At this point in 2010, I was an extremely frustrated author. I’d had four books released by two publishers to great reviews and lots of reader excitement, but my sales were only so-so. I had three more books coming in 2011, but I was a LONG way from calling this writing gig a “career,” despite having written more than a dozen books by then. In all of 2010, I made a whopping $2500 on my books, 15 percent of which went to my agent. Suffice to say, I was going nowhere fast.
I had stacks of rejections from agents and publishers for books that included Maid for Love, book 1 in the Gansett series, Treading Water, book 1 in the series of that name, Georgia on My Mind, The Wreck, True North and The Fall. I couldn’t get anyone interested in publishing any of these books to save my life.
Then, in the summer of 2010, True North was under consideration by a big NY publisher. I had an in-house advocate and everyone was excited about the book, until it too got rejected because, I was told, “No one wants to read about a super model.”
That’s right about the time I got mad and said ENOUGH already to chasing my tail round and round in the same circle. Other authors had begun to take advantage of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, and it was time for me to try it, too. While this might seem like a no-brainer of a decision in hindsight, at the time it was anything but. I had books coming in early 2011 from two publishers, and I honestly had NO IDEA how they’d react to me publishing on my own ahead of their releases. Hardly anyone had done that, and contracts didn’t yet include non-compete language about authors self-publishing. I had legitimate reason to be concerned about getting sued by one or both of my publishers.
I did it anyway, self-publishing True North on Nov. 17, 2010 and The Fall in mid-December 2010. I said nothing about them on social media. I posted them to my website and kept my mouth shut about them otherwise. And I waited to see what would happen. At first, not much happened. I sold about 50 books in the first month, then a couple hundred in the second month. One publisher book was released January 3, the other on February 1, accompanied by a freebie of an earlier book with that same publisher.
And that’s when everything changed.
Readers scooped up that freebie and everything else I had on sale, including my two self-published books. I self-published a third book, The Wreck, in March, and sold 10,000 books that month. Then came April, May and June of 2011 and the debut of the first three Gansett Island books—Maid for Love, Fool for Love, Ready for Love—and 80,000 books were sold in a month. At the end of that year, I published Treading Water, Marking Time and Starting Over, five years after I wrote books that no one wanted—except my readers. I quit my day job on Dec. 31, 2011 and have been self-employed for five years, thanks in large part to my indie published books.
It’s been six years (yesterday) since my life changed forever thanks to indie publishing, and I still can’t believe everything that’s happened since then. Twenty-six New York Times bestsellers, 5.5 million books sold, more than 52 books published (31 of them indie published), three entirely indie-published series, one of them the Gansett Island Series, which is soon to notch 3 million books sold, and the Quantum Series, closing in on 1 million books sold in 18 months.
My profound thanks for six AMAZING years to all the readers who have shown me that anything is possible, and to my retail partners—Amazon KDP, iBooks, NookPress, Kobo, Google, CreateSpace, Ingram, ACX and others—who made it possible for authors to connect directly to readers and changed so many lives in ways they’ll never fully comprehend.
I’m so excited to continue writing the books my readers want in my five series as well as pursuing new ideas that capture my interest along the way. Six years into my indie-publishing journey, and I’m just getting started! Thanks for coming on this ride with me.