Well, this post is Stage 5.
What happened to Stages 3 and 4, you ask? As is the plight of indie authors who wear many hats, I got busy, neglected my blog plans and forgot to discuss the next two stages. So, here’s a quick recap.
Stage 3 was my first interview. Well, I answered questions via email for Stage 2 but the final product appeared as an article so, from my point of view, it wasn’t an interview per se. My first interview, then, was with The Manila Bulletin newspaper. It appeared in the May 12, 2012 online and print editions although I did the actual interview, also via email, in February. I found out from another writer friend that it takes about two months or so for interviews to come out.
TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Be patient with the press your book will generate but don’t rely solely on it. While waiting for your interviews and features to come out, make sure you are doing other promotional work - writing blog posts, blog touring, book giveaways, etc.
Unfortunately, the link to the online version of The Manila Bulletin interview appears to be inactive, a month after its release. Their server may just be done or acting wonky but I’ve recently tried to share it and the page doesn’t come up.
TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Get your press out quickly and often. I’m sure you’ll get interviewed as well. It just might get posted on a site that’s only live for a given time frame. Additionally, get your press out to as many outlets that may generate more interest and traffic for your book. Even if you think an outlet might be incongruous to what you’ve written about, hit up that person or publication. The fact that you thought of that outlet likely means there’s someone else who visits that outlet who thinks just like you do. You might get only one person from that particular outlet but that’s one person more than if you hadn’t sent promo material to that outlet.
Stage 4 is my second interview and upcoming book review. Both are with Hyphen Magazine, which will help my novel get mainstream attention in the Asian-American and immigrant communities, part of its target audience. The Books section editor at Hyphen sent me some questions via email for a piece the magazine is doing about indie-published Asian-American authors, like me, and she informed me that my book has been assigned to a reviewer and in about two months (Hmm, is two months an industry standard?) the review should come out. Following my own advice in the above paragraph, I’ll be sharing those links when they’re out, especially if the review is a good one.
Stage 5, which is what this post is supposed to be about, took place on Saturday. After coming home from the Maplewood LGBTQ Pride Festival, where my wife’s company, Step2Gether, presented some dances with the adult and kid groups, I opened the mailbox and saw an envelope from my publisher, Abbott Press. It was one of those window envelopes that usually carry an invoice or a cheque. Well, thankfully, it was the latter and my first quarter (January - March) sales report. It wasn’t a large amount but at least my book had earned enough for me to get a royalty cheque. A friend of mine commented on Facebook that I’m a paid writer now. I had to correct him that, now, I’m a paid novelist; although it’s not like I’ve earned a major book advance and contract. I became a paid writer in the 1990s when I wrote, was paid for and got published in some martial arts magazines for some articles I’d written.
The money is nice, to be sure, but for getting my book exposure the sales report is important too. My book is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook and the report breaks down purchases for each version and into direct sales (those purchased from Abbott’s bookstore) and retail sales (those purchased through a bookstore, either online or via special order at a brick-and-mortar location). I haven’t really sat down to analyse what the report can tell me but, off the top of my head, I see that most sales came from retail outlets. This, in turn, tells me that it might be more beneficial to direct potential buyers, whether through a promo tweet, a blog post or person-to-person contact, to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or to their local bookstore instead of to the Abbott Press online bookstore to buy my book. It also tells me to keep plugging at local indie stores to carry my book. The couple I have solicited said they were interested in carrying my book. Perhaps, they were influential in the retail units bought in my book’s first quarter sales.
TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Don’t forget about your quarterly sales reports and when they do arrive, with or without a cheque, and don’t just count how many books you sold. Work out where the most books were sold and continue to target that avenue. Work out which version of your book made the most sales and promote that one.
TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Also, know how your royalty is calculated and learn this part of the business. Remember, as an indie author, you’re more than the writer. You’re the publisher and publicist too.
Well, whether you’re a new indie, like I am, or a soon-to-be indie author or even an experienced indie, I hope your book does well and that what I’ve posted here has inspired and educated. If you have any further insights, please do share. After all, with the current state of book publishing and the direction it seems to be heading, indie books may save our industry and put a little green in your pocket.