2012 was an interesting, confusing, frustrating, rewarding year for me. I can happily say I’m looking forward to 2013 with some relief.
1. Lost a job that was paying me pretty well. I struggled all year to establish a dependable income, and while I didn’t quite succeed, I did manage to pay the bills and keep the car. I basically reinvented myself and somehow made a little money at the same time. The freelance editing is going well now, and while I’ll never be rich, I’m doing okay and I get to work at home in my underwear.
2. Moved. We all know how awful this can be, but for the most part, it worked out. Except now I have to move again because my boss, DB, and the guy who owns the building I live in, couldn’t come to an agreement. Sort of like our congress can’t. So in February, I pack up and move again. It’s an almost sure thing I’ll be living in a building that was built in 1886, but which apartment I’ll get is still in question. DB will probably wait until the last minute to tell me, which is gonna drive me just a little crazy. What I pack depends very much on how much space I’ll have. I’m hoping for the 1000 square foot palace on the top floor but it’s possible I could end up with something smaller.
3. Published Five eBooks. I really feel like I have a handle on this writing thing now, but publishing was hit or miss. The first two titles of the year–Phoenix Rising and The Blue Paradise (get 20% off NOW!)–were issued by Dreamspinner Press. They did pretty well; my royalty checks were the largest I’ve gotten so far. And then I decided to self-publish the Precog in Peril series, because a) I thought my readers would come along for the ride, and b) I wanted to exert more control over my work.
I exerted plenty of control, and it was satisfying to take a manuscript from start to finish, on my own schedule. Some people loved my covers, a couple hated them, most didn’t care one way or the other. The editing was pretty darn good, thanks to my betas and my skill; one thing I learned right off the bat: do not skip the galley. Reading the final story in PDF format, no matter how many times I’ve already been through it, brings to light a surprising amount of crap.
However, the readers didn’t follow me, which was disappointing. So I feel like I’m starting from scratch.
Learning to work with the vendors who sell my books was an education in itself. While some authors bitched about Smashwords’ stringent formatting requirements, I sailed right through every time using my handy-dandy cheat sheet. What made me finally decide to drop SW was a) they said they were including my titles in their premium catalog, which meant they were being sent to lots and lots of vendors, but when I checked, my books never showed up, b) flat sales; there were so few, I decided they weren’t worth my time anymore, and finally 3) the free ISBN number SW gives you can’t be used at any other vendor, so what’s the frigging point?
About ISNB numbers: further research has revealed Bowker, who administers ISBN numbers, wants a different one put on every format of your book, which means, if you sell ePub, Kindle, and PDF, that’s three freaking numbers. Do you know how much this costs? $25 for a block of ten (the minimum you can buy), plus a $225 processing fee. If you sell a lot or have extra money, this probably isn’t a big deal, but if you are, like me, struggling to gain a foothold as a writer, that’s expensive as hell and there’s no guarantee of return on your money.
Amazon is easy to format for, makes publishing a breeze, and that’s where most of my sales are. Their up-to-the-minute reports are wonderful, and they pay on time, without fail, every month. Gotta love it! *blows sexy kisses to Amazon* Also, they don’t require an ISBN number, as they assign their own.
Barnes & Noble is another vendor I use. Because I only recently placed my titles there (hey, I thought Smashwords was doing it so I didn’t bother; live and learn!), I don’t have an opinion about them yet. However, publishing through them is easy and quick. Now if only I make some money there, I’ll be happy. B&N also does not require an ISBN number.
ARe does require an ISBN number, and so I will no longer be publishing there. (I was using the number Smashwords gives away for free, but I found out you can’t use it elsewhere and Bowker is getting pissed at them for various reasons, so yeah, gotta stop.) For those of you who like PDF format, you’ll have to get Kindle format and read it on your computer instead. Sorry. I simply can’t afford that kind of expenditure right now. Suki needs shots and her teeth cleaned. ;/
Do I want to continue self-publishing or return to Dreamspinner? Believe me, I’ve asked myself this time and time again, especially after releasing a new book and finding out sales are less than stellar. But I’m in this for the long haul, so yes, I’m going to continue putting out my own titles. I really do like that total control, being the ego maniac I am, and there’s something quite nice about handling the details myself.
Speaking of new books: The Lightning Struck Tower is now available at Amazon and B&N for a very reasonable $2.99. It’s the third book in the Precog in Peril series, and all the questions get answered. No cliffhanger ending this time, I promise.
Because I actually published this on New Year’s Eve, I’m counting it in my 2012 books. 🙂
Here’s to a productive, creative, healthy new year! *toasts you with a glass of very expensive wine*