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 Glad I Did It

It’s been three weeks since I self-published Twenty-Five, and I have to say, I am so happy I did it.  Before taking this leap, I really wasn’t sure about self-publishing.  I’d read articles saying that the stigma had been lifted and more books were being published by the individual authors than by publishing houses now, but it was still a big risk for me.  What if I pressed the “upload” button and then never sold a single copy?  What if I did sell copies, but then got bad reviews?  I struggle with rejection issues, so this was one of my biggest fears.  I didn’t want to fail at this, at writing.

My book is my proudest accomplishment.  But, it still is strange for me when people I know read it.  Again, that fear of rejection.  What if they don’t like it?  Will that somehow mean they don’t like me anymore?  It’s so silly to be so proud of something and hold it to your chest without giving anyone else the chance to see how awesome it is.

So, I did it.  I took the chance and I created the e-book and the paperback.  And you know what?  People like it.  I’ve actually sold copies!  Sure, a lot of the copies I sold were to family and friends, but then again, a lot weren’t.  It’s only been three weeks, and I haven’t had thousands of downloads, but my book is in the hands of hundreds of people.  Hundreds.  I don’t  know if I ever expected that.  I haven’t made much money because the majority of those hundred were free downloads, but money isn’t the point.  The point is, I wrote a book and now people can read it.

And I can’t even tell you how awesome that is.

I can tell you, though, that it really makes me want to get another book out there for them to read!  I’m working on that.

Enter to Win a Free Copy of Twenty-Five

A couple of updates:

I’m now on Twitter and Facebook; Follow and Like me for current information on the progress of Twenty-Five and my works-in-progress:

@RLHammAuthor

facebook.com/RachelLHammAuthor

I received the proof copy of Twenty-Five two days ago and it looks great!

proof copy of 25

I’ve finished looking it over and have uploaded all of the changes to CreateSpace, I’m just waiting for them to approve to I can finalize sales of the Paperback.  I’ll post again when it is available for sale.

But the BIG news for today is that I’ve posted a Giveaway on Goodreads!  I’m giving away 5 copies of the paperback.  The promotion is running until August 8th, so if you are in the United States or Canada, head over to Goodreads and enter your name to win:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/58312-twenty-five

A Giveaway for the United Kingdom is starting next Monday, July 15th and will run until August 15th.  One copy will be available.

Lastly, I have been receiving a lot of positive reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.  I can’t thank everyone enough for their support.  I hope that new readers are attracted to the book due to your reviews!

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!

It Goes Both Ways

It took me a while to realize it, but “Saying Yes,” doesn’t mean you always have to wait for someone else to ask the question.  Since being dumped by Match.com man, I made a goal to go on at least one date a month for the rest of the year.  Great goal, right?  I know!  Problem is, dating has never come easy to me.  Men don’t just fall into my lap.  Dates are not easy to come by.  I can’t just sit around and wait.  In order to meet my goal, I need to get out there and meet new people.

I’ve talked a lot about “saying yes” over the past year.  I realized that I need to stop waiting for people to invite me to new experiences.  I need to go out and make those new experiences happen.  I should be the one inviting my friends out to try new things.  I keep saying I want to go back to school, take some classes, learn new things.  On Thursday, I received a course catalog from a local community college.  I found a beginner’s photography class for only $69 that fits within my work schedule and I’m going to take it.  I convinced my writing buddy and her husband to go see a band with me.  Okay, maybe I didn’t convince them, but I did invite them and they did go!  Last week I invited a couple of friends to go drinking.  I’m tired of sitting around being lonely and I’m not going to do it anymore.

Saying yes goes both ways.  I’m going to seek out new experiences and I’m going to accept invitations to them.  I’m going to live.

It Isn’t Always Easy

It was not easy to be happy today.

I woke up at 7:00, as usual, and as usual, I checked my email first thing.  I don’t know why I feel the need to check my email as soon as I wake up, but I do.  I had an email from a man I’d been on 3 dates with saying that he didn’t feel a “spark” and that we shouldn’t continue seeing each other.  I was utterly baffled, because it had been less than 36 hours ago that we were making out like teenagers on my couch.  I’m not sure what happened to the spark, but apparently, it’s gone.

I tried my damndest to be cautious about my feelings for this guy, because I didn’t want to get hurt when it inevitably ended, but our second date was amazing and our rapport seemed so spot on, that I let myself become hopeful.  We had just enough in common to keep us talking and just enough not-in-common to keep it interesting.  And he was nice.  And funny.  And shared my devotion to the Oxford comma.  And he kissed me first, dammit!

