I managed to write 166,930 words, putting me up to 1,308,545 for the year.
I put out 1 book this month. I also put out 40 blog posts this month too, like so:
- Writing: 18
- Montana: 19
- ESL: 3
Other than that, just a lot of frustrations. I’m not happy with lots of things and I’m looking forward to 2016 when I can take a new direction.
Hell, maybe I should just start taking it now. I’m beholden to no one, after all.
Yes, I can do what I want…though maybe that’s hurt me.
Let’s explore in this post.
Anticipating 2015 Sales Totals
Not a lot to write home about, though I suspect many authors would kill for these numbers. I just wish I had more.
- Anyways, the big winner is Colter’s Winter. That book came out this year but has been the most popular, and could become my #1 book of all time early next year.
- After that we have the old standby, English Rocks. People really find that book helpful and it sells itself, a couple titles a week as you can see.
- Then we have my 2015 SEO guide, which did well for the year. I suspect its days are about done, however.
- Next, my sci-fi alien shoot-‘em-up novel did well, getting just under 100 copies.
- After that we get a bunch of books in the under-50-sales category, pretty much. That’s about a sale a week.
How can I get those numbers better? And really…when you look at my total sales for the year, are the books I put out really the best I can be putting out?
Here are my 2015 releases and the most recent numbers sold…though I’ll add the first two were released in December 2014:
- Dulce Base: 131
- Stand Out: 112
- Colter’s Winter: 237
- Social Media Politics: 18
- Feds and Farmers: 4
- Flight 370: 3
- How to Write Fantasy: 13
- Colter’s Hell: 29
- Soul Catcher: 4
- Colter’s Run: 15
- Strategic Self-Publishing: 4
Maybe I waste my time on some things, I certainly know I have in the past. This year it looks like 4 books might be “wastes of time,” though two were put out just recently.
You have hits and misses and it’s hard to tell which will be which when you’re writing a book.
Well, sometimes you can tell.
Those are good things to think about as you look forward to your 2016 self-publishing strategy.
Does Being Prolific Matter?
I hate that. I hate hearing that.
What I feel like is a complete failure.
Why is that? Well, because we separate achievement from success.
I’ve achieved a lot, with more than 50 books published. I haven’t had much success, however, at least not the monetary or celebrity kind.
So that’s frustrating. Yeah, maybe I can write a lot, but so what. What has that gotten me?
Looking at Directions
That’s a good thought to have toward the end of the year, when you’re looking forward to the next year.
What direction do I want to go?
Do I want to waste a bunch of time like I did in early-2015, going back and editing and redoing some old books?
I don’t think so – none of those sold that well anyways. The books that did really bad sales-wise for 2015 were titles that I’d been working on for some time.
Sometimes you just have to get those old projects finished and out the door, even if they don’t do that well. It frees you up to work on things that will do well.
So I’ll be looking at my direction a lot. I’ll tell you about one right now.
Less Focus on Writers
People do not care.
Oh, they might want to read that stuff from someone else, but they sure as shit don’t want to read it from me.
I think that was pretty obvious when I released Strategic Self-Publishing this month.
I was let down on that, and a big reason was Facebook.
I’m a member of about 20 Facebook author groups and I went to one of the busier ones and posted my link. Lots of people got interested in the book and said they’d buy it. Hardly anyone did.
I posted the link on Google+ too, saying I’d give a free copy to anyone that’d write a review.
I got one taker – she did not write a review.
If a group of people that you’re trying to help don’t want your help…should you keep trying to help them?
So far this year my author book sales have looked like this:
- Design Your Book: 16
- Google+ for Authors and Bloggers: 12
- How to Write: 10
- How to Write Fantasy: 13
- Sell Your Book: 48
- Strategic Self-Publishing: 4
- Write Now: 6
So that’s 109 sales for the year, or about 9 a month.
I can sell more of my novels in a week than what I sell of my writing books in a month.
Clearly, this is a route I might want to stop going down. I mean…why not?
Why should I care about struggling authors, people that can’t write, or those that can’t sell books?
Haven’t I done enough for those folks? I mean, 7 books…what the hell else do you want from me?
It’s clear you don’t want my writing books so don’t expect anymore.
More Focus on Montana
Sure, not that many people like to read about it, but so what?
My most popular novels are based on Montana. One of my most popular non-fiction books is a history of the state.
Sometimes I like to compare Montana writing to content marketing.
- Content marketing is a global industry worth billions of dollars. Countless eager young souls jump on that train everyday, and they look to all kinds of sites for the answers they’re looking for. Millions hunger for advice.
- Montana is a state with less than a million people. If you add up all the people alive today that have lived here I doubt it’d be higher than 10 million. When it comes to those interested in its politics, it’s in the hundreds. For history it’s probably less.
So why write about that?
Well, why not?
Why are you writing about content marketing? And what is writing about that going to do for you 5 years from now?
Where are you going to be 5 years from now?
Maybe in a bigger office, one with a window looking out on a majestic skyline with a river below, perhaps?
I bet you’ll be making bank, have a few cars, a nice house or two, and the respect and admiration of countless office leeches that want to siphon off some of that success for themselves.
How about 10 years?
Maybe it’s time for that corner office now, or that position at HQ. Fuck man – you’ve come far! Everyone in the industry knows your name.
Those are great accomplishments, but you know what – I could care less about them.
I’m not interested in that type of “success,” and I don’t really feel it’s success at all. You’ve done nothing to make the world better or make the lives of future generations easier. You have made a lot of money, however.
I just don’t care that much about money, I just want enough to pay my bills.
So maybe I should focus on what I want to write, huh?
I do paid content all the time and it’s not what I want to write. People can see that.
When you’re writing about something you’re passionate about, however, wow – people know it!
Maybe we’ll see more passion in 2016, from the marketing sites and on this one.
What’s Coming Up?
- First there’s Get Noticed, my 2016 guidebook. I have to put the final version on Amazon on the 6th so I’m checking the last draft for typos.
- On the 3rd my first two Colter books come out of KDP Select and I could not be happier. I killed my sales when I put them in and the pages read did not make up for it. I’ll have a lot more on this in a day or two.
- On the 8th I’d like to put out Colter’s Friend. Really, though, I could wait. The last book only sold 18 copies so it’s not like there’s a lot of people waiting on it. Maybe no one is.
- The 15th was the day I wanted to put out Paranormal Montana but I don’t think that will happen. The book is not done and I could do a better job. Again, I don’t think anyone’s biting their nails to get a copy.
Speaking of missed deadlines, yesterday was the day I wanted to update Tribes and Trappers. I did not do that. The reason is simple – it’s gotten away from me.
I wanted to add a few dozen pages but I’ve added a hundred or more. Currently the book is 57,000 words, up from the 32,000 it originally was.
And don’t worry – if you bought a copy I will make sure Amazon informs you that an updated version is available, one you’ll get for free so you can learn about Montana in the 1790s and early 1800s.
- The last big date for the month is the 16th, which is the official release of Get Noticed. Again, no one is really lining up to buy this as I’ve had an abysmal pre-order run. Oh well – that’s par for the course for me.
- Finally, I’d like to add that the first three John Colter mountain man books are now bundled together in a box set.
Get your copy on Amazon for $9.95, a savings of $2.