Sunday, June 15, 2014

Update on eBook Sales: 25,000 Sold

So the other day I crossed the 25,000 mark in ebook sales. It's not anything that crept up on me unannounced or unexpected; it was a milestone that I'd been looking forward to for a while.  (I had actually hoped that I might cross it within the first year of publishing my fiction, but I'll take it at 13-and-a-half months.) In fact, I've had my eye on that figure since at least October of last year, when I crossed the 10K ebook mark (which you can read about here if you're so inclined).

Looking back over the past year, there's no doubt that GOD has blessed me tremendously in terms of my writing. First of all, readers have just been absolutely amazing; there's no way I could put into words how much support and encouragement they've given me. I was also fortunate enough to connect very early on with other professionals who helped improve what I had to offer, like my editor (Faith Williams) and my cover artist (Isikol).

Of course, it's often hard to put something like sales into perspective.  On the one hand, there are people who have been at this a lot longer than I have and who would kill for my sales. On the other hand, there are those for whom my 25K in sales nothing - they do that every month. So is 25K annually - or any particular level of sales - good or bad? Personally, I'm not sure if there's a single answer to that, because - in my mind - the final arbiter of that decision has to be the author and what his/her goals are.

Basically, you as the author have to decide what level of sales constitutes success.  For some, it may be no sales; they have a story to tell, and they're not concerned with whether it makes money. For others, it may be earning enough to pay a few bills. Somebody else might say it has to be enough for them to quit their day job.

For me, I think I was initially one of those people who just felt that I had stories to tell (although I wasn't particularly adverse to earning a little moolah along the way). Thus, I didn't really have a set goal in mind with respect to how I realistically expected my books to perform. That said, I believe there were other authors out there whose sales trajectories I was hoping to mimic. (Frankly speaking, I was inspired by those who achieved success, which is a large reason why I'm sharing my numbers here - assuming others find anything impressive about how I've done thus far.) I also kept my fingers crossed that, as I wrote more books, my sales would gradually increase over time.

As to the how the numbers have actually shaken out, here's what I come up with:

     1) I sold 10,000 ebooks within the first six months.  That works out to an average of about 1,667 books per month.

     2)  Over the next 7.5 months, I sold 15,000 ebooks, which averages out to 2000 books per month.

(It goes without saying that there are a lot of ways to break down the numbers. In this instance, I focused on divvying them up based on what I considered significant milestones: 10K, then 25K.)  The good news, obviously, is that my average monthly sales seem to be increasing over time as I publish more books. But, as almost any indie author will tell you, those numbers will start a steady, gradual decline unless you keep putting out new material. Hence, the perpetual (and rock-solid) advice that almost everyone gives: one of the best things you can do for your career as an author is to write the next book.

Bearing that in mind, I am currently hard at work on my next novel. Self-publishing has been an absolute thrill-ride thus far, and I'm looking forward to it [hopefully] continuing well into the future.

If you would like to be notified when I release new books, please subscribe to my mailing list here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Editor Interview: Faith Williams of The Atwater Group

Today I'm very excited to be interviewing Faith Williams of The Atwater Group.  Faith is an accomplished proofreader and copyeditor who has worked on several bestsellers. Needless to say, she stays fairly busy, so scoring this interview was something of a coup.

Please tell us a little about yourself.  
I grew up in a small town (population less than 5,000 when I was a kid).  My town was so small we didn’t have our own high school, so I went to a private Catholic high school (even though I’m not Catholic) about thirty minutes away from my house. I have two older brothers, but we also took in foster kids.  Some stayed a few days; others stayed for years. I met my future husband when I was working in a bookstore and he came in to order a copy of Mr. Boston’s Bartending Guide.  (My co-worker insisted on being the one who called him when it came in. I was all like, “Whatever.”)

How would you characterize the type of work you do - editing, proofreading, copyediting…what? 
Most of the work I do is light copy-editing, but I also do proofreading.  I like copyediting because I can play with the words more than I do in proofing, but proofing is quicker! J

How did you get into editing and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been proofreading and copyediting since 2011, ever since I left my position as an administrative assistant.  My first paying gig was for a Chinese university’s academic club: the students were applying for college programs in the US and needed a bit of fine-tuning on their essays.  It was challenging, especially when the papers explained a scientific process or experiment that demonstrated their skills but I enjoyed reading their personal statements.  My favorite description of a student:  Moreover, Xidi is a Sunshine girl as well. She always wears a warm smile and makes people comfortable. I found that her classmates always went to her and asked her questions during the break time and she always answered them patiently. The students all speak highly of her because of her kindness.

Are most of your clients self-published or traditionally published, and does the distinction matter to most editors? 
I’d say most of my clients are self-publishing, or at least a hybrid author. I guess it depends on the editor whether it matters or not. I’ve found that comments from other editors on self-publishers range from very positive (authors are willing to listen and obey accept my suggestions) to very negative (I’d never work for anyone who couldn’t make it through a publishing house). I made a conscious effort to work with self-publishing authors, so I’m fine with it.  Plus, I get to see some great manuscripts that don’t fit neatly into a publisher’s preconceived notion of what a “good” book is or don’t fit into a specific genre.

What types of books make up the bulk of your work? 
Well, it’s definitely fiction, that’s for sure.  It seems to go in spurts: some weeks, I am reading romance and chick-lit; some weeks, it’s science fiction and fantasy everywhere! I am starting to see an uptick in shorter manuscripts, in the 20-25K range but I still can count on a few authors to clock in over 120K!

