Ithaka Rising, cover art by Chris Howard

Ithaka Rising, cover art by Chris Howard

So it’s been just over 3 weeks since I published ITHAKA RISING, book 2 of the Halcyone Space series that began last year with the very successful DERELICT.

Since I am very much a realist when it comes to the publishing business, I knew the chance of a stratospheric (pun intended!) launch for book 2 was slim to none. I have studied everything that happened around DERELICT’s launch, and still can’t identify whatever secret sauce it was that made it an Amazon best seller during last summer. (And believe me, I am extremely grateful for its success!)

If I could, I’d be running one of those ‘how to sell a gazillion books’ webinars. (Well, probably not. I’d just blog about it.)

It is easy to fall prey to discouragement in the writing business. There are many ways to feel like a failure and very little hard data to use for comparison. I was very open last summer about DERELICT’s earnings and sales numbers – my posts about it can be found on G+.

Now that ITHAKA RISING is here, I will also share its sales info from time to time. So here’s what one book launch looks like, by the numbers.

Days available: 25

Reviews:
5 star: 6
4 star: 2
3 star: 0
2 star: 1
1 star: 0

Sales:
CreateSpace (Print): 9
Self (print): 6
kobo: 2
BN: 3
Smashwords: 3
Google: 3
Amazon: 190

Earnings:
approx $750.

Expenses:
Since my costs (editing + cover + isbn + giveaway copies + NetGalley) added up to approx $1600, I’m about halfway to the break even point.

By this point in DERELICT’s release, the book was already selling well enough (50+ copies a day) to rank in the first pages of several SF categories.  ITHAKA RISING has gotten into the top 100 for one category so far.

Promotion:

For about a week and a half prior to release of ITHAKA RISING, I ran a .99 sale on DERELICT, with a cascade of ads over the course of the sale. I participated in an indie book bundles, and several giveaways, both of DERELICT and of ITHAKA RISING, including a GoodReads giveaway. I was on panels at Readercon, as well as had a reading and a signing there. I was able to write several guest blog posts promoting the book. The book is available for reviewers/book bloggers to request via NetGalley through the end of August.

Assessment:

If I compare DERELICT’s performance at the same time frame to ITHAKA RISING’s, by many metrics, book 2 has been a failure. But I don’t believe that. I know have two solid books from an ongoing series out in the marketplace. Every month, more readers sign up for my (very occasional) mailing list. With each book I publish, there is a noticeable uptick in sales of my other books. A small increase, but an increase none-the-less. I have recently branched out into audiobooks and the audiobook of DERELICT has sold over 150 copies in 2 months. The narrator is already working on ITHAKA RISING.

I am in this for the long haul. The deeper the backlist I have available, the greater the chances of discoverability and conversions of a reader into a fan. I have already begun work on book 3 of the Halcyone Space series, with an eye on Summer 2016 for publication. Knowing my workflow and writing speed, I am fully confident of reaching that goal.

I am also in the planning stages of a collaborative project with another of The Scriptors, Rick Wayne as well as picking away at rewrites of a novel that a small publisher had expressed interest in last year. My plan is to keep writing and keep publishing.

In one of my favorite movies – CONTACT – when Ellie Arroway’s father is teaching her to use an amateur radio, he tells her ‘Small moves, Ellie, small moves.’

These are my small moves.

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