1. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    Realistic goals?

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by Zadocfish, Mar 3, 2017.

    Okay, so I found out yesterday that self-publishing on Amazon, both digitally through Kindle and PoD through Createspace, is actually free.

    Knowing that I don't HAVE to wade through an endless ocean of rejection letters in order to get something out on the market is a great encouragement. Traditional publishing just seems like such a lofty, far-away goal for me; it helps to have something that I KNOW I can attain in sight.

    Because of this, I've been able to set some goals for my writing, and I want to know if they're realistic. Now, I know that there is like a 0.01 percent chance that I will ever make money digitally self-publishing, and a few extra zeroes get added to that if I don't spend lots of money on editing and marketing. But, making money isn't really my objective.

    So, here's my goal: I want to have a reasonably decent book up on Kindle, and have at least one person outside my immediate family buy it at $0.99, in 4 or 5 months. I'm unemployed and very close to unemployable, so free time is the one thing I have.

    In anyone's experience, is that goal attainable?
     
  2. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    I have not self-published on any of these platforms, so take my input with a grain of salt.

    I think understanding your own reason for publishing is important when setting goals and managing expectations. Access to these free worldwide platforms is a huge advantage for writers, but it also brings continuously growing competition. If you instead choose to wade through that endless pool of rejection letter to eventually get published, you now have an organization with huge assets behind you who will do most of the heavy lifting for you.

    Is generating one .99 sale in 4-5 months realistic? I don't know. I think it's easily possible, but it depends on a lot of variables, including your time promoting your title, the competition, and the general interest in the genre. Is it achievable? Certainly. If you set this goal and commit to reaching it, I'm confident you will be able to do so.

    I think I understand where you're coming from in asking this question. How does one set a realistic sales goal? I think it really depends on your projected exposure. People may stumble across your listing and find it interesting enough to buy - on the other hand, they may never see it.

    When setting download/sales goals, I think your reason for publishing is important, as are your long-term objectives. Are you seeking a sense of finality, the feeling your project is finally "finished?" Are you planning on releasing more books and using the success of this initial book as a springboard for your next project? Are you developing a fanbase? Are you seeking passive income? Do you want to make the big bucks?

    I think these are important questions to ask oneself.

    In your case, I think one $.99 sale from non-family/non-friends in 4-5 months is realistic, and is definitely achievable, especially if you put at least some effort into promoting your book. You say the one thing you have is free time. Since you have this time, I would encourage you to set somewhat more challenging goals if you're confident in the quality of your writing and are willing to commit to promoting your book (and willing to learn what does and doesn't work).

    Again, take this with a grain of salt. I've never sold any writing other than freelance work in my life.

    If you want to set achievable goals without spending any money and without promoting your book full time, I would consider the following goals for sales from non-family/non-friends:

    Month #1 sales: 1
    Month #2 sales: 5
    Month #3 sales: 10
    Month #5 sales: 25+

    This is just me spitballing here, and assumes you're actively promoting your book during this time and that your reason for publishing/long-term goal is to get your book behind as many eyeballs as possible - be it build a fanbase, earn passive income, or prepare for publication #2.

    These sales goals are easily impacted by how much time you'll spending promoting your book and the other factors I mentioned above.

    I know I got a little sidetracked, but that's my 2ยข.
     
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  3. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    Of course the goal is attainable. There aren't too many books that don't have ONE sale. What genre is your book?
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    If you're willing to go with Amazon exclusively, it might make more sense to look at page reads through KU rather than sales... I know as a reader I will often test books that are available on KU that I wouldn't buy if I had to actually pay for them. So... maybe a different metric? A goal of sales OR pages read? Maybe?
     
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  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    But he's referring to one non-friends-and-relatives sale. I'd bet that a fair percentage of self-published books fail to achieve that goal.
     
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  6. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    Maybe. If he puts a halfway decent effort into it, I'm sure someone will take a chance on a 99 cent book if it's in the right genre. Romance, or SF or fantasy. Maybe not a mainstream literary fiction book or a thriller.
     
  7. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    It will be SF or fantasy. Not so much into romance, unfortunately given how popular the genre is. And that's a good idea about KU, actually... I didn't figure that into my plans at all. If there's a way to check pages read, I'll absolutely be checking on that. Thanks for the encouragement!
     
  8. JE Loddon

    JE Loddon Active Member

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    Your goal is completely realistic. I started writing a novel for NaNoWriMo in November last year. It went up on Amazon Kindle this past week, and someone in Australia bought it the first day. Not had much luck since then, but it's certainly a start.
     