I can’t figure out what went wrong.  I don’t think I did anything crazy or desperate or clingy.  In fact, I was super careful not to, while still being my amazingly awesome and quirky self.  I understand that dates are for “trying people on,” but after that third date, I felt pretty confident that he’d chosen to wear me out of the store.  After we watched a movie on my couch, he literally said, “I can’t take this anymore,” and kissed me!  He’d been working up the nerve to make a move throughout the ENTIRE movie, then comes back with “There’s no spark.”  WTF.

So, yeah, it wasn’t easy to be happy today.  I repeated one of the commandments to myself, “Fake it til you make it,” but it didn’t do me much good.  All of my co-workers could tell I wasn’t having a good day.  I tried to remember, “Laugh more, cry less,” but only succeeded in keeping the tears at bay until 6:00 PM, when I arrived home.

I finally decided to force myself to do something that would make me happy, so I started a new blog.  I’m not dropping this one; the new one is under a pseudonym and with a different hosting site and is basically going to be an outlet for my misadventures in dating, love, and (lack-of) sex.  I think it’s going to make me very happy.  Especially if I can get some readers.  Writing the first post made me feel a little better.  And writing this makes me feel a little better.  Tomorrow I may work on doing some actual writing on my novel.  Because that will make me very happy.

Update on My Happiness Project

I finished The Happiness Project and I’ve been trying really hard to follow my 12 Commandments.  I find myself using “Pause. Breathe.” and “Think Friends Before Finances” the most often.  I tell myself to “Do it Now” a lot, but I haven’t been great about actually following through on that one yet.  So I’m going to try and focus on less frittering and procrastination and more productivity over the next week.

To increase my happiness, in addition to the 12 Commandments, I’ve also decided to focus on being thankful.  I wrote a few thank you notes to friends, which I never would have done before, and I made a “Happiness Calendar.”  Gretchen talked about doing a one-sentence journal to record things that happened every day, and I loved that idea.  I saw on pinterest a calendar in a box with an index card for every day; you use the same cards for several years, writing down a sentence or two about something that happened that day, until your cards are filled up and you have 5-10 years worth of memories.  I made my calendar with the plan to use it to record moments that made me happy that day, not just any random thing that happened.  Hopefully it will make me more aware of things that make me happy throughout the day.

My 12 Commandments to a Happier Self

My boss gave me a $50 Target gift card for my birthday.  So, of course, I immediately went to Target and spent more than $50.  I’ll talk more about my over-shopping impulses in a minute.  On that shopping trip, I bought a book I’d heard about a while ago, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin.  I’ve been thinking (or I should have been thinking) about what I need to do to be a happier person.  I think for the most part, I’m fairly happy, but there’s a lot of things in my life that I’m disappointed in and this causes me to be grumpy, rude, and a buzzkill at times.  The point of The Happiness Project is not to change who you are, but to appreciate who you are and what you have, and this will lead to being happier.

Gretchen divided her happiness project into 11 parts and spent one month focusing on each goal, then the last month evaluating her total progress.  She started out by doing a lot of research on happiness and what philosophers, experts, and pop culture personalities believed about happiness.  She encourages her readers to take on Happiness Projects of their own and that every individual’s happiness project would be different.

As Gretchen developed her plans for each month, she discovered that (in her words) “some overarching principles started to emerge.”  She used these principles to develop her “Twelve Commandments,” or basically the rules she’d let guide her throughout her project.

I probably don’t have the time needed right now to fully develop my own happiness project, but I do want to be happier.  I love the idea and so I want to start small, even if I can’t start big.  I created my own 12 Commandments and I’m hoping they will help me as I go about my daily life to make better decisions- decisions that will lead to a happier self.

(1) Be Rachel.  The first of Gretchen’s commandments was “Be Gretchen,” by which she meant, there’s no point trying to change who you are or what you like, so instead, embrace it!  “You can’t choose what you like, but you can choose what you do.”  I’m going to follow her example, and Be Rachel.  One of my favorite things about myself is the ability to be passionate- about my favorite tv show, amusement parks, orange soda, etc.  The essence of “Being Rachel” is being passionate about really random things, so I plan to continue to explore that.

