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How 6 Pieces of Self-Publishing Advice Led to Averaging $1,250 a Month in Book Sales

I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for a year and a half just about, and it’s been one of the most expensive, time-consuming, and anxiety-ridden journeys I’ve ever undertaken. I’ve spent anywhere from $6,000-8,000 out of pocket to put my work out there in a form I could feel proud of. I didn’t need to spend that much, but I was a newbie with no idea what I was doing.

Then I started seeing what worked and what didn’t.

I published my first novel, Trainland, last March of 2012 and spent months watching my sales go from 0 to 5, then 0 again, then maybe 5 or 10, and then 1 or 2 again. Those were monthly sales. I think I sold around 50 books in the entire year of 2012. At the time, Trainland and my collection of dark short stories, Peltham Park, were the only two books I had for sale.

Now, three novels later, I’m earning an average of around $1,300 per month. This past August, I sold 619 books. Not a staggering amount, but the two best sellers, Ascendant and Savant, (which account for 85% of sales) are priced at $4.95 with a 70% royalty rate, which means I was able to net $1,600 in August alone. That’s up from around $900 in July, a month after I published the two big ones. (UPDATE: Prices may have been lowered for marketing purposes).

And you know what? The hard part was writing the novels and honing the craft. But publishing them and selling copies? It’s not too difficult when you understand which mistakes to avoid and which guidelines to follow.

Here’s what I hold to be the most important lessons I’ve learned about indie book publishing, and I’m going to be incredibly blunt. No sugar coating. (more…)

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A “Shark Tank” Publishing House for Authors: But Could It Work?

If you’re an author as well as a fan of “Shark Tank,” the TV show in which millionaires compete to invest in unique start-ups, you’ve probably wondered what it would be like to have someone invest in your book without taking control over your career–including the royalties–the way traditional publishing houses do. Could a publishing house exist that would invest money in polishing and marketing your novel without actually owning it?

Part of this idea came to me after readingĀ a conversation among three bestselling authors who have been in the publishing game–both traditional and indie–for decades. These guys–Dean Wesley Smith, JA Konrath and Barry Eisler–know that a lot of authors out there are getting ripped off, and they especially advise against giving up rights to your work forever just to score a book deal with a big publisher when there’s so much you could do yourself while keeping your rights.

Using their advice and warnings, I thought I’d draw up a crude business model for a publishing house that could satisfy their demands and mine. It’s the publishing house of my dreams since it would take a huge financial burden off my shoulders by allowing me, the author, to choose how much the company would invest and how much they would get to keep afterward, without giving up ownership of my book.

But could such a business ever be profitable? (more…)

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