Giveaway!

My Facebook Author page hit 200 “Likes” today and to celebrate, I’m holding a giveaway for a $25.00 Amazon.com gift card.  The giveaway will run until the end of February and the winner will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter.

Go here to enter.

First Month Stats

internet-statistics_1July is over.  My first month of self-publishing is over.  I’m hoping that sharing my findings will help those out there considering self-publishing.

I enrolled in KDP Select for the e-book.  I choose the 70% royalty option and priced the e-book at $2.99 US, with comparable prices for other markets (UK, France, Germany, Canada, etc).  My royalty for the e-book is approximately $2.03.  I used 2 of my five free days early in the month, on July 3rd and July 6th.  My thought process for the free days being that people would be on (or about to be going on) vacation, likely a beach vacation, and would be looking for something easy to read.

For the paperback, I went with the publish-on-demand (POD) service CreateSpace.  I priced the book at $10.99 US, again with comparable prices for other markets.  My royalty for the paperback when ordered through Amazon is $1.90 (no one has ordered it through CreateSpace, so I won’t worry about their royalty).

Now the good stuff – the stats.  Here are all the details from the first month:

Money Spent

ISBN for the paperback – $10.00

Proof copy of the paperback – $8.28

Business Cards (with Title of Book, link to Amazon’s page where people can buy the book, and all of my Social Media contact info) – $49.52, purchased through Staples online print center (500 cards)

Copies of the paperback for Gifts, Giveaways, and In-person sales – $187.65 (35 copies)

Shipping of a paperback copy to a Book Reviewer – $2.75

Total Costs: $258.20

E-books Sold

USA – 64 copies

UK – 267 copies (that’s right, they like me in the UK)

Canada – 4 copies

Total Sales: 335

Royalty Total: approximately $680.05 (this is calculating $2.03 royalty for each copy, though the exchange rates may cause some differences.  I’ll know a firmer total when I receive the report on the 15th)

E-books Borrowed

USA – 3 copies

UK – 5 copies

Total Borrows: 8

Royalty Total: Not sure what the payout will be for borrows yet, I’ll find out in my monthly report around the 15th, I believe.  The average for the past couple of months (according to KDP community message boards) is approximately $2.00 per borrow, so $16.00

Free Downloads over 2 days

USA – 487

UK – 152

Canada – 4

France – 10

Germany – 14

India – 3

Total Downloads: 670

Royalty Total: $0.00, duh 🙂

Paperbacks Sold

Through CreateSpace – 18

Royalty Total: $34.20

In-person by me – 12 + 2 copies that were given with a promise of payment later (I know where they live!)

Royalty Total: (I spent $5.34 on each copy and charged $10.00 when selling them) $55.92

Total Sales: 30

Paperbacks Given Away

3, though I have plans to give a few more away

Royalty Total: $0.00 again

Profits

Approximately $527.97.  For someone who never expected anyone to even read my book, let alone pay for it, I am REALLY happy with that number.  Even though I won’t actually see the money for a couple of months (Amazon doesn’t pay out until 60 days after the end of the month in which the royalties are made and CreateSpace is 30 days after the end of the month in which the royalties are made).

Marketing

I did very little marketing.  I posted the link to the book on my personal facebook page and several friends and family members shared it.  I then created a Facebook Author fan page, a Twitter account, and a Goodreads author page.  I asked on my facebook pages for friends to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads IF they read and enjoyed the book.

11 reviews have been posted on Amazon, all 5-star, 10 by people I know.  The one person who I didn’t know, heard of the book through a friend of a friend.

14 ratings have been posted on Goodreads, with 5 actual reviews.  (10) 5-star, (1) 4-star, (1) 3-star, and (2) 1-star.  (5) of the 5-star ratings are from people I know, the rest are from strangers.

I’ve listed 2 giveaways on Goodreads.  The first giveaway is for the US and Canada, for 5 copies.  I started it on July 8th and it will end on August 8th.  So far, there are 758 entries.  The second giveaway is for the UK, for 1 copy.  It started on July 15th and will end on August 15th.  So far, there are 98 entries.

483 people have added Twenty-Five to their bookshelves on Goodreads.

I have two book bloggers doing reviews, but those will not appear until next week at the earliest.  From what they’ve said in our email exchanges, it sounds like the reviews will be positive, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed there.  But, even bad publicity is good publicity, right?  I’m raising the prices on both the e-book and paperback tomorrow, and doing 3 more free days on Amazon the last weekend of August.  I’m going to reach out to sites that promote free e-books before the second free promotion, which I did not do with the first 2-day promotion.

