As of today, December is my best month for sales ever, e-book-wise (I believe January of this year might have been better overall). This is probably not a surprise, given that I launched “Isolation Play” on December 1, but I am not sure I expected the response it’s gotten. For a little while, it was #1 in the very exclusive category of Kindle books / Fiction / Sports (which I’m sure everyone who comes to Amazon looks at). It has already sold more this month than my entire catalog has sold in any previous month, I think, and OOP has had a better month than any since its release.
Anyway, watching the sales this month seems mercenary and of course the writing is not all about the numbers and such. But at the close of my first year as a full-time writer, I can’t really ignore those numbers either, nor the feeling they give me. You guys out there buying the books give me confidence that I can keep doing this, even though I know this is just a Christmas bump in the sales.
So that’s as good a place as any from which to launch the traditional end-of-year introspective retrospective. Next year I will be releasing at least two more books, probably three; my e-book titles will have two proud new members (three if you count the ADULT version of “In the Doghouse of Justice,” upon which more to come in the spring) and probably a third (the long-discussed werewolf novel, coming to e-book early in 2012). I have spent a year assuring myself that on my end, I can do this full-time without getting bored or burned out. On the other side, the sales of the books have been steady, and slowly increasing. I released a free sampler of my books in September, and thousands of people are currently ignoring it on their Kindles–but three people who would not have otherwise picked up a furry book gave it very positive reviews (two on Amazon, one on Smashwords).
What I’m working on going forward in 2012 is three ways to make my writing income more secure:
1. Writing more books. It’s really simple–the more books you have out, the better chance someone will discover one by accident, and the more things there are for them to buy if they want more.
2. Expanding my market. One of the books I have for next year is an alternate history magical fantasy (my Calatians book), which I think will very possibly appeal to non-furries more than anything else I’ve written. Another is a YA-type book with no explicit material in it, kind of a Waterways that I can wholeheartedly recommend to teens(*). I’m hoping that these books travel new paths and find new friends.
* If I had to do Waterways over again, I would tone down the explicitness of the sex just a bit. I feel bad because in retrospect, it is totally a YA book for teens except that every time I hear that someone in high school is reading it, I worry about the content, even when they say how much it helped them with their issues. I think the help is all worth it, and I certainly think the teens are mature enough to handle it. I just wish it were a little bit cleaner so I wouldn’t worry so much about some parent discovering it and making a huge stink over it. It is what it is, and it has become much, much more than I ever anticipated it could. I just feel like if I’d realized I was writing a YA book, I would’ve tweaked a couple minor things. Also I want to point out that I did not refrain from including explicit material in the new book because I wanted it to be readable by teens. I refrained because there was nowhere in the story that would have been improved by including it.
3. Diversifying. I’m working on a few other projects in different venues than just novels and short stories, and hoping that they will bring in revenue on their own and also work in concert with #2 to bring more fans to the fold.
So you guys have a lot of cool things to look forward to in 2012. I can say that without reservation, because there are a bunch of things that I am looking forward to seeing come to fruition in 2012. I am really excited about continuing with the writing: I can’t wait to write my Cupcake for the fall, to finish OOP3, to start working on the second Calatians book (already drafted, just needs revision). And none of this would be possible without you guys. Your letters and notes and comments make me wag every day, and your much-appreciated financial support lets me feel like I am not totally leeching off Kit (who is super-supportive of all of this and you guys should buy him a nice glass of wine or an IPA when you see him because without him, I would not be able to do any of this).
So my biggest takeaway from 2011, the best year so far in my writing career, is a deep and heartfelt thank you to Kit, and to all of you guys. I love you all and am going to type my little paws off to keep bringing you the things you love. Have a delightful and glorious 2012, and I will see you in person at FC or FWA or Emerald City Comic-Con or San Diego Comic-Con or RainFurrest or Gaylaxicon or MFF.