Real Numbers from an Indie Publisher

If you are an indie writer, you might be like me and feel that all indie writers are bringing in at least 50K a year. Part of the problem is the only people posting numbers are the super successful. But I’m going to keep it real. If you are not even close to a four figure yearly income from your books, much more a five figure income, this blog is for you.

I’m at three figures! Of course, it’s gross and not net, but hey, I’ll take it. Since June, I’ve wanted to sit down and look over the sales figures, but I also didn’t want to do it because June was so bad. But July was good once again, so I took a peek.

My seven month publishing numbers:

Published 9 works and 86,500 words.

Republished one work with a new cover and added fractals.

Designed and created 4 covers.

Sold 223 books which is a book a day average.

Made almost $250 in royalties.

The disappointments:

Though sales and downloads for my billionaire serial started strong, they fizzled for the last two episodes. The blog readership for the pen name was steady, so I have to wonder if readers quit buying and started reading for free on the blog. I also sunk a lot of time and money into a picture book for the series, and it didn’t bring new readers as hoped for.

The surprises:

My holiday series has had steady interest despite the only holidays in the series right now are fall holidays. An even bigger surprise is the first episode of my slipstream romance is my third best seller.


I’m going to keep at it. I was pretty upset at the end of June, but after taking a few steps back I see that I’m having some successes. I’m hopeful that the next holiday books will have good releases.

How is your writing year going? I’d love to hear your ups and downs!



How did it get to be July 18? I swear the Fourth of July hits and summer disappears. I haven’t gotten the writing done that I’d hoped for. And my low sales are keeping my spirits down as far as publishing. I actually decided not to publish this month and probably not next month so that I could work on the stories for the fall. Maybe that will take away the feeling that I’m spinning my wheels.

I’d like to give this blog a lot more attention coming into fall. It’s be nice to do some recipes again and Actual Writing Advice. I’d also like some sort of fiction writing on the site, but I don’t know what. If you have an idea for anything on the blog, please leave it in the comments section.

This week I do plan to get some words down. I got 500 earlier today and plan to do some more now. There’s a really nice rainshower going on, which always inspires my mood. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a steady word count this week. Anyone who is still out there listening and writing, I’d love to have you join me.

Writing Question for the day: What do you think of first person POV? Hard to write in? Easy to write in? Too close to the character? Not distant enough to provide some info?

I’m thinking about trying a story in first person POV which I haven’t done in a long time. For me a big challenge is staying in one characters voice constantly without slipping into a more narrative structure. Any tips and thoughts would be great.

Art Muse

What’s Up?

Sorry it’s been so long. Last week I was teaching music for vacation Bible school and knew I wouldn’t have a high word count. I finished the first episode of my slipstream though. Julie was quick with the editing, so I was able to format it and get it published. All for three whole sales.

This month has been really bad for sales. At first I was ignoring it, but now that the new release is out, it’s hard to. I thought I was building up a readership, but maybe I did something wrong. I really have no idea what happened, making it hard to know how to fix it.

I’m redoing a cover tonight. Next week it should be back to serious writing. I’ll try to run a word count marathon with a prize. Those are fun for me, and I hope for you too.

Happy Fourth!


Coffee…a writer’s Prozac

Hello! How did May go for everyone? May was rough for me. Great stuff happened on the home front: there were plays, recitals, graduations… a lot of reasons to be proud of my kids.

But as far as writing went…OMG.

I finished my romance serial, which meant tons of publishing. I had to publish the last episode, the compilation of episodes 5-9 because I did a compilation of episodes 1-4 and then the compilation of all the episodes together. And, because I’m a little crazy, I decided I wanted a companion book to go with the series that was a nail design book. The story takes place around a beauty salon. I had blogged several nail designs throughout the serial, and thought it would be fun. The marketing strategy was to give it away for free to draw more interest to the series.

Surprisingly, everything came together well. Julie got the editing done quickly (I honestly can’t praise her enough), and though it was very time consuming, the nail art came together too.

But I always crash at the end of a big project. I crashed hard after finishing episode 9 before I had completed the nail design book. Foolishly, I decided to stop drinking coffee for a while too because I had had so much to get all the publications out. That’s when I realized that coffee keeps writers optimistic.

