Paring Down?

When I started this blog back in 2007 I was freshly graduated with my Master’s degree, working two part-time jobs, writing like a demon, and just starting a relationship with my current crit partner.  In July of that year I traded one of the part-time jobs for my current full-time job, so that I was working 40 hours a week, then teaching 2-3 sections of general psych online for a regional community college.  In January of 2009 I picked up a third job teaching a section of abnormal psych for the psych department of the university I worked for.  I’ve been doing that ever since, developing new classes for the full university, being forced to adopt a standardized curriculum for the community college (which I loathe), and generally working my tushy off.  I really never intended to do the 3 job thing more than a year, but the bottom fell out of the economy, we were paying off debt at a rapid rate, my husband was working full-time and going to school part-time (still is), and it just seemed like a risk to drop anything. Through it all, responsibilities have increased, the community college job has grown exponentially with bureaucratic B.S., while our autonomy as teachers has been eliminated, and I’ve been cut back to 1 section there.  I kept everything up because ultimately I want to be a full-time online instructor while I write.  This was all a step in that direction.

In the midst of all this, I kept writing, learning, writing more.  In March of this year I put out my first paranormal romance novella as a self-publishing endeavor to build an audience.  It started out very modestly, each month seeing growth over the month before such that I’d sold 100 copies by the end of May, which was incredibly exciting to me as I don’t have that many people who love me, so that meant I was getting into total stranger territory.  People who bought the book because they thought it sounded cool or because somebody told them about it (thank you Twitter!).  This past month has seen an EXPLOSION of sales such that I fully expect to have a 600% increase in sales over last month by the end of this one (yes, I have a spreadsheet).  I’ve climbed the charts, getting as high as 562 overall in the Kindle store and getting SOOOOO close to cracking the top 10 in my various categories.

How does all that translate into money?  Well, so far I’ve made about $170.  Not a huge chunk by living wage standards, but I’ve paid off my cover art and my copyright.  I’m pleased with that.  And I feel like growth will only continue.

I am working on the novel length follow up to Forsaken By Shadow, which I hope to release by the end of October.  Being a longer book (though not as long as I originally anticipated), I’ll be shooting for the $2.99 price point.  That puts me in position to take advantage of Amazon’s new royalty structure, wherein I’ll get 70% or $2.09 per sale.  I feel like Revelation will start to sell quicker due to the exposure garnered by Forsaken By Shadow (as it seems to be the trend that the more titles you have available, the more you sell–no shock there–it’s greater visibility).  Long story short and bypassing some boring math, I should make enough by the end of the year on both titles to make up for what I net teaching a single section at the community college.

Which means…dum dum dum…that I think I can finally DROP the crappy community college job that I really don’t like anymore (they don’t want TEACHERS, they want trained monkey graders), replacing it with ACTUAL INCOME EARNED BY MY WRITING.  Which puts me down to 2 jobs and writing instead of 3.  Of course the potential for having just 1 job and writing is there too if I wind up getting the full-time teaching position I’ve applied for (no news on that yet).  And that, my friends, is very big motivation and proof that for now, for me, indie publishing is the way to go.

10 thoughts on “Paring Down?

  1. I, too, have a spreadsheet. LOL I’ve seen increased sales this month, also. It’s been great. You know I’m a big fan since I’ve read Forsaken by Shadow and can’t wait for the next book.

    I tried putting my latest novel, Starfane, on Amazon at $2.99. It was my very favorite of everything I’ve ever written. I just couldn’t sell it. Then I bumped it down to $1.99. A few sales trickled in. So then I put it at .99, stating in the description that it was a limited time price. Sales still haven’t been great for that one, but they did pick up. When you put your next novel on Amazon, you might want to consider starting at a lower price and letting readers know that it’s a limited time offer. Get your ranking up, then raise the price. Just an opinion based on experience. Of course, you may have better luck right away. I really hope so, because the 70% royalty is a great thing that Amazon is doing. I just wish they would do it with lower priced items.

    BTW, how do you not go crazy trying to balance all that’s going on in your life? Wouldn’t it be cool if ALL you had to do was write?

    1. I live in a perpetual state of hyper-preparedness–which is totally not healthy for any long term period of time, so I don’t recommend it. I have to be very very good at compartmentalizing to try to get myself in EDJ mode, then teaching mode, then writing mode. It’s really hard to pull off the shift sometimes. It helps that I am a super type A, freakishly organized personality but I know I’m headed toward a big burnout. Hubs is getting more mobile and in another couple of months he ought to be back doing all of the stuff he’s responsible for. If I can dump the crap CC job, that’s one less major headache. I’m really good at living for the future to cope with the fact that the right now has some suckiness. I have to focus on the fact that I WILL NOT always be working all these jobs. I will NOT always be working for my current nutty boss. It’s kind of a “this too shall pass” attitude I guess. And I also have a very active fantasy life involving the many ways I would exact payback against her if I could. 😀 Did I mention I used to write murder mysteries?

    2. Oh I meant to ask, are Starfane and your other books part of a series? or are they stand-alones? That’s part of what I’m banking on with mine is that people who were sucked in by the first one will want to know what happens next.

      1. I LOVE murder mysteries. LOL

        None of my books have anything to do with each other. Zoe did mention that she thought I might want to work on a series with the Club Blood idea, although she thinks it needs some work. That’s the novella that’s really taking off, and I think it’s because vampires are hot right now. For some reason, I’m too “restless” to do a series. I don’t know how to explain it except that I get bored easily, so I have to move on to something else. Although, I do READ series sometimes if they are very good. Like the Blood Lust series. :0) And I will definitely read everything you write!

        1. Ha! I have the opposite problem. I can’t seem to think in independent stories. Everything winds up intertwining and connecting. One thing you might consider would be kind of a loose series…where each story pretty well stands alone but it happens in the same universe. That might give you the sort of freedom you want (by not having big long drawn out metaplot) but still have that kind of thread of continuity that can pull fans from one book to the next.

          1. That’s not a bad idea, Kait. Since I’ve sold 694 copies of Club Blood since February and only 80 of See Me (a ghost story), it would be a good business decision to spin something off of Club Blood. And people do seem to like series.

            So Revelation is the second in a series, right? But I think you mentioned that the book is also very different from Forsaken by Shadow.

  2. Well it is in the sense that FBS didn’t really have any mystery to it and was essentially a paranormal thriller from page 1. But it was always set in the same universe and is the beginning of a big long metaplot. Each book builds on the next but will follow a different couple and have its own story that gets resolved with in it. Same as a show like Burn Notice–the overaching metaplot that spans the season is Michael finding out about who burned him, but each episode has its own little setup that gets resolved by the end.

    After a grueling six hour brain storming session with my CP (she was mostly the brain and I was doing most of the storming–not tantruming but my brain fritzing out), we managed to come up with a sort of third version of Revelation that’s a good mix of the first version (which was very much action like FBS) and the second version (which was way more mystery/intrigue), such that I think the tone will suit the series and not leave my action loving peeps who liked that about FBS hanging.

  3. Income earned by writing! That sounds like a dream come true – and it is! Hope it all works out 🙂 Shall I preorder on Amazon now or what? :-))

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