This Week in Self-Publishing: It’s Time to Start Working on Volume 2

Patreon revenue: $6,909

Book revenue: $829.88

Book sales: 172 ebooks, 122 paperbacks

Book expenses: $4,143.32

Money spent this week: $28.19 (to print the current draft of Biographies Vol. 2, shown above)

This week I had a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog, in which I break down my self-pub marketing and promotion process and correlate costs to sales.

Much of it will be familiar to you if you’ve been following This Week in Self-Publishing since the beginning, but it’s cool to see all of the data in one place. The post has been shared all over—so many tweets and retweets and links—and it has correlated, as far as I can tell, to eight sales.

It also marks, in an interesting way, the end of the big marketing push for The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1.

I’m still going to continue to market the book, but not as aggressively as I’ve been doing over the past several months. At this point, I have just a few tasks left on my burndown list:

  1. Submit Biographies Vol. 1 to a few indie bookstores for distribution
  2. Submit Biographies Vol. 1 to a few more awards
  3. Do the Portland reading at Another Read Through on August 4 and the Missoula reading at Fact & Fiction on August 11
  4. Get the handful of other readings and appearances that I am in the process of booking sorted
  5. Keep running monthly BargainBooksy promos
  6. As soon as I get ONE MORE REVIEW on Amazon, start applying to and stacking the bigger promo sites

Okay, that’s more than a few. But you get the idea. At this point, the best way for me to earn money from Biographies Vol. 1 is to send it through the promo sites, and the best way to build my reputation as an author is to participate in readings and events like Readerfest or Indie Author Day.

And, you know, to publish the next one.

So I’m getting ready to dig into The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 2: 2004–2016. I haven’t read this volume since December 2016, and when I was printing it at the FedEx this week my eyes kept catching on paragraphs and phrases as the pages stacked themselves in the printer tray. I wrote some good stuff, I tell you what! I’ve forgotten how good parts of it are!

But there is also a lot that needs to be revised and reshaped, and my goal is to get it all done by November. (I’ve blocked off weekends.)

Biographies Vol. 2 is scheduled to publish in May 2018, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling everybody, and part of me is asking why did you set yourself a deadline, WHAT IF YOU DON’T MAKE IT and the other part is asking why I set myself up to spend nearly every free minute on this book, both volumes, for… three years. (Counting the Patreon.)

I mean, the answer is simple. This book is one of the most important parts of my life, and I believe in it, and I want to share it with readers.

Also, I want to firmly launch the author half of my career.

On the subject of my career: I really really really really really want to redo my website.

For two reasons.

First, I want a professional-looking site where my face looks great and my book covers look great and there are links to follow me on Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram/Goodreads/BookBub. I want a site that makes it really easy to buy my books, read my blog, and sign up for my TinyLetter.

And then I want to take the personal side of my life, or at least the part I share in public, and put it in the TinyLetter. Which will also be my blog. They’ll crosspost.

I don’t know if you’ve been on Twitter lately, but it’s not a great place to hang out right now. Which makes me sad, because it used to be my fav space. Now, like, a million people just quit using it. (Seriously.)

And Tumblr is a little better, but… social media is no longer a place to go to relax.

I used to describe Twitter as a library, where you could look up from your book and say “hey, I read this cool thing” or “I just thought of this funny joke.” Now it’s more like an airport; that is, an anxiety amplification zone with constant news pings that you’re pretty sure you’ve heard before but feel like you have to pay attention to just in case.

So I want to try a different way of telling people about cool things and jokes and thoughts, and the book, and all the rest of it. And yeah, it means going back to blogs and newsletters, because those are the things I’m reading now, more than anything else. (Aside from the Washington Post.)

I guess I have to decide which podcast I like best, so I can put their code into the Squarespace URL. ❤



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Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker

Freelance writer at Vox, Bankrate, Haven Life, & more. Author of The Biographies of Ordinary People.