I am sitting here, a few days in front of 2013, looking back on the thrills (and chills) of publishing in 2012.
First of all I would like to begin my 2012 wrap-up with a Thank You to the team of talented, dedicated people who brought this little Edmonds-based company to the international stage this year. In 2011 I assisted with the publication of twenty-two books. I took in a lot less projects in 2012 so that I could focus on (a) solving the mystery of what it takes to make a Best Seller; (b) expanding our book distribution into global markets; and (c) exploring the marketability of translated editions. We – meaning Kathi Humphries, Catherine Bedeski, Gretchen Houser, and I –accomplished all of these major publishing and distribution goals. . . and so much more!
First a salute to the books, which reflect the 2012 line from A.V. Harrison Publishing:
How Dachshunds Came To Be by Kizzie Jones
The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter by Emily Hill
Le Histories de Fantomes translated to French by Catherine Bedeski
A.V. Harrison Publishing also assisted in development of the following titles:
Hammy by Kiraya Kestin
General Hooker’s Gal by Cathy Logan
and provided marketing coaching for Maiden’s Veil by Lisa Consantino
I have always been a proponent of community involvement and was flattered when Janette Turner, a force to be reckoned with here in Edmonds, invited me to become a charter member of The EPIC Group Executive Board. As in-house publishing coach, workshop facilitator, and treasurer of this dynamic group, 2013 promises to be a very busy year for those months I am in residence.
Although each of my seven main titles have been commercially successful I believe that my storytelling ability should improve, improve, improve over the years. This past year I took a more studied approach toward what I read and also attended workshops that target writing skill. Attending WOTS [Edmonds’ ‘Write On The Sound] Conference has become an annual social and writing event for me and my beloved Perrinville Ladies Writing Group. We five ladies of Perrinville added to our skill level by attending the Whidbey Island writer’s conference this past summer – and I took the opportunity to flirt wildly with keynote speaker, Barry Eisler. Err. . .he might not have noticed, being the cool collected guy that he is.
Kim Votry, a colleague publishing coach, and Charter Secretary of The EPIC Group, inspired me to my most ambitious endeavor this year: Participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Big vow: I will never, ever do THAT again, so thank goodness I made it through the gauntlet to produce my upcoming title, “Losing Sight: New Orleans in The Voodoo Era”. Of the over 300,000 (global) writers who registered to pursue the goal of writing a novel of 50,000 words, or more, nine to fourteen per cent of them finish. I am very proud to be able to affix the ‘2012 Winner!’ decal on what I plan will be a very intriguing, and mysterious, book about the history of my home town – New Orleans. “Losing Sight: New Orleans in The Voodoo Era” mixes dark mansions, Catholic rituals, and scandalous priests with a pinch of voodoo brought to the readers in the personae of Marie Leveau. I’m excited to get the feedback of my Perrinville Ladies as I work through the plot twists and poltergeist sightings of “Losing Sight” this year. Look for a Halloween 2013 release on this title.
I was very pleased to receive invitations to appear in eight interviews, and pre-recorded TV and Podcast shows including
• Dan O’Brien’s radio show;
• Jason Matthews Google+ live-recorded ‘Indie Authors’ show;
• Shelly Wade’s “Thursday Paranormal” radio broadcast;
Print interviews and coverage of my activities were featured, generously by:
• Emlyn Chand of Novel Publicity,
• Kristi McLaren, and
• My Edmonds News, publisher Teresa Whipple.
Of course, I also wrote my own news posts! The 2012 new release roster of A.V. Harrison Publishing received 15,429 hits over the past year. The hottest news releases from A.V. Harrison Publishing were those involving – you guessed it – ghost sightings and the eerie history of cemeteries in Seattle.
Everyone I come into contact with knows that I am a social media addict. Seriously addicted! Over the past year I tripled my Facebook and Twitter-reach to 600 and over 3,000 respectively. (Remember that it was just two years ago that I was limiting my Facebook roster to thirty close-and-personal local friends – not included The Maestro). All that has certainly changed! I am happy to be trading Facebook posts with friends from France, England, India, Canada, and beyond.
But what did all of this effort net, as far as readership? By the end of 2012 my total book sales, for nine titles, passed the ten thousand mark! Yes, in the past three years I have sold exactly 10,146 books and eBooks. The numbers – by title breakout – are interesting in that the numbers (once again) substantiate industry trends. Of the 3,341 books I sold this year only fifteen of those were paperback sales; the balance of my royalty payments came from over 3,300 eBook sales.
Hidden in these statistics is the fact that one little edition, “Ghost Stories and The Unexplained: Book One” enjoyed Kindle Top Ten ranking between November 2011 and September 2012. The success of this one little eBook allowed me to enjoy a spot in the top twenty per cent of Amazon authors for eleven exhilarating months! It WAS hard work – and just like my NaNoWriMo win, it may never happen again – but I am very proud of the achievement.
I don’t want to paint a ridiculously rosy picture of my 2012 progress, however. There was one huge, over-arching disappointment in 2012 and it came from an entity that I falsely hoped would partner in my success – Amazon. For the past three years I have coached my clients from the perspective of ‘an Amazon author’. In October those of you who follow my monthly blogs knew that Amazon stumbled through a series of “technical glitches” [Bezos explanation] that took thousands of micro-publishers out of business, myself included. Beset by problems with non-functioning buy-now buttons, frozen sales screens, latency on royalty reporting, non-functioning kdp Select features, Amazon realized itself as a lumbering, clumsy gorilla wreaking havoc on vendors and indieAuthors. Amazon’s impotent response to frustrated indieAuthors was the impetus for my developing an off-campus website that aggregates Amazon’s many Operations stumbles. Taking the name from Amazon’s 2009 stupid-moves I coined my website “KindleGate.webstarts.com” and began collecting news regarding the many ‘technical glitches’ that Jeff Bezos promised to reporter Amy Martinez could become SOP for Amazon as he fast-grows his global empire. On my site KindleGate.webstarts I track Amazon’s shut down (through technical glitches. . . Opps!) of Netflix, Kickstarter, and kdp Amazon – and their now-famous passive aggressive posture toward the governments of the UK and India. Between 12 November and 12 December KindleGate.webstarts logged in more than one-hundred hits a day, slowing while I was on vacation in Mexico, and picking up again as I took up the charge for linking to the ‘Amazon Glitches Shut Down Netflix’ story in The Washington Post. One of my most notable followers of KindleGate.webstarts was Alan Kipust, VP of Amazon Operations. A public shout-out to Alan for taking an interest in what this mid-list-at-best author is up to, “Thanks, Alan, for stopping by!”
No longer the little darlin’ in my book – I am expanding my publishing prowess beyond Amazon to include geekishly-attractive Smashwords (currently the number one upload choice for my clients); and of course to the myriad of other ePub opportunities that are developing weekly. I heard that Amazon controls 45% of the ePub market – that leaves 55% to discover – and I’m ALL about discovery!
Finally, in 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to the Transylvania region of Europe. I have seen the castle that brought fame to the Dracula Family. I celebrated Halloween 2012 by writing a series of European folklore, released in paperback under the title, “The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter”. Which, after all, is who I am!
Watch for progress notes on “Losing Sight: New Orleans in The Voodoo Era” at my Facebook page