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  9. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    If it's SF or fantasy, I think at least one person will give it a shot at 99 cents. Particularly if it is military SF, space opera or epic non-urban fantasy.
     
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  10. G. Anderson

    G. Anderson Active Member

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    I've self-published a novella and I am not sure I'd even call it reasonably decent. With the free promotion it sold around twenty copies the first week and from this, three copies were actually sold! :) This was within three weeks, so I'd definitely say that your goal is realistic.

    I am sorry to hear that your are close to being unemployable. I hope that writing works out for your big time, creatively and financially :)
     
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  11. JE Loddon

    JE Loddon Active Member

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    I think it's worth mentioning that Camp NaNo starts next month. You can set your own word target, and get put into virtual cabins with other writers, which works as way of inspiring you to push on with the writing. It's probably wrth registering on the site, and starting to fill your details in. Kickstarting the process off definitely helps get you going.
     
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  12. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    My two ideas so far are a world-tour-style surreal fantasy and a space opera, respectively, so that's a very hopeful thought!

    Thank you!

    Yeah, already on top of that. I love NaNo and all affiliated things.
     
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  13. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Am I reading this right that the novel isn't written yet?

    4-5 months to write a novel and polish it to "decent" standards is unrealistic for most writers, especially new ones. I'm a relatively fast writer and my first novel took 12 months - and although it was decent, I've now pulled it and put it back into revisions because I can see it still wasn't quite there.

    I think the goal of one sale in 4-5 months would be realistic, but if you're an unusually fast writer and get a good editor who works quickly, you're left with 1-2 months to make that sale. That's probably still realistic, but it also wouldn't be uncommon for a self-published book to not make a sale to a stranger in that timescale.

    If goals spur you on and you work better under pressure, full steam ahead! If you'll be demoralised by not achieving your goal... I would give yourself more time. A lot more time.
     
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  14. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    If you look at it as not writing in your "free time" but as you're unemployed, consider writing your novel as employment, and work on it 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, having it finished in 5 months is possible. But with that said, there is a writing learning curve (as was mentioned above). And it's not just getting that first draft hammered out. There are multiple revisions to consider. Add to that other other variables. Contracting with an editor, and the time it takes and editor to work on your project. and then revisions that follow. Depending on how computer/electronically adept you are, formatting for self-publishing (print and electronic) could take time to learn and employ--unless you hire someone to do that as well.

    Getting one reader outside those you know isn't impossible at all, once a project is finished. Having a professional appearing product (quality/appropriate cover art and titlework, in addition to solid formatting and content) will take that a long way toward being quite possible.

    I think that just putting it out there, may be a problem. Doing some marketing will have an impact on success.

    That's my two cents tossed in.
     
  15. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    Oh... I guess hiring an editor is enough of a standard procedure that it was an assumed part of the equation? That might pose a problem, because for me, that isn't happening. Again, unemployed. I'm fine with not making any money on my work, of course, but losing more of it than I make in three months in a venture that won't be earning me anything... That wouldn't work for me, I'm afraid...

    So I'm guessing that's going to throw a wrench in things. I suppose I'll have to give myself more time... As for speed, I can write pretty fast when I outline properly. Getting the first draft hammered out in a month and a half wouldn't be too difficult. But yeah, that editing will be a long slog.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I think it's a huge mistake to put a book up for sale without professional editing. It is possible (but difficult) to get professional editing for free, but the cost there is more time. You can't set deadlines for people doing you a huge favour, and you have no control over the quality of their work, either.

    If you want to do most of the editing yourself, that means even more time. The most crucial element of a good edit is leaving the book alone for some time (I would say a month at least) then coming back to it with fresh eyes.

    I am a professional writer and editor (day job) and even I can never, ever, catch all the typos and mistakes in my work. Our brains are just too efficient when processing our own writing, and we become essentially blind to errors. I would never put a book up for sale without having another editor do a thorough check of it.

    Having said that... plenty of self-publishers DO put books up for sale without proper editing. You may want to check their reviews (if they've made enough sales to get any...) before following in their footsteps!
     
  17. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    As far as editing goes, if you can't afford to have a professional editor go over your manuscript (and I can't, personally, it can cost thousands) then find some willing beta readers to go over it. Use as many as you can and you'll find most of the spelling and grammar errors.
     
  18. Zadocfish

    Zadocfish Member

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    That much, I've got. I'd imagine trading beta reads with other forum members wouldn't be too hard, either.
     

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