I have to come clean. In the last year and a half since I’ve been on this indie journey, I’ve been interviewed about a dozen times both for newspapers and online. I’ve guested on a few blogs and even gave advice to other newbie writers.
I feel like a fraud because of it. Not because my answers were dishonest, but because there is one answer I always fudge on and squirm over when I’m asked.
“What made you decide to self publish?”
That’s it right there. That’s the one. I squirm over it because I know I’m not going to be completely honest when I answer it.
Sometimes there are things a writer does to promote and market: I like to try on authenticity as a tool.” I yam what I yam,” to quote Popeye, and in interviews sometimes a gal wants to seem smarter than she really is. Sometimes she wants to seem wittier.
And then sometimes she thinks her personal life is no one else’s business.
Am I right?
So by now you’re wondering what about that one question would make me squirm, what connection does it have to my personal business. Really. It’s such a benign phrase. It’s asked of every indie writer I know.
I always give an answer.
- I want control over my writing destiny.
- I got tired of waiting for the Big 6 to see my genius.
- I wanted to offer my books now — because traditional publishing takes years.
None of these are true. Not really. I mean, they could be true, but they’re not the truest answer. The real answer is so selfish and so foolish you would laugh at me. Seriously.
It was all about money.
Okay. Assuming you have had your chuckle, let me explain that as funny as it is for all the reasons there truly are (indie authors I know you’ll chime in as to exactly why self-publishing for money is so durn funny) it really was my initial motivation. It’s just that selfish as it was, it was driven by fear, not greed; it was driven by need, not want.
Enter the issue of privacy on that dreaded question.
You remember my post about running, right? Well, it was only half the story.
For 18 years I’ve held onto a job I loved. Literally. I’m a teacher. I specialize in computer applications and writing skills, and there hasn’t been a day I dreaded going to work.
For the 23 years I’ve known my husband, he’s been a lobster fisherman. Tall, hardy, strong, all the things you imagine (sometimes deliciously grisly-looking at times too, but I digress as usual.) He was diagnosed with MS and we feared he’d not be able to work — he certainly couldn’t work until he was better.
I became the sole earner. We still had a car payment, a mortgage, a daughter going into her first year of college.
I couldn’t truly work more than I was. I knew I needed some passive income to help augment my salary. Even $50 a month could help, I realized.
At about that time, I discovered the e-book publishing world, and I thought I could upload a few of my backlist novels in the hope that they might earn a small amount but might eventually earn enough to sustain themselves. I didn’t care if they brought in $10 or 1000 — although 1000 would be better, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. (Litfic writer with topics and style to the left of mainstream, remember?)
Eight months after his diagnosis, at the near end of the academic year, the government decided to cut heavily into education. 21 teachers in my region lost their jobs.
You guessed it. I was one of them.
For 4 long weeks I faced the real possibility that our house would have no earners in it. The stress was incredible. After much angst, I found a temporary position at a nearby campus. It was a one hour and a quarter commute twice daily, but I was working — or would be come the fall. As grateful as I was, and still am, the fear remained — and still remains. I have no guarantee of continuing employment, and with the same government threatening more cuts to education in the very near future, I’m not sure where summer will land us.
So there you have it. The real reason — laughable as it was — for me to self publish.
I needed the money.
And although I’m not looking for pity, or using this as a marketing ploy, I’m saying all this to say this:
I want my books to sell on their merit: I always have. And one and a half years later they actually are selling — not as well as other authors, mind you — but a small trickle with enough good reviews that I think I can come clean, finally. Buyers are finding a Thea read slowly but surely, and they seem to be enjoying it. The marathon of sales has begun with painfully slow steps, but I have every hope that each novel and each reader brings me closer to staying on the track longer.
To those readers who have picked up a Thea read, I’m more grateful than you can know, and now you know why.
I just wanted to tell you that my writing account says, “Bless you.”
Now for the promised stats:
In February, I sold a total of 792 books
Before you get excited for me, let me explain that
- 650 of those were the .99cent Pray for Reign novel. I receive .35 on that dollar. (I recently increased the price to 2.99 in the hopes I can earn a hair more)
- 49 of them were the 1.99 Formed of Clay (I get .70 on each of those)
- 3 were Crows and 3 were Anomaly and 2 were Clay Shadows
- and because I offered Tahiti for free one day, I sold 85 of them in the days after.
In total, I think I earned about $350–the Amazon reports will be out soon, and I’ll let you know then.
So for me, it’s the numbers that show a nice increase. Now that all my novels are $2 and up, I hope to sell about 300 per month, which will pay the mortgage.
We can all dream, right?
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