Sunday, 11 December 2016

One Year Publishing Anniversary

One year and one week ago, I published The Nutcracker King, which marked the start of my self-publishing journey! To be honest, I had intended to write this on the exact date, but I forgot when I started self-publishing. I definitely haven't "made it" (whatever "made it" means), but I do want to write a short post so that when I check back next year, I can see if I've made any improvements or not.

In one year, I managed to publish 3 books - The Nutcracker King, Beauty's Daughter and The School of Anime Characters. In total, I sold 57 books and the breakdown is:

The Nutcracker King: 25 Copies
Beauty's Daughter: 9 Copies
The School of Anime Characters: 23 Characters

Apart from this, I also gave away 582 copies The Nutcracker King, in the hopes that people who read it will like it and go on to buy Beauty's Daughter. And to build up my mailing list.

Even though Beauty's Daughter is the sequel to The Nutcracker King, it hasn't really been selling. I suppose because the stories can sort of standalone, the hook isn't strong enough. I'll have to see what I can do about that, though I'm still waiting for the results for the giveaway (so far, I've had one December sale for Beauty's Daughter, which might be the result of it). In addition, I only started my mailing list recently, which means that I couldn't tell people who enjoyed The Nutcracker King when Beauty's Daughter was out.

Across stores, the breakdown is:

42 books on Amazon (about 74%)
9 on Kobo (about 15%)
6 through Draft2Digital (about 11%)

At this point in time, it might be better to stick only to Amazon, for the KDPS benefits, but I still want to stay wide, purely because I'm from Singapore and I want Singaporeans to be able to buy my books without having to go through extremely complicated methods. (Although it would help if the Apple store in Singapore would sell my books! I don't know why it doesn't even though I distribute to Apple)

Since I'm still a student, I haven't really been able to spend money on marketing. I did manage to try a BKnights promotion, but it moved 0 books. Hopefully, after I start working next year, I'll be able to save up and start investing in marketing and doing regular promotions.

Do I have any regrets self-publishing?

Not at all. I still think this was the right path for me to go on, even if I haven't achieved immediate success. After all, as long as Amazon, Kobo, Apple and the other online stores exist, I still have a platform to sell my books. Time is not really of my concern (although I guess I should start caring more about ranking during the Hot New Releases time period).

Saturday, 3 December 2016

November/NaNoWriMo Writing Update


That makes it five years in a row! WOOHOO!

The only thing is that I was a sort of rebel this year. I started off by working on Red, a story in the Coming from Darkness series that I've been wanting to write. But, when I finished red, it only had 30000+ words. So I turned to another story that it's in the revising queue and started revising/rewriting that, and managed to hit my word count.

I'm actually really happy about that, since I had a very slow start this year (I barely wrote while I was volunteering for the Saga International Balloon Fiesta.

Writing Goals for 2016:

1. Publish Beauty's Daughter, which is the sequel to The Nutcracker King (if possible, I want to finish the second draft/main rewrite by this year!)
2.5 Finish the second draft of The Goblin Apple by the end of the year. 
Done! I totally forgot to do an October Update, but this is what I finished in October, marking the completion of all my writing goals for 2016. I guess now I just have to think of what I want to do for 2017!
3. Publish one of the short story collections at 0.99. 

Stretch goals
4. Finish Mi & You, this WIP that's been a WIP for the last few years. 
5. Decide what I want to do with Free of Heart (this year's NaNo). If I decide to publish, I want to finish the second draft by the end of 2016 as well. Finish the rewrite of Heart-less (previously Free of Heart)

Publishing Update

I tried out Instafreebie, a website that lets you giveaway copies of your book and get people onto your mailing list. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a screenshot of the graph before my premium account expired, so I can't share that with you.

But what I do know is that over the course of one month, I gave away 582 copies of The Nutcracker King and added about 70 people to my mailing list (I didn't want to force people onto my mailing list, because I figured that all the uninterested people will just unsubscribe anyway. But I may be wrong). That's about a 12% signup percentage (with one person unsubscribing so far), and again, I'm not sure if it's good or bad since I don't have anything to compare it to. So consider this just a report, rather than an analysis.

Most of my giveaways occurred because I was in a promotion with a few other authors, so group promotions really do seem to work. Without them, I was giving away only about 4 or 5 copies a day.

Like I mentioned two paragraphs ago, I gave away The Nutcracker King, which is supposed to be first in the Coming from Darkness series. As of today, though, I haven't made any sales of Book 2 - Beauty's Daughter, but I don't know if it's because the story isn't good, or if the preview of Beauty's Daughter isn't good, or if people just haven't finished reading it yet. I suppose I'll have to wait a while before I find out.

My December will mostly be writing/revision, but I will probably be posting when it's my one year publishing anniversary, just to see how much (or little) progress I've made.