Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Status Report

Since the launch on July 1st, I have sold over 2,400 copies of both Nobody and Dragon. I figured I would be lucky if I sold 2,300 by the end of the year. So to exceed that goal in just over two months came as a pretty pleasant surprise for me.
Where did the number 2,300 come from? That was how many copies I had to sell before I could afford to buy a new computer. Three years of borrowing time on a computer took its toll, delaying the release of Dragon by well over two years.
So when do I get the new computer? I have it right now and I’m writing this report with it. I borrowed money from my father to buy it knowing I’d be able to pay it back in November when I get paid. HUGE relief to be writing on my own time in my own way.
The brakes on the car have been finally replaced, and the brakes and tires on the motorcycle will be replaced when the next paycheck comes in.
When the royalty check for July comes in (60-day delay from the end of the month) I’ll be able to finally get the artwork for the new cover for Nobody. Then Nobody can be released into print. While I’ve had Dragon put into print via Amazon’s Createspace Print-On-Demand  (POD) service, I want to expand where I am selling it into other markets. That requires I actually go to a book manufacturer (not “printer”, there’s a difference!) and have a small print run done there. That’s a considerably larger investment and will take a little longer to accomplish. The key here is many independent bookstores don’t sell books printed by Amazon’s POD service. Come December, I should have hopefully have enough money earned from book sales to cover the cost of a short printing run. That would mean hardcover books for Christmas sales and copies I can sign at book signings. Additionally, that sets up the financing I will need for the same when the third book in the Aggadeh Chronicles series, Oracle, is launched next year. Covers, printing, editing…all these things cost money. 
Another key goal I have to pass is to sell at least 10,000 copies. That number represents two things: first, it is the minimum number of copies I need to sell in order to have a livable income for a year without the need of a part time job. Second, the industry long used 10K copies as a measure that a book was a hit. Today, because there are a lot more authors thanks to self-publishing, that number has been adjusted down to 5,000. So 10K is a pretty tough number for any single book to hit.
The prime goal I need to pass is 19,000 copies. Not only does this finally eradicate debt, it leaves me with a budget I can live off for about 18 months before I run out of money again.
The income of an author is very much boom and bust. We release a book and for a few months the money comes flowing in. But after that point, the sales start to drop off and there will be no more income until the next book is released. So whatever money that book has earned has to be spread out over 18–24 months until the next book hits the shelves.
Fortunately, each new book released tends to cause sales of earlier books to surge anew. So each new release results in better income during each boom cycle. The real test for me on this matter will be the release of Oracle next summer. If Dragon was able to give such as strong boost to sales of Nobody, I am hoping that the third book in the series will have significantly more clout when it is released.

On that thought, it is time for me to get back to work. 

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