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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

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