Linsey Lanier’s Foray Into Self-Publishing
Good morning, Linsey. Welcome.
I'm thrilled to be a guest on Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers today. Thanks to GRW sister Mary Marvella for inviting me. While I'm a member of Petit Fours and Hot Tamales (http://petitfoursandhottamales.com) and have my own blog (http://linseylanier.blogspot.com ), this is my very first guest post. Mary promised she'd be gentle.
And she believed that one. (snicker)
Since the hot topic of the day seems to be self-publishing, I thought I'd talk about my experiences so far.
Grab your notebooks! Note taking time.
It's hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I started thinking about self-publishing. Around that time, PF&HT sister Tami Brothers mentioned J.A. Konrath's “A Newbies Guide to Publishing.” (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com ) I downloaded it and began to read about his "experiments" with “downloadable ebooks” and pricing, including giving some titles away for free to promote your other books. It all sounded intriguing.
Having chased the traditional publishing rabbit for so many years, I was nervous about self-publishing, but I decided to try it out with some short stories that I'd written for PF&HT. So the first week of September 2011, I released four short stories on Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/linseylanier ), including two that came from "The Clever Detective" series, a humorous fantasy about a hard boiled female investigator and a handsome fairytale prince.
(By the way, the second book in the series, Clever Is As Clever Does, contains the names of a few blogs hidden in the text. One of them is Pink Fuzzy Slippers. I even included a link at the end.)
Anyway, sales were pretty meager at first. Being the impatient person I am, I quickly decided to make all the stories free. It was an experiment, after all, and I was just trying to get my name out there. That made a big difference. By the end of October, The Clever Detective had 260 downloads (can’t call them sales, since they’re free).
By early April 2011, Clever Is As Clever Does was at 1,058 downloads and The Clever Detective was at 1,399. Nice increase.
Then I discovered Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004ZH67LA ).
Konrath pointed out in one of his posts that his sales on Amazon were 10 to 1 compared to Smashwords. So I figured out how to format my short stories and released them on Amazon the first week of May 2011. Unfortunately, Amazon does not allow you to price your ebooks lower than $0.99, so I couldn’t make them free.
A couple of weeks later, I finished a novella that was the third installment to the “Clever” series, called Cleverest of Them All. This story, which opens two weeks before Stacey and Chad’s royal wedding, is about four times as long as The Clever Detective, about 18,000 words, around 70 printed pages by the standard 250 per page calculation. I priced it at $0.99 on Smashwords and Amazon.
Going to Amazon turned out to be a good decision. The first week of June, Amazon must have discovered The Clever Detective was free on Smashwords, so they set their price to free. That’s when things started happening.
The first week, over 12,000 copies were downloaded. According to Author Central, on June 4 The Clever Detective ranked 26 “out of over 15,000 free books in the Kindle Store.” It stayed in the top 10 of the Free Romance category for 5 days.
Amazon made Clever Is As Clever Does free the following week. On June 9, it hit #39 of all free books in the Kindle Store. Both are still in the top 100 of the Free Romance category. “The Clever Detective” now has over 18,000 downloads.
And Cleverest of Them All, the $0.99 novella? The one I’m making money from? As of today, 344 sales. It’s enough to pay my RWA and GRW dues for the year. And that’s not bad, considering I’ve done almost zero promotion of the book.
The Future?So what’s next in Linsey’s big self-publishing adventure? I’m going to take the plunge. I’ve been hard at work editing two full-length single title books in a mystery series called “Miranda’s Rights.” That’s the name of the series. The first mystery is Someone Else’s Daughter.
Thirteen years ago, Miranda Steele's baby was taken by her abusive husband and given up for adoption. Now Miranda has discovered a letter written by a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in a mansion in Georgia and claims she's adopted. Could this be her long lost child?
Or is she someone else's daughter?
It’s a romantic mystery, with the murder of a young girl and a sexy, southern gentleman detective bent on finding her killer. The series explores Miranda’s relationship with him and her growth as an investigator after he offers her a job in his agency.
I should be ready in a few weeks. For updates, check out my website (http://www.linseylanier.com ).
What About You?
So what does this mean for those of you out there who are contemplating self-publishing? For one thing, it’s not as easy to make money at it as you might think, but it’s possible. Indie publishing is a lot of hard work, and you never know what might happen next. The competition is as stiff as ever, so it’s important to put your very best work out there, use everything you’ve learned from every workshop, conference and all those years of pounding out the words. Finally, it takes courage to take your fate into your own hands.
As I stand on this precipice, I’m cautiously hopeful. There are so many more books I want to write. So many good books out there I want to read. Self-publishing gives us all an opportunity to do both.
What are your thoughts?