The Successes and Failures of My Writing World in 2018

Happy 2019 Bloglandia!!

I’m a day late with my New Year’s wishes, but hopefully that has given everyone time to get over their hangovers.

With the New Year upon us, I thought I’d go out on a limb and share with you how my 2018 went. This is the first time I’ve bared my statistical soul like this and I know the numbers I’m going to share with you below aren’t blockbuster totals, but I have come a long way since 2017, as you’ll see.

First, Hats Off to YOU

I say it often, but I really do appreciate you following along with me on my author journey. It’s often a lonely road littered with big boulders of doubt and frustration, but your likes and comments always give me a little boost.

And I never forget that many of you have played a big part in making 2018 my best writing year so far. Every time you’ve recommended my books to someone else, every review you’ve left, every time you’ve shared one of my book promotions with someone else has made a difference! And, with your help and support, the stats below can’t help but grow!

Phew, that was a bit gushy, now, let’s get on with my 2018 flashback.

The Aims of 2018

I won’t go into detail of EVERY goal I had (and missed) in 2018, but my over-reaching aims were to try out exclusivity with Amazon, to increase my mailing list subscribers, and to test out the notion of putting one book for free to lure people into reading (and buying) my other books.

I also became much more aggressive with experimenting and trying new things in regards to marketing. This included buying ads for the very first time, organizing my own giveaway promotion with thirty other authors, and taking advantage of the special promotions Amazon offers to writers who are exclusive to them.

Before I get into what happened in 2018, let’s take a quick look at how 2018 started out:

In 2017, I sold 19 books. 

I’m not kidding. 

Nine-freeking-teen.

I also had 165 “page reads” (this is how Amazon tallies things when people borrow your book)

Overall, I earned a whopping $30 in royalties. 

It was my worst year ever (not that the previous years were stellar, but…).

Also, at the start of 2018, I had 2 people on my mailing list (one was my husband, one was my mom) and I had no followers on Bookbub.

You’ve got to wonder how stubborn I must be that I didn’t just throw in the towel, right?

The Numbers for 2018

Now don’t laugh, these numbers are hard to share because I know most other authors are doing WAY better than me. Deep breath, and go…

To put some of this into context, up until October 2018, I had all four books of The Osteria Chronicles exclusive to Amazon. After that, I put my books on all the other retailers and made The Trials of Hercules (Book One) free everywhere. 

First, the book numbers

Um, yeah, like I said, not blockbuster, but the total of 373 sales does amount to a 2000% increase from my 2017 sales….SQUEEEE!!!!

As far as the royalties go, they didn’t quite reach a 2000% increase, until you add in…

The other income booster I tried out this year was the affiliate programs via Amazon and a few other retailers. The other retailers haven’t done much for me yet, but, in addition to my royalties, I’ve managed to pull in about $180 from affiliate sales on Amazon. Again, not overwhelming, but better than nothing.

A few other numbers that made me smile…

  • Thanks to applying all the marketing knowledge I’ve been cramming into my head, The Trials of Hercules reached #1 in various categories in the Amazon store!! The #1 status only lasted a day or two, but that’s a screenshot I’m saving for years to come.
  • My mailing list subscribers have jumped from 2 to 280, mainly thanks to learning how to use list-building promotions this past month.
  • Also over the past month, I’ve been making a lackadaisical effort to attract BookBub readers and have gone from 1 follower at the start of the month to 13. Hey, it’s a start!
  • And, last but not least, I’ve lured in another 160 blog followers this year.

What Else Was New in 2018?

Besides trying out new marketing strategies, 2018 also saw me learning how to use new software like Scrivener and KDPRocket, trying new services such as Book Funnel and Mailchimp, and getting professional by upgrading my website and opening a business banking account.

Once my exclusivity with Amazon was over with, I quickly got onto the other retailers. Beyond the retailers I’d been on before (Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc.), I was able to get my books onto GooglePlay for the first time and my sales there so far have been about on par with the other non-Amazon retailers.

What Didn’t Go So Well in 2018?

At the end of 2017, I dreamed up this insane production schedule. I mean, truly insane unless I put in a straight caffeine drip so I never had to sleep. I desperately wanted to put out more than just one book this year, and I think this desperation led to a bit of madness.

In my Schedule of the Crazed, I had myself completing the last two books of the Osteria Chronicles series, having Domna fully ready to publish by October 2018, and having another series ready to launch by spring 2019. 

Well, I got Domna done, although she’s a few months late. And I did manage to throw together the first draft of Book Five of the Osteria Chronicles. But that new series has only reached the drafting stage, so far.

Despite these “fails”, I did gain a stronger familiarity with how much time I need for a rewrite (my first drafts poop out of my pen in only a couple weeks) and to create a book I can be proud of. I’m applying those lessons to 2019 and have come up with a much more reasonable workload.

So, What’s Up with 2019?

If 2018 was The Year of Exclusivity, 2019 is going to The Year of Going Wide (meaning publishing to all retailers, not just Amazon).

After looking over those numbers from 2018, it is REALLLY hard to deny the power of exclusivity, but I struggle with how sustainable selling books on only one retailer can be in the long term. I’ve heard it can take up to a year to see your books gain traction on the other retailers, so 2019 will be that year. 

Of course, I’ll be running various marketing/promotional experiments during that time.

2019 will also be The Year of Domna. The first installment of this serialized historical fantasy comes out in January, and publication of the following parts will extend into May.

There’s also the Complete Set of Domna in paperback format which will come out in late February, and the Complete Set in ebook format will be released some time in late fall. If you count both paperback and ebook versions, I’ll basically be putting out 14 books this year!

And as ever, there’s going to be plenty of marketing experiments surrounding each of these launches!

Beyond these two big “themes” I have several other goals including finishing that new series, possibly starting a Patreon page, and much more. But those are topics for another post.

Alright folks, this has been a very longwinded way to ring in the New Year. I hope it finds you well and that the hangover wasn’t too bad, and don’t forget to check in now and then to say “Hello,” or to tell me your thoughts on these questions…

Did you learn anything in 2018 that you’re applying to your goals in 2019? Are you trying anything new this year? What are your plans/hopes/dreams for 2019? 

Have a Happy New Year!! 

* * *

Domna is Now Available for Pre-order!!!!

That’s right. You can now snag your copy of Domna for the special pre-order price of 99c (US$, UK£, EU€) from most major retailers.

And not just Part One, but all six parts of this highly-anticipated serialized historical fantasy novel. That 99c price will go up soon after each part’s release, so you might want to get your copy today!

Simply follow these Universal Book Links to treat yourself to a little something special at a fabulous bargain.

*These titles are not yet available for pre-order on Amazon

3 thoughts on “The Successes and Failures of My Writing World in 2018

  1. What a nice read- it really inspired me! I’ve had a crushing year as far as writing has gone and seeing someone else sold only 19 books in one year (even if it wasn’t this year) – to then recuperate to over 300 is very inspiring! So thanks so much for sharing!

    Like

    1. I’m so glad you found it useful! I was a little shocked to see I only had 19 sales in 2017. Maybe it’s good I wasn’t paying attention to the numbers very well, otherwise I might have given up. You seem like a natural with marketing and showing off your work, so I’m sure you’ll see good things to come. I’m no guru (obviously), but if you ever have a question, just shoot me an email.

      Liked by 1 person

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