The book sales of a self-published author

For anyone out there who has written a book and is wondering whether to self-publish or hold out for an agent and a publisher to say the magic word, ‘Yes’, here is the kind of thing you can expect if you go the SP route.

Go the traditional route and you may well spend months or years trying to get that book deal, but if or when it does, you may just become rich. If you go the self-published route, you’ll be able to start earning almost immediately and unless you’re a celebrity or have a gigantic social network, this is the kind of graph that you’ll be able to plot with your revenue from the first six months.

Graph of book sales

Graph of book sales

J.K. Rowling I ain’t! :-)

Books disappearing from the disappearing bookshops

Here is a quote from Waterstones’ website…

We are extremely keen to support independent publishing, and recognise the rich contribution that independent publishers, who have a long and prestigious heritage in the UK, make to the world of books and literature. Finding and championing publishers that are small, new or hard to find on the high street is a big part of what we do.

Two branches of Waterstones have be SO KEEN to help me that they have lost the copies of my novel that I lent to them! Of course it’s always possible that they sold them but that wasn’t what they were supposed to do.

Bad Water – The Prologue

Hi folks,

This is what I have for the prologue of book two in the series ‘Aztec Elements’. See what you think!

1460 AD was a good year for the Aztec people. The year that they knew as Seven Flint saw continued expansion towards the east coast. The lowland jungles were rich in feathers and the rivers laden with gold that was not naturally abundant on the high plateau where their city lay. Exotic fruits and animals were caught, bought or plundered and taken back to Tenochtitlan, much to the wonder of its inhabitants. The people that lived in the jungles did so in small communities and there were very few that were big enough to offer any real resistance to the might of the Mexica army. This also made possible the acquisition and transportation of that other precious commodity, so vital to appease the gods, that of human souls.

With the success of his armies, Moctezuma’s popularity rose, but so too did his opinion of himself. Others, jealous of his power and less pleased with the developments, conspired to bring about change. Tlacaelel, focused on the enemy without, did not notice the threat to his half-brother that came from within.

Library promotes local author’s book

A few months ago, I tried to persuade my local library to carry a poster advertising this website and the forthcoming book. I had to break out my best bottle of charm, but it did work. Since then, the poster’s gone, but I dropped by the library again just before Christmas to ask them if they’d like to adopt a copy of my book which they eagerly agreed to. So I dropped in today, to see where they’d put ‘New Fire’, and bless me if they haven’t gone and put a nice see-through plastic jacket on it and put it right next to the door on a promotional stand with about two-dozen other books! I sneaked a look inside at the lending record and things are less happy there. It’s yet to be loaned out. :( Still, sooner or later, it will snare some unsuspecting passer-by.

Tomorrow, ‘New Fire’ is free to Kindle owners. After tomorrow, there will only be one more day it will be available for free and that will be in February.

Amazon UK – ‘New Fire’ – Free on Kindle, 20/01/2013

Amazon USA – ‘New Fire’ – Free on Kindle, 20/01/13

Please let your reading friends know if they haven’t already got it.

Author of ‘New Fire’ has a fan

I got this lovely note from my publisher yesterday…

I thought you might like to know that you have a fan in the ‘New Fire’ proof-reader who sent the following as an aside to email correspondence:

“As a side note, I’ve heard that Philip Dickinson, author of ‘New Fire’ which I proofread a while back through Grosvenor, has written a sequel. I thoroughly enjoyed working on ‘New Fire’ and would love to proofread for him again if he approaches Grosvenor to publish this new book.”

To which I replied…

It’s very gratifying to hear from people who genuinely enjoyed reading my novel. Writing a great story was, after all, what I set out to do.

Since the publication of ‘New Fire’ in October, I have been busy trying to network with folks in the hope of getting some impetus behind it. Remains to be seen how successful I’ve been but I have 8 good reviews on amazon UK and 2 on amazon US, so maybe it will begin to go ‘viral’ this year.

So, where is book #2? I have got a reasonably robust chapter plan and 10 pages of writing so I’m on the way! Plenty of historical tidbits to use and stronger character development planned too. The trouble is that I only get about 2 hours of writing time a day which equates to approximately 3-5 pages of manuscript per week. At that rate, you should see a draft for proofing a few months into 2014!!!

I’m going to spend less and less time self-promoting now to allow me to focus on research and writing for ‘Bad Water’.

The final stages in the run-up to publication

The good news is that I have the typeset proof back in PDF form.

The bad news is that I won’t be able – as I’d hoped – to give it the once over and send it back approved. I don’t like the way they’ve laid the chapter headings out. See what you think.

Layout of the chaoter headings for the novel 'New Fire'

Layout of the chaoter headings for the novel ‘New Fire’

Of course this means the publication date will be pushed back a few days.

Self-published author hits the big time!

There’s a seriously funny book on my bookshelf called How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittlemark. Irrespective of whether you want to write a book or not, if you love reading, you’ll find this book a real joy. The book opens by citing the case of John Kennedy Toole who, unable to find a publisher for his novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, took his own life. Apparently his mother took up the cause and eventually got it published to great acclaim!

Of course, no such histrionics are necessary these days. Any fool can foist his mindless drivel on the rest of poor, unsuspecting humanity thanks to the mini-revolution that is print-on-demand and the disruptive technological advances that have resulted in the e-publishing phenomenon. Thankfully, humanity is largely protected from the tide of fatuous, illiterate shite that’s pumped out by the fact that, without the help of an agent, most of these pitiful scribblings will remain forever undiscovered. Yes, there will be exceptions like 50 Shades of Grey!

And so it seems that planet earth will remain safe from my novel. Efforts to promote the book are not progressing well. After nearly two months, this website has managed to attract no more than 24 subscribers, although this obviously increases the odds for those of you eager to win one of the 10 signed copies. Google Analytics reveals a peak visiting day of 18, shortly after I posted on Facebook. The fact that the ‘new post notification’ system in WordPress wasn’t working won’t have helped engage those subscribers I have.

In short, my own personal PR machine is lamentable, which is a shame, because the first chapter of How Not to Write a Novel is about creating a plot, a compelling storyline, which is what I’d like to do here. I want you, my avid audience, to stay tuned as an extraordinary story unfolds. ‘Self-published author hits the big time,’ the dramatic ending should read.