Prior to that, I wondered if royalty checks were created for the soul purpose of making writers cry. No joke. It seemed as though I was on this roller-coaster ride in which a trickle of money would come in (YAY!) only to have it roll right back out in the form of marketing and new projects (BOO!). Every new project takes a certain amount of dollars to produce. It's the way this business works--a little comes in; a lot goes right back out.
But 2014 has made the struggle of the previous years completely worth it. Funny how hindsight can do that for a person.
So what happened to make the difference? What changed in 2014?
I think a couple of things worked for me that propelled me from the red zone into the black where I would actually hold my royalty check to my chest, smile, and think I'm actually onto something here.
Before I tell you what I think happened to make a difference for me, please let me clarify that I don't write for the money. Well, not totally for the money anyway (especially since I hardly made any), but there is not one writer out that that doesn't hope for some monetary success at some point. I'm no different. First, I write because I'd go mental otherwise (there's too many voices inside my head to be ignored), and second I write for the joy of it. But third, yes third, I had hoped to make money at what I love to do. I don't need to be Stephanie Meyer or James Dashner rich, but living Angela Scott poor wasn't my goal either.
So back to the question, "What happened? What changed in 2014?"
1) Having several books under my belt made a huge difference, and having The Zombie West trilogy complete helped as well when I headed into 2014. (Imagine a cookie store. If that cookie store sold only chocolate chip cookies, even the VERY best chocolate chip cookies, customers will eventually go elsewhere looking for something new and different. That's why you have to offer oatmeal cookies, and snicker doodles and specialty cookies, building up the inventory to keep the customers coming back for more. So the more books you have to offer, the better).
2) Putting WANTED: Dead or Undead (the first book in the trilogy) for free, and running a Bookbub campaign sent my sales skyrocketing. This campaign ran in April of 2014 and only now has seemed to run its course (a good six months later). My downloads of the free book were phenomenal and many of those readers went on to buy the other two books. A lot of them, in fact. There will always be the debate as to whether or not to offer your work for free (this debate would be for a different blog post), but it worked for me with incredible results. This one marketing approach took me from the red to the black, and not by just hundreds of dollars, but by thousands. Yes, the effect has worn off, and though the first book still has its fair share of downloads, the second and third books not so much. (I've heard rumor that WANTED: Dead or Undead may not be free or very much longer, so I suggest grabbing it while you can. Just click HERE if you're interested). BUT... this leads me to #3.
3) That Bookbub campaign last spring, and the gathering of new fans has lead me to have the most incredible book launch I've ever experienced. ANYONE? was released on December 1st and it's still going strong, both here in the US and also on Amazon UK. I've never had this much success with a book launch before, and the funny thing is I hardly did anything to promote it. Honestly. I have literally spent $100 on marketing (if that). I put together my own blog tour, found a handful of reviewers to provide ARC's to, created a Thunderclap campaign for the first time, and did nothing else. Yeah, nothing else. The launch of this book as FAR exceeded my expectations, and I'm ending 2014 with a bang, and I can't be more thrilled. (I also have to give props to Mallory Rock for the amazing cover, which I believe has helped sales A TON).
4) But number four has to have been the biggest difference for me, and that is you, my readers. When I have asked for help in spreading the word about ANYONE? you did. You shared and you tweeted. That is the best gift any author can hope for--that someone likes your work well enough that they then tell a friend or two about your books. It can't be bought, but boy is it the most priceless gift an author can receive. Thank you. *MU-AH* <---That kiss is done in the most uncreepy way ever. So don't get freaked out. Just enjoy it.
I'm loving this amazing ride, thrilled that I stuck with this writing thing to finally see these kinds of results, something I wasn't sure I'd ever see.
Thank you 2014 for giving me my best year yet as a writer and author.
I can't wait to see what 2015 brings.