Where am I in my writing journey? Have I become famous and create a writing academy? What about income, did I sell many books? Today, I’ll share with you my self-publishing story that has started since 2018.
Previously on my journey...
It’s been almost 3 years since I first self-published a book. Not sure what struck me back then, but my first book Orphic Tales was about science fiction set in Mars in the 31st century. It was fun but also tedious work to research about genetic disease, prosthetics, and more. But by the time I finished my book, I felt so accomplished.
I worked with Jejak Publisher to print my book, as well as Draft2Digital to sell the digital copy. It was only in 2018, after I self-published my second book titled Kaleidoscope, that I figured out another way to sell my books.
I signed consignment and bulk selling to independent bookstores. They include Books Actually in Singapore, Better Read than Die in Newtown, Australia, BACA in Malaysia, POST Pasar Santa in Jakarta, C2O in Surabaya, Kineruku in Bandung, and Buku Indie in Yogyakarta.
How did I fare?
Unfortunately, I didn’t calculate the income from consignment and bulk selling. It’s basically an income here and there. I didn’t keep track of it.
The digital sales, on the other hand, was available with analytics.
For Amazon KDP I made 2 sales over the past 3 years resulting in $6.14 profit. I’m getting 68% from $4.50 selling price. Meanwhile, there is only 1 sale in Draft2Digital that results in $2.98 profit, which is 66% of the revenue.
Pin this article!
Some analysis or defensive thoughts, you can say
Some of you might have questions: why so little sales? Is it normal to get only 60% of what you’re selling? You sell at $4.50, why?
I didn’t succeed in self-publishing mainly because I don’t market it well. As soon as I’m done, I felt it was enough and just wanted to see how many people would buy. I didn’t do my homework, which is to promote continuously. You can say I was somewhat embarrassed because of two things: I was a newbie and English is my second language. Thus, I felt I didn't deserve the attention.
Being shy also made me price myself low. But I tried to counter argue myself that selling at $4.50 makes sense because nowadays, eBooks can be sold as low as $0.99 and not only that, if I were to sell my book in Indonesia, the market wouldn’t want to pay more than $5 for a newbie.
Finally, the 60% commission. Is it normal? Considering that you’re using a platform, I think it’s normal not to get 100% of the sales. Afterall, these platforms need to make money, right?
So then, what are my next steps?
Perhaps some of you already know it. I’m revising my third book Solivagant. It will be about traveling in Italy, Indonesia, and Japan. The main protagonist, Kirana, is Indonesian who later falls in love with Nick in Italy. This book will be about their love story and their adventures in those three countries.
Yes, I finished my draft. Yes, I re-read the manuscript. It just takes me some time to revise and to be honest, it takes even more effort to get into it!
Writing is never easy. I began writing because I was lucky; I was surrounded with talented writers, such as my mother, my sister, and my friend Carissa Atrianty. I take writing as a passion rather than a potential occupation. To become a writer, you need to have the willingness to create characters, the plot, writing it down, only to mercilessly revise the manuscript, and going through the details of publications.
So, I would say that writing is not for everyone but like any form of art it welcomes you to try and to enjoy the process.
To learn more...