I did not tinker with the book’s description, cover, or tags in the first month, though I may once the higher price kicks in if I see that sales have dropped.

So, that’s it.  My first month of self-publishing all laid out.  I said in my last post I was happy I’d done it and I’m even happier today.  I am so proud of myself and my book for taking a chance and taking the leap.  These numbers are modest, I know, but they are mine.  And they are more than I expected, especially the e-book sales in the UK.  I can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

I’m a Real Writer

How I've felt all week
How I’ve felt all week

The past couple of days have been amazing.  When I started this blog four years ago, I said I wanted to chronicle my life as I tried to become a real writer.  I thought at that time that to be a “real writer” I would have to be published by a big, traditional publishing house.  I’d have to have my book in bookstores and do book signings and interviews on late night tv.

I could not have been more wrong.

When my book went live on the Kindle Store, I felt like a REAL Writer.  A REAL Author.  Because I am.  Yes, I published myself.  But that doesn’t change all of the hard work that went into writing and editing Twenty-Five.  People have actually bought my book!  Okay, so one was my mom and one was my best friend, but 8 other people who may or may not know me actually paid the $2.99 to purchase it!  And over 100 people in the Unites States and over 100 people in the United Kingdom downloaded it for free on July 3rd.  Hey, even a couple people in Germany and France downloaded it for free.

That means over 200 people have my book available to them at this exact moment in time.  Some of those people will actually read it.  And isn’t that what really matters to all writers?  That someone out there is reading what they wrote?

Here’s a review I got on Amazon last night:

5.0 out of 5 stars Really liked this book! July 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I read a lot – I average a book a day, but sometimes there are books that I immediately want to read again. This was one of them!
The characters seemed real, their actions made sense, and it was well written. Plus, the story was not one I had read many times before – great points of view and very believable from both characters. The biggest point I can make is that I cried. That’s how I know I really like the story. And I highly recommend this book!
Now I’m bracing myself for the first bad review, but hey, doesn’t that just validate my writer status, too?
I created a Facebook Page for Author self, so please check it out and “Like” if you want more frequent updates on Twenty-Five and my future books: http://www.facebook.com/RachelLHammAuthor
Whew!  I think that’s all for now, but I’ll update again soon!

Life Doesn’t Seem to Take Into Account the Plans That I Make

May was supposed to be an easy month.  I have no weddings scheduled and only had to work one Friday at the ortho.  May was supposed to be the month I finally started querying and writing again.

Unfortunately, May has been super crazy so far.  I wish I could post a screen shot of my calendar so you could see how crazy.  I haven’t sent a single query because I haven’t had time to work on my letter or finish (heck, even start, really) my latest rounds of edits on Twenty-Five.  I don’t know if I’m more relieved or frustrated about that.

I haven’t written a word of The Death Effect since I made the goal to get to 60K this month.  I honestly have not had real time.  I need to go back and read through what I already have and look at my outlines before I write anymore because it’s been soo long since I’ve seriously worked on it.  I don’t remember the paths I wanted the characters to take.  I remember the outcome, just not how to get them there!

So, why haven’t I had the time?  I’ve been working.  I don’t have any weddings this month, which last year meant a smooth-sailing, free-as-a-bird existence.  This year, NOPE!  But that’s a good thing.  I’m busier.  I have more clients than ever and I’m going to meetings and networking events all the time.  It’s wonderful because I really do love it.  If I could coordinate full time and write on the side, I’d be a really happy girl.  And we’re getting closer.  My boss can’t keep track of my clients anymore!

On the same line of thought, we spent four hours on Sunday setting up our blog, Daring, Devoted.  It looks FANTABULOUS, if I do say so myself.  We officially “launched” it on Tuesday.  And by “launched” I mean we all put posts on Facebook about it! haha.  It will be on our website soon, too.  I’m so happy with it and really proud of the BBS team for doing it!  I just hope brides and event professionals find it informative and entertaining.

When we were working on the blog, it struck me how important voice actually is in writing of any kind, not just fiction.  There are three of us in the company and each of us read the other 2’s posts to make comments and suggestions before putting them on the blog.  It hit me over the head how different they each sounded, and not just in content.

I’ve heard so much discussion on the importance of a strong voice over the past year and I kinda wondered if that was my problem.  I couldn’t discern my own voice in my work.  I worried the way I write is so simple that is is utterly devoid of voice.  But I discovered this weekend that isn’t true.  I DO have a voice.  It may not be knock-your-socks-off fantastic, but it’s there.  I sound like me.  Nobody else.  Just me.

