I’m an introvert and nothing makes me happier than being alone, weaving stories from my imagination. I secretly longed to be a writer all my life, but never really wanted an agent, a publisher and the publicity that go with being a writer. I couldn’t see a way of getting over these stumbling blocks until I considered self publishing.
I did tons of research before publishing my first book Bedtime Erotica mid December’05 at the cost of US $499. This wasn’t the cheapest deal going at the time, but it included 50 free books which were delivered free of cost to my home address in the UK. But more importantly the deal included free distribution on Amazon US. All research showed that I would be lucky to recoup my investment, but the joy I felt when I received my advance copy was worth every cent. I held the book in my hand and thought in awe, I wrote this! That moment remains one of the most glorious of my life.
But I wasn’t totally happy with the finished manuscript. Although I thought I had caught them all, I discovered several spelling and grammatical errors while going through the proof copy. I paid a rather hefty (in comparison) fee of US $50 to correct ten of the worst errors. Only six were corrected and more alarmingly two new ones were inadvertently introduced. Resigned I approved the ‘corrected’ proof for publication.
As predicted, sales were very slow. It didn’t help that I had used a pseudonym and didn’t promote the book. But finally after nine months my royalties totalled US $564.83. I had recouped my capital with a little spare change. I had already finished Bedtime Erotica for Freaks (like me), but I decided to wait until I had earned the money to pay for publishing it, rather than re-use my capital. Over the next two months I made US $517.50. It cost the same sum to publish the second book, but this time the deal included only 20 free books.
Sales grew exponentially from that point and things began to look rather good. Then Amazon changed the way customers searched for items from ‘Search Suggestions’ to ‘Tags’ in Aug’07. My book sales immediately plummeted by 56% and continued their downward slide for years. Things picked up again in August’08 when I published new colour editions of the three books, but they have never matched that period at the beginning of 2007. I published the books on Kindle at the end of August’10 and so far sales have exceeded my expectations, though I’m not selling the crazy numbers that some other authors are.
I may never achieve my lifelong ambition of being a full-time writer, but I don’t regret a moment of my journey. I have learned things that I would have never known otherwise and have a stronger sense of myself. I hope the next five years will be less frustrating and more financially rewarding than the first, but even if they are not, I can be proud of the fact that I did something I desperately wanted to do and did it all my way!