Celebrating a Happy Semi-Anniversary

Six months ago I held my breath as I pushed the publish button for DOLPHIN GIRL on Amazon’s KDP program.  I had high hopes as I set this book free into the wide, wild world.  Could she survive and make her way?  Would she be a washout?  A lot of people told me  to expect distribution of 100-200 copies because that was typical.  One person told me that because I was “good at marketing”, I might hit 500.

Here’s the thing. I never believed the 100 copy benchmark.

I figured if I got that desperate I could set up a table in front of my Publix supermarket and sell that many by hand.  Aspiring to break the 100 book mark seemed like saying, “I hope to pass this class.”  I never aspired to a D in my life and wasn’t about to begin now.  Who aspires to less than mediocre?  And, why bother?

So, then, the question became, what would be a good grade?  One thing I learned in business was to write that number down.  Don’t be wishy-washy.  Don’t lack direction. The number I chose to write down was 1,000 in Year One.  It was ten times higher than the 100  mark, and because I wouldn’t go out of print it could be quite a nice amount of sales a few years down the road. It seemed realistic and not overly easy.  Because what if they were right and I was wrong?  I didn’t want to sell books in front of Publix, but I would if necessary!

In December — month three of this experiment —  I sold 1,125 copies of the book between e-books and paper and Amazon Select borrows.  Paperback sales alone in December were more than 100 and so the nightmares of the table at the grocery store was never to be and I started to think about how I should adjust my goals, because they needed to be bumped quite a bit.

Pencil and calculator and little green visor (just kidding) later, the number is 10,000 in Year One. It’s 100 times higher than the naysayers, pretty respectable and, I think, realistic.  I’ll let you know in October.  So with bumped goals and a commitment to publish more books, I ventured into 2012.

Two weeks ago I published my second book, WINGING IT! and, so far, it’s doing better than the early days of DOLPHIN GIRL. What does this mean?  No idea.  No predictions.

The deal is to just focus on what’s next, and because the main character in the second book is trying to earn her wings as a Guardian, I figured I’d do a few “angelic” things to get this book going.  So right now there is a five book giveaway over at Goodreads.  It ends next week on April 9th, so if you want to enter go here.

Also next week, WINGING IT! will go free for two days: 4/10 and 4/11.  I’d tell you to mark your calendars, but I’m pretty sure my book’s free days is not one of those priority items that will make it onto your calendar.  Still, if you see the book then, by all means, go ahead and grab it!

From everything I’ve heard about free runs, this means I won’t sleep for 48 straight hours as I watch downloads pour in.  I’d love to blog about it and tell you all how it went, but I won’t be able to right away. Partially because of a lack of sleep, but mostly because starting on 4/12, Grace Lightbourne, the quirky Angel-in-Training main character from the new book, is taking over my blog for about a month to  interview a bunch of authors.

This is probably one of the most angelic things Grace has ever done.

Which really isn’t saying much.

But I hope you’ll follow Grace and the blog and get to know some of these other authors and find some great reads.  Then, I’ll be back in a little while to get bloggy again and maybe let you know about my free run and definitely let you know about the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert last night.

Oh yeah, I went.  It was a beaut!

April 3, 2012. Tags: , , , , . author interviews, milestones.

4 Comments

  1. Kristina Miranda replied:

    That’s fantastic, Shel! I love your philosophy! I never go with the naysayers either. I bought a button that says, “Those who say it cannot be done shouldn’t interrupt the people doing it.” I posted it on my blog and twitter a few weeks ago!

    Keep it up and I bet you’ll be adjusting your numbers upwards in the future once again. Congratulations on your new book! : )

  2. Meredith replied:

    Michelle! I am SO RIDICULOUSLY PROUD OF YOU! This is awesome and inspiring, and I am so happy for you! Yay!

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