Sunday, December 29, 2013

Taking Stock of 2013

Like many writers, I inevitably look back on the year to review the highs and lows of my writing life. I’m happy to say that there were plenty of highs this year. I hand sold nearly 200 books at craft fairs alone, published my third Casey Holland mystery, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, and signed a contract for the fourth, which will be out next September. I wrote over 100 blogs, and nearly 50 book reviews. I also built my own website, for the first time, and now completely control the changes and updates.

So, what does all of this mean? It tells me that my career’s moving in the right direction, one step at a time. I still have a long way to go to achieve my goals, and I don’t sell anywhere near the number of e-books that some writers do, but I plan to focus on that this year.

Meanwhile, Digital BookWorld has compiled a list of the bestselling e-books for 2013. It’s interesting to note that they start their article by saying that prices rose and plummeted from week to week with e-books. I’ve seen this as well, which is why it’s so hard to determine an e-book price. Some days, I think my books are priced too high at $7.99 (my publisher's decision, not mine), other days it seems about right compared to others. The article says that a couple of the bestsellers were $.99 novels in the romance and young adult fiction category, yet the average price of other bestsellers was $7.74.

Out of the 21 titles listed in the article, eight of them came from Penguin and three were self-published. Not surprisingly, plenty of big-name authors made the bestsellers list, including Dan Brown, Nicholas Sparks, David Baldacci, Stephen King, and Stephanie Meyer. In fact, a quick glance at the list shows that many of the top selling authors were also top selling authors in print before the e-book revolution exploded. Collectively, indie authors are publishing hundreds of thousands of books, but it seems clear that name recognition, branding, and a solid fan base are still invaluable tools to reaching bestseller status. I’d be foolish not to work on building these aspects as well.

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