Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Sales Numbers: Knowledge is Power!

I learned something recently that baffled me.  People in other countries, or even in unions in our own country talk about their salary all the damn time.

This came as a surprise because in Corporate America, talking about your salary with other employees can be enough to get you fired.  I started to think about it, and realized the only reason it's frowned upon and forbidden is to keep people ignorant.

You won't complain about getting screwed over if you don't know in the first place, right?

Well, in the book world, it was Indie Authors shirking the taboo to talk about their sales numbers that helped me decide this was the path for me.  So, now that I have two months' worth of data, I'm going to pay it forward and share it with you guys :).

Here's how it's going so far:

April Total Sales:  19  (I had 2 short stories up for 2 weeks)
May Total Sales:  30  (I put out a short story and a novella under a pen name)
June Total Sales123
(Legacy went live as well as 1 short story under that name, and 2 more under my pen name)

This month I more than quadrupled last month's sales!  My jaw almost hit the floor when I passed 60 for this month, much less 120... just... wow.

Amazingly enough, the more writing I did, the more sales I had :).

So far on this journey I've made $120.37 on my e-books, $45 on freelance editing, and have spent $133.18 on 250 business cards, 7 pieces of cover art and a domain purchase.  That's $32.94 in profit.

When I make money, I've been investing it back into the business.  I am treating this like it's my small business and I'm growing it for this first year.  When I'm in the black again, I buy more cover art.  Next, I'm thinking of paying $39 to produce a paperback version of LEGACY through Amazon's POD service, CreateSpace.

So, there you go :).  If I manage to double my sales each month (versus quadrupling), I'll be at 1000 sales/month by the end of this year.

That's what I'm working toward, and I plan to put out two more short stories and AT LEAST one novella, if not a full novel by January 1st.  I will also be releasing stories under my pen name.

I hope this was helpful to some of you who are deciding which road to take with your own career.  Best of luck to you, and let me know if you have any questions I can help with, either in the comments or through email.

Here's to July!

Edit:  Almost forgot to post this excellent blog post from super successful indie author Victorine Lieske comparing sales trends.  It's very helpful for gaining some perspective on where people are in this industry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Power of Free

It's Summer!

And you know what that means :).  Garage sales and bargain hunting. 

I'm a total sucker for garage sales, especially for that bin full of mismatched, weird, misfit Free Stuff.  You know the one I'm talking about. The one off to one side with the huge cardboard sign next to it that says FREE, but it might as well say "Oh, Dear God, please take this Billy the Big Mouth Bass out of my life forever."

Finding free stuff is like treasure hunting, and one freebie I've recently loved hunting for is free books. Apparently, this is now a viable marketing strategy, among the Big 6 selling e-books as well as indie authors.

The difference is, this isn't a junk box--this is like you went to a fancy estate sale in the rich people neighborhood and found a box full of free fabrige eggs and fist-sized rubies.

This is the best Freebie Box ever.

From watching other people's success with making one of their books free to give readers a chance to discover them, I'm doing an experiment.

I just made NO REST FOR THE WICKED free, and I'm going to keep it that way for at least a month.

I have no idea what this will do, but I'm fascinated to see the results.  The way I see it, a few things can happen:

a)  People download No Rest for the Wicked from Smashwords for free. They dig it, and they purchase the next in the series, Carnivore.  Hooray!  I do a happy dance.

b)  No one downloads No Rest for the Wicked for free.  I feel like the shy kid with acne at the middle school dance.  I consume chocolate.

c)  Some people download it, hate it, then find me and throw rocks at my house.

I'm hoping it's option a, but we'll see!  I'll let you know how the experiement goes along the way :).

My question for you is:  How has a freebie affected you as a reader? Is it like the awesome Fantasy Garage Sale bin?  Or are you indifferent?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Need Your Help: Which Fairytale Should I Do Next?

Calling all readers!

I need YOU to help me decide which Fairytale villain to write about next :).  You'll notice there is a poll to the right of this post ======> 

Please select a favorite Fairytale, or add one to the comments. 

As you may know, in my first short story collection, NO REST FOR THE WICKED is about a Fairytale Assassin named Veronica Grim. In this world, fairytale villains are real, and only one woman is crazy enough to hunt them down. No Rest for the Wicked had a twisted take on Bluebeard in the story "Blood Don't Lie," and my own sick version of Snow White in "Heartless."

CARNIVORE is the next story in the series, a darker version of Little Red Riding Hood.

So, I ask you, friends.... Who should Veronica Grim face next?

Take the poll and comment below, and I'll enter you to win a free copy of the next book in the series!

Thanks for your help! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Posting on Abby Annis' Blog: Staying Motivated Against All Odds

Fellow writer and fabulous blogger, Abby Annis was kind enough to let me guest post on her blog today.  

