Hush Money: 6 Months and 10,000 copies

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.


Filed under goals, ROW80

50 responses to “Hush Money: 6 Months and 10,000 copies

  1. Fantastic Susan!! Congratulations.

    It’s great to have goals and benchmarks.

    You are a real boy! 🙂


  2. :clink: CHEERS! And CHOCOLATE! And spastic happy dances we are probably glad no one sees outside our own home! I am just grinning stupidly (and have been since Monday when I found out about it because, you know, I’m speshul and I knew EARLY). I’m SO SO SO SO PROUD OF YOU.

    Hey, next year when we’re both making enough real money that we can spare, we totally are taking a spa vacation so we can plot and relax and be writerly and girly.

  3. Awesome! Totally, and I applaud your attitude and how you’ve focused on YOUR goals and not someone else’s goals…and yes, Spell Check is crazy sometimes!


  4. Congratulations on being a real boy! I love your attitude about your goals being your own and not the expectation of others. That’s healthy, as is not stressing how much you write and when!

  5. Susan, I am so incredibly proud of you! You’re amazing. *grinning from ear to ear*

    Heroes ‘Til Curfew will be ready when it’s ready. And it will be amazing when it is.

    • Thanks, Lauralynn. At this point I’m sure everyone’s thinking: it had better be freaking awesome after all this wait. You know, up here in my head where everyone just thinks about me all the time. :mental:

  6. Stacey Wallace Benefiel

    Kick ass! Proud of you, lady. 10K of one book is amazing!

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience, and congratulations on your success. Adding you to my blogroll.

  8. That’s amazing, Susan. Congratulations! Very happy and excited for you! 🙂


  9. I love your number. I can relate to it more than Konrath’s cavalcade. Congrats!

    • To be honest, I never feel put down by the stars. First of all, I know some of them and they’re just made of awesome and I know they don’t look down on ANYONE. Secondly, and I’ll probably talk about this again at some point, when I see awesome numbers, I just get excited. Because I am so clueless about how big the market is that it’s always like, Wow, all those people are buying ebooks?? Indie ebooks? I figure all those people out there buying so-and-so this week? Those are just my readers waiting to happen. A whole bunch of them are going to get around to me eventually.

  10. Claire Farrell

    And this is just the beginning. Congrats on the sales. 🙂

  11. Claire

    Susan, this is just so amazing. *joins K in spastic, twirly happy dance* I am SO proud of what you’ve achieved, how hard you’ve worked, and how incredibly passionate you are about what you’re doing, your story world, your characters, and your readers. You keep that up, darlin’. That passion and love, the attention you show your readers and your characters, is what keeps people coming back for more, and I can assure you that none of us care when HTC comes out. We just care that it does, and it will, and that you are the happy, snarky, caring writer we all know and love you to be.

    BAH. I’m so SO SOOOOOOO proud I might squee. SUSANNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!1111!!1!omgomgomga;ksdfja

    Okay. I’m done now.

    …Maybe. ❤

    • Poor Claire, to whom it comes as no surprise, having been the victim of multiple stats updates all month: Here’s where I am now, will I make it????? Thanks for putting up with my passion for stats.

  12. I think I heard somewhere that even published (mid-list) authors are considered lucky to hit the 10,000 mark….so double Congrats to you, since you did it all on your own 🙂

  13. Jonathan Eli

    Congrats. You and Lauralynn are an inspiration. Thanks again.

  14. Great job on your sales figures! I’m very impressed!

  15. Congratulations! 10k sounds impressive to me.

  16. Congratulations Susan! That’s so exciting!

  17. Congratulations! That is inspiring and glad you set a goal for yourself and made it. The words will come when you’re ready. Emotion has a tendency to sideline us and it’s hard to get back in that open the brain, let the words flow frame of mind when that happens.

    Yes, spell checker is wonky.

  18. I’ve been excited for this day ever since you started telling me how close you were getting and now it’s here! I salute your awesomesaucyness.

    The happy dance Kait and Claire are doing seems a bit too girly for me, so I’ll go for lone, slow clap that builds into thunderous applause when everyone else joins in. You know, like at the end of every 80’s movie? It feels appropriate.

    I feel very privileged to have gotten to know you at such an important part of your life and I was thinking, there’s got to be minimum 10k more readers that haven’t read Hush Money. So there’s plenty of time to get Heroes out while those readers get caught up.

    Here’s the to the next 10k and beyond!

  19. Congratulations! And thanks for sharing how you came up with your number goal. That actually sounds fairly rational. 🙂

    • I’m pretty sure it’s not what you meant, but I totally just read that as “You actually sound fairly rational for once, congrats on that, Susan!” Hahahaha. which would be totally justified, btw. I know this. Anyway, thank you kindly, Jami!

  20. Rhonda Hopkins

    10,000 in six months is an awesome number! Congratulations and much future success!

  21. I LOVE your goalsetting for your WIP, Susan. One of the hardest things about our solitary writer lives is keeping our fingers on the keyboard, especially without a contracted deadline looming.

    I found my way hear after reading about your 10k sales self-pub sales number (since my publishing career is moving more digital than mass makert, like many other midlisters I know). Congrats! And thanks for showing that the writing is the key, always the key, to keep those sales rising and rising. Best of luck in the next “6 Months” ;o)

  22. I keep coming across more and more great blogs. Best of luck, Susan, as you continue on your writer journey. Btw, just b/c spellcheck doesn’t get it, else’s is still a word. 🙂

  23. Thank you so much for this post! As a newly published indie author, I was scouring the web to try and determine a realistic sales goal for an unknown indie.

    I have found my number. I will shoot for 10,000 copies this year. Aim high, right?

    Thanks again! And congrats on your success.

    -Courtney Cole
    I love the cover of Hush Money. 🙂

    • Thanks. I really didn’t know quite what to expect either, which turned out good because it’s been a year of awesome surprises. Aiming high is good! Best of luck!

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