Without coffee in me, my opinion about my own writing plummets. But when I take that first sip before I start typing, I am the best writer ever. So I thought it’d be fun to put together this little poster for you:


The depression might not have been so bad if I had had any sales. But sales were way down. Particularly Amazon has been abysmal this month. I’m actually even at All Romance between April and May on number of sales, and I made more money because I sold the higher cost books this month more than the cheap ones. Barnes and Noble and iTunes are the other places with sales, but not nearly as many as in April. Fortunately I made enough sales this month to keep me at a sale a day average for the year because April was so good.

I wish I knew what caused the swing. So far the nail book isn’t helping me at all, but Amazon won’t put it at free and it won’t be out at iTunes and Barnes and Noble until sometime this week. Fingers crossed people love it there and buy my other books.

But the serial is done! I should really celebrate because it was a big project coming in at over 125,000 words. However, I must get on to the next book. It’s already Tuesday, but I’d like to do a word count marathon. No gift card this week since it’s a short one. Think of it as a warm up for next week.

My goal is 2000 words a day this week. It feels out of reach because I have several activities planned this first week of summer, but I have a publication schedule that needs attention!

So, ready! Set! Write!

Spark Tally!


Only 2000 for me this week. It was spring break. I’d like to think that I’ll make up for it next week, but it’s hard to say. I already have three things out of the ordinary planned for next week.

So far I’ve hit my publishing schedule for the year, but I’m getting pretty tense about the spring months. I’ll have to kick the ideas out of my brain and on to the screen.

I’ve also made my sales goal of a sales a day for the first quarter of the year. February wasn’t as bad as I whined about, and there was enough overflow from January and March to keep me ahead. Two days and two sales for April.

How did you guys do?

Spark Check


I think I’ve turned invisible.

January was a good month of sales. I made 1.5 sales a day which topped my goal of one sale a day. Amazon and Itunes were way up while All Romance was way down. I even sold 4 copies of Rapunzel: Stay at Home Mom which was a big surprise to me. In my experience, if a book isn’t part of a series, it goes no where.

But now it’s February. I’ve had one sale. The audience for my pen name blog has disappeared. Even on this blog, I had a resurgence of interest in January. My post about Little Women and Pride and Prejudice got a lot of attention. But again, everybody vanished this week.

Can you see this post? 😉

Anyway, I’m still writing. 5200 words so far for me this week. I’d actually like to make my goal of 15,000 for the first time this year. We’ll see Saturday what’s happened.

How’s your writing week going?

Spark Tally Saturday!


My word count hasn’t changed much since the beginning of the week. I think it’s close to 6000. It’s a pity because it started off so strong. I’m still cleaning up the mess I made, so I’m not sure how next week will be. I feel like if I could just sit down for a few hours and focus, I could get another 5000 out pretty fast. The next part of the serial is almost fully formed in my mind.

I did dally on another story today, which was a fun break. It’s about fairies and I’m trying to go with outrageous. I need to embrace extremes as a writer more. I don’t think middle of the road gets much attention.

I do have some good news. My sales at Amazon and Itunes are up for the month. I like seeing how steady it is on Amazon. I’m hoping to break my streak of five days of sales in a row there. The Itunes sales are out of the blue. I don’t know if they ran an ad or what, but the first episode of my serial which is free had a huge spike in downloads, and now sales for the rest of the series are trickling in. I even had a few for the Holiday series I’m writing.

How did you guys do this week?

Spark Check!


This week is looking better. I’ve written 7000 words which is a little less than half of my goal. I’m writing more tonight and hopefully finishing an episode in my serial.

I’m also hitting my goal of a sale a day for this month. Most of it has been on Amazon. It seems like now that I have more out in the serial, I’m getting a lot more interest.

How is your weeke going?

Spark Tally!

Good morning! I have a word count of 8000 this week. I need to get a lot more done. Too bad I have such a busy weekend ahead!

Monday I had a huge day in sales to end the month with a bang. It made it hard to make a sales goal for December. I finally decided on hoping to average three sales a day. Julie thought that was agressive since I don’t have a new novel coming out. I’m putting together two box sets, and I’m interested to see if that attracts some new people. Most sites have box sets in a seperate group, so I wonder if some people don’t start a series until it’s over or at least has more than one book in it. I’ll keep you posted.