Do you do any leisure reading, and if so, what’s your favorite genre? 
“Leisure?”  I need to consult my dictionary to see what that is…oh, yes, freedom or spare time provided by the cessation of activities.  Hmmm…I vaguely remember leisure.  Seriously, though, I do get breaks from reading to well, read.  Interestingly enough, I typically get my recommendations from my authors posting on Facebook or Twitter on people they read. I don’t tend to read the big names (typically traditionally published authors or some of the bigger indie authors) unless I’m re-reading something.  I just picked up Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Woman of Substance.  I’d read it as a teenager and now have it on my Kindle. I’d forgotten how much it made me cry, so I’m pacing myself through that one! My favorite genre—that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child (except I only have one kid, so maybe that’s not a good example!). I typically pick up romances, but I’m pretty happy with science fiction and fantasy.  My least favorite is, well, I guess I don’t have a least favorite in the fiction realm.

When you’re working on an author’s project, do you ever get a feeling like “This will be a bestseller!” or “This will be a dud”?  (And if so, how often are you right?) 
Some books really resonate with me personally, so I’d like to think they’d be bestsellers.  I’ve had several go on to the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists.  I would say there is one book that sticks in my mind as a complete dud (and no, it’s not one of yours, Kevin!).  It’s hard to say if I’m right or wrong on my personal barometer of what should be a success because I don’t get to see sales reports for my authors (I could look at Amazon rankings, but that changes every hour, it seems, so it hardly seems like a good use of my time!).  I hope that my authors succeed, in whatever way they define success: a traditional book publishing contract, 10 sales a week, or 100 sales a week.  

If you weren’t an editor what would you be doing? 
I’m not sure; this is really my dream job.  As I tell people, I get paid to read and tell people when they are wrong—what could be more perfect?  So maybe I’d be running a book blog…that might a close second as a dream job.

What are some of the more common problems you come across when editing? 
Each author seems to have their own quirks.  Some are real errors (like a misspelled word), but sometimes authors like things a certain way that doesn’t conform to the Chicago Manual of Style, which is the standard style for fiction.  There’s always the to/too/two and their/there/they’re types of errors that can trip anybody up; I also often see “common” phrases that are spelled the way they’ve been heard, not the way they should be spelled: could of is really could have or the phrase If you think X, then you have another thing coming is really If you think X, then you have another think coming.

Do you have an opinion on the things indie authors can do to sell more books? 
Write, write, write!  I think it’s a bit like acting in a way: you are in the public’s mind with each new project.  If you only write one book and then not write/publish for a year or more, you lose momentum.  The more you have to sell, the more you can sell.  As an indie author, it seems you have to do everything.  This double-edged sword means you have control, but also that you are in charge of writing, editing, cover design, formatting, and promotion.  You can hire out for some of those, but ultimately it’s your baby and your work out there.  It’s a balance between the writing time and the business side (marketing, promotion, etc.)—and you can’t ignore either of those things.

Have you ever had the urge to write a book yourself? Why or why not? 
As evidenced by my blog, I am not a writer by instinct.  I don’t have any characters in my head trying to get out and tell their story.  I do better improving a story rather than creating one.

Before we close, is there anything in general you’d like to share with our readers? 
If you are a writer, thank you for your stories.  Even if you only sell one copy a month (and it’s to your long-lost cousin who just found you on Facebook), you have created something unique and wonderful.  Don’t get discouraged.  If you are a writer, write.  Don’t worry about the “success” of others; don’t judge your journey with theirs. 

If you are a reader, write a review or write to the author to tell them how much you enjoyed the book.  A nice three-sentence email can make an author’s day!

And for those who may be interested in your services, how can you be reached? 
My website is  My blog is  I have a Facebook page ( and you can follow me on Twitter (  But be prepared: it can be a few months before I have availability on the schedule, so plan ahead!

My thanks to Faith for taking time out of her busy schedule for this interview. As I've said many times on this blog, it's practically impossible to edit your own work (a lesson I learned very early on); you really do need expert help.  Thus, I'd encourage any and all indie writers to have your work professionally edited.  Your readers - and you, yourself - deserve nothing less.

If you would like to be notified when I release new books, please subscribe to my mailing list here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Book Release: Warden Series Boxed Set (Books 1 - 3)

Finishing the third book in my Warden series felt great for a number of reasons - not the least of which is that I can now release the first Warden Series Boxed Set.

As with the boxed set of my Kid Sensation Series, it still feels weird to me that I've written enough books to be able to bundle them together like this. I mean seriously, just a little over a year ago - before I started publishing my two series - who would have thunk it?

Moreover, last year at this time, it felt odd to me to look at my Amazon Author Page and see two books listed. Seeing nine of them now (including the two boxed sets) is something that I still have a tough time wrapping my mind around.

Of course, it goes without saying that I'm loving every minute of being an author.  Even more, I feel blessed that readers seem to be finding and enjoying my work. Hopefully that's something that will continue for a long time to come. For now, however, I've got to get back to grinding on the next book.

***FYI:  The Warden series is available for only $4.99 - a steep discount to the cost of buying the three books separately.  (In fact, that's a discount even if you bought the first book at the price of $2.99!)

If you would like to be notified when I release new books, please subscribe to my mailing list here.

Total Pageviews