Let’s just pause for a minute here, if you don’t mind.
What the hell was I thinking? I couldn’t go write a Goodreads book review and get that extra 529 words? That's what I did this month! I shake my head at myself, let me tell you.
Anyways, as you can see, I can get busy when I want to. That’s why I like working for myself –there’s an incentive for me to work hard. When I had a regular job I could put in 200% effort or 20% and I’d get paid the same. What’s more, even if I was putting in 100%, others weren’t, and that pisses me off.
But now I don’t have to worry about that shit. Now I can go out and take two smoke breaks in one hour and no one says a damn thing! That’s freedom, baby!
But I digress. The main impetus for my writing this month was my fourth Montana book. We’ll talk about that below. Besides that I had some jobs to work on as well as some new eBooks.
Here’s the complete monthly report.
An eBook on Recent Montana History
The years 1900 to 1930 might not sound that recent to you, but they’re within living memory still for many in the state of Montana. What’s more, they’re so recent that there’s not a whole lot on them when it comes to the history books floating around in the state libraries. I set out to remedy that more than a year and a half ago now, and the result was my first volume of Montana history, Tribes and Trappers.
Since then I’ve put out two more volumes and this fourth volume should be done this month.
I got started on it like a crazed banshee shooting out into the night from whatever dark recesses they’d been hiding in. I mean I wrote about 40,000 words on the sucker in a week!
After that I stalled out, hit a snag, got stuck if you will. Mainly I just got bored. I’d done most of the interesting stuff, but now there were just the holes left to fill in. So that’s politics, some farming stuff, WWI…you know, the basics.
No shame in taking a break, which is what I’ve done for the past week or so. Taking care of my 3-year-old son for a week by myself while my wife was in New York also made that an easy choice.
But now I’ve got to get this thing out. I’ve already had an excerpt in the Missoulian newspaper here in Montana and I know interest is building because sales of my other Montana history books have increased.
So what am I doing talking to you? Time to hustle and get this book finished!
The Sanders McGee Adventures
This coming month I’ll – damn, here’s that hopefully again – put out two more volumes and a box-set. Yep, I’ll bundle the first three books together – the third is called Mud – and I might even make the first book perma-free if Amazon lets me.
I have high hopes that this off-beat series could gain me some steady sales each month and some fans for my other work. We’ll see, but that’s the idea.
That’s why I’m working on Keeping Sane: English Teaching Strategies for ESL Teachers, a great book of strategy and theory and practical advice for those struggling ESL teachers.
You can read a lot more on ESL Adventure or in my Google+ ESL Group. And as always, if you know a teacher looking into Rogaine treatments because they pulled out all their hair – send them my way for great advice!
As I mentioned last month, it’s pretty clear to me where I should be spending most of my time. I made it a point on this site’s first posts that I’d write about Montana and the issues it faces, and I’ve been doing that since Day 1.
I’ve also been writing about writing a lot, but that’s getting boring to me – sorry. Which brings me to another topic…
Personally, I don’t see any reason why anyone would want to do a guest post here. It’s not like I get a lot of requests for them, just 2 to 3 a month, but many of those requests are poorly written or wanting to write about things that, well…I don’t think you’d care.
I’ve done a few guest posts before, but not a whole lot lately. I figure if anyone wants to hear what I have to say they can come here or read my books. When it comes to other sites, I think that’s best as well. Honestly, I don’t think other sites want me to talk on them.
Smashwords and Monthly eBooks Sales
Now, for those that don’t know, Smashwords is a great way to get your book selling on Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and a few other places like Scribd, Oyster, Google Play and Page Foundry.
I don’t know what many of those are, but other people do, and they buy books from me on those platforms.
I went in this past Saturday and counted up my quarterly totals this year, which I’d done earlier, but more in a slap-dash way. This is what I found:
- Q1: In the First Quarter I sold 123 eBooks, which counts the perma-free books The Jongurian Mission and Teaching English: 10 Proven Ways to Make Shy Students Talk Now.
- Q2: In the Second Quarter I sold 210 eBooks, again with those perma-free in there.
- Q3: The Third Quarter isn’t finished yet, but in July I sold 160 eBooks and in August I sold 22.
I don’t know what happened in July, but I got more sales in one month than I did in a single quarter earlier this year. That’s great!
Now, when I added those totals to my spreadsheet showing each book’s total sales over time, this is what stood out:
- Perma-Free: I give the first book of my epic fantasy trilogy away as a perma-free. Looking at the sales figures, 2.5% of those downloading it go on to buy Book 2. But what’s great is that 71.6% of those who buy Book 2 go on to buy Book 3.
- Big Sellers: Trouble in Jonguria, The Jongurian Resolution, English Rocks!, Tarot: The Mystery and the Mystique, and Sell Your Book are the most popular books I’ve written, if you want to go by sales. Together they’ve sold 913 copies.
- High Prices: I got 103 eBook sales this month, with 59% of those sales on books priced above $4.99 and 28% coming on books prices at $7.99 or above.
- Picky Titles: Visit My Site, Bitch and Ten Minute Tarot get hardly any sales on Amazon but do really well on Apple and Barnes & Noble.
- Shit Year: Everything I put out this year so far sells like shit. Last year I put out 21 books and together they got 860 sales. This year I’ve put out 23 books and together they’ve gotten just 177 sales, a drop of 485%.
Well, what’re ya gonna do? Hang up the ‘ol hat and head off to some porch to rest your heels? I guess the only thing to do is keep on keepin’ on and hope one book takes off…at some point…hopefully.
If not? Well, I figure I’ll get up past 50 to 60 books this year and then close to 100 next year.
100 books – surely that must be enough to get a decent check each month from, maybe enough to pay the rent…right?
Of course if you’re one of those romance or thriller or just plain lucky authors then maybe you’ve got just one book or a couple and make thousands each month. Hell, maybe you make hundreds each month.
I make a couple hundred off of 45 books, and that’s fine. I’m glad people read them, and I’m glad my return rate is so low. In fact, this month I had just 2 to 3 returns out of more than 100 sales. (I don’t have real wood in my house).
Most of that money is coming in from my backlist, or those books that I put out last year. Maybe those books I put out this year’ll take off next year and the older ones will continue to do alright. Then I could pay the rent…and I’ll still have a bit from whatever I put out next year.
Yep, things are pretty good…and I don’t have to deal with all that fame bullshit either. Fuck, what am I complaining about?