lack of self esteem

One painful dollar at a time

I’m celebrating right now.  In the great scheme of things my little victory is small fry; so small in fact that I’m a little embarrassed to mention it publicly for fear of being laughed at by ‘successful’ authors (what the fuck is a successful author anyway?).  For me though, it’s a huge victory that bring a tear of triumph to my eye and helps my fragile self esteem to swell a micron further.

My scifi series, The Lilean Chronicles is three books into a four book series.  Up until last week I gave the e-book versions away free.  This was for many reasons.  I know that, as an unknown writer the most important thing I have to do is get my name known, get a following and to do this, I need readers.  People are reluctant to spend actual money on an unknown writer so I figured the easiest way would be to give them away.  In the three books out so far, I’ve had over 5 hundred downloads whilst they were free.  Another reason was lack of self esteem.  I worry that people won’t like my work so I was scared to charge for it.

In recent weeks I’ve read articles and blogs from authors who say that they only started making money from their e-books when they gave their first book away free and charged a small price for the rest.  A hook to reel them in so they’re happy to pay for more once they’ve sampled and liked the free bait.  Then my cover art guy encouraged me to do the same so thought “what the heck, give it a go” so a few days ago I set my price at $1 for each and waited.

Tonight I sold 1 copy each of volumes 2 and 3 and made $1.40 and I’m so happy I could cry.  To know that a complete stranger has made the conscious choice to spend their hard earned on my work, and also to know that they’ve obviously already read volume 1 and still chosen to spend their hard earned on a further 2 volumes, is priceless.  It gives me a huge boost and when (not if.  Note the positive vibe here?) I’m a rich and famous author with a swanky pad in LA, I shall remember this first $1.40 and smile and give a silent thank you to the universe.  Every single dollar will be greeted with a grin and a punch in the air but this first $1.40 will always be special.

Dwayne Johnson has his famous $7 story and now I have my $1.40 story.  Maybe when I’m entertaining him to lunch in my swanky LA pad we can swap stories of our poor days..!