When I published Ancient Ruins, I was hoping to sell 15-20 copies in the first month it was out. Every person I’d seen talk about self-publishing said that that was considered a very good start, and that many people didn’t sell any copies for over a month unless they had a following online. I had almost nothing. What I had was moldering text that I hadn’t published a word of, and virtually no expectations for Ancient Ruins.
I’m an insecure person. I often think my writing is…pretty bad, to be honest. But the main reason I chose not to use a pen name, and the same reason I was willing to put out Ancient Ruins when I did was because in all truth I expected it to fall into the ocean of books on Amazon and not make so much as a ripple. Nobody expected anything of me, and it was oddly freeing in some ways. Even so, by the end of January I was ecstatic, because I’d sold 74 copies, and about the equivalent of 60 copies had been read on Kindle Unlimited (I have to assume numbers, because it gives me a count of pages read, not telling me how many people give up halfway). But even if it was doing better than I anticipated, I didn’t expect much, because I expected a good number of the sales were from family and friends.
February 8th, everything changed. Ancient Ruins hit the front page of Lesbian Romance, and I was taken aback when I went from 10 sales in a day (I remember cheering when I hit that) to 28. And it kept climbing. As the numbers kept rising, my trepidation began to grow. For me, it’s the fear of being a one-hit wonder. The fear that I’ll utterly flub Spells of Old and Halls of Power. I try to keep it out of my mind, but it’s there, haunting me. It’s why I was so desperate to get Ancient Ruins edited when I had the chance.
To give an idea of how overwhelming the numbers became, I had over 1,500 direct sales in February alone (not going into the number of pages read…over 1,000 copies there, I know). Over 100 times what I hoped to sell on the lower or upper end if you include the pages read. In some ways this is terrifying. That an audiobook producer contacted me was startling in the extreme, and I spent most of a day running around trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. Finally I went from terrified to simply numb, though. I can’t look at reviews anymore because I don’t dare lose motivation mid-way. People are expecting Spells of Old, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to give it to them!
I thrive on the comments people have made, but quite frankly, that people come to check what I have to say terrifies me in turn. But who am I to argue about it?
Now, then, in much less…weird news, I was going through my text files last night and found a short story that I’d finished and utterly forgotten about. It’s 5,000 words (about 7-8 pages in Word, single-spaced) and is supremely unusual in that it has one of the few male main characters I’ve ever written in it. The story feels like it was written shortly after reading Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, as some aspects of it feel in a similar style.
Since I actually have something done, in an almost-publishable state, I’ve been debating what to do a little. A Date Gone Awry, the story in question, is a little silly, with a supervillain signing up for a matchmaking service due to the difficulty in finding people to date. It’s also set in a superhuman universe I built for a different story I’ve written, Born A Queen, and which I’ve discussed sharing with some of my friends who’re dabbling in writing.
Right now I’m planning to write a mini-anthology of sorts once I finish Spells of Old, for a change of pace for the most part. I’m going to write a few short stories set in the same universe, and package them together before publishing. This should be relatively quick turnaround, but I can’t guarantee it, when it happens. I may also rope in my friends who I’ve been encouraging to write, but no promises there.
Oh, and Born A Queen, while complete, needs a complete rewrite of several chapters. It’s about 2/3rds the length of Ancient Ruins, and is intended to be the first book of a trilogy of its own. The problem is its content. I need to remove the erotica, because it was never intended to go to print or be published. Fortunately it’s a very small part of the story…but still in there. Now, before my face goes purple from embarrassment, that’s all on the subject.