Ups and downs on the self-publishing journey

I’ve been experiencing the different sides to being a self published author since I published my debut novel The Inheritance in September.

It was selling quite well to begin with and I was really encouraged. Then it slowed right down. I wasn’t doing very well in the US until I did my free promotion over 5 days from the end of October to the beginning of November. I had nearly 9500 free downloads during that time, the vast majority of them in the US.

But after that I came back down to earth with a bump. My novel was selling much better in the US than before the free promo, but worse in the UK. My sales in other parts of the world weren’t good either. Eventually my sales dived again and now I find myself selling one or two copies here and there.

Well I guess one or two is much better than none! It is quite disheartening though. I do feel that The Inheritance is a bit tricky to place in a genre, which could be partly why it’s not selling hugely.

And then I had a couple of bad ratings on Goodreads. Although they were unaccompanied by a review, for some reason I felt worse than when I read a review with the same rating on Amazon. But as my writer friend Kate Frost says, bad reviews come with the territory.

Bad reviews can be a little hard to stomach though after you’ve worked so hard on something. Although as my husband said, it’s not necessarily because my writing’s that bad, it’s just that it wasn’t to someone’s taste. As Kate also said you have to take bad reviews with a pinch of salt, just as you might a five star review which raves about a book. You don’t  know if they’re being fair or not.

I guess I’ve just got to keep my chin up and keep trying, promoting The Inheritance when I can and not being too downcast that it’s not selling that well.

How do you deal with disappointments in this self publishing journey?

Post breakup

Breakup

I thought I’d be a bit kinder this week and share with you 23 lines from the first chapter of Reunion. They follow immediately on from the revised beginning of the story which I shared with you a few weeks ago, where Anna is confronting her boyfriend Elliot about his cheating. She proceeds to kick him out.

You may recognise some sentences in this week’s excerpt because this passage has parts in it that were from my original beginning. So apologies if some of it seems the same. I have, however, changed a fair bit of it so hopefully it won’t overlap too much.

At this point in the story Anna has just kicked her cheating boyfriend out. Her best friend Melissa, who currently has nowhere to live, is moving in with her. Anna is still struggling with her emotions over the breakup and Melissa is doing her best to help her to move on.

My WIPpet maths goes like this: 6+11+2+1+3 = 23 lines. So there you have it. Hope you enjoy it.

‘He did you wrong, Anna. He cheated on you,’ Melissa said looking Anna straight in the eye, a no-nonsense expression on her face. ‘You were absolutely right to give him his marching orders.’

Anna didn’t answer for a moment. There was a pain in her chest which had been there since she’d thrown Elliot out and it wouldn’t budge.

‘That’s the last of them,’ she said finally, heaving Melissa’s suitcase through her front door and ignoring her searching gaze.

Melissa picked up one of the many bags in the hallway and took it into the slightly tidier front room. ‘Well it’s all in the past now anyway. It’s a new start for both of us.’

Anna nodded and followed her from the hallway overflowing like a swollen river with suitcases and bags into the relative tidiness of her front room. Her hair was coming loose from its ponytail and falling into her eyes, so she vigorously tugged her hair out of its band and retied it, pulling it tightly until it hurt. Tears were threatening to fall, but she held them back like water by a dam.

Why should she give way to tears when there was no point? Elliot would win if she did that and yet… The world is your oyster. The thought popped into her head as she was standing a little dazed in the middle of the front room. Well it was, wasn’t it, now that Elliot was no longer a part of her life. Or the oyster is your world as he used to say. She scrunched her eyes up; try as she might she just couldn’t seem to get him out of her mind.

‘You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?’ Melissa’s voice brought her back from the brink.

‘Only a little,’ Anna lied unable to keep her voice steady.

As you may have seen on my blog, the free promotion of my debut novel The Inheritance ended yesterday and it went really well. I’ve had nearly 9500 downloads, most of them in the US so I’m happy about that. Hopefully it’ll lead to more sales. :)

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your current writing work on your blog. Then add your name to this linky. Only rule is that it has to relate in some way to the date. Happy writing! Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

The Inheritance does well in free promo!!

Well that was certainly an exciting 5 days. From Thursday last week until yesterday, my debut novel The Inheritance was free to download on Amazon.

I’d worked hard in the weeks leading up to it and applied to lots of free promo sites to register my details with them in the hope that some of them would mention me.

I paid for 3 of them to feature my book, the rest I left to chance. I was amazed when over the course of the 5 days a total of 9 sites I’d applied to for free featured my book on their site. I was happy to say the least.

What surprised me the most about the free promo was how well it did Stateside. Having only had meager sales of The Inheritance over there, I was amazed at the huge number of downloads there were. I had just over 9000.

The image I’ve uploaded from Amazon isn’t very clear, but I got to #53 in free ebooks on Amazon.com as well as #1 in romance and #3 in teen/young adult fiction. This result is more than I could have hoped for. I’m grateful to my blogger friends and Twitter followers as well as friends and family for spreading the word.

Although I didn’t do as well back here in the UK, I did get a few hundred downloads so I’m glad about that. In total, when I notched up the number of downloads across the world it came to 9461 which is just incredible for me.

Having had great success in the US but less in my own country, it got me to wondering why exactly that was. Thinking about it, I guess it may have been the cover that appealed to the American market and less so in the UK. It might also have been the subject matter, that a story about an inheritance and family issues may have been more appealing in the US than the UK.

Whatever the case, I’m just glad that thousands of people are now reading my book. That’s a good feeling. I’m also hoping that I’ll get a few more sales out of it. I was rather disappointed that my ranking in the sales category on Amazon had plummeted, both in the US and UK. Then I thought a bit more logically and remembered that technically I hadn’t sold any books anywhere since my free promo began, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how The Inheritance does in the coming days. It’s exciting times.