March 2012 • Vol. 23, No. 03 • Download pdf version
BY SHANNON DONNELLY
It’s been a year since the article “Digital…Eventually” came out and the digital world is a lot like the dog world—time is compressed. It’s not exactly a seven-to-one ratio, but a lot has happened. This year, the buzz word is “discoverability” as in how does anyone find you, given all the hoopla and noise? The noise has been big stuff, too.
Barnes & Noble began publishing more than just classics, and Amazon became a publisher, which has shaken up New York publishers. Amazon also launched the Select program for lending books, to additional flurry.
Amanda Hocking became the 2011 poster girl for digital success. We’ve had existing publishers announcing their digital plans, ranging from Berkley/NAL bringing back Signet Regency romances as e-books under the InterMix imprint to HarperCollins publishing work from their Authornomy writers’ site. Apple launched a new program for textbooks that has a whole lot of fine print. (But NY is still not talking about raising e-book royalty rates.)
You can follow the rest of what’s going on at www.DigitalBookWorld.com, on Bob Mayer’s blog, http://writeitforward.wordpress.com, and at www.PublishersWeekly.com. But that’s all big picture stuff. I’m here to talk about my year in the trenches. It may help with your own digital discoveries.
Let’s start with what everyone wants to know—the numbers. I’ve sold more than 90,000 books this year. Yes, that’s right, more than 90K. These are U.S.-only sales; the number doesn’t include giveaways. Last year, I didn’t pay much attention to international sales from Amazon; this year the numbers are growing fast, so I’ll be watching that. My bestsellers last year were A Proper Mistress and A Dangerous Compromise (one also sold great in print, the other did not, so go figure).
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I’ve given away just over 15,000 copies of my Regency novella, Cat’s Cradle, so total e-books out there for me is more than 100,000. That’s respectable— not huge numbers, but not bad. It’s also the first year I’ve made enough to say that I’m supporting myself with my writing—and not starving while doing so.
Always a plus. With this in mind, I brought out my first selfpublished book, a Regency Historical romance, Paths of Desire. Last year, my sales did not start moving upward until after June/July—just Continued on page 5