Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Going Indie - Day 13: Awards

July has come and gone, and now it's time to assess my performance. Once I got my act together, I published 22 titles from June 29th - July 31st . (I’m including the last two days of June since this was the turning point.)

Here is the list, in order of publication:

            1.            Alphabet All-Stars (English)
            2.            Alphabet All-Stars: Trivia Time (English)
            3.            Alphabet All-Stars Flashcards (English)
            4.            Alphabet All-Stars: Animal Edition (English)
            5.            Alphabet All-Stars Academy Volume 1 (English)
            6.            Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide (English)
            7.            Aveline (English)
            8.            Alphabet All-Stars: Clever Cards (English)
            9.            Mein Kleiner Lieblingsdrache (My Little Pet Dragon) (German)
            10.            Dos Cuentos Antes de Dormir (Spanish)
            11.            Deux Histoires au Coucher (French)
            12.            Mein Verrückter Lieblingsfrosch (My Crazy Pet Frog) (German)
            13.            The Most Beautiful Flower (English)
            14.            Adorable Dogs: Beagles! (English)
            15.            Adorable Dogs: Pugs! (English)
            16.            Adorable Dogs: Labradors! (English)
            17.            Zwei Geschichten für Kinder (German)
            18.            Due Storie per Bambini (Italian)
            19.            Alphabet All Stars: Funny Flashcards (English)
            20.            Duas Histórias para Crianças (Portuguese)
            21.            Adorable Dogs: Bulldogs! (English)
            22.            Adorable Dogs Collection Volume 1 (English)

So am I entirely pleased with my performance? No. Even though I had my most productive month ever, I could have done more.

As I mentioned before, I made a few mistakes. I should have written Secret Agent Disco Dancer and tied it to the promotion of My Crazy Pet Frog. I also should have tackled the sequel to My Little Pet Dragon at some point in July. I will not make that mistake again.

Still, 22 titles is an impressive feat, even though these are children's books and 8 of them are collections and/or translations. I managed to grow my library 56%, and even though I didn't experience a 56% increase in sales, I did lay down the groundwork for substantial future sales. I suspect that the alphabet books will sell better once kids go back to school.

But don’t get me wrong, I'm proud of my achievement. So while I’m in a good mood, let me hand out awards for my new releases:

Best New Cover

I did a decent job with cover design this month, producing 24 covers in all (22 were used in new releases). Although I'm pleased with most of them, the one that stands out the most is The Most Beautiful Flower. It was trickier than it looks, and surprised me by its overall simplicity. Easily the best cover that I put together this month.

Buy it now for your Kindle!

Best New Series

Since I put together two new series, Adorable Dogs and Alphabet All-Stars, why not choose the best one? While Adorable Dogs was fun, Alphabet All-Stars was a great entry into the children's alphabet book market. Each volume is different, and provides its own unique take on the alphabet. And while I could have taken the easy route, I forced myself to make each as entertaining as possible, while also being educational.

Clever Cards was the most innovative, incorporating American Sign Language on each card, while Trivia Time was the best overall release. So which one sold the best? The Animal Edition, of course. Kids love their animal alphabets!

Buy it now for your Kindle!

Most Satisfying New Release

Most of my friends would be surprised to hear me say that a book about fairies was my most satisfying new release, but it’s the truth. I enjoyed writing Aveline. It came together effortlessly, and pulled me away from the traditional picture books that I’ve been writing.

Buy it now for your Kindle!
At the request of a fan, there will be more books about the adventures of Aveline. Here's a cover I put together for an eventual novelization:

Best Sales for a New Release

Honestly, sales weren't great for any of my new releases, but Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide easily outsold the rest.

Biggest Surprise of July

Without a doubt, the German language version of My Little Pet Dragon was the biggest surprise of the month. I gave away over 2,000 free copies during its promotional run, and sold over 40 copies. Sure, these aren't big numbers, but I didn't make a single sale in Germany the month before.

The lesson learned? Ignore the German market at your own peril.

Buy it now for your Kindle!

Best New Release Overall

Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide takes the grand prize as the best new release for July. At 55 pages, the book is fairly long for a children's picture book. It's also quirky, full of wacky humor and has memorable one-liners. Readers seem to be excited about it too, giving it glowing reviews. All in all, a very satisfying release. At $2.99, the higher royalty also helps.

Buy it now for your Kindle!

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. The hard work paid off, and I was able to turn my sales around. I'm really excited about August, and despite what I've said, I'd like to put out even more titles next month. I will tackle everything that I've been avoiding, and fit it into my schedule.

But I won't be turning off my creative mind anytime soon. Smaller titles help tremendously with free promotions, and sell well when they are bundled in collections. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone; publishers have been selling collections of short stories for centuries. Why would this suddenly change?

So expect to see a healthy dose of yours truly this August, along with plenty more blogging. Eventually I'd like to get back to making $6,000 per month, and then later, $10,000. Throwaway_Writer averaged over $30,000 per month last January and February, so if he can do it, I most certainly can.

And you can, too!

Scott Gordon
Part of the Indie Revolution

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