This Week in Self-Publishing: The Third BargainBooksy Promo

This Week (technically the past two weeks)

Books sold: 10 ebooks (Amazon)

Money earned: $27.03

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 371 ebooks, 147 paperbacks

Volume 2 pre-orders: 28

Money earned (book sales): $1,469.85

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $6,622.57

I skipped last week’s update because I had zero sales, zero expenses, and no news to report; this week I still have zero expenses, but I had a bunch of sales because I ran a BargainBooksy promotion on Saturday, March 17.

My previous BargainBooksy promotions had both been Sunday promotions, under the theory that people are more likely to make decisions on Sunday and Monday (I don’t know about you, but Saturdays are generally rest days for me, and Sunday/Monday are action days). Here’s a quick recap of the results:

First BargainBooksy promo (July 16):

Cost: $35

Sales: 28

Net royalties: $75.18

Net profit: $47.18

Highest Amazon ranking: #16,507 overall, #120 in litfic sagas

Second BargainBooksy promo (August 27):

Cost: $35

Sales: 14

Net royalties: $37.38

Net profit: $2.38

Highest Amazon ranking: #31,807 overall, #226 in litfic sagas

Third BargainBooksy promo (March 17):

Cost: $35

Sales: 9 so far (my Amazon KDP report claims I got 9 sales on March 17 and none on March 18, which doesn’t match the sales ranking graph from Author Central; maybe the other sales will record later this week?)

Net royalties: $24.66 so far

Net profit: -$10.34

Highest Amazon ranking:  #39,163 overall, and I know it hit at least the #300s in litfic sagas

It does look like my BargainBooksy promos are showing diminishing returns, although I’ll be interested to see whether I did have some sales on March 18 that haven’t yet been recorded on KDP. My Author Central graph, which you can view at the top of the post, suggests I should have made another 8 or 9 sales on Sunday, so… where are they?

If it turns out that I made zero sales on Sunday but my author ranking remained in the 30,000s  because nobody was buying books that day (remember, Amazon is constantly comparing you to all of the other books being sold in real time) then it won’t be a terrible loss. The biggest reason I ran the BargainBooksy promo was to get new readers who would then pre-order Volume 2, after all — and my pre-orders did go up this week. Still, I’d like to break even on the cost of the promo, so I’m hoping I get a few more sales!

I sent Volume 2 to designer Veronica Ewing to start the “turn it into a paperback” process this week. We have a lot more time to get this done than we did last year, and (I hope) a lot less work; the interior design will follow the template Veronica created for Volume 1, so we don’t have to have a second conversation about layouts and typefaces.

I also asked Veronica to make a few changes to Volume 1; we need to edit the copyright page to reflect the new ebook ISBN, now that Pronoun is defunct (seriously, the fact that we all lost our ISBNs was one of the worst parts of the Pronoun shutdown), there’s one typo in the text that I want to fix, and I need to edit the back cover copy to include the Library Journal Self-E Selection honor.

This is where I want to add “and any other honors The Biographies of Ordinary People might receive in the next few months,” because AWARDS SEASON is starting, but I also don’t want to sound overconfident or presumptuous or jinxy.

Here’s a list of all the places I submitted Biographies Volume 1:

I got my IndieReader Discovery Award Verdict this week (it’s like the BookLife Critic’s Report, they review all of the books before they announce the winners, no doubt to get the extra publicity that comes when excited authors like me share their reviews), and my verdict included “The rather unassuming title doesn’t do justice to the beautifully written story of this typical American family.” So… no matter what happens with these awards, I can still tell people that IndieReader thought my writing was beautiful. ❤


This Week in Self-Publishing: Volume 2 Is Available on NetGalley!

This Week

Books sold: 1 ebook (Google Play), 1 ebook (iBooks)

Money earned: $4.87

Money spent: $1,155


Books sold: 361 ebooks, 147 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,442.82

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $6,622.57

Let’s add one more metric to the list: 25 pre-orders.

So this was a big spending week for me; I sent The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 to Kirkus, Foreword Clarion, and BlueInk to be reviewed. The Kirkus review cost $425, and the Foreword Clarion/BlueInk two-review package cost $695.

I also spent $35 to set up another Bargain Booksy promotion for Volume 1, in the hopes that readers will buy the first book and then GET EXCITED ABOUT THE SEQUEL.

If you are currently excited about the sequel AND you have a NetGalley account, you can read/review Volume 2 RIGHT NOW. (You can also read/review Volume 1, if you want.)

That’s all the update I can give at the moment because I am very busy singing in the chorus of Revival Theatre Company’s production of Ragtime — which opens this Thursday — but as soon as that is done I will be going FULL SPEED into book promotion and paperback production. More news coming soon! ❤

This Week in Self-Publishing: Volume 2 Is Available for Pre-Order!

This Week

Books sold: 0

Money earned: $0

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 359 ebooks, 147 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,440.02

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $5,467.57

The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016 is officially available for pre-order on Amazon! (Ebook only. Paperback will come later. The book releases on May 22.)

If you’re a NetGalley person, Volume 2 will be up on NetGalley this week for you to read and review.

At this point I get to switch from “creating the ARC” to “promoting the ARC,” which means I’m going to be reaching out to bloggers and reviewers, running another BargainBooksy promo for Volume 1, and… stuff? More stuff? I need to start doing Instagram posts, guest blogs, podcast episodes, etc. (If you know of anyone who would love to have my melodious voice on their podcast, let me know.)

