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Thread: My Journey to self publishing success...

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  1. #1
    Twitter: @petedutcherjr PeteDutcher's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
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    Bradenton, FL, USA
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    My Journey to self publishing success...

    ...no, I'm not successful yet. Consider this my journal though. PLEASE GIVE INPUT.

    I'm creating this thread to keep track of my experimentation as a self-publishing eBook writer. As I try different things, I will note their results here. Somethings might work, most will probably not work.

    My starting point... (experience)
    Basically at the bottom. I used to work in the comic book industry in the early 90s as a write, letterer and inker. In that time I made some firends in the industry, but haven't seen any of them in at least half a decade. I do talk with a couple through facebook (like George Perez and Angel Medina).

    Other than that, I co-owned an online comic company years ago. We did not sell comics...we provided animated comics for free viewing on our website and averaged over 30k visitors per month...this was back around...1996? Maybe 95? My memory is very bad on that stuff now. We made money by selling 6 month spots of advertising within the comics...sometimes as part of a story even.

    Cost to clients for 6 months was $4,000 and we made a bunch. This was before any other comic publishers did it. It was called CyberComix.com and we sold it after a year and the new owner went out of business later.

    Now, as far as celebrity status, I will admit to being a geust at a few Orlando Meg Con conventions years ago...and the Cybercomix business had a special section there one year. It was also written about in newspapers (one of which I think is in my sig).

    And finally, I owned my own design agency for over ten years. During that time I walked completely away from comics and writing. I even walked away from a Troma Movie Studios offer to produce the Tox Avenger comics (smacks head).

    Last year, in May 2010, I disbanded my LLC Design Agency and started writing full time.

    What happened then...
    I wrote my first complete novel...it took me 9 months. I restarted it multiple times before finally deciding no more restarts. Work till its done and then adjust the complete piece. It was an 85,000 word novel. The first in a proposed series.

    I started sending out queries.

    No agents came calling...
    Well, Marisa recently did...she asked for the full manuscript, but turned it down a month or so later, asking me to send me other manscripts when I complete them (so I can byepass the query process now).

    That was cool.

    And that's about it...
    I am not popular. I've sold zero books as of two days ago. I am literally starting from scratch with nothing but a completed novel. I also have a measely 12,000 word non-fiction christian book about my testimony.

    So here's the first experiment...sacrifice...
    I did more work on my novel and got it up to 97,000 words...and then I cut it in half (or nearly half). The first one, "Jason's Faith" is around 47,000 words. The second "The Faith of One" is over 50,000 words.

    I've read the advice. Many suggest giving their first book of a series away...or their first book overall. This makes sense, but I want to make money on both of my fiction books.

    I've also read here and elsewhere that the $2.99 price for eBooks is much slower moving than the $0.99. It makes sense that the lower price would sell more often, but the profit margin is just too small. (what is it, like $0.35 per sale? That means selling 1,428 each month to average $500. Too much work, not enough profit. I would rather sell 1,428 books and make over $1,400)

    The next step in my first experiment...
    I put a free preview of my first fiction novel at the back of my non-fiction book. The non-fiction book is very small, so instead of selling it, I'm giving it away. Adding the preview at the end gives me an avenue of advertising...and in theory could leave people wanting to read my fiction novel.

    So, last night I put all three up on Smashwords.com (here). The non-fiction book, entitled "Victorious" is free (with the preview its 16,349 words). It has just enough of a preview to get people to read the sample of my first fiction book.

    The other two books are listed at $1.99 each, put up shortly after the "Victorious" book.

    Why $1.99?
    My early goal is to make a minimum of $1.00 profit on each sale...this means a $1.99 asking price. $1.00 minimum is a must. We have very little overhead as eBook self publishers. Eventually, I believe the $0.99 price will be frowned upon by buys and authors alike.

    The results 24 hours later:
    Victorious - 17 downloads (free)
    Jason's Faith (47,399 words) - 4 downloads
    The Faith of One (50,349 words) - 2 downloads

    My Question
    Can anyone tell me, since I'm a noob at this, on Smashwords, do they count the samples as downloads or only sales? Could the downloads actually be sales that have not registered through the system yet?
    Last edited by PeteDutcher; 11-15-2011 at 05:43 AM.

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