Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
In May 2010, I wrote a blog article about how much one might expect to make writing e-books. I used my own figures off what I made in 2009, just as Amazon’s Kindle was starting to have major impact on my sales and the publishing industry as a whole.
Fast forward to November 2011. In 2009, I earned $38000 from ebooks, publishing through several electronic houses. In 2010, I earned $64000. And in 2011, I have already cleared over $100,000 to date. How is this happening? And how can I make it continue to happen?
I can only go by my own facts and figures, and the reason I’m doing this is once again I have people asking me about writing for epublishers. Is it a viable option? Can you make any money at it? I have my own questions about self-publishing, that thanks to open and forthcoming authors, I’ve had answered. The more authors share, the easier it is to see what’s real and what’s fantasy. I didn’t make this amount of money with one release with a publisher no one but a tiny few have heard of, and I didn’t make it with my first release in 2005. It is and continues to be a lot of hard work, full of edits, challenges, rejections, acceptances, and try-again’s.
I have fifty-six--and by the end of the year will have fifty-eight--titles published since I started writing back in 2005. I produce on average ten new works per year. Some stories that I’ve put out are older titles I’ve revised, meaning less work for the most part, but most are new. I don’t write lengthy stories. Some are novellas, some novels, but most are category-sized, ranging from 40-50K (thousand) words in length. I write erotic romance in a multitude of genres, and I enjoy what I write.
I also write fairly fast. On a good day, I can write anywhere from 10-20K words. I didn’t say they were perfectly written. They’re draft, but they’re pretty close to what I keep after edits. On a typical day filled with distractions, kids, and messes, I’ll write around 5K words. So it doesn’t take me long to write a novella. I’m currently scheduled to finish one project a month to meet deadlines. I have so many ideas in my “Pending” folder, I'll never run out of projects.
As far as marketing and promotion go, I don’t do nearly enough, and I still can’t figure out what works. I advertise through The Romance Studio and Romance Junkies, two review sites that are very friendly to authors. I’ve tried to blog hop, have offered a few contests and chats, but I don’t see the return on my time, with the exception of guest blogging. Reader blog sites can help promote through word of mouth.
I publish through the “big three” romance electronic publishers: Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id and Samhain. My over all best seller is a novella entitled Enjoying the Show. For a history on the book, see my earlier blog post. In a nutshell, I wrote the book in 2006, had it published with Samhain in December of 2007, and watched the story move into Kindle’s top 100 bestselling romances in early 2011. In one month alone I made over $8000 with this one story. That’s incredible, and it shows what the power of Amazon can do for backlist. In all, Enjoying the Show has sold 34,734 copies since its release, and it continues to sell. Like my other releases, backlist contributes the majority of my royalties, courtesy of third party vendors (like Amazon, B&N, etc).
When a new book releases, that first week it’s at the publisher’s website, prominently displayed, earns me the most money. My royalty rates are between 35 and 40% and aren’t diluted by third party commissions. The first month my book is available, I’ll see nice revenue. And then it seems to trickle away, lost among the many other releases from the publisher. But at Amazon, B&N or All Romance eBooks, my sales accumulate. There’s such a large audience buying from these places that my book is exposed to more and more people all the time.
Which leads me to a new venue I’m recently exploring--self-publication. I’d hesitated for a long time because of the predominantly negative reaction to authors who self-publish (in the romance writer world), which is regrettable. There are many talented authors out there who publish their own work. Unfortunately, there are also many, many more that don’t care about edits, cover copy or art and simply wish to rake in profits off shoddy work. Only the reader can say which is which, but the chaff out there makes it harder for authors wanting readers to take a chance on self-published titles. (Hey, I’m a reader too. I totally understand about saving my money for those books I might find entertaining, from authors I trust. But I don’t mind trying out a newbie if the price is right.)
