Lessons Learned; 60 Days of Self-Publishing


Sixty days have passed since self-publishing my novel, Love, Lies & Clones. I posted about my lessons learned in the first 30 days HERE. I wanted to focus on the second 30 days with this post. They have been PAINFUL!

Remember my writing goal? All I want is for people to READ what I’ve wrote (and enjoy it.) Writing is completely a hobby so I’m not trying to make any money doing it, but I did want to share the economics during this journey. (I still say writing is not an expensive hobby. Try being a triathlon addict. One race can set you back a few thousand dollars…plus the equipment? Ouch.)

Here’s just a quick overview of the first 30 days (December 16 until January 15) as a reminder:

  • Expenses: $389
  • Net Income for first 30 days: $95
  • Profit/Loss: $-294

For the first 30 days, I had my book priced at 99 cents with a goal of gaining readers (since I’m a new author.) Here’s my sales:

  • 63 eBooks (Profit of $21)
  • 18 paperbacks (remember, it’s for sale in my parent’s zoo.)

I decided that I wanted to try a kindle countdown deal and to do so, I needed to raise the price to $2.99 for 30 days. I knew that raising the price would decrease the number of sales. (In fact, I thought I wouldn’t get any!)

So, how did the next 30 days go?

I had already tested some advertising while my book was priced at 99 cents with minimal success, so I decided I wouldn’t do any paid advertising, except Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) Ads while it was priced at $2.99. I wanted to save my advertising dollars for a Kindle Countdown Deal. I’ll post about that next week.

So… With nothing more than my routine blogging, a facebook and twitter post or two, and the AMS Ads, here’s my sales:

  • 13 eBooks (Profit of $26.52)
  • 5 paperbacks (Profit of $13.95) My parent’s zoo is closed for the season.

Note how, despite selling 50 less books, I made more money. (Unfortunately, my main goal is to have people read the book, not make money. This is the part that has been painful. I’ll go a two or three or more days in a row without a single sale.)

Just this past weekend, a local book club decided to make Love, Lies & Clones their March book read. (Thank you) That accounted for 4 sales so far. (2 paperbacks and 2 ebooks)

My Expenses This Month: $4.63 on AMS Ads. (Plus, all the paid promos for my countdown deal, but those expense will be deferred until my next post.) So, my balance sheet:

  • Expenses: $394
  • Net Income for first 30 days: $135
  • Profit/Loss: $-259

Lesson’s Learned This Month:

Mailing List: A mailing list is SO important. Not only does it help you reach out to your readers, it also qualifies you for some promotional opportunities that work (Newsletter swaps). BUT to participate, many of them require huge mailing lists. What I should have done is started building this list a year ago. Offered a freebie through instafreebies or My Book Cave way back then. I have yet to send a newsletter out and I may still change my mind on this.

Amazon Rank: You’re undiscovered unless you rank in the top 100 of your category. Preferably top 20. On my release, I should have thrown more money into advertising, even if I know it wouldn’t come back immediately. I’m spending about $200 on my Kindle Countdown. We’ll see if that is a good figure, or if it should be less…or more.

Author Interviews: These take time and at this stage in the game, I’ve seen very little (if any) success. I am doing a guest blog post this week and we’ll see if that has a little more impact.

Kindle Unlimited Page Reads: I thought the higher price would bring in Kindle Unlimited Page Reads — It didn’t.

Amazon Book Page: I continue to fine tune my page on Amazon. I’ve tweaked my blurb (using bold and adding in review comments), checked my reviews (I have 15 of them, averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars), and tried to figure out what is not making people click the purchase button. The only thing I can think to do to attract more readers is change the cover…but will that even help if they don’t find you in the first place?

Today starts my Kindle Countdown Deal, where Love, Lies & Clones is only 99 Cents. I have the following promotional sites booked. I’m not expecting to earn my investment back, but I hope half of it. I’ll talk about my reasoning when I post the outcome. Stay tuned for a recap of what worked, and what didn’t.

