My First 90 Days

My First 90 Days

First, some statistics for these 1st 90 days (because I know how much some of you love crunchy numbers). As you can see from the numbers, the book is selling very well for a debut book, especially one by a debut independent author.

  • Total sales: 918
    • Kindle: 707
    • PubIt: 9
    • Google eBooks: 2
    • Print (Amazon): 38
    • Print (Other): 162
  • Total royalties: $2,463
    • Per month: $821
  • Highest daily sales: Tie between 8/9/11 (19 Kindle, 1 Other) and 8/22/11 (20 Kindle).
  • Average daily sales (90 days, all editions): 10.1
  • Average daily sales (90 days, Kindle): 7.43
    • August daily sales, all editions: 15.2
    • August daily sales, Kindle: 14.1
  • 10 weeks of gains over previous weeks sales (Kindle, 9 weeks all editions)
  • Average weekly gain: 26%
  • Highest Rank (Kindle): 3,569
  • Highest Rank (Print): 52,516
  • Ranked on Kindle’s Top 100 Horror list twice
  • Rated 4.6 / 5 stars on Amazon, with only 1 review less than 4 stars (more than 2/3’s are 5)

Now that that’s out of the way…

As far back as I can remember writing – the short story White Wolf in 7th grade – I’ve felt that calling to be a writer. I’ve always had ideas, too many ideas to hold in a brain as tiny as mine. I knew that there had to be a way to get them out of there before I lost them. Because they were good, dammit, and I didn’t want to let them escape into the ether without getting written down somewhere that I could look back on once I knew how to deal with it.

So when I finished The Dying of the Light: End back in late March, it was a big deal. I’d been writing for 20+ years, and now, finally, I’d finished one of my stories. It was done. Granted, it needed editing, but I had known that going in, and expected that as part of the process. But that was all just a side-issue, because the important bit was what mattered: I was a novelist. From that point forward, it didn’t matter what else I did with my life, I was a “real” writer. I knew this, because I’d finished a book.

Or, at least, that’s what I thought at the time. How little did I know what I was going to go through in the next three months.

Fast forward, and I’ve found an editor who does a fantastic job. Unfortunately, I’ve already uploaded the book to Amazon’s CreateSpace, and copies have been printed. LOTS of copies. 100, in fact. These are the copies I take to sell at ComicPalooza, here in Houston. My first convention, not even two months after the book was complete. So yeah, there was a bit of a rush there.

When I held the first proof copy of the book in my hands, it was an amazing experience. Here, in ink and paper and a bit of glue, was the culmination of one of my ideas. One of my stories. It was real. I had a published book, even if I never sold a copy, I was a ‘real’ writer.

Or so I thought.

This was to become a recurring theme over the next three months. Was it when I sold my first copy? Or when I had someone recognize me in the hotel restaurant? Or when I went to my third convention? Or handed out bookmarks and business cards like candy at San Diego Comic-con? Or will it be when I sell my 1,000th copy? 10,000th?

Then there came the Facebook pages, the about.me page, the LinkedIn account, and Twitter. I’d steadfastly refused to join Twitter since its inception, proclaiming the same message so many have: “I wouldn’t know what to say.” How could I condense my life down to 140 characters, without posting something inane like what I had for breakfast? Now, I have four accounts and use it constantly.

Thanks to a very good friend who also happens to be an award-winning marketing executive, my learning curve about how to market myself and my work wasn’t as steep as some. Fortunately, I learned quickly, and now I’m tweeting, facebooking and have a professional website. And it’s all full of content, not fluff – except maybe for this post, that is.

Looking back, I’m not sure there was one point that I can say, “that’s when.” It was a culmination of years of hard work, failures and always feeling like I wasn’t good enough. One day, I had just had enough and said “I’ll finish it or die trying.” To bastardize Jim Lovell, it wasn’t a miracle, I just decided to write.

Now, I’ve been to three conventions with my book – and hope to make ZomBcon in Seattle in October – and have sold nearly 1,000 copies. I’ve got over 100 ideas for novel-length works, including an epic fantasy 27-book mega-series set in a world of my own design. I figured out that if I write four books a year, it’ll take me 7 years just to write those. And I’ll still be writing when I’m 80, just with the books I’ve got in mind right now.

I’m trying to take this whole thing a day at a time, and enjoy the roller-coaster. My current focus is on the day that I’ll be able to write full-time. In the meanwhile, I’m releasing some short stories set in both the world of The Dying of the Light and that fantasy realm, and working on the outline for The Dying of the Light: Interval. All while holding down an 8-5 regular job and trying to have some semblance of a life.

So here I am, 3 months later, staring down the barrel of the sequel, and wondering the same question faced by every writer who wants to write more than one book: Can I be just as good a second time? Can I write another 120,000 words that people will want to read? Can I write anything more than this?

Those aren’t the right questions, though. Through all the trials and travails, through the ups and downs and constant checking of my sales numbers (thanks for that, KDP), through all of it, one thing has stuck with me, and it’s the one thing I have to keep in mind, come what may:

The question isn’t should I continue to write. The question is, how can I not?

4 Comments

  1. Scott David Weitzenhoffer August 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Those numbers need a graph!

    • Grey Gecko Press August 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      I’ll be posting August’s sales data next week. You’ll have more graphs than you want then.

  2. Darby Rae September 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Graphs are great…can you also share things you have done where you saw a spike in sales? That would be wonderful to see. Thanks for sharing your data!

  3. Red Tash September 21, 2011 at 3:58 am - Reply

    This is the second time I’ve read this post. I am glad we met! Keep writing, sir. I love the way you think, and I need to not be the only one writing non-stop for the next 40 years.

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