It was one year ago today that I uploaded my first novel, No Cure for the Broken Hearted, onto Amazon. I wasn't sure what to expect at that point, but if someone had told me that the book would go on to be a number one bestselling romance on Amazon UK, I would have been mightily surprised. Perhaps even more surprised that it would crack the top 10 overall on that site, spending time as the #9 most downloaded book there. I might have been equally surprised that my second book, Sweet Ophelia, would go though a six-week stretch with only one sale per week. Or that four days free on Amazon.com would result in 38,000 downloads.
I suppose that more than anything, this year has been quite a learning experience for me. My goal at the start was to maybe, somehow, get to 10,000 downloads. I figured that if I could do that, then I'd have something worth mentioning the next time I sent query letters to agents or editors. It ends up that in the course of the year I've managed about 76,000 downloads overall. Roughly 45,000 of those were free on Amazon and Amazon UK. The other 31,000 were paid, mostly at .99 cents. Despite very positive reviews and word of mouth, I've still found it extremely difficult to raise the price above that level. Each time I do, sales go down the tubes.
So what does all of this mean? Well, I suppose it means that I'm moving back to my original plan. When my first book took off, I started to think I might make a decent living as an Indie author. I still think it is quite possible, but I'm not ready to give up on the traditional model just yet. This morning I finally broke down and started sending out those query letters. After some consideration, I decided to skip the agents on this round and go straight to the publishing companies. So far I've heard back from editors at at three of the "Big Six" publishers, requesting copies of Sweet Ophelia. Fingers crossed. If they do accept it, no doubt the ebook price will go up (perhaps to $9.99) once they put it out, but with the marketing muscle to hopefully make it work. I'll keep a running commentary on here regarding how things go.
Of course, it is always the waiting that is the hardest part... In the meantime, though, it's great to have my books out there being read. This whole ebook revolution has definitely been a life changing experience for me. It used to be that an author without a publishing contract would throw his or her manuscript in a drawer, never again to see the light of day. Now whether I get a publishing contract or not, I know that if I write a book, I'll get it out there. One year in and there's no looking back. This is definitely an exciting time to be a writer!