  • 2/16 – Book Barbarian ($20) & My Book Cave-All Week Exposure ($20)
    2/17 – eReader News Today ENT ($30) & Sweet Free Books ($7) & My Newsletter will go out.
    2/18 – Book Sends / eReader IQ ($35)
    2/19 – Guest blog for Mystery Thriller Week (I wrote an article about using medications as murder weapons) (Free), HeadTalker Campaign (Free), & a few Ask David Tweets ($2 – Maybe)
    2/20 – eReader Cafe ($25) & a few more Ask David Tweets ($1 maybe)
    2/21 – Free Kindle Books & Tips FKBT ($30)
    2/22 – Bargain Booksy $50


Again, thanks for sharing this journey with me. Until next time.


Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comments.



  1. I think your spending way too much personally, I would recommend readers gazette for a start, one of the best outreach websites and utterly free, they will tweet your novel, and your countdown deal for free , each day, and as those who use it know its not a pay site they are far more inclined to retweet etc ..
    I posted about this myself, but I think I recall you having read what I have to say so will keep this brief, but I would advise against spending a fortune on advertising, engaging with the community is the most valuable way to find readers (which is why I am about to grab a copy of your novel for example )

    still all that in mind I wish you the world of luck, and hopefully you will have much success. Once I have read it I’ll post up a review and stick one on amazon etc . though it may be a while as I have a load on my to read list right now


    1. Thanks for stopping over! I’ve “applied” for Reader’s Gazette, but without paying, it takes forever for them to approve you. (Yeah, I know, I’m hypocritical. I spent all this on promotion, but won’t pay the $5 to jump ahead in the queue. Oh well.)

      I’m not expecting to even make back my investment in promos. (Making back half of it would be great, though.) I’m doing a lot of this in preparation for my blog post on the topic. I agree with you, that the only way to sell books is to form relationships and to write more books. I have other reasons to for this promo that’ll be in my blog post. Sort of an experiment.

      Thanks a ton for grabbing a copy of my novel. I hope you find it entertaining. (And I completely understand being back-logged on reading. I’ve WAY over promised, and am going to be more selective in the future.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. posts about self-publishing always interest me, I try to avoid going into financials as a rule but mainly it to stop me getting hung up on them. It is always interesting to see how other people approach things though. http://www.jimchines.com/blog/ does a post every year about his financials as an author, they make interesting reading as well. It may interest you to track down the posts on there

        I try to avoid making promises these days when it comes to reading books by indie authors, I try to read one a month as well as all the other stuff I read. Also while most indie authors have something to contribute to the literary zeitgeist you do get the odd one that’s is just unreadable, I have writing apologise to one or two people in the past for not doing a review I have promised. Its very hard to say ‘sorry, but your book really isn’t for me.’ usually though I find indie authors write things that are awesome, just because they are not constricted by what a publish thinks will sell. To be honest yours looks interesting which is the only reason I said I had bought a copy before reading it first 🙂

        Besides I need a break from Lovecraft, rereading old proto-steampunk sci-fi, and the biography of Nietzsche’s sister a friend just published which was incredibly interesting and I have to write a review for but really don’t know where to start with it…

        at some point, once I have read your book, if you want to do a guest post/interview on my site let me know, and if your not following my twitter do so and I will follow back and try to retweet a couple of times for you this week ,, just aim a tweet or two @darrackmark and I will repost for you to the hash tags I normally post out to a couple of times one or two of them are really useful as they retweet you to a much wider audience #bookboost and #ian1 for example

        anyway enough waffling on from me ,, good luck hope you get a good response to your countdown deal

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for this nice reply! I had always wished more authors would post their financials, so that’s why I’m positing mine. Honestly, it’s not an easy thing to do…since you do it because you love to write, not to make any money. (Thanks for the link to Jim Hines’ blog. I hadn’t run across that before.)

          I’m not going to makes any promises to read other authors books anymore. I’m going to read them first, then surprise the authors by telling them I read them…and loved them. Then there’s no pressure to leave a review for a book that was only marginal. (I can’t help it, I love to give positive feedback. I do enough beta reading, that reviews are a nice change.)

          Any way, I followed you on twitter. Have a great evening!


  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences with publishing your book. It is much more difficult marketing a book than I originally thought when I published 6 months ago. Lovely to read advice from others who are also new in this game.

    Liked by 1 person

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