Amazon KDP now showing all-time “historical” sales in the dashboard!

Is it just me? I logged into my KDP dashboard last night and noticed a new feature – “historical” sales. This is something authors have been crying out for so it’s brilliant that Amazon have listened. It’s also great for me because I was able to count up my all-time sales from back in 2013 and realised I’d sold a thousand more books than I’d calculated previously!

Up until now I’ve been adding up my monthly sales with a calculator and keeping track that way, or, latterly, using a service like Book Tracker or Book Report, neither of which worked that well for me personally. So to be able to have this information directly on my KDP dashboard is great.

Well done Amazon!

Check it out indie authors and let us know what you think in the comments section!


complete series

My first six months as an indie writer

January 7th marked the 6 month anniversary of the publication of my debut novel Wolf’s Head, which is my take on the Robin Hood legend.

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It’s been an interesting journey, full of ups and downs. Well, to be honest, mostly ups, apart from the odd hurtful review (which do get easier to take as time goes by, so take heart brand-new authors)!

Highlights of the first six months? Two things stand out:

1) 4.3 average star ratings on both the UK and USA Amazon sites, with a combined total of 179 reviews. That’s an enormous number of reviews for a debut novel by a complete unknown, and the fact so many people have really enjoyed the book and wanted to share their experience is so inspiring for me. I’m sure every writer, musician, or artist of any kind wants their work to be appreciated. There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning to a new 5-star review where the reader says your version of Robin Hood is the best they’ve ever read.

2) Sales of the book (particularly the ebook) have really exceeded my expectations too. As I type this, I’m probably a week away from hitting 11,000 sales. That’s sales – none of those were freebies, and almost all of them were at the full price of around £2.25 or $3.50.

I wasn’t sure whether to tell people about the sales figures in this post. To be honest, it feels a little like I’m showing off and it might even rub some people up the wrong way. I hope not, as that’s not my intent and it’s really not my style at all.

However, I feel I should let the world know how well the book’s doing because if I don’t no one will. And, let’s be honest, like every author out there, I’d love an agent to take me on. I’ve shown self-publishing works, but it would be great to see Wolf’s Head translated into other languages, maybe sell film rights, have an audio book made up etc. Maybe if agents and publishers know how well the book’s sold they’ll get in touch? Who knows.

As I head into 2014 I’m hopeful that I’ve got a very powerful piece of short-term marketing in the pipeline, and perhaps one other really big thing in the works. If either of those come to fruition you can be sure I’ll post it on here and on Facebook, so keep an eye out and please share with your social media mates.

Going forward, other authors have told me the best way to market your books is to write more books, and to that end the sequel to Wolf’s Head is pretty much ready to go. The Wolf and the Raven has been completed and now enters the editing and proofing stage so please, watch out for it within the next month or two. I originally planned the series to be a trilogy, but The Wolf and the Raven took on a life of its own and I’m wondering now if I can come up with FOUR books without stringing things out. We’ll see…

Thank you, so much, to everyone who’s bought the book, shared posts about it on Facebook or Twitter, sent emails and messages telling me you loved the read, and an extra big thank you to everyone who’s posted a nice review on Amazon or Goodreads, it really does help sales.

I have to get off to bed now, it’s past midnight, I’m shattered after watching panto with the family today (they enjoyed it, but I was bored – there wasn’t a single guitar solo in it!), and I have the day-job in the morning – working on gas meters around the nethermost regions of Glasgow, no doubt in the pissing rain, while dreaming of being a full-time writer..!

Thank you again for the past six months, readers! 🙂

My editor

Bernard Cornwell. Ben Kane. Jilly Cooper!

I don’t really know why, but I haven’t made much of the fact I hired an editor to work on Wolf’s Head who had previously worked on best-selling books by the above authors. Ben Kane helped me find her and I was overjoyed to find out she had worked on some of Cornwell’s King Arthur novels, not to mention so many other huge sellers by the likes of Jilly Cooper.

My original first draft of Wolf’s Head was quite different to how it ended up. There was a mystical old wise-woman (a nod to David Gemmell there) and it was only 80,000 words in length. That first draft ended up changing a lot after my editor, who I hired at my own expense, read it through. I added a LOT more historical detail (the sections with Sir Richard and the Earl of Lancaster were all new) and the word count went up by 17,000 to hit almost 100,000.

I paid a fair amount for her services, as you’d expect, but I was more than happy with the results. MORE than happy, as my reviews and sales have shown – Wolf’s Head is now a good read.

Lots of self-published books never see an editor, they’re just put out there. Like my cover designers, I wanted to hire an editor that would make the most of my manuscript. Hopefully I did that.

Bernard Cornwell? Ben Kane? Jilly Cooper!

I must note though, my editor only went over the original, first draft. The changes made afterwards were all my own so if there are mistakes or whatever in the finished book, they are all mine. Self-publishing has its limits.

Now, as we enter the festive season, and I haul out the Jethro Tull “Christmas Album” for another few weeks, Wolf’s Head has been available for five months and has sold almost 10,000 copies worldwide. I’m sure much of that success is down to my editor.
I hope she’ll look over The Wolf and the Raven once it’s finished in the next month or so.