I took a revised work I’d put out with another publisher years ago, now having my rights back, and extensively revised it, because I didn’t want to give readers the impression that my old work is my new work. (Plainly said, I write better today than yesterday and don’t rely so heavily on adverbs and dialogue tags—ugh.) I published A Familiar Face August 28, 2011. I distributed the book through All Romance eBooks, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and priced it at .99, since it was an older novella. To date, the book has sold 1952 copies, not counting November’s numbers. That’s not a lot of money to be made, considering I’ll only see anywhere from 35-40% on a .99 sale, but I don’t have to share with a publisher and my take is my own. I deduct a bit for promotion and the stock images I used to create a cover, and I’ve so far netted $813. Mind you, I won’t see this total amount for a while, as most of my distributors pay 60 days after the close of the month, but still. For an older book I retooled, this isn’t a bad take.
I won’t say I wouldn’t like to still find a NY print publisher for broader distribution of my work, but finding the right place has been tricky. Agents and publishers are being far more selective now than they ever were, and with the publishing model changing so much, they have a right to be choosey. But so do I.
I write ebooks, some of which go into print. I get paid monthly , though two of my publishers pay me quarterly. I don’t need to worry about earning out an advance because I don’t get one. I’m paid for what I’ve sold, and I like that. I write daily, as it’s my job. I also schedule releases by making sure I have product to give to my publishers. I’m not late on submissions or edits, and I keep a professional tone because this is my business.
When I first started getting published electronically, many authors still snubbed ebooks. An RWA chapter I used to belong to refused to allow me to list my accomplishments alongside traditionally published authors because they didn’t consider my book “real.” Well, now the big 6 in the industry are promoting electronic books, and I’m making a comfortable living writing them. It’s work, no doubt, but it’s satisfying. And the self-publishing aspect is freeing. I don’t worry about cover art matching the book or my voice being changed by my editor. I also have no one to blame if my books is crap, because I’m the writer, editor, artist, etc. Or at least, I’m responsible for finding qualified people to do those things for me.
I am very happy publishing with Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id, Samhain and Total E-Bound. I also enjoy creating stories and publishing them myself, when time allows. I do think it’s very possible to be successful in epublishing, but I think self-publishing successes happen more when an author has a following or writes that extremely rare breakout book that gets a lot of buzz.
My 2011 is nearly finished. I have a new title I’m publishing myself--Bodywork-- which releases in just a few more days. It’s a brand new, 60000 word contemporary erotic romance that I hope readers will enjoy. In December, my sequel to Enjoying the Show, entitled Closing the Deal, releases with Samhain. I can only dream that it will do what Enjoying the Show has done for my career.
In 2012, I have 7 books contracted for release. I intend to have finished, and hopefully released, 4 more. Lots to do and little time to get it done. But with time, enjoyment, and hard work, I’ll make my deadlines and enjoy the fruits of my labor. If I can do it, I know others can. I’ve heard of one self-published author making over $100000 on one book, and this from a romantic suspense author not published with a small or large print house, but by herself. I know of small press epublished authors making the same or more than I’m making, and I also hear of authors making much less.
In any case, I feel that if just one person enjoys the book I’ve written, I’ve been successful. The dollars help, because hey, I need to pay my bills, but I could make money working at a nine-to-five job. Writing is a calling and a passion, one I’m happy and lucky enough to enjoy. If you’re serious about writing and want to make a living doing so, don’t stop because someone rejects you. And don’t stop because it’s hard or you hate hearing try again. Suck it up, type the words, and listen to criticism. Write the best story you can, and believe it or not, the rest will come. And if not, you can always say I was full of crap. See? A silver lining, any way you look at it.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
BLURB:Grayson Belle was born a Circ--a creature with the ability to shapeshift. He tolerates Sebastian, his new partner, more than alarmed when he begins to develop an odd attraction to the man. Unlike the artificially created Circs, he controls his desires. But soon he's wanting not only Sebastian, but a rogue female Circ he's been assigned to terminate. Things go from bad to worse when his inner beast takes an extreme liking to the pair. It acts on instinct, and Gray will have decide to listen to his head or his heart. Protect himself from a future he hadn't planned, or defend his mates when danger comes calling and his heart demands satisfaction?
