Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Am I an Author or a Writer?

Dean Wesley Smith is very generous in sharing his years of experience and what he's experiencing in the brave new world of publishing. One of his recent posts is

The New World of Publishing: Investing in Your Own Future

And it begs a very good question: Am I an Author or a Writer?

I'm a little of both.

DWS's definitions hinge on the approach to readers. An author uses marketing to reach readers while writers just churn out story after story to reach readers. Usually, I find Dean Wesley Smith's advice to be spot on, but I propose a happy medium for anyone like me, in the middle of the Venn Diagram.

My Author Side

I only have one book. I'm working on three more stories, including the sequel and two shorter pieces. But my process is very odd. I like to outline. I like to draft out story arcs for each character (even the minor ones) and then I do a rough table of scenes. Then, I plot them on a calendar (so if it's a Tuesday, I know it's a Tuesday). This is the non-fiction writer in me making it work for fiction. :)

I have a goal of 15 novels in 10 years (I anticipate getting faster as I write more and more as that is what happened when I wrote non-fiction articles). 15 novels selling an average of 100 copies at roughly a $2.50 royalty is $3,750 a month. That's a great income for getting to stay home with my kids.

But I enjoy marketing. The same creativity that goes into my stories goes into my guest blog posts and my recent experiment with signing ebooks has been p-h-e-n-o-m-e-n-a-l in getting to know my readers. A recent review on Amazon is a from a reader who felt moved to write a review because she loved my characters so much, and she hasn't done so since reading Nora Roberts in the 1980s. THE NORA ROBERTS!!!!

My Writer Side

I don't really want a super-duper best seller, runaway hit. I'm already feeling incredible pressure just from the few rave reviews I'm getting on CANCELLED. A few comments from readers want to know more about Kellie and Johnathan together (but they don't end up together, that was NEVER the plan). But what happens if I carry through with that plan? Kellie never grows up because she never really had to. I now have to make damn sure I demonstrate that so I don't get a reader revolt!

Anyway, I'm not going to ever make $3,750 a month on one book alone. That's ridiculous. My writing experience is still 1 year writing fiction, 4 years writing non-fiction articles. I know firsthand the bigger your portfolio, the more buyers buy. So while I like the idea of continually writing, I think a new work every 2-3 months is more realistic for me, and that's FAR above my original plans. This way I can take a month or so to market and enjoy my job.

Here's my 2012 Publication Schedule (yes, I mapped ALL of this out in a spreadsheet). These are working titles and might change.

March 2012 - Short Story STONE ($1.99 about 15,000 words)

June 2012 - Novella PAST DUE Episodes 1-3 ($2.99 about 50,000 words)

September - Novel SERVED ($3.99 about 80,000 words)

December - Short Story WHAT'S YOUR DRINK? ($.99 about 8,000-10,000 words, part of the WG2E anthology Martini Madness)

If I make super duper bonus time, I will also write the conclusion to Jill's story, PAST DUE Episodes 4-6 in the summer and publish them right in November.

My goal is 8,000 words per week which is 8-10 hours of writing time for me. That's fingers to the keys #wordmongering (I write 750-1,000 words in 30 minutes). I'm taking 1 hour per day to market, and Mondays and Thursdays are for my publishing work on formatting ebooks etc. Yes, I will be writing on the weekend no more than half of my total word count for the week.


March 2013 - College Craziness (new series similar to Past Due) $2.99 about 50,000 words

June 2013 - Break, finish writing MERGED, last in Red Ink Collection, polish all for boxed set prep

September 2013- MERGED, and Box set ($3.99 and $9.99 respectively)

December 2013 - Angel short story that was almost my first novel


March 2014 - College Craziness vol 2 $2.99 about 50,000, box set $4.99

June 2014 - Johnny Rebel story, a short twist on ghost story $1.99 about 15,000 words

September 2014 - New Novel series not so epic fantasy sci-fi fun :) $4.99 about 100,000 words

December 2014 - Military Misery short story $1.99 about 12,000 words.

There is a co-writing novel in 2012 which will probably bump the second part of Jill's story to 2013 (that's OK). I feel a million times better with a plan under my belt. I may not be producing something new every 2 weeks, but every 3 months is doable for me. My first gig is Mom.

Now money wise, it's a bit complicated......
I assumed an average of 10 books per title selling until June 2012. That's roughly $35.00 per month until PAST DUE comes out. Then I assumed 20 books per title selling, roughly $100 per month. ***

*** This is the AVERAGE, and therefore rough. I could sell 18 copies of STONE when it comes out in March for $13.50 and 2 copies of CANCELLED for total royalties of $18. OR, I could sell 5 copies of STONE and 15 copies of CANCELLED for $44. Both are an average of 10 books per title.

By the time I have a novel, short story, and a novella length work out in June, I hope to sell an average of 20 per title each month. That's June. September is when the sequel to CANCELLED comes out, and that's when I hope the long tail helps boost my average to 30 books per title sold a month, or a total of 120 books over 4 titles.

Grand total I'd like to make $250-$300 in royalties on all of my titles by December.

One way I intend to help my long-tail sales is with my newsletter and marketing events with other authors and bloggers. My ebook signing is so popular, and given my publication schedule, I will probably do an event in February where over 3 days, if you sign up for my newsletter you get a signed copy of CANCELLED with a special sneak peek at the STONE and SERVED. That way, when STONE comes out in March, I've added more names to the newsletter, readers know me, and they will want the short story.

So my plan is to write AND market, because I love to do both!

Oh, and that publishing plan through 2014?

By March 2013, if I can average 50 sales per my 6 titles, I will clear more than $500 per month.

By December 2013, if I can average 100 sales per my 9 titles, I will clear more than $2,000 per month.

December 2014 should be 12 titles plus 4 boxed sets (one for Red Ink, one for PAST DUE, one for College Craziness, and one for my short stories) I should clear more than $3,500 in a month. That's selling a total of 1600 copies across 16 titles.

And I'll call myself a Writer/Author. :)

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: SERVED Two never married parents fight over their toddler's upbringing and moving on with their lives, without each other;(status: outlining)

No comments:

Post a Comment