My debut novel, ‘In A Right State‘, has been available on Amazon for about 6 months now and what no-one really tells you is that during this first 6 months you spend 99% of your time trying to get reviews.
At least, for an unknown, self-published, debut author, that’s what you should be spending your time doing because no-one knows who the hell you are so you have to try to convince others to read your book so they’ll tell people who you are and that you’re worth parting with their hard earned cash for.
There are two types of reviews; the customer review you see on Amazon and other places, and then the book reviewer review, the one you see on blogs and on Goodreads, etc. You want both.
So how do you do this?
Basically, a politely worded email asking if maybe someone would kindly donate their precious time to reading a FREE version of your book and review it somewhere….anywhere!
My debut novel, ‘In A Right State’, has now been live on Amazon for 6 months since launching on 7th July 2014, so how has it performed?
Back in February last year I try to define different levels of success in a blog post, ‘Self-Publishing: My goal & defining success‘. According to those goals, I’m just short of ‘success’ (selling 50+ ebooks and getting a few reviews).
- I’ve sold 16 ebooks on Amazon.
- I’ve sold 0 paperbacks.
- I’ve got 4 reviews on Amazon.
- 4 reviews on Goodreads.
- I’ve also got some good reviews on a few book blogging sites such as SFBook, which I’m also really pleased with.
- I also got in the local newspaper, Featured in Local Newspaper!
But the crux of the matter is how much did I spend? Was this a profitable venture? No. Not even vaguely close.
The grand total including editing, developing and marketing = £1,085.33.
I’ve sold 16 ebooks with a royalty of $4.12 per ebook = $66/£42. So in total I’ve made a loss of -£1,043.33 in 6 months.
Not great but I’ve ended up with a professionally edited and presented ebook that I’m proud of. There’s also the added bonus of a print-on-demand paperback version which I had never envisioned of achieving so soon.
And that’s after 6 months. If there’s two lessons I’ve learnt through all this is that publishing and the book industry is slow and getting reviews is hard. I have a few review copies out there in reviewers ‘To Read Lists’ and there’s more out there to be contacted, plus I’ve only been selling on Amazon at full price. In the very near future I’m going to get onto the other ebook providers and also start discounting too.
I refuse to offer this book for free purely out of principal, plus it smacks of desperation.
So, that’s the 6 month review, I’ll see if I can improve things for the 1 year review but I’ve also got the 2nd draft of Novel 3 to get on with too. I need to let ‘In A Right State’ go for a bit and let it fend for itself because I’ve already dedicated a whole lot more time and effort into it than I originally planned but that’s because my original plan was so ill thought out and naive as to be ridiculous.
I’m going to write some more blog posts on what I’ve learnt so far. I should have a bit more time to reflect on the few things that have succeeded and the multitude that haven’t.
Oh yeah, plus I need to get stuck into the 2nd draft of the 3rd novel, ‘Blindsided’. PLUS! I’ve got the seeds of a 4th novel which I’m going to mull over and percolate over 2015 too.