On Thursday July 31st, 2014 I launched my first novel. I had planned to mark the first anniversary on social media somehow, but instead decided to stand in a muddy Scottish field listening to bands – including Mumford & Sons who were amazing.
But a year has gone by, and in Carrie Bradshaw styley, I got to thinking… have the last twelve months really been a success? First of all, you have to define success. Last year, on the advice of Catherine Ryan Howard (whose book Self-Printed I couldn’t have published without), I set myself goals:
I’ve failed unless Goal…
To sell 100 copies a month (CRH’s yardstick for a book that’s “selling”)
I’m pretty damned pleased with myself Goal…
To sell 5000 books a year (which would pay for our annual family skiing holiday)
Hit an Amazon Genre No.1 spot
Woo hoo, I’m actually doing this Goal…
To sell 10,000 books a year
To get in the Amazon Top 100
To sell enough books that I can justifiably give up full-time work and go part-time instead
What do I do for a living? I’m an Author Goal…
To sell enough books that I can justifiably give up work
Don’t ya wish your wife was a hot author like me Goal…
To get a six-figure, three-book deal with movie tie-in option. (Like it isn’t every author’s secret uber-dream) And my husband can give up work.
Which goals did I reach last year?
Well, I haven’t failed. In the last twelve months, only one month let me down on the “100 Copies” aim – April. #Forfeit racked up 72 and NAS 58. Okay, in total they hit over 100, but in every other month, they both got centuries. April sucked, and I’m not sure why. I’d released NAS in late March so I’d expected a fairly buoyant month – maybe I’d become complacent, but I hate that month on my sales graph.
But I’m not pretty damned pleased with myself either. I didn’t hit the 5000 mark, but I sold 3677 kindle editions over the past twelve months and a further 50-60 paperbacks. 3677 kindle sales… That’s actually pretty incredible, right? 3677 people actually paid for my books. It may not hit my 5000 goal, but I’m still pretty pleased and check out that June* on my sales graph…
Okay, I’m still working full-time, I write less and less, I struggle to keep sales dribbling in, no agents have come knocking at my door and that six-figure film deal isn’t in the pipeline.
That weekend in Scotland, the one where I stood in a muddy field and worshipped Mumford & Sons? That weekend was paid for entirely with those June sales.
And that for me is a rather fabulous success.
ps. the June spike is entirely thanks to a BookBub promotion.