Birthday!

No, not mine, (note: that’s in twelve days) it’s my novel’s.  I just realised that it is the first anniversary of the publication of Anti-Social Media, and seeing as I’m such a prolific blogger at the moment (five months since my last blog post) I thought I’d dedicate a truly honest (even if that honestly is a little depressing) blog post to my first twelve months in the (self) published writer’s field. A blog post by numbers, if you will.

179   This rather minuscule number, 179, is the number of paid sales I’ve had. No, it’s not massive, it’s not even really anything to be proud of, but strangely enough I am proud of it. That’s 179 people who have actually paid over money to buy my book and I am inordinately grateful to them for doing so. And they didn’t even ask for a refund! I’m even more grateful for that. Thank you, the 179!

22,203   This much larger number is the number of Kindle Unlimited page reads I’ve had. When I divide it by the number of pages in my book (181) this equates to a further 123 people who have read my book. Kindle Unlimited is a borrowing function on Amazon and authors still receive royalties, albeit about 35% of the royalties they would usually get, which is cool as it’s only borrowed.

4,412    This is the number is the number of people who have downloaded the book for free. And only two people returned it for a ‘refund’… Success! 😀

So, that is a total of 4,714 copies that are floating around the world. I truly am grateful to everybody who has downloaded it, for free or not, and I’m even more grateful to those who have left me a review. In particular, those who left me a nice review!

4.2   My average star rating on Amazon based on 31 reviews received on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

  Number of reviewers who have got personal and accused me of being lazy. Yes, that did hurt, but I must concede, they may have a point :D.  I did sit down and write, proofread and edit a novel until my eyes bled, though, so I can’t be that lazy, can I? Actually, yes I can be. However, if you stick your head above the parapet, you have to learn to accept the bullets that inevitably come your way. The first one or two are painful beyond belief but it genuinely does ease after a while.

Whilst the numbers I have been brutally honest about may not be what some self-published authors (or soon-to-be-self-published authors) want to hear, SP success depends on so many factors. A really active blog (oops) helps, as does some serious social media networking, review canvassing is essential, and working out the best way to market yourself. I could have done better in many of these fields; I’m not the most active networker, and I desperately need to canvas more reviews. I’m really starting to crack the marketing part with the book promo sites though and I’ll publish a separate post with my findings on this soon. Another thing that helps is having more than one book out, which I’m working on right now too.

The main thing I have taken from this year though is the massive learning curve. After the writing part and the designing part, suddenly there is the marketing part, something which may not come so naturally to more creative thinkers. Then there is the networking, and then learning to take reviews with dignity, the trial and error that comes with promotions and advertising, the feeling of exposure. But the main thing, the main thing that I have taken from this year is dealing with the humility of knowing that two people actually returned my book to Amazon when they hadn’t even bloody well paid for it…

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16 thoughts on “Birthday!

  1. This is wonderful. Measuring success is a way to keep us knowing what is working and what is not.

    First, let me define how I measure success: I don’t take my numbers and compare them to the numbers of other authors; I compare my number this month or this year to my numbers from last month and last year.

    Comparing myself to other authors is not fair. Who would I compare my numbers to? J. K. Rowlings or a self-published author who writes in my genre? Either way, not fair.

    So I compare my today’s numbers with yesterday’s numbers. The exercise is to see if I’m headed in the right direction. If all numbers are continually falling, I have to ask myself, what is wrong? If I can’t fix it, maybe I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. However, if there is slight increases with every measurement, then I’m headed in the right direction. That’s where I want to be. Selling more this year than last year is success to me.

    Good luck, and I hope you see sales increases every year.

  2. I feel your pain. I self-published last year — “Six Sisters”, a collection of novellas — and I’ve got similar stats, am learning the marketing piece, now doing book promo sites, and am working on getting my next book in print. I have been keeping my blog active which also takes a ton of time. And while the lift of being the author, editor, publisher, and marketer is a heavy one, it’s satisfying to own it. Your inevitable success will come of your diligence and hard work so keep at it. Next book could hit the NYT bestseller list! Good luck!!

  3. Terrific breakdown Kate.. your book has done well for a first book and your second has a great foundation of readers to enjoy. I have featured this post in my round up of blog posts from the week and perhaps you might like to feature your book in Christmas Reading on my blog.. If you are happy to do so I can get everything I need from Amazon.. here is an example.. and you can email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com if you would like to go ahead. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/smorgasbord-christmas-reading-a-shortcut-to-murder-by-william-savage/ thanks Sally

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