I'm discussing how I manage to stay motivated even when the odds seem impossible.  Come on over and say "hi!"  I'll be skulking around there all day, and don't want to be lonely, standing in the corner by myself... It would be like the junior high dance all over again!  

Also, we're having a fun giveaway :).  Yay!

My question for you:  What keeps you motivated when the odds are against you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Author Interview over at Sandra Ulbrich Almazan's Blog!

Hi, guys,

Today I'll be hanging out over at speculative fiction author Sandra Ulbrich Almazan's lovely blog!  She was kind enough to interview me, and asked a ton of great questions.  Go check it out.  There's even a picture of some of my "art"  (Note the usage of ironic "" marks.) 

Also, as a bonus, I wanted to let you know that for the rest of the summer, Legacy of the Empress is on sale for .99 cents!  This is an experiment, and I'll let you know how it goes :). 

Thanks, all!  Hope to see you over at Sandra's place.

Monday, June 20, 2011

And the Winners Are....

This weekend I celebrated reaching my 100th e-book sale and beyond, and had a mini giveaway to celebrate!

Here are the names of the five lucky winners from my commenters (drumroll, please!):


Keira Lea

Callie Kingston

M. Horton


Please pick from my author page which e-book you'd like to receive and either leave a comment or shoot me an email, and I will hook you up!

I just put out a new Fairytale Assassin short story to continue the storyline from No Rest for the Wicked.  It's called Carnivore, and is my own twisted take on Little Red Riding Hood.  You guys can totally pick that one along with my other three--winners' choice!

Thank you all for celebrating with me :).  Remember--if you didn't win this time, there's still time to enter my Launch Day Giveaway.  It ends 6/31/11, so get those entries in soon!

Friday, June 17, 2011

100 E-Books: Achievement Unlocked!

The day has come!

I'm breaking out the e-cake and e-champagne and inviting you all to party with me!  Today, I reached my first goal of 100 E-Books Sold!  Wooooo hooooo! Next goal:  500.

To celebrate, I'm giving a FREE copy of whichever one of my e-books strikes your fancy to five random commenters. 

I'll be e-partying all weekend, so you have until Monday to win!  Comment below, and you're in it to win it.

E-Books to choose from:

Death and Other Inconveniences, which is a short ghost story about a quirky writer in the days after her death.

No Rest for the Wicked, which contains two short stories about the exploits of Veronica Grim, Fairytale Assassin.

OR, of course

Legacy of the Empress, my epic fantasy novel.

So, put a lampshade on your head, and let's celebrate!

P.S. Is there anything you're celebrating this week?  I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Great Indie Summer Giveaway!

Hi, All,

I'm participating in an awesome giveaway this month:  The Great Indie Summer Giveaway!  Each day, there is a new book featured, and a new chance to win one of over 100 indie books.

Check it out and enter to win not only LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS, but dozens of other fabulous books!

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Goals, and the Art of Not Going Crazy

Well, I've been at this about 7-ish weeks, and I thought it was high time to share not only what short term goals I've set for myself, but about how this whole crazy "indie publishing" thing was really going.

I decided at the beginning, that the only way to not get overexcited or overly nervous was to set small, achievable goals for myself :).

My overall first goal was to sell 100 e-books.  I've heard several places that most people who self publish never make it to 100 sales and then quit in despair.  If I pass that 100 book mark, I'll know for sure I've beaten at least some of the odds and am doing something right.  However, if I can count all my sales on two hands, I've got problems.

My other goal after releasing Legacy of the Empress, was to sell 30 of those alone in the first month.

From haunting the Kindle Boards, I've learned that some folks only make 1 sale their first month, while others make 10-50.  I figured 30 was a good, challenging, but not overly ridiculous goal to set.  My stretch goal was 50.

So, how am I doing so far?

As of this afternoon, I've sold 90 e-books total, most of those sales coming in the past 2 weeks.  I've also sold 21 copies of Legacy in two weeks, so I'm on track to beat 30 sales.

So far I've made approximately $76.

I'll keep you updated as I go, because I want to be as transparent with this process as possible.

It was other authors sharing their numbers that led me on this path in the first place, and if I can help other writers out by sharing, then that's what I'm going to do :).

I hope this is helpful, and I can't wait to celebrate with you guys when I hit that 100 book mark!  After that, who knows?

What are your goals for your writing?  What keeps you going along the long and lonely road?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding Yourself as a Writer

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan amused and impressed me by being the first (and only) person to pose with a sword for entries in my Launch Day Giveaway.  You rock, Sandra!

Because of you, I decided to do the same thing. I mean, who doesn't need a picture of themselves with a sword, amirite??

