Friday, September 14, 2012

$100,000 or bust?

Tip of the Day: Considering self-publishing? Hang out for a while at the Writer's Cafe on the Kindle Boards. It's like a crash course in self-pub.

Remember back in June when I said I'd pull down $100,000 this year, but that I wouldn't consider quitting my day job?

"Publishing does not guarantee you a steady income. I know self-pubbers who were hitting big numbers last year, numbers that still beat my current sales, who are now languishing in the low-sales club.

If they had quit their day jobs, where would they be today? Frustrated with publishing because they can't seem to get their sales off the ground? Likely. Looking for a job in a crappy economy wishing they'd never quit their perfectly fine day job the year before? Definitely."

Wow, am I glad I'm a boring, practical person. I was easily on track to pull down big numbers in 2012. On August 6th, my Amazon sales were cut by 60%. Literally overnight. And I never got up that high again. The first seven months of year were incredible for sales, then faster than Batman's dialogue bubbles can say "Boom!" "Crash!" "Smash!" my sales took a nosedive.

I wish I knew why. Maybe then I could fix it. I've tried blog hops, ads, giveaways. Nothing worked and August ended up being my worst month in more than a year. Talk about painful...

Publishing is not a guaranteed stream of income unless you find someone to offer you a salary. It has its glorious up and wicked downs.

I didn't curl up in a ball and die. I kept writing. I have a new series coming out this fall under my other pen name Isobel Lucas.

I still love writing. That doesn't change no matter how many books I sell. I hope that you feel the same way about your writing.

As for hitting the $100k mark? There's always next year! ;)

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber


Stacey Wallace Benefiel said...

The same thing is happening to me, but I never had a day job to quit. :)September is turning out to be my worst month, but last month wasn't all that great either. However, this year's June and July compared to last year? It's like I had two totally different careers!
That's why I'm a firm believer in spending my money while I have it. But, don't worry, I got a new roof on my house instead of running off to Europe for three months like I wanted to. ;)
I agree with you, just keep writing and try not to worry about the money.

Megg Jensen said...

I don't have a day job either. lol. But, if I did, I still wouldn't have quit. I know it would be tempting...but I worry too much for that. ;)

Thanks for dropping by, Stacey! :D

Sarra Cannon said...

So true that you can't count on anything in this business. I was doing awesome last year, then had a HUGE slump in sales during November and December - which I had thought would be big months. When my new book released in January they came back up, but I'm seeing them all slide back down again. I'm hoping for a new surge next month with Book 6, but what happens after this series is over? Will anyone buy my next series? You just never know.

And even if you don't hit the $100k mark, you are still doing an amazing job!! Just keep at it. I'm looking forward to Isobel's books!

Laura Pauling said...

That is so strange! For sales to take such a drastic turn you have to wonder if it had anything to do with you. Algorithms? Who knows! But you're right, we can't take any month or sales numbers for granted!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I'm with a traditional publisher, and there's similar uncertainty. You do get an advance--but its timing depends on several factors, a couple of which may be outside your control, so predicting annual income is still difficult. And then royalties depend on sales, which are out of your control. My writing income has fluctuated quite a bit from year to year. I haven't quit my day job!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I think you were the one who told me it was like being a farmer! That analogy has totally stuck with me - I'm planning on lean years as well as fat years. The only thing I can do is keep on writing and publishing and see what happens from there.

And you're still doing great, lady, even if sales have momentarily slumped!

DeenaML said...

That is so interesting. At the library, ebook check-outs are still going strong, but the requests for classes on how to use new ereaders has dropped...but over the holidays I think it will pick up again. Perhaps the same will happen with new ereader owners in Dec/Jan and your sales will jump again!