It has been roughly one year since I began self-publishing. In many ways that year has been a success. I wrote more than in most prior years despite having a tighter schedule (more on that below); I have learned to attractively present my work to the market (already have some gorgeous covers in my portfolio - I'm as proud as if I'd done them myself); and most importantly, my work has been well-received.
Quite well, in fact. Better than I had expected. I've managed to wrangle some book blogger reviews as well as a number of non-solicited reader reviews (those always feel good). I've been personally contacted by readers who want to know more, and I've had some directly request a sequel to Twixt Heaven and Hell. Chances are I'll end up writing one, even though I'd not originally planned it. Hey, you give the people what they want!
I did experience some setbacks, of course. My sales for the year were, again, better than I really anticipated (I anticipated next to nothing). However, my net income on self-publishing is still in the negative due to the only real expense I have - purchase of cover art. Not that I regret making those purchases. Frankly, they're worth more than I paid.
Then, of course, there was the minor burn-out at the end of the year. I didn't really stop writing, but I certainly wasn't keeping up the pace that I had set. I don't regret it, honestly - I needed the break, and while I do need to get used to keeping self-imposed deadlines I can also remind myself that I'm not in any hurry. Better to lay down a solid foundation than rush the process.
All in all, a good start accompanied by a couple encouraging trends. First of all, my sales are increasing. Veeeeery slowly, but surely. Secondly, whenever my books do gain some small measure of exposure there is a marked uptick of sales - a miniature "press effect" that is so valuable to book sales. This gives me hope that should I ever embark on a real media campaign it might have some real effect. That, however, is still a ways in the future.
Publishing 2012, by the numbers:
Books Published: 5 (3 Novellas, 1 Novel, 1 Short)
Sales Made: ~300 (Sales, not free downloads!)
Reviews Earned (or Cajoled): 22
New Words Written: ~115,000
Old Words Cut: ~40,000 (Mostly on TWIXT)
Drafts Finished: 9
New Stories Started and Not Finished: 7 (1 Novel, 1 Novella, and 5 Shorts)
Tomorrow, we focus on the year ahead...