Skip to main content

Not so good publishing year

Last year was my fourth as an independent author. I enjoyed it as much as before, but the results of my toiling weren’t as good as they have been in previous years. In short, in 2015, for the first time, I didn’t earn enough with the book sales to cover the expenses of publishing them.

The reason for the poorer year-end result is a combination of dwindling sales and slightly bigger expenses. Book sales have been dropping steadily since I started publishing, and even though I have many more books out, the combined sales aren’t even close to the numbers they were when I published my first book in 2012.

In June, my sales cut to half for no reason that I can see. At the same time, Amazon changed the system whereby it paid for books in its Select system – per pages read instead of per books read. While the new system is fairer than the earlier, for my books it meant that my earnings per book halved. So I was earning less as well as selling fewer books.

Susanna Shore: The Croaking Raven
Susanna Shore: The Croaking Raven

I compensated for that by taking the Two-Natured London series off the exclusive Select system and uploading the books to Smashwords that delivers them to marketplaces like B&N and iBooks. They’re selling well, but since I only got them uploaded in November, it didn’t salvage the year end result.

I had new expenses too; slightly more expensive stock-photos for book covers among them. I dabbled with advertising – with lousy results. While I didn’t use much money for it – and maybe the results would have been better if I had – combined with dwindled sales, it was enough to push the bottom line to red.

Susanna Shore: A Warrior for a Wolf

Despite the bottom line, I had a good writing and publishing year. I got three books out, The Croaking Raven, To Catch a Billionaire Dragon, and A Warrior for a Wolf. I conquered Smashwords’ publishing system; it requires a bit of work to get the books to convert correctly, and I had been reluctant to make the effort to learn it. And I’m happy with my result there, even if they’re mostly thanks to two free books, The Wolf's Call and part one of To Catch a Billionaire Dragon. I’ve sold a book for every six books downloaded for free. If only I could get Amazon to price match the books, that might help the sales there as well, but despite my efforts, that hasn’t happened.

I redesigned the covers of all my books, and learned to make 3D covers for my box sets. And I started to offer book formatting services and sell premade bookcovers. I have a year-start sale coming up there, so stay tuned.

Hannah Kane: To Catch a Billionaire Dragon
Hannah Kane: To Catch a Billionaire Dragon

2016 is starting with a bang. Magic under the Witching Moon, a shorter Two-Natured London romance, comes out on January 28th. It’s available for pre-ordering, and if you want to read the first two chapters, they’re up on my webpage. So I’m not letting one less than stellar year to divert me. Writing and publishing will continue strong this year too. I’ll keep you posted.

Susanna Shore: Magic under the Witching Moon
Susanna Shore: Magic Under the Witching Moon


Popular posts from this blog

My #worldcon75 experience

Here’s the long overdue report from my day at the WorldCon 75, my first ever time attending. The event was held on August 9-13 in my home country, Finland, so it was a once in a life-time chance to experience it with a minimum trouble. I originally thought to attend the entire five days, but life intervened in the form of work, and so I could only attend on Saturday. I tried to make the most of it by planning a full day.

I arrived at the conference centre about fifteen minutes after the doors opened at nine in the morning, and the queue was already at least fifty metres long. It caused me a few palpitations until I figured it was the line for people who hadn’t purchased their day passes in advance. I had, so I just walked past, trying not to look gleeful. Half an hour later I felt bad for all those people when it was announced that the day was sold out, which left most of them outside. The queue for pre-purchased passes was three persons long, the shortest line for me the entire day. I…

Reading recap: August

August was my worst reading month so far and I only managed to finish two books. I have no excuses other than that I was busy working. I did start two more books, but I didn’t manage to finish them in August. And even though I read eight books in July, I’m now two books behind the schedule in my reading challenge of fifty-five books. I’ll have to step up. As has been my habit throughout the year, one book was from my reading list and the other wasn’t.
First book was Ride the Storm by Karen Chance, the long-awaited next chapter in her Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series of time-travelling Pythia and her entourage of vampires, demons and mages. One vampire and one mage in particular. As always, it was a wild romp through space and time – at times a bit too wild. The first part of the book was constant tumbling from crisis to battle and back with no breathers or plot development in between, as if the author was afraid that the reader will get bored if something earth-shattering isn’t co…

Working with the editor: a case study

Editing has been on my mind lately, as I’ve been preparing Tracy Hayes, P.I. with the Eye for publishing. As a happy coincidence, Delilah S. Dawson had a lengthytweet chain about the topic too, prompted by her annoyance with aspiring authors unwilling to make changes that editors suggest to their books. Her response, in short, was that no author escapes the changes, so you’d better get used to them from the start. Her notes are useful to read in full.

She was speaking from the point of view of a traditionally published author who has more than one set of editors making suggestions and demands, all of which strive to make the book as good as possible. She doesn’t claim it’s easy to let other people to have their say, but that it’s necessary.
Listening to one’s editor is even more crucial for self-publishing authors, as we lack the gatekeepers of traditional publishing. If you’re lucky, you find one who understands your writing, and who isn’t afraid to tell you how you can improve it. If …