Monday, May 28, 2012

Self-Publishing: One Year's Results

April 29th, 2012 was the official one-year anniversary of self-publishing Wild Montana Sky, followed the next day by Starry Montana Sky. In July, I published Sower of Dreams, and in August, Reaper of Dreams. Twinborne Trilogy: Lywin's Quest was published at the end of December, and Stormy Montana Sky in January. All of the books except Stormy Montana Sky were written long before I self-published them.

When I started self-publishing, my hope was to make $3,000 a month on my books. I was friends with several self-published authors who were making this amount, and it seemed like an impossible dream to match them.

One year later (and a month as I'm writing this late) I've sold almost 100,000 books (see numbers below.) Wild Montana Sky made the USA Today Bestseller's List, and The Montana Sky series was acquired by Amazon Montake. (The changeover happens August 28.) I've made FAR more than $3000 a month, and have been able to cut back on my psychotherapy practice and corporate crisis/grief counseling at a time when I was feeling somewhat burned out by that work. And my creativity, which I'd boxed away when two agents couldn't sell my books, has exploded. I have lots of ideas for other books. This week, Romantic Times magazine mentioned Wild Montana Sky as a top indie read.

WOW! I'm amazed, touched, excited, and humbled by my year of self-publishing. The journey has been far more than I dreamed possible. What's been a wonderful bonus is all the self-published authors I've come to know. My circle of friends has grown by hundreds, and I've learned so much from them. (And read some great books!) I've had the pleasure of encouraging other authors, both published and unpublished to think about self-publishing their books.

In January, I blogged about my sales numbers for 2011. For a brief recap of that blog

Wild Montana Sky: 27, 069
Starry Montana Sky: 10,207
Total: 37,272

Sower of Dreams: 556
Reaper of Dreams: 243
Total: 799

Here are my numbers since my last sales blog from Amazon and Barnes & Noble combined:


Wild Montana Sky: 5297
Starry Montana Sky: 2045
Stormy Montana Sky: 921

Sower of Dreams: 122
Reaper of Dreams: 65

Lywin's Quest: 7


Wild Montana Sky: 8543
Starry Montana Sky: 3103
Stormy Montana Sky: 3253

Sower of Dreams: 82
Reaper of Dreams: 52

Lywin's Quest: 2


Wild Montana Sky: 6712
Starry Montana Sky: 3198
Stormy Montana Sky: 2997

Sower of Dreams: 86
Reaper of Dreams: 55

Lywin's Quest: 4


Wild Montana Sky: 13, 861(This is the month the book made the USA Today List.)
Starry Montana Sky: 4461
Stormy Montana Sky: 2463

Sower of Dreams: 84
Reaper of Dreams: 46

Lywin's Quest: 4


Wild Montana Sky: 61,482
Starry Montana Sky: 23,014
Stormy Montana Sky: 9,634

Total for Series: 94,130

Sower of Dreams: 1,628
Reaper of Dreams: 461

Total for Series: 2, 089

Lywin's Quest: 17

Total books: 96,219

I didn't include books sold at Smashwords or sold in Europe in 2012. If I did, the total would be closer to 97,000.

Not bad for an unknown, unpublished author, eh? This last year has been a dream come true. :) Thanks to all my readers and fellow authors who have supported me.

For year two, I'm hoping to find more time to write, something that still seems to elude me. I think when I finish Harvest of Dreams, the last book in The Gods' Dream Trilogy, my sales of all three books will increase considerably. Right now I'm aiming for a Fall release of that book. I'll also have a collection of short Christmas stories set in my Montana town coming out in August so I'll still have monthly self-publishing income derived from that series. I'll receive quarterly royalties from Montlake for the big books. Hopefully I can also finish the next big book in the Montana Sky series by Christmas.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Lucky One, The Surprise Hero

I saw The Lucky One last night and haven't stopped thinking about it. The movie was so beautiful and romantic that I didn't mind a few plot holes.

About a third of the way through, I started feeling a sense of familiarity to Zac Efron, that became strong enough to pull me out of the movie. I couldn't figure out why. I'd never seen him in anything, wouldn't be able to pick him out of a line up. But I became more and more drawn to him. At some point it struck me that he looked like an old boyfriend, Mike, the young cowboy who I had used for my hero Nick in Wild Montana Sky, although Zac's eyes are bluer, and he doesn't have a broken nose.

Ah, it all came to me. Not only did Zac look like Nick (who looks like Mike) he played a similar character--the strong, silent, supportive, adoring hero. And like Nick, Zac had trouble communicating what was on his mind, and had fallen in love with the heroine because of a picture (for Nick it was a portrait.)

The heroine, played by Taylor Shilling was also similar in looks to my heroine, although Elizabeth is a more classic beauty.

Figuring out the connection to my hero and my book gave an added dimension to the movie. Not only did I fall in love with Logan, but I fell in love with Nick all over again. Watching Zac play Logan, made me wish to see to see him play Nick. It made me remember that I have the screenplay of Wild Montana Sky gathering dust in my computer. Even though the screenplay has finaled in some contests and won an award, I've never submitted it anywhere. Maybe it's time to dust it off and send it to a friend who acquires scripts for a producer.

Anyone know Zac Efron? Maybe he'd like to recreate a similar role, but this time play a cowboy instead of a former marine.