I’m a real boy!
As I begin this post, a few days before it will go live, days before Hush Money turns six months old, I’m still looking at the number on my spreadsheet. Marveling at it. Recording the numbers from the previous day is usually one of the first things I do in the morning. Seeing how many potential readers I gained overnight is generally a pretty awesome way to start the day.
So let me tell you why I’m posting this, even though I said I wasn’t going to share numbers anymore. Let me tell you why this is a special occasion.
Deciding to self-publish isn’t easy for most people. Even for someone like me who was more or less “it’s indie or nothing” because I didn’t feel like I wanted to get involved in the traditional industry, even for someone who believes in the tremendous potential of independent publishing, etc, etc, it was hard. It was hard to get over that concern of being called a “fake author.”
Now I’m a nice person (right?) and probably, hopefully, no one’s going to say it to my face. But they’re out there, saying it, saying it about us. And even if it’s not directed at you, you know, you still kind of carry that.
You ask yourself, “Am I going to regret this use of a manuscript that I believe in so much? Am I going to wish I would have at least tried to shop it in a traditional manner?”
So something I did was I picked a number. (You may not agree with my number. You don’t have to. It’s MY number.) They say that many books don’t earn out their advances. I looked around and figured my advance as an unknown would be $6k. I had read that with a standard royalty, authors generally earned about 64cents per copy. So… 10,000 x .64 = more than a $6,000 advance. And that’s how I picked the number of books I wanted sell by the time Hush Money was 12 months old.
That was the number of books that would make me know that I wasn’t a fake author. Because sometimes, the hardest person to convince is yourself.
Now there will be some people who will come across the post and say, ten thousand copies in six months? Why are you even bothering to mention that? Have you seen the cavalcade of stars Konrath has been parading on his blog?
Yeah, I have. And I admire those authors. I’ve loved reading their stories. They’re selling more in a month than I have in six, and I couldn’t be happier for them. They’ve earned that. Maybe when I’ve earned that, I’ll get there too. But this post, this goal, wasn’t about out-performing anyone else. This is about me, something I hoped to get for myself, and how incredible it is to not only pass that mark, but to do that in half the time I thought it would take. No one else’s success takes away from that.
(Dudes, every time I write else’s–and I do that a lot–spellcheck hates me. Is that not a word?)
So that’s where I am today, feeling like Pinocchio, Version Shrek 2, flying through the air yelling, “I’m a real boy!” and waiting for something to strike and turn me back to wood.
Meanwhile, I owe you a ROW80 update, so here it is:
My goals were to spend at least an hour a day in my world and write at least 3 scenes per week.
I’m still spending lots of time in the Talent Chronicles world. Not a problem. I’ve written a number of scenes and thousands of words.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I wasn’t writing. But I wasn’t terribly worried about that. I said that when I was ready to write, I would write, and the words would come. And that was pretty much true.
Something happened this fall as I worked, or didn’t work, on Heroes ‘Til Curfew, as I let my mind fill up with the personal problems that cropped up, and then tried to squeeze in a brand new full-time career as an indie author in on top of that. I tried too much, pushed too far, and pushed those words right out of my head.
I know that there are a lot of people out there waiting. I value all those readers (I know there should have been a paragraph above thanking all the readers and friends and stuff, but if you guys don’t know by now how grateful I am, then I just don’t know what to with you!), and I’m sorry to have to keep saying that it’s just not ready, and no, I don’t know when it will be. But I do know that since I really owned that, since I made up my mind that it’s okay for me to say that and to work on my own schedule, it has been so much easier.
My ROW80 update for this week is that I’m finally starting to feel like when I’m ready to write, the words will be there.