in print available. What was even more amazing was at the moment that SUMMER SECRETS hit #1 on Amazon and the NYT, DON’T SAY A WORD hit #1 on B&N. I had three top spots with two different titles. I went on put another fourteen titles on the USA Today and New York Times Bestseller Lists for a total of 48 weeks.
My husband was as incredulous as I was. We’d been accumulating a lot of college debt for our kids, and his construction biz had a hit slow down after the economy crashed, so I was very motivated to make money on my writing. I think having that pressure probably helped me focus and just put my head down and work as hard as I could.
I was lucky that I had some backlist books to start with. Now I’m self publishing original books and loving every minute of it. I recently completed THE WISH SERIES: A SECRET WISH, JUST A WISH AWAY and WHEN WISHES COLLIDE. The books all stand alone but are connected by the theme of wishes. My new series is THE CALLAWAYS: ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS and SO THIS IS LOVE are currently available. The third book in the series will be out July 2013!
I enjoy running my own business, having control over what I write and how frequently it comes out. I was always a fast writer and wrote more quickly than publishers could publish me. So I no longer have to space out a series over 3 years, I can do 3-4 books a year and keep my readers happy!
I’ve probably worked harder the last two years than I did at any other time in my life, but the rewards have been great! I’ve learned a lot, and the most important thing is to keep writing books. New material always drives sales, much more than any number of amazing tweets or FB posts. Social media/promotion are important but only as an adjunct to the most important thing which is writing more books!
I also have to give a shout-out to the wonderful retailers who are supporting self publishing and making it so easy for writers to bring their books to market. There are wonderful people working at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords. And I truly appreciate all the the time they spend supporting and helping authors.
Until then, Happy Reading!