Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017 - My Publishing Year in Review

It's still a shock to me, but 2017 has been my best publishing year to date. No, I'm not making the big bucks, but I'm making enough to make writing and publishing worth the countless hours of time and effort I've put in since 1997 when I completed the first draft of my first novel.

That first novel did not see the light until 2008; that was no fault of the book but of the author who shelved it for years before dusting it off in 2005, revising, acquiring agent representation in 2006 and a publisher in 2007. Returns on that book, on which I made a paltry 4% of retail per my contract, were minimal.

In 2013 or thereabouts I decided to go rogue and started publishing novels, novellas and shorts, in several genres and using different pen names, on the KDP indie platform. Sales were slow and inconsistent, and as the years passed I became more and more disillusioned with Amazon's policies. At the end of 2015 I took all my titles out of Amazon's Select program and went wide in January 2016, selling on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Google Play and others.

Going wide was the BEST decision I ever made. From the very first month, January 2016, my royalties began to climb and by March I began receiving cheques like clockwork. It was just coffee money, but it was the first time I was getting paid every single month for my writing. One year later, in January 2017, two of my titles suddenly took off on iBooks and my monthly royalties increased by roughly 1000%. Those monthly payments cover a few of my bills, including groceries. I am still in shock.

I'm an optimist, disgustingly so according to one of my friends, and as 2018 draws near I have solid grounds for that cheerful outlook. I'm hoping to increase my royalties by putting more titles in the stores--or, at the very least, maintain my current momentum. Publishing is a very unpredictable business, but barring major debacles, 2018 is beckoning with a smile.

What has publishing been like for you in 2017?


Linda Thorne said...

Not much action for me. I don't sell a lot on Amazon, so I found this quite interesting. Sounds like you came up with a strategy that works.

Liane Spicer said...

@Linda: Amazon is, I think, my second worst seller, just slightly better than Smashwords. I no longer have any expectations of them.

G.B. Miller said...

Nothing here of note. I write slower than Methuselah, so I average one book published every 14-18 months or so. Might be picking up the pace next year though as I have one volume around stage 2a (between 2nd and 3rd draft).

Liane Spicer said...

@GB Miller: Picking up the pace is a good idea, I think. I need to do that myself.

Amy Reade said...

Liane, I'm so happy for you. It's great to read a success story. Tomorrow my first self-published book releases--it's part of a 12-book set, so I didn't do any of the actual self-publishing work. I just wrote a story. My plan is to learn a lot more about self-publishing in 2018 and delve deeper into it. I hope you have a happy holiday season!

Liane Spicer said...

Thank you, Amy. :) It's a modest success, but compared to the years that went before I can't complain. Best of luck with your release tomorrow! Happy holidays!