Thanks for your support throughout all of this. I hope you enjoy Volume 2. I also hope you pre-order it, but that’s up to you. ❤

The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 is available for pre-order!

This post was originally sent to my TinyLetter subscribers.

Exciting news, y’all: The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016 is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

This is ebook only; I’ll let you know as soon as the paperback is ready.

The official release date is May 22, 2018, one year minus one day after The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 released, because books release on Tuesdays.

I hope you enjoy the second volume. It was a lot harder to write than the first volume, in part because adult lives don’t have the same linear forward motion as child and adolescent lives. There are stops and starts and circles, and way too many opportunities to repeat the same mistakes until you learn and grow beyond them.

But thank goodness we do keep learning and growing.  ❤

(I was reading Kim Fu’s The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore this weekend — highly recommended, btw — and there’s a section of the book that deals with a young woman trying to carve out an artistic career in Los Angeles, and I was like “Wait a minute, I did that. I remember doing all of that, and now it feels like something I did when I was younger and more foolish and in some ways more open, because I was ready to take whatever seedy success came my way.”)

Here are a few other items of note:

It’s been just about a month since The Billfold switched to a Patreon-funded model, and we’re getting closer to our second Patreon goal. If you are one of our Patreon supporters, THANK YOU.

If you are writing your own novel and you’d like an editorial eye, I have some open time on my schedule for the next few months and I’d love to work with you. Here’s how to set that up.

If you’re looking for something to read on the internet, I can’t stop thinking about Edith Zimmerman’s My First Year Sober. I’ve never been a super-heavy drinker, but over the past six months or so I’ve sort of… stopped? It’s not that I never drink, because I had a finger of bourbon at Christmas and sipped on a glass of wine at a dinner in January, but it’s more like the experiences of 1) being tipsy and 2) being tired and fuzzy-headed the next day aren’t experiences I want to have — and see, now I’m going to start sounding like Edith does in her essay, the whole “I feel so much HEALTHIER” thing that she admits is annoying, but the essay is brilliant and also it has ILLUSTRATIONS, so go read it.

And pre-order The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2 if you want. Thank you. ❤

This Week in Self-Publishing: My Book Is On iBooks Now

This Week (technically “these past two weeks”)

Books sold: 0

Money earned: $0

Money spent: $386.86


Books sold: 359 ebooks, 147 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,440.02

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $5,467.57

Sorry to skip last week — I was feeling unwell. I was actually hoping to have done all the work to set up the Volume 2 preorder by now, but that didn’t happen either… however, I did finally finish the process of getting The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 back on iBooks (which I keep wanting to write as iTunes), so that’s one item I can check off the list. It should be available for sale by Tuesday at the latest.

I also submitted Volume 1 to the IndieReader Discovery Awards, specifically because they have a Best First Book award and I’m pretty proud of my first book.

I spent $374 to submit Volume 1 to the Literary Fiction category and the Best First Book category and get a discounted book review in the process (because part of the reason you do all of this is to have another piece of promotional material to send around, plus the chance of getting the IndieReader Approved sticker from the reviewer which means extra promo on IndieReader’s part, plus the chance of getting an award and having IndieReader send your book to agents).

Then I spent $12.86 to ship paperback copies of Volume 1 to IndieReader, because I had the choice of sending paperbacks or ebooks and… I’m pretty proud of my paperback, too. ❤

Other than that, I’m going to keep working and try to get that preorder up by March 1. Take care of yourselves, y’all. There are a lot of colds and flu going around, and I am still not completely well from the “probably a cold but I had about 24 hours of mild fever and muscle aches” thing I’ve had.

Photo credit: Josh Newman, CC BY 2.0.

This Week in Self-Publishing: Getting Ready to Announce the Pre-Order

This Week

Books sold: 2 ebooks (Amazon)

Money earned: $4.95

Money spent: $0


Books sold: 359 ebooks, 147 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,440.02

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $5,080.71

I wanted to give you an update on Patchwork Press’s NetGalley Co-Op: I submitted The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 to NetGalley through the Co-Op last week, and it currently has two NetGalley reviews!

This is worth noting because, as I explained last week, the biggest challenge of marketing Volume 2 will be re-marketing Volume 1.  I actually talked with some publicists who suggested it might be too difficult of a challenge, but… I have ideas. I’ve got this NetGalley Co-Op going, and I want to get the Volume 2 ARC up by the end of the month so reviewers can read/review/promote both. I also need to get the Volume 2 pre-order up by the end of the month so that promotion can drive purchases.

I’m also submitting Volume 1 to the IndieReader Discovery Awards this week. They just announced a prize for best debut novel, which will be awarded in late May/early June. As with the BookLife Prize, I’ll get an evaluation of my book regardless of whether I win any awards, and I can use that in my marketing.

After I get the pre-order up, I’m going to run another BargainBooksy promo on Volume 1, so people who like the first volume can immediately pre-order the second.

I have a few more ideas but they’re not fully shaped yet, so I’m focusing on these for now. (Yes, I’m still going to be reaching out to blogs/podcasts/publications, etc., and there’s also going to be a local marketing emphasis.)

But the most important thing for me to do this week is get Volume 2 ARC-ready. WHICH MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN THIS WEEK, WE’LL SEE. The pre-order might also happen this week. Who knows? I’m going to work as hard as I can and see how far I get. ❤️