So far my sales are averaging three a day. Sales on Amazon and All Romance have really dropped off, but I seem to be eeking out three a day between all the sites I’m on.

How did you guys do with writing this week? I hope there was a lot of activity!

Celebrating November


I love the above picture because it reminds me of one of my favorite characters–a character I had to give up trying to write so that I could move my writing career forward. It’s interesting to look back at choices made. It’s also interesting to see what readers react to in either a positive or negative way and what they give a big shrug of indifference to.

I’m devoting a huge amount of time to writing in the romance genre. I’ve always enjoyed romantic elements in stories, and they’ve been in most of my science fiction and fantasy stories. I never thought I’d write contemporary romance though. And in a way, it’s a huge mistake.

The state of romance right now appalls me. It’s filled with sachrine sweet heroines who haven’t had sex in so long that they’re practically virgins. They’ve had tragic events happen in their past and somehow still have the optimism of an eight-year-old girl. In the mean time, the heroes are jealous stalkers who whore shame the women that actually go down on them so they can take up and treasure the new virginal demi-woman they’ve found to obsess over.

Too harsh?

These are not the romances I write. Shockingly, I like to think of women and men as equals. I like to think that most adults are mature adults. Not surprisingly, until November, my stories have been met with indifference and the occasional angry reader.

Why did I switch to romance? As I said, I’ve always enjoyed romantic elements in my stories. I felt I needed to practice writing stories that didn’t have a lot of world building so I could focus on character development, tension, plot twists and beginnings without trying to fit in world building tidbits every other sentence. World building was exhausting me. I’d get a crit back saying there was too much description, too little description and my favorite “Would this character really notice that since he sees it every day? You have to stay in POV.”

I quickly realized my romance stories weren’t going to catch the eye of the industry gate-keepers, so I decided to use them to learn about indie publishing as well. October 2014 is when I convinced David and Julie to help me out, followed shortly by Heather. At the time, I thought I’d do a lot of short stories under my own name like Rapunzel. But to do those the way I want to do them requires a lot of money for the illustrations. So romance took over.

I might actually be finding an audience for romances about mature adults. A small one so far, but I busted through all of my selling goals for November. In October, I made my sales goal of one book a day. So I upped the goal to 2 sales a day for November because I had a new release.

I had 169 sales in November!

My new release (TH) alone sold 94 copies. My release last year (MH) sold 34 copies in November. And the short story I wrote in a week and made my own cover for (VH) sold 32 copies even after it had been downloaded over 1100 times for free.

These are very small numbers, and I can’t make a living on it yet, but what a huge surge from 0 a few months ago. Enough of a surge that I got my first two star review and a troll. The troll is not the two star review. That seems totally legitimate, “It’s a short story and you don’t get to know the characters very well.” Yep. That was for VH. It’s sort of surprising that I haven’t gotten more of those for VH. But I also got a very lengthy five star review for it on Amazon which was a surprise.

The troll I’m not mentioning on my pen name blog at all. But I thought I would mention it here because if you go into publishing of any sort, it’s bound to happen. I guess I hit some sort of magic visibility to get one this month. I don’t get on Goodreads very much because I haven’t figured out how to get tranction there. It seemed time was better spent elsewhere. But VH was selling so well, I decided to do a google search for VH to see if there were any reviews for it. My Goodreads author page came up and my rating had totally tanked.

I logged on and saw that every book of mine had recieved a one star rating with no review by the same person. Even a book published in 2014 by Jupiter Gardens that I don’t think has sold a copy since opening day. I clicked on the account and saw that they’d reviewed over 16,000 books with the average rating of 1 star. This had to be a troll. I contacted Goodreads about it Sunday night and still have not heard back from them. I will keep you posted. They are owned by Amazon and Amazon has really cracked down on false reviews to the point of erasing legitimate ones, so I’ll be interested to see what happens.

This turned out to be a much longer post than I had planned. I hope eveybody had a great Thanksgiving. I hope you’re smashing through your writing goals! See you Friday for Spark Tally. I have a lot of writing to do!