Spark Tally Saturday!

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Good Morning! I have a word count! I wrote 13,000 words this week! It’s a completed novelette, (I’ll call it VH) which I stayed up way too late finishing, editing and publishing. Yes, I’m crazy. I’ve had many late nights this week, doing what I can to expand my readership.

Last week I told you about the novel (I’ll call it TH) I’d just released having the best first day ever for me. It’s now had the best sales ever for me across titles in just the first week. TH made the best seller list at All Romance. It topped out at 30 and is barely hanging on at 48 this morning, but I can’t believe it was on there at all.

I knew even if the book had a great opening day, sales would slide. I had long planned putting out VH for free during the second week to attract more readers and hopefully upsell them the novel at the end. Well….I got greedy and released it on All Romance for $0.99. No sales the first day, so I decided to return to my original plan and put it up for free. I also discounted the first title in the series (MH). Within a few hours I’d made sales on both TH and MH.

I released VH Thursday night on Smashwords. There have been no upsales to TH or MH on Smashwords, but VH was downloaded a 100 times on the first day and it got a review. It got a five star review even. I was in shock. None of my books have ever been reviewed on Smashwords.

Smashwords distributes to several other venues. VH is not on any of them yet, but sales for TH started trickling in yesterday from the other venues.

I put VH up on Amazon yesterday too. You can’t open at free on Amazon, and I made one sale today for it :)

Last week I said my goal for the month was two sales a day. Last night I was averaging 5 sales a day! No matter what happens the rest of the month, I can be pleased that I already made my sales goal of 60.

But I have to keep pushing. I still have my serial┬ástory I’m doing, but I have no other specific plans yet for December and beyond. I need to fix that.

How did you guys do this week? I hope you got lots of writing done!

Self Publishing or Small Press?

I know most of my readers are going the Big Publishing House route, and that’s fantastic. But if any of you are debating small press or do it yourself, you might find this helpful.

Advantages of small press:

1. They take on all the costs of editing, cover design, formatting and publicity. If you’re broke, going with small press is very compelling because then you’re not out of pocket. I have yet to make back the cost of covers on any of my books, I’m sure that includes the ones published at a small press, though they might get better prices than I do. I also am fortunate that my editor and publicist work on a percentage of what I make. When I make it big, so will they, but right now they are making nothing :(

2. They take on all the time of editing, cover art design, formatting, publicity and uploading. Self-publishing takes a huge amount of time. I just thought I would be writing, writing, writing. I did not realize how time consuming filling out the cover art forms, uploading the books, designing the Call to Actions with all the right links, blogging consistently, tweeting consistently, Facebooking consistently would be. Small presses take care of a lot of that, though the blogging, tweeting, etc. is still on your shoulders. Uploading is a bear. Smashwords in particular is very finicky and I’ve spent near a whole week dealing with their grinder and I’m still not 100% published there.

Advantages of Self-publishing:

Complete control.

Really, control is the main reason to do it yourself, and I think it’s worth it. Yeah, I’ve spent a ton of time last week linking all my books together as I continue to put out new episodes for my serial, but as I mentioned last week, I’m finally starting to see a trickle of sales. I feared after I posted last week, it would stop, but it’s continuing! If the trickle continues, maybe I can turn it into a stream. I have to keep producing. I have to keep spending the time uploading and linking, but this way, my books don’t stagnate.

Another part of control is pricing. A small press sets the price, and that’s pretty much it. The book never goes on sale unless the vendors put it on sale or unless the small press decides to put their catalog on sale. But I can lower or raise my prices and experiment to see what works. I can put books in a bundle if I want for a limited time and try and get new readers that way. Really, whatever tricks I come up with, I can give a try. Because I have nothing more to lose.

Except time. I do have to be careful that publishing doesn’t take over my life.

Spark Tally Friday: The Big Reveal

I found out this week from my husband and sister that I’ve been a grouch for a couple of weeks. It really wasn’t intentional. I’ve just been anxiety riden about this project. So I took a deep breath, employed the “Fake it till you make it” motto and have felt much better. My husband confirmed that I’ve been my normal self.

So sorry if my posts have been grumpy :)

I also apologize for missing Monday’s Blog. The weekend was filled with two birthday celebrations, so on Monday I couldn’t afford to take the time to do the blog. My word count is the same as last week, 14,000.

I’ve decided it’s time to let you know what I’ve been working on: I’m self publishing. It’s been a decision a long time coming, I think. In highschool, I was a high achiever and happy to do everything the traditional way. In college, I kept the traditional mindset at a university that was definitely non-traditional in many facets. It worked for me. I landed what I considered to be one of the best teaching jobs for music in elementary schools in New Mexico.

When I became a parent, I was one of those who read all the parenting technique books. To my astonishment, they didn’t work. These were experts and experts had never steered me wrong before. But I, like most parents I think, figured out that parenting is about making it up as you go.

When I decided over a decade ago that I wanted to be a published author, I went to work on taking the traditional route. I took classes, I read books about writing, I joined crit groups, I read books about getting published, I did my 100 rejections in a year stint to toughen up, and I sent a few query to agents. But honestly, I can’t bring myself to do the agent route any more. I think I’ve spent too much time making it up as I go.

Firstly, the trends for what agents are looking for change so rapidly that I get whiplash. I can’t write fast enough to keep up with them. When agents tweet that they are looking for a dragon who loves vampires story, you’d better have a dragons who love vampires story already written and send it to them that day. Tomorrow that trend will be dead and they will be looking for zombies who love witches.

Secondly, the audience of agents and editors is very small compared to the world at large. The audience of editors at professional paying short story markets is even smaller. One of the things that my husband said to me that pushed me towards my decision was, “So and so and so and so both have English degrees. If they ran a magazine, would they like your story and accept it?” The answer was no. Even if one of my stories was perfectly executed, they would not be the audience for what I typically write. But if I post it to kindle, I have the opportunity for thousands of people to enjoy it. Much better odds than agents and editors.

Thirdly, I simply don’t like agent research. It’s time I could be spending learning how to write better and writing new stories. I was so short on time this week, I ended up pulling an all nighter editing in the middle of the week. Good thing I already had my attitude adjusted because otherwise I would’ve been a real bitch the next day. As much work as self-publishing is taking, it’s work that I enjoy and feel will be more satisfying in the long run.

I’m not anti-agent for other people. I just don’t think they’re for me. And don’t worry, this blog is about writing. I intend to still have guest bloggers about the agent and publishing side of things, particularly Holly who is so good at it and is reaching for the dream of the Big Six.

I’m sure I’ll post many blogs about self publishing. For now, I’ll say that this is a group effort. Julie is my editor, who I think does a fabulous job. I only ever recieved glowing compliments about her from people who won Photo Flare and had their stories edited by her. My husband is helping with the formating side of things. The first novel we’re publishing is under my pen name, and it’s due to come out next weekend. If you want to know my pen name, just shoot me an email. I’m not embarrased to be writing romances, but it’s a completely different brand than Enchanted Spark. My pen name blog doesn’t talk about writing at all. It’s all about romance there. The next story we’re going to do is a short story that I love, but never got accepted by a pro or semi pro market. I’m pretty sure I can make at least as much as I would if I published it with a token market, so we’re going to put that one out too. And then it will be another romance book in December or January.

That’s my big news. How did you guys do this week?