Thursday, 31 January 2013

My first 'official' interview! Get me!

I'm super lucky today - I'm blogging over with the Minxes Of Romance.

Come on over and chat about Knight & Play, wine and risque internet histories...

The minxes are my writing bezzies and crit partners, so I feel double lucky to be over there today. I'm excited! 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

20 thousand sales in 7 weeks... how did that happen?

Five minutes ago, the 20,000 copy of Knight & Play sold on Amazon.
Today also marks day 50 on sale.
No promo's, no free days, no price alterations.
Even typing that feels amazing.

This is my first published book so I had no expectations or experience of what to expect, but I sure as heck know it wasn't this! I feel as if i've tumbled down Alice's rabbit hole.

I've written for some years, but this is the first book that's made it as far as readers hands, largely due to the option to self publish which just didn't exist in years gone by.

I'm a full time mum. I write between school drop off and pick up, and then again when the house is quiet after everyone else has gone to bed. I don't sleep much. Most days I have to step over lego bricks and hotwheels sets to unearth the laptop on the dining table, often cleaning up spilt drinks and tossed aside pj's on the way. Then there's the dripping tap in the kitchen that is akin to chinese water torture, and the little hole in the roof we glimpsed when we put the christmas decorations back in the loft last week...
Not that I'm complaining. I'm really fortunate to have a hard working husband who has always believed in me far more than I do myself, and kids who don't mind coco-pops for dinner every now and then when I'm writing and have lost track of the time, which seems to happen more often than I'd like.

Knight & Play was several months in the writing, and then several more weeks of working with a free-lance editor and cover designer to put together the final book.

The thing with self publishing is that the actual writing is only one part of the process, and I'm the first to admit that when it comes to the business side of things I have no clue what I'm doing.
Actually getting the book formatted for Amazon had me close to sticking my head in the oven. I'm the least techie person in the world, so let's just say it was a challenge and gloss over the fact that actual tears were shed.
I managed it in the end, and it went LIVE. Again, we'll gloss over the few attempts it took to erase all the stupid mistakes I'd made. It made my head hurt, and it required wine for medicinal purposes.

So, sales started to trickle in from friends and faithful, lovely writing buddies.
Day one, twelve sales.
Day two, five sales.
Day three, fourteen sales. So far, so good. And that was when it got weird.
By day seven it had hit fifty sales.
Day nine saw my first one hundred sales in a day.
212 people have left five star reviews on Amazon.
It snowballed, and it snowballed, up to some days that have almost topped one thousand sales a day.

It became clear I needed to keep some stats. I've never been near a spreadsheet in my life without breaking out in a sweat, so my stats involve sparkly gel pens and rainbow paper, but they are stats none the less, and those stats tell me this.

At 10.45am on Saturday December 15th 2012, Knight & Play was number 61 in the kindle top 100 books in the US.
At 11.30am on Wednesday January 2nd 2013, Knight & Play was the 3rd most popular erotic book in the US.
Since then, it's bobbed around in the erotic top ten in both the US & UK.
Every time I update my stats with a sparkly gel pen I hold my breath, & every time a new review appears on Amazon or Goodreads I cross my fingers and sing the rocky music to psyche myself up before reading it.
I'm terrified a lot of the time, and much more wine has been consumed in the name of steadying my nerves.

So here I am.
It's day fifty, and I've got this book that is selling more copies than I ever imagined it would. I'm sitting here drinking coffee on my sofa and and I'm trying to make a plan.
What do I do now? How do I make the most of this thing? How can I reach out to more readers?
The truthful answer is that I don't have a clue. I've never marketed anything in my life, and i'm working with a marketing budget of, umm, zero.
Any money from the book has yet to come in, and in the meantime we're juggling debts, school trips, the mortgage, bills,  vet bills for the oldest cat in the world - normal family life on a shoestring in other words, same as most people the world over.

Word of mouth and social media has become my very best friend.
I now understand twitter, and I have even installed tweetdeck - for this non -techie gel pen fan, that was some accomplishment. I get a glow every time that little bird tweets at me, because someone somewhere in the world is chatting to me.

And that, above everything else, is the thing that has completely blown me away over the last few weeks.
The emails, and tweets, and Facebook messages of support, both from people I know and from people I have never and will never meet, but who have enjoyed Knight & Play enough to take the time to get in touch.

I love it. I love these wonderful, encouraging ladies who are generous with their time and efforts to help spread the word. If I could hug each and everyone of them, I would. I'm not going to name names because I'll no doubt miss someone out, but you guys know who you are. Consider yourselves well and truly hugged.

Book two of the Knight series is coming out in April, and I am, if anything, even more nervous than first time around.
I'm confident about the formatting this time, but book two comes with a whole new set of fears.
What if everyone hates it? What if I blow it? Agh! Cue more wine.
The year ahead feels like a big, exciting adventure waiting to happen.

Right now though I'm just really, really proud of how far Knight & Play has come.
My brother gave me a mug for christmas that said 'published author' - I get a kick every time I use it, because no one is more shocked, amazed and thrilled by all of this than me.

I'm proud that my family are proud. I've loved every moment of being a stay at home mum whilst my babies were little, but now they are old enough to go to school, I feel incredibly lucky to have found a job I love. The fact that i'm going to be paid to do it is the icing on the cake.
With a cherry on the top. And sprinkles. Sparkly ones, naturally.