However, taking this picture brought forth several questions:

  1. Why do I own leather pants? Seriously? When did this happen, and why was I able to locate them so quickly?
  2. My husband's chain mail is crazy heavy. Just wandering around the house in it was a workout. Medieval dudes must have been buff as hell.
  3. I own way too many books. The shelves behind me are just part of a larger Book Wall, and I still have boxes of books in the garage, not to mention a pile by the bed that threatens to crush me in my sleep.  Perhaps it is time to go digital.
  4. My "serious business" sword-face is more like a "I want cake" face.

Along with these questions and discoveries, I've been thinking a lot lately about where I want to go as a writer.  Indie publishing has opened up whole new worlds that I've never thought were possible, namely selling short stories and writing across multiple genres.

Lately, I've been working on two more Veronica Grim short stories so I can release Part II of No Rest for the Wicked.  I love these stories.  They are so incredibly fun to write :).  The idea is that fairy tale villains are real, and there are special agents sent to take them out.  One of these agents is Veronica Grim, and she is very good at what she does.  There are shoot outs, dwarves, and snappy one-liners, and I am loving every minute of creating these.

But this is not, how do you say, Serious Business.  This is silly and fun and dark.  Shouldn't I be writing something Meaningful and Important instead?

I was talking about this with my husband last night, and the following conversation took place:

Him:  Well, the way I see it, it's like actors in Hollywood. Some are Tom Hanks, who is great, and then some are, you know..
Me:  Daniel Day Lewis?

Him:  Exactly!  Some only make four movies and are uber dramatic.

Me:  And live in a tent for six months psyching themselves up for their Oscar role.

Him:  Right.  But not everyone has to be Daniel Day Lewis.

Me:  Yeah, or wants to.  I don't want to be Daniel Day Lewis.

Him:  Then don't be.

Me: .....  What if I turn out to be Bruce Campbell (star of Army of Darkness)

Him:  *laughs*  That would be awesome.

So, I suppose what I'm getting at is, indie publishing is allowing me to explore who I am and who I want to be as a writer.  If I want to write campy fairy tale noir, I can do that.  If I want to write horror (which I would like to try), then I can do that, too.  If I want to do a sequel to LEGACY, I can do all of it. 

I can do whatever I want.  I have control over my career. 

I can be Bruce Campbell if I'm meant to be Bruce Campbell :). 

Or maybe I'll be Christopher Walken... I haven't decided yet.

My question to you is, who are you as a writer?  Are you okay with that? 

When are you having the most FUN when you're writing?


Bonus question! Which hollywood actor is your writing career like?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Love for Indie Author Cole Drewes

Like I said in my earlier post today, Cole Drewes releasedhis book HOUNDS OF HEAVEN recently, and was kind enough to host my guest post on his blog.  Thanks, Cole! :D

In the spirit of paying it forward, here is a brief word from Cole about his new novel:


Hounds of Heaven is a science fiction novel with urban fantasy/paranormal elements. I would consider it a hybrid novel inspired by the mythology of vampire and werewolves. It’s been compared to Starship Troopers with vampires. This action-packed novel is set in a futuristic dystopian New York City inhabited by vampires and demons.

Werewolf and battle hardened resistance fighter Dom Craddock is sick of losing. Dom is a member of the resistance called HADES, a paramilitary organization made up of humans and werewolves. Hades has been on the losing side of a war that has spanned six hundred years led by the vampire regime known as The Tartarus Corporation.
Dom and his elite recon team, finally find hope while on an otherwise routine mission. What they find might help them win the war against the vampires, save the dying planet, and hopefully what’s left of humanity.
Throughout Dom’s last mission he struggles with the world he once knew, and the world he now suffers in, hoping for one day to see the sun shining on his face again. Dom must first comes to terms with his past-the same past that assisted in the genocide of mankind, and handed the planet over to the vampires. A past he wants to forget and leave behind, but the actions he set in motion all those years ago have come back to destroy the only hope at saving humanity.
Monique Snyman of the book review blog Killeraphrodite, says that Hounds of Heaven was a rollercoaster of awesome… you won't have any fingernails left by the time the book ends. Action, romance, treachery, horror, historical references that's been changed in such a way that it's somewhat plausible... Damn it, just get the book and read it!

Below you can buy Hounds of Heaven in the following e-book formats for $0.99:


You can read 25% of the novel for free through Smashwords.
A paperback version will be available through Amazon in about a week.

All profits made from my books sales during 5/23/2011-6/23/2011 will be donated to Red Cross to help the victims of Joplin, MO.