(2) Ask- Do I Need This?  I cause myself a lot of unhappiness by spending money on things I want, but don’t really need.  I end up broke, struggling to figure out how I’m going to pay rent, or my car payment, or my student loan.  It’s okay to splurge on little things every once and a while, but too often, I take that to the extreme.  I splurge on one thing, then another, then another, until all of my money’s gone and I’m not even using the things I splurged on.  I taped the mantra “Do I need this?” onto my debit card to encourage me to be mindful about every purchase.

(3) Pause.  Breathe.  I have a bad tendency to roll my eyes and to snap at people.  Luckily, I’m not alone in this.  Snapping was one of the faults Gretchen most wanted to control in her happiness project, too.  From now on, when I get annoyed or find myself losing patience, I’m going to think, “Pause.  Breathe.” and hopefully that will save me from doing something I’ll regret later on.

(4) Fake It til you Make It.  Gretchen spends a lot of time talking about the concept that if you act happy, you will be happy. I definitely know first hand that this works.  I often have to wear a fake smile at work, or use a fake cherry voice, but usually, those fake things fade out and I actually feel happy.  Now, whenever I’m having a bad day, I’ll just fake it til I make it.

(5) Move on from mistakes.  This is another huge source of unhappiness in my life.  I hold on to mistakes for weeks, months.  I dwell on them.  I feel guilty, I loathe myself.  And Gretchen points out that in her research she discovered that other people tend to forget your mistakes rather quickly.  So why am I dwelling on them if no one else is?  What’s the point?  Learn, and move on.

(6) Trust my gut.  I recently spent a few weeks texting with a guy who I didn’t really like, but who seemed to really like me.  My gut told me that he wasn’t a person I wanted in my life, and he was constantly pressuring me and making me feel guilty about not wanting to do things he wanted me to do.  I should have stopped the conversation at the first indication that I didn’t want to be talking to him, but I was flattered by his declarations that I was beautiful and sexy and that he couldn’t stop thinking about me.  Now I know, it was also kind of creepy.  I deleted his number from my phone.

(7) Think Friends before Finances.  This may contradict my earlier commandment to think “Do I Need This?” but actually, it really piggybacks off it.  In twenty years, I’ll remember the times I spent with my friends, having fun, experiencing new things, not the fact that I was struggling to pay my bills.  Friends are more important than stuff.  If I have the opportunity to go out to dinner or to the movies or to a concert, I can spend my money on it, guilt free.

(8) Don’t fritter- Do It Now.  “Do It Now”  is another of Gretchen’s commandments.  I am terrible at “doing it now.”  I fritter my time away constantly and then complain that I have no time.  I always feel better (and so does Gretchen) when I do something right away, rather than putting it off.  For example, I’ve started ironing my work uniforms for the week on Sunday nights.  It gives me a few extra minutes in the morning on workdays, which, as I’m not a morning person, is a huge thing.  Another example, I’ve left two loads of clean laundry just sitting in my apartment without putting them away.  Every time I say, “I’m going to fold and hang my clothes,” I find myself playing on pinterest, or watching TV instead.  And the sight of those baskets is a definite source of displeasure in my life.  I need to just put the clothes away already!

(9) Say Yes! Obviously this is something I’ve been trying to do for a while now.  You can look back at past posts on the blog to see my attempts at “saying yes.” It also ties in with “Think Friends before Finances.”

(10) Food will never make me feel better.  I use food as a reward and a source of comfort.  But I never feel rewarded or comforted when I eat something bad for me.  So I should stop that using food as therapy.

(11) Laugh more.  Cry Less.  I want to spend more time enjoying life than lamenting it.  I love to laugh, but I really don’t do it enough.  It’s enough to take pleasure in little things.

(12) Celebrate.  It’s important to celebrate even small victories.  Life putting away the clothes finally!  Or typing a blog post I’ve been putting off for a while.  Or actually losing a pound.  When I take the time to pat myself on the back for something I’ve achieved, it makes me focus less on things I haven’t achieved.  In a strange twist, it also pushes me to do more.  “Celebrate” is the capstone of my 12 commandments because when I accomplish any one of them I should celebrate.  And celebrations don’t have to be big.  They can be as much as doing a little dance, or sharing with a friend that I hit a goal, or taking time to do something that I really enjoy but have been putting off doing because of money (like a massage or a pedicure).

I’m excited to see if these commandments will actually help me lead a happier, more fulfilling life.  I’ll let you know.