Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vanity, Vengeance & A Weekend In Vegas Is Chugging Along

So it's been a few weeks since I released my first self-published novel and it's actually doing pretty well.  Sales are both strong and steady and the reviews are great. I think one of my biggest fears was that without an editor my work would suffer. Undoubtedly there are a few more typos (although, there were a few typos in my books that were released by my publisher too) but readers keep telling me that of all my books this is their favorite.

That's gratifying.

What I also find interesting is how important social networking is in regards to generating sales. My sales are consistently better on the days when I post a link to my ebook and/or paperback every four to six hours on Twitter and Facebook than on the days I don't. So forgive me as I link, link, link.

I also find it interesting that many of my readers have completely forgotten that I am not my protagonist, Sophie Katz. I am now inundated with emails from readers who tell me how they loved it when I "said that to Anatoly," or when I "held Alex at gunpoint with his own gun." There's even one lovely review on Amazon stating that Vanity, Vengeance & A Weekend In Vegas is Ms. Katz' first self-published novel.  In general I find these slips of the tongue to be flattering. The books are, after all, about Sophie Katz, not me and if I'm writing them in a way that makes her seem more real than the woman writing them then I've done my job well. Besides, Sophie is braver, funnier and quicker on her feet than I am. The only part that bothers me about being mistaken for my character is that there are some pretty explicit sex scenes in my books and it's really important to me that you all know, that's not me. In other words, when my protagonist is giving a bad guy hell feel free to think of me. When she's being stripped down and given multiple orgasms think of somebody else.

The big question now is what to do about the audiobook. All of my novels sell very well on and they all have the same narrator, Gabra Zackman. My readers love her. For them, she is Sophie. the problem is that doing this audible book right is going to be pricy and it's going to be a lot of work. Part of me thinks it's worth it. Two years after its release, Vows, Vendettas & A Little Black Dress is still the fifth bestselling Chick Lit audiobook on  which means that I'm trumping Sophie Kinsella (in this one area, and this one area alone). The problem is that the information I get from my publisher in regards to what that exactly means in terms of hard numbers is vague at best. I am not 100% confident that I will be able to recoup my expenses if I produce this. Likewise, although there are many people asking for this book to be released in audio format I can't figure out if each one of the people who are contacting me represent ten more people who haven't gotten around to writing a Facebook post or if each one of them truly only represent one person.

These of course are the questions publishers ask themselves all the time. "Is there a true demand for this book in this format?" "Will we recoup our costs?" And the sad truth is that usually they don't. Like Hollywood, the publishing industry relies on a few blockbuster successes to compensate for a plethora of losses. Unfortunately I don't have a plethora of anything. I only have this one self-published novel and I'm still waiting to get the rights back from my publisher for my other books. So for me the stakes are higher. Still, this experience is giving me a better understanding and a new empathy for employees of the New York publishing industry. Trying to figure out when you should or should not hedge your bets is stressful.

But all in all, I'm enjoying this self-publishing experiment. I love that I can get accurate sales numbers immediately (that's practically unheard of in traditional publishing) and knowing that this book is mine from its cover to its content to its distribution...well that's rewarding too.

And those five stars by my title on Amazon? That's about as rewarding as it gets.

Kyra "Fashionista Fatale" Davis


Rich S said...

Most of your books on Audible have about 600 ratings. (The exception being "Sex, Murder, and a Double Latte" which has nearly 1000.) I don't know if actual sales are higher than that or not but I guess you have to start with "Can I recoup my costs with 500 sold" and go from there. I don't know what it costs to create an audiobook and I certainly don't want you to lose money making one. Still, I can't help but hope... *crosses fingers* :)

Janni Nell said...

I think readers are more likely to confuse an author with their character when books are in the first person. (Especially when there are some similarities between you and Sophie.) So far I haven't been confused with my character Allegra Fairweather. I guess that's because she battles goblins and witches etc for a living. I only do it in my spare time. :-)

Ecat said...

I can comment that I have listened to all of your previous books through audible, and I was in fact disappointed that it hasn't released there yet. That said, I can't imagine anyone besides Gabra as the narrator. I will buy this book for kindle because I'm impatient for the story and the price is reasonable. That said, even after reading it, I would buy it the day it reaches audible IF it has the same narrator. I listed to about 100 audiobooks a year, and my opinion is that I hate it when a characters voice changes.

Grace Stewart said...

I will narrate for you... I am in love with Gabra Zackman as Sophie and I am no Gabra Zackman.... but I have friends who have sound studios and I am willing to be paid so much less in the meantime, until you can possibly get Gabra back or profitable.

Grace Stewart said...
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