On a side note I am currently running a book launch contest. There will be plenty of winners and the grand prize is a signed book, various swag bag items and a new Amazon Kindle! Check out my blog for more details at


I love that Cole is donating to such a great cause for these next couple of weeks, so if he book sounds up your alley, please give it a try! :) 

That's the beauty of a lot of indie published novels.  They are so inexpensive, that it's easy to find new authors.  I haven't read Cole's novel yet, but it sounds fun as Hell (pun intended), so I'm sure I'll be picking it up in the very near future.

Guest Post at Author Cole Drewes' Blog Today!

Hi, All,

Today, I'm a guest poster over at Author Cole Drewe's blog. Go check it out :)!  I've been getting a lot of questions from writers about how I made the final leap into indie publishing Legacy, so I go into more depth about why I did it, why I think it was the best thing for me, and why I'm optimistic about my career.

Cole's book, Hounds of Heaven, just launched as well--Congratulations, Cole!


If you haven't entered my fabulous Launch Day Giveaway, then why haven't you? It's AWESOME! It's exactly the kind of thing you should enter.

Right now.


Do iiiiit. ;)

Here's how to get entries into the drawing for cool books, delicous chocos, and a $25 Amazon giftcard:

Be a follower of this blog: Old followers get 1 entry, and New followers get 2 entries!

Tweet about this giveaway: 1 entry per tweet (as many as you'd like)

Link this giveaway on Facebook: 1 entry per link!

Review the book on Amazon or on your blog: 5 entries!

Talk about this giveaway on your blog: 2 entries!

Tell me who your favorite Fantasy character is in the comments: 1 entry

"Like" my book on Amazon: 1 entry

Link a picture of you brandishing a sword: 3 entries! (cause seriously... that's cool)

Interview me on your blog: 5 entries!
Tell a friend about my book : 1 entry each time! (honor system, yo)

Leave your comments in the contest post with what you've done along the way, and rack up those entries! The contest runs until the end of the month.

I'm excited to see who wins!! :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Happy Sunday!

Callie Kingston has an excerpt from Legacy of the Empress up on her blog if you's like to have a look :).


Saturday, June 4, 2011

My First Author Interview: Achievement Unlocked!

Hi, All,

Blogger and fellow writer, Callie Kingston, was kind enough to  interview me on her blog today!  Her questions are great, and I had a blast answering them :).

Please come say "Hi!"  I'll be hanging out answering any questions in the comments all day.

It's so cool to finally get to this moment:  My first author interview!  You bet your ass I'm totally printing it off and saving it in my Milestone Drawer for posterity ;).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Literary Agents: Working for You, or Against You?

I came across an interesting (and alarming) blog post today that I wanted to share with you guys:

Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch breaks down her thoughts on why working with a big, corporate literary agency may be hurting writers more than helping them as the publishing world changes.

She calls out a few things that writers absolutely NEED to be aware of, such as unethical agency clauses, rights grabs, as well as conflicts of interest as more and more big agencies turn into e-publishers to keep the money flowing.

Please, if you're looking for an agent, have an agent, or had one and parted ways, check out this blog article.

What do you think?

Are agents still relavent during these changing times?


Stay tuned tomorrow as I make an appearance over at author Callie Kingston's blog!  She was kind enough to interview me, and asked thought-provoking questions about my journey, the characters in Legacy of the Empress, and my thoughts on the publishing landscape.  Check it out then!  I'll be there answering questions in the comments :).

P.S. Remember to comment on my contest for a chance to WIN :)!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Changes in the Publishing Industry

Holy paperback, Batman!

Things are still moving and shaking in the publishing industry, as a new, and fascinating, option opens up for authors.  You may remember whenI blogged about author Barry Eisler turning down a $500,000 deal with a traditional publisher to self publish his new books.  WELL, as you guys probably know, Barry just signed with a new Amazon imprint, and it seems like the terms he was offered are Kickin RAD.

Barry had another one of his lengthy e-discussions with J.A. Konrath about his decision and the hullabaloo it created HERE.  It's a long one, but it's seriously worth the read, as were the last two segments.  In fact, Joe and Barry are releasing this convo as a 30k word, 99 cent e-book so you can put your kindle in a ziplock and read the whole thing in your tub.

One of the most fascinating things about this development is that by bitching about Legacy Publishing's crappy terms for authors, Joe and Barry seemed to have egged companies like Amazon on in creating author-friendly terms like nothing we've ever seen before.

This can only create more competition and better options for writers in the long run.  In fact, someone in the comments said that they've noticed more and more agents closing for submissions and scouring Amazon for new talent.  Things have definitely turned on their heads, and I have to say.. I think it's a great thing.

As both of these guys say:  "If you're in the egg selling business, don't piss off your chickens."

What the heck do you guys think about all this?

Are you excited by the changes or hesitant?  Why do you feel the way you do?