After a year of short stories, I released my first novella recently and it’s been doing pretty well. I’m surprised that it is still doing well, since usually books tend to drop off a cliff. But it’s still early days, and the cliff can come any time now.
It’s had around 60 sales so far, and the Kindle Unlimited page reads add up to the equivalent of 900 full unique read-throughs since release. Now, that’s pretty much nothing by good fiction writer standards, but it’s good for me, amateur fiction writer with no editor, standards. I was especially surprised to find that nearly 100 people liked the book enough to sign up for my newsletter after reading it.
I was also very proud to see positive comments about the editing: I was so worried that after staring at this book for so long I’ll find out I missed a bunch of mistakes. But while there has been plenty of points of criticism, my editing was not one of them.
The second book went quicker than the first, both the draft and the editing. I think it’s also a better story, but releasing it is so much scarier than it was to release the first. When I released the first book, I had zero readers or newsletter subscribers. There were no expectations. It could suck and literally nobody would care: they’d get a refund, leave a bad review, and move on.
But with positive reviews and newsletter subscribers wanting to follow my future books, it’s scary. There are expectations now, and I still have no idea what I’m doing.
If the second book does happen to do well, I might make enough income to invest in an editor for the next book. Editors aren’t cheap, and I don’t want to spend that money until my books can pay for it themselves. Luckily, they’re already paying for Scrivener, ProWritingAid, and my Kindle Unlimited subscription. And my cat food. It’s not bad for something I do exclusively in my spare time.
I used to love writing as a kid, and now I’ve been finding it to be a great way to relax and escape into my own little worlds again on weekends. To be clear: the writing is relaxing. The plotting, editing, formatting, marketing, releasing…that’s not so relaxing. But it’s also fun in its own way, it’s like strategizing before you can get into the flow of actually Writing The Thing. And it’s especially fun to see the page reads go up and the positive feedback from random people around the world who have no reason to leave anything but honest feedback.
I’ve also really been enjoying designing the covers. I’m not a graphic designer, but I love tinkering around in Photoshop. Now, any experienced self-published writer will tell you that you should hire a good cover designer who knows what they’re doing. I’m not a cover designer, and I don’t know what I’m doing. But I think I’m getting better at it, and it’s fun, so I’ll keep doing it.
Anyway, we’ll see what happens when the next thing is released. People might hate it and never read another thing from me again. But there’s no way to know, and get better, without putting it out there.