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Friday, January 2, 2015

My first year as a self-published author!

Okay, I've only been publishing my books since October 2014, so it's technically not an entire year as a self-published author. However, 2014 is in the past and it wouldn't feel right to skimp on a retrospective blog post.

I began self-publishing on October 20th with Tales From Under The Bed Vol. 1. I swiftly followed up with Tales From Under The Bed Vol. 2 on November 19th. Finally, I finished the trilogy by releasing Tales From Under The Bed Vol. 3 on December 19th; on that very same day, I also released an individual short story titled Grandma Mary. So, all-in-all, I published four titles over three months.

Fortunately, the books did better than expected -- both in sales and reviews. The Tales From Under The Bed series has sold over 125 paid units over the course of three months. It may not seem like much to some people -- specifically, people who have never self-published -- but it's a lot to me. Sure, I can tell you how much each individual title sold, but "over 100" sounds better, right? I was honestly expecting to sell nothing, and over 100 is better than nothing in my book. All-in-all, well over 400 people have gotten their hands on the Tales From Under The Bed series in one way or another. (Thank you for reading!)

Enough about sales, though, the books have also received feedback -- the feedback being mixed, in some cases. So, why was it better than expected? Well, don't get me wrong, I'm passionate about my writing, but I tend to expect the worst, especially when being criticized. In those three months of self-publishing, I also published indirect responses to said feedback in blog posts titled The Dreadful Feedback and The Dreadful Feedback (Part 2).

So, what have I learned? First and foremost, don't write for anyone else but yourself. If I only cared about sales, I'd try writing erotica, but I'm a horror writer at heart -- so that's what I write. Next, take feedback with a grain of salt. Some reviewers will often rate you down for peculiar reasons, some will rate you down simply because they had a bad day. There will be some legitimate bad reviews, as well, but don't let them get you down. Anyway, if you must, read the review, absorb the legitimate feedback, and get back to writing. Also, don't respond directly to reviews, unless you're going to respond to every review. Oh, and don't forget to thoroughly proofread your book -- if you don't have the budget to hire someone, you'll have to do this yourself, so carefully proofread each and every sentence.

Overall, I think it was a great start. There were many discouraging moments, but I continued to move forward. In fact, I'm currently writing a new horror novella for February (more details coming soon). I'm very proud of what I have accomplished, no matter how miniscule, and I plan to continue writing passionately for a very long time. I'm most thankful for you, the reader. Thanks, once again, for your time and patience. I hope you're ready for more horror!

Jon Athan

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