Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Best Part

People who hope to make money from their writing shouldn’t take publishing advice from this blog. I’m happy to share my experiences and thoughts in the hope others can learn from my mistakes, but I’m not here for the money. I had my crisis of faith about that a year or so ago, and crossed the Rubicon into self-publishing e-books just to see what it’s like. Money doesn’t enter into it anymore.

The best news about this attitude is, what I had thought would be the best part has been the best part. Wild Bill has sold thirty copies the last time I checked. At $2.09 per copy, I can take the Beloved Spouse to Longhorn for a steak with the proceeds. Big deal. The good news is that people I never heard of have bought the book, and two of them have posted glowing (and unsolicited) reviews on Amazon. (The other Amazon review is from an old friend, and his support is also much appreciated.)

The best news is that people I cared about liking the book have liked it. I’m not talking about specific names; writers whose work and opinions I respect. Was I flattering myself to think of writers who had success—and, more importantly, who I considered to be my betters as writers—as peers?

Maybe not too much.

Charlie Stella—The Godfather of Organized Crime Fiction—was first. His glowing review and subsequent interview meant more to me than a publisher’s advance. I knew Charlie would be a tough sell; he knows a little of the ins and out of the kinds of people Wild Bill revolves around. For him to like it as much as he did was sufficient to consider the venture enough of a success to bear repeating.

Tim Hallinan’s endorsement a couple of weeks ago, along with its attending interview and comments from his readers, was my idea of a big splash book tour. Tim’s questions required substantial thought on my part (as did Charlie’s), and the comments from his readers were unexpectedly enthusiastic. Sales spiked after both events, and I am grateful to both Charlie and Tim for their encouragement and support.

This doesn’t mean I’m not hoping to sell a few more copies. It also doesn’t mean I’d not consider a publishing contract. What it does mean is anyone who might want to publish me needs to bring life-altering sums of money with them. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process, and the rewards have been more than adequate by my standards, based on the Reward to Bullshit Curve.  I’m not going to give that up for a few thousand dollars and untold demands on my time and limitations on what I feel like writing.

I’ll release another e-book sometime over the winter, trying a few different things on the promotional aspects. It will sell or it won’t. If it receives anything like the attention Wild Bill has seen so far, it will be a rousing success.

(By the way, both Charlie and Tim will have new books available in 2012. Be ready.)


pattinase (abbott) said...

I am wrestling with the same issues, Dana. I didn't intend to write for money either but somehow money and getting read get intertwined.

Benjamin Sobieck said...

I'm not sure I consider a sale from someone I know/family/friends to be a sale. Having a random/well-known person buy and review the book is not only more valuable, but more legitimate.

Money is the little motivator for when the inspiration runs dry.

Dana King said...

We may be passing each other on the same road, moving in opposite directions. I had intended/hoped to make some money at first. I got involved, took a look at the terrain, and how much time and energy I had and was willing to invest, and turned the other way. Now I write for my entertainment, and as a craft to be honed. If anyone else wants to read it, that's great. To have those I respect read it and endorse it, that's the best.

Dana King said...

I agree almost completely. In my case, the amount of money we're talking about is such a little motivator, it doesn't come into play. Encouragement from those other writers takes its place.