|Image borrowed from www.irenesdreams.com wallpaper designs.|
It's been a strange, wonderful year for me. Financial hardships seemed trifling as I reached for my dreams and took my destiny in hand. With a whole new landscape of possibilities, I turned my back on years of meaningless come-ons, long-waited rejections and apathetic disregard. I took the leap into the great unknown one year ago. I followed the footsteps of the very few, walking a path that at the time seemed fraught with peril. Until this last year, self-publishing was the last resort of talentless losers who were doomed to be forever rejected by the all-powerful gatekeepers of our sacred treasury of commercial literature. Those who dared, inevitably failed. Their humiliation was public, and they were forever kept in disregard by those powerful figures who frowned down upon us from above. Then something changed. A few new opportunities opened up. A few brave people took those first steps, and a lot more of us followed.
I live in a world that has changed so much I can barely quantify it all. Self-publishers are now Indie Authors or Indie Publishers, not the hapless rejects we've always been told they were. In fact, some of them are making millions of dollars. Many of them are outselling traditionally published authors. E-books outsell paper books to the tune of millions of dollars now, and sales are increasing more than 100% year over year (paper sales are dropping nearly as fast as e-book sales are rising). Big publishing houses are struggling to keep their doors open and to keep e-books down, but it's not working. Big bookstores are vanishing at astonishing speed, along with their small independent counterparts.
In my little corner of the landscape, sales are climbing as they have been all year. When I first began publishing this spring, I was seeing an average of two or maybe four sales per day. Over the summer, Amazon juggled things around and a lot of e-publishers lost market share. Not me. My sales crept up to eight per day, then ten, then twelve. I now average almost twenty book sales per day and that number keeps rising.
Compared to the big boys, I suppose that's not a lot, but it means a lot to me. First of all, it's validation. It tells me that I can write sell-able books. It tells me that some people out there do like my writing. In fact, some of them like my writing enough to buy all my books, give me five-star reviews, and tell all of their friends about me. And the fact that my sales have built steadily throughout the year confirms to me that what is happening is word-of-mouth. It has to be, because unlike the big boys, I have no ad money. I have no marketing campaign, no commercials, no standup at the front of Barnes & Noble. And when it comes to visibility, I'm at the back of the line. My books don't show up on the front page anywhere, and they won't until I've sold tens of thousands. But maybe, someday...
In the meanwhile I'm going to savor the rest of the season. I'll watch my trivial book sales add up with a growing sense of satisfaction, but I'll keep writing. And I'll enjoy the company of family and friends. I'll enjoy good food and health, and I'll relish the many blessings that I enjoy, and I'll wish the same for all of you.