Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Publication goals...and why mine don't matter

So...Rite of Rejection has officially been out in the world for three months, and because I'm a chronic over-sharer let's talk about where things sit with my goals.

Here's a refresher of the goals I set for myself pre-publication

1. Hit 50 Amazon reviews in first month (Goal achieved, woohoo!)
2. Make back my investment in three months
3. Sell 1,000 books in six month

First, I never really talked about goal #1 other than the fact that I hit it. As of writing this, I have 61 reviews. Other than being awesome, this tells me that there is no way I would have hit 50 reviews if I hadn't made it such a focus of my first month. Reviews don't just show up, at least not in large numbers when you're a new author.

So, this month is the check in for #2, probably the one most people are interested in. Yeah, sure we want to write because we love it and want people to read our work, but we also have needs. Like food, shelter, chocolate and coffee. We hear stories of people that hit it big and then the stories of folks that after years haven't made enough for a happy meal. So, you know, there's a lot of grey.

Before we can discus if I hit the goal. You need to know how much I spent. Here's the breakdown again. You'll notice there are a few more expenses than last time.

Content Editing     $383
Cover Design        $225
Proofreading         $187
Domain Name      $42
Proof Copy           $9
Netgalley              $80
Giveaway             $39
Review Copies     $242
Postage                $53.50
Total                    $1261

The good news is even with these added expenses I earned back my investment with several weeks to spare. And thanks to a really good February, I'm on my way to having my expenses for book two saved up before I have to start shelling out the cash again. Woohoo!

For goal #3, I've still got three months left so this one is a bit off my radar. That said, last month I was feeling a little nervous about this goal. Book sales were steady, but slow so you get the idea. But then February was randomly a really good month for me. And (this is key) I have no idea why. I'd like to think that all the heavy lifting I did in the beginning of the release kicked in, but who knows. So thanks to a stellar month I am pretty close to my six month goal now. Still, no one ever knows what's going to happen, so counting hatched chickens and all. You get it.

Now that you've got a little update, I want to talk a bit about why you should totally ignore all of this. Seriously, one of the great things about the indie community is that so many authors are willing to share their information and push back the curtain on topics that were previously not discussed openly among authors. It's also one of the worst parts, because it leads to comparison. Authors who look at someone else's numbers and don't understand why they aren't doing as well.

Keep in mind that authors who are just barely breaking even (or are running in the red) are unlikely to write a blog post about it. Well, I would have, but I think we can all agree I'm an odd duck. That means that you are seeing a skewed picture of publishing. So take my journey for what it is: one singular example of what indie publishing looks like. Try not to focus on how you compare. Instead try and learn from where I've had success and where I dropped the ball to improve your own process.

So that's it on goal updates. I won't have another one until we hit the six month mark since that's my next milestone goal. Until then, please don't hesitate to ask me questions. You can do that here in the comments, email me, hit me up on social media. Whatever works for you. I share all of this because I want to help other authors on their own journey. Because in the end, no matter what we write or how we publish, we're all in this big publishing family together.


  1. Wahoo for meeting your goals! When you first posted your goal of 1000 sales, I knew you would hit it much earlier than you think - sounds like you are almost there already! :) Thank you for sharing the information, I love hearing all the success stories.

    1. Thanks, Kimberly. Honestly, when looking at my first 5 or 6 weeks of sales I was thinking, oh gosh, it's going to stink when I have to post that I didn't make these goals. With publishing (and not just indie, any publishing) you never know what is going to resonate with readers. There are plenty of really great book that just never catch on. Some books eventually hit their sweet spot, but not until they've been out for months. Being an author is definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. :)

  2. This is exactly why you showed up on my agent radar -- sharing information just like this and pulling back the curtain on the publishing process. I have no doubt you (and your book) will exceed that final goal! :)

    1. And your willingness to be such a generous member of the community made it easy to say yes to your and your amazing book. :)

  3. Congratulations, Sarah! And thanks for being so open about your numbers. (It's hard to say whether you're an outlier or not because you do have so many connections and a lot of knowledge.)

    1. Not sure if I would say I'm an outlier. I'm doing well, but it's not like I'm hitting the NYT Bestsellers list and Hollywood isn't calling. I will claim the knowledge when it comes to marketing and the industry, but I actually haven't used a single connection that I made as an agent. I could have, but I really wanted to do this without any special favors. Plus, that means that anyone could do what I've done though,of course, results may vary.

  4. I've just found your blog after sending you a tweet regarding agents for my newly completed novel! Your blog is so wonderful and you seem like such a friendly person too. It's nice to see that in the literary world!!
    Congrats on your 50 Amazon reviews! That's awesome! Good luck with the rest of your goals - you really seem so determined and I am keeping my fingers crossed for you!!
    Really hope to hear from you soon! It would really mean the world to me - my books has just been polished up. I bound it already just to feel it in my hands (amazing feeling isn't it?!) and now as I search for a literary agent (in South Africa that isn't easy! But I'd actually travel ANYWHERE and move anywhere if it were to have an agent!) I know I need to do a cover letter and a synopsis... although I studied that my comprehensive writing degree it's more daunting than writing the actual book!!! So if you do have any advice whatsoever I will be eternally grateful. If you even consider checking out my book I'd be thrilled... looking forward to hearing from you soon!

    Jade Wright (aspiring author!)


Share the love, man...