My fortune above is one I received only a couple weeks ago. And one can only hope this is true.
As a writer, I strive to exceed my goals and milestones from the prior year. Last year I had a few milestones that I am very proud of,
1. I became a Bestseller for my book Sara's Awakening. My debut Fantasy Book.
2. I hit #5 in bestseller for free erotica for an anthology that I put together with multiple erotica authors. Sexy Holiday Bites. I am very proud of that and all the wonderful reviews on it.
3. I had 6 separate pieces of work, which hit the top 100 bestseller free charts, Including the 2 listed above and: Being Neighborly--which remains free, Fantasy Encounter with a Dom, Bound for Pleasure, as well as, Cristal Blue my debut piece as a writer.
4. I had an extremely successful series last year, The Torn Series: Master-bation, At Sir's Command, Sir's Deception and Serena's Decision. These are lighter BDSM with more spanking, I wonder if perhaps this is where a lot of my readership lies.
5. My bestselling books are Fantasy encounter with a Dom and Taken by a Truck Driver, however I laugh because there are barely any reviews for Taken by a Truck Driver.
6. I released 13 separate pieces of work. One was that anthology with 8 other authors.
7. I figured out Createspace and Fantasy Encounter with a Dom is in print. I plan to put my fantasy books out there shortly.
8. My Twitter following. I had 2k followers in about 2 months time. I will do a separate post on that one. ;)
9. Nominated for blog of the Year by Scarlett Flame.
What I have learned
1. Research - Before you become an indie do your homework. I spent time researching and dissecting others books. How they looked. I mean I love to read so it wasn't difficult, but there are a boatload of free books for the Smashwords and Amazon things. Also making your own covers--I recommend you buy your first one unless you are a graphic designer. This is because people DO judge a book by it's cover.
Selfpubbookcover.com has a free PDF where you can grab loads of free information and there are of course book covers. I purchased 7 from there.
GIMP II is a way to make covers if you use a site for pictures like shutterstock, canstock whatever else, there are are dozens. Watch out for those that use the same image over and over. I recommend you change the picture quite a lot. I personally don't like this program...ok, it hates me. ;) But if you have that savvy I did Bound for Pleasure with a little help from others.
2. Edit - Think you are done? Nope, edit it once more. Some are arrogant enough that they do it all by themselves. People if you cant even take a Critique Partners voice or opinion you will not be able to handle the reviews, trust me. A beta reader is fine and good, but they are that--readers. And many just want free books and really have no value or never respond. A Critique Partner is a fellow writer in your genre that swaps with you and finds things like: punctuation, spelling, sentence structure/flow, story hiccups in general.
I am quite anal, probably more than most. My final rounds are a read through after all the CP's and then I listen/edit. Listen and whiles it's being read to me I find things like he that should be her, etc. Your brain will fill those things in when you read. But when you listen you will find them.
3. Pricing - Keep your prices in accordance to the book length. Although Serena's Decision is still a mystery to me. I wonder if I split it into two books if I would have done better with it. See, I am always learning.
4. Help others out - We are all in it together. Initially I thought people would view me as competition, but my mentor Shoshanna Evers cleared that right up. She said we all have our own voice. So even if we all sat in the same room with the same premise, each story would have a different feel.
5. Reviews - Sure we would all love a bizillion glowing reviews. But I have learned a lot of people buy them. Nope not lying. I am happy to get mine the old fashioned way.
I decided to do a review page myself to help others. I love to read and love to pay it forward, especially to new authors who are like myself and have done the work to make their piece the best it can be. A friend said she'd like to join in and now it's an even better place to promote authors! PS Naughty Reviewers
Beware there are trolls out there and it is hard to turn a blind eye, but here is what I have done, look at their other reviews. Do they review everyone the same like "eh this sucked". Do they not even read your genre. Sometimes you can make yourself feel better when you realize it's not you.
Or Goodreads is even worse, a lot of tacky people out there wanting to be hurtful--sad but true. They just give you a 1 to purposely drag you down. Nothing you can do about it. You know what? As a reader I ignore those. I normally look at the intelligent remarks and say hmm, maybe I will just take a chance and make my own decision about this one.
So stressing about losers who have no life...remember you are better than that. However, do you see people saying you need to improve something? Fix it! You can do that. Ebooks are a wonderful thing where you can upload a new version, (keep your old and remember to highlight what you changed) and Amazon will alert the purchasers to the new version.
6. Returns - I read somewhere that 10% for erotica is normal. I am no where near that number and I think it goes back to #2 editing. At least I hope, but then again I am not what you call a NYT Bestseller...YET! LOL Right. I have maybe 1 or 2 returns a month. And yes they still hurt. It is stealing pure and simple, however, I did see by happenstance someone bought two at once, so that does happen too. ;)
Well, I keep my goals attainable, but something to strive for. And some have nothing to do with money or sales and more to do with what I can do to learn, grow, and help others. ;) Wishing everyone the very best in the New Year.
And remember each person is an individual take what works for you! I plan to do a post about my Twitter following shortly. I started Twitter in mid Feb of last year and I am fast approaching 7k followers. ;)