To read an excerpt, click here.
Grayson's Gamble, from Loose Id
Monday, November 21, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
I woke this morning to a bright white sky covered in clouds and snow flurries. A perfect day to stay home writing.
From outside of the front porch, this is what I see. And it's tons better now, at eleven in the afternoon, than it was earlier today, when the streets were white. Coming from Georgia, this is quite an awakening to the wintery weather of Central Oregon. And I'm loving it! My kids started the day throwing snowballs at one another. Reminder to self: buy gloves, boots, ski pants, sleds, hats, ice scraper...
So pretty, eh? This is the weather I had in mind when I wrote Whispered Words. And it's similar to the environment my Circs encounter in Grayson's Gamble--well, minus the snow. But the mountains are the same. :)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Happy Wednesday! I'm featured today at Vampires, Werewolves & Fairies, Oh My! and giving away an e-copy of Fallon's Flame. I'm also talking about the Dawn Endeavor series and Grayson's Gamble, my upcoming release -- out next week -- from Loose Id.
Here's the link. Enjoy!
Monday, November 14, 2011
Now that I've had a cup and am working on demolishing a pot, an update.
1. My all wheel drive vehicle earned its price tag this weekend, when I hit my first snow storm outside of friggin' Portland. &^^%$#@@!! rain and snow.
2. Was behind on story, now on top of it. A Matter of Pride, a Cougar Falls story centered around Dean Chastell, is now 99.9% finished.
3. Working on edits for Outfoxed, my next Cougar Falls story centered around Grady Chastell. (Due for release from Samhain in March 2012.)
4. Once edits are done, back to work on A Matter of Pride and Bodywork--due to be released Nov 30th.
5. And now, more coffee.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Some reads I need when I'm feeling blue, others when I need to just laugh, and others when I'd like something to steam up my windows. Series books make great re-reads because I can see familiar characters and lead-ins to their romances, one at a time. I don't have to wait months or years to know how the next hero saves the day. Not when I already own the book.
You'd think the advent of the Kindle or Nook would have changed my library and reading standards. But no. To me, a good story is a good story, no matter its medium. So I'm good reading on an electronic device or holding actual pages in my hand. I admit I like to keep a series in the same family type as I bought the first book, all ebooks, all mass market, hard back or trade, not some of each. But I'll also take what I can get. In this day and age, price matters, sad to say.
Right now I'm lamenting the fact that most of my library is back on the East Coast, alone and lonely, with no one to turn their pages. I won't be reunited with my books until next summer, when I go back to drag them out West. But hey, they're still there. And being so far apart from them guarantees me "fresh" reads when I set up my new library out here.
Some of my favorite rereads...
Shelly Laurenston's Pride series and dragon books
Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane series and futuristics
Jose Litton's books, (wish the heck she'd write more)
Anything by Sabrina Jeffries
Feehan's Carpathian series
Jill Gregory's Thunder books (set in Wolf River, MT)
David Eddings Belgariad
Happy Reading. :)
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
We spent a great weekend catching up. She brought New Jersey to Oregon, and I returned to the "what are you lookin' at" and "up yours" days of my youth. Our Philly meets Jersey smackdown ended amicably with lots of laughs, cake, beer, and well wishes.
This morning--at an ungodly hour--I dropped her off at the airport. She gets to spend the day flying back east. Now I sit at my computer once more, plugging away at my soon-to-be-due project. Nothing like pressure to get the creative juices flowing. That and coffee.
Today's Brew: Black Butte Gold, a local brew from Sisters Coffee Company. (Sisters, Oregon is a hop, skip and a jump from Bend.) And can I just say, YUM! Happy Tuesday.