And I think that’s a good thing.

*As proof of how busy I’ve been, I wrote this on Monday and have not had time to type it until today, Thursday!*

Official?

**Update 11/21/11** I tried to go to Mezzo Magazine’s site, and it was gone 😦  My previous triumph now seems premature.

 

I’m officially a published writer!

Well, sort of.  My poem, “My Pen,” has been published in the online magazine, Mezzo Magazine!  It’s amazing to go to the site and see it and know that I didn’t upload it for feedback, or as something random on my blog, or as a note on Facebook.  I submitted to a group of editors and they chose it for the magazine.  They Chose My Poem!  I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that.

BTW, I absolutely love the graphic they came up with to go along with my poem.  It’s really beautiful.  I wish I could  get a jpeg of it.  Maybe I should email the editor…

Okay, so now a question.  Should I use this publishing credit when I’m querying my book?  It really has nothing to do with my book, but it’s the only publishing credit I have right now (keep your fingers crossed that there will be more in the future).

Does this mean I’m a “real” writer now?  I don’t know.  It doesn’t feel like it yet.  But will it ever?  I guess I’ll just have to wait for some other little writing victory to come along to see if I feel any different.  For now, I’ll say, I’m one step closer.

The editor saw my blog post and emailed me a copy of the jpeg!  So, here it is, my beautiful graphic thanks to Mezzo Magazine!

Why I Love Hand-Writing My First Drafts

I don’t hand write everything. But I think I get in a better flow when I’m writing by hand. Mainly because I don’t have the distraction of Facebook or TNBW or Absolute Write or even the dashboard of my blog!

Also, when you write the first draft of something by hand, you get a second shot at the first draft when you type it. For example, I hand wrote part of a chapter of The Death Effect during down time at work the other day. Shhh, don’t tell my boss! (Not that it really matters that much because down time at work is literally seconds in between phone calls and guests checking in and out and stylists needing help with their schedules and the purchase order being checked in, etc. etc. etc. And, my last day is January 9, 2010, so, I think it’s a moot point anyways.) Here’s a few sample sentences that I hand wrote:

They each dropped a rose into the grave. Donny took Geri’s hand and put his other arm around her waist to lead her back to their seats.

Okay those are sooo not exciting. But! When I typed it into my draft I saw how unexciting it was and my inner editor changed it to this:

Her fingers trembled as she loosened her grip on the roses meant to be the last gift to her daughter. The stems rolled out of her hands and tumbled into the grave, a few petals breaking off as the flowers struck the casket. Her husband’s touch replaced the roses as he took her hand and put his arm around her waist to lead her back to their seats.

Still not amazing, but can’t you see the VAST difference! Handwriting is great because it gives you a chance to have 2 first drafts. If I had been typing my first draft, I probably wouldn’t have gone back through and changed that sentence until a couple of months from now, if at all, once I’ve finished the whole book.

I wrote the entire first draft of Twenty-Five by hand and didn’t start typing it until it was 75% complete.  I think that’s how I even finished it in the first place.  It feels more tangible when you can hold the pages in your hand, and it feels more like your work when you see your hand writing expressing the words making up a story.  I feel like I need to stop staring at a computer screen and pick my pen back up if I want to have any shot of finishing another book.

Procrastination

Whenever I have work I have to do, or a goal I’ve set for myself to meet, inevitably I will procrastinate down to the last possible minute.  Anyone else out there like me?  What are your favorite methods of procrastination?  Here are mine:

PACMAN. Oh my goodness, I love playing Pacman online.  Here’s a free site: Pacman

TV.

Facebook. I know, its so sad to stalk your friends and people you haven’t talked to in years, but still its a helluva lot of fun.

The forums on TNBW.

Re-reading my writing. For some reason rather than doing any actual writing, I will spend half-hours at a time reading over chapters I’ve just finished.  It’s not so I get to know the story better.  It’s because I think I’m going to suck at the next thing I write.  That’s really why I procrastinate!  I’m afraid that the next thing I’m going to put down on the paper is going to be so horrible that I’ll ruin everything that’s come before it!

How to prevent that fear?  I don’t know.  Keep writing, I guess.  Put it out there in the universe.  Realize that something is going to suck at some point and that maybe something else is going to be phenomenal.  And that when something sucks it can be fixed.  Or I can at least attempt to fix it.

Oh, I forgot a new thing I’ve been doing to procrastinate.

BLOGGING.