In a recent podcast Joanna Penn looked back on her indie career in steps of four years, like Olympic athletes do. This because moving forward with self-publishing often doesn’t happen in a year, but lots of things can change in four years.
Inspired by this I thought it would be fun to see how my own ‘Olympic’ career as an indie author has changed over the years and look forward to the future.
2008 (Bejing Olympics)
In 2008 I lived in York, England and worked part-time at a local delicatessen shop. I had self-published my first book, Romans, Vikings, Churches and Chocolate in 2007. Ebooks didn’t exist yet in those days, except in PDF-form, and I had done a short paperback print-run of 3000 copies. Consequently in 2008 my house was still full of boxes! I had managed however to get my book into all the local bookshops, including Barnes & Knoble and Waterstones and, it being interesting for tourists, in all the museum shops as well. In 2008 I sold my 1000th copy, so at least some of the stockpile was going down.
Early 2008 I wrote my second book, From Dissenters to Fire Engines and did a short print-run of 1000 copies. This added to the pile of boxes in my attic again, but later in that year, I moved back to the Netherlands and all the boxes moved to my distributor’s house. She took over the distribution of my books, sending me my royalties every so often.
2012 (London Olympics)
In 2012 I was back in the Netherlands and worked part-time as a receptionist at the town hall. In 2010 I had written my third book, Time Zones, Container and Three Square Meals a Day. This book was published as ebook and also available as paperback in Print on Demand, saving me from having a house full of boxes again. By now my distributor in York let me know that Romans, Vikings, my first book, was sold out.
I had written and published a sequel to Time Zones in 2011 by the name of More Stories of Time Zones and Containers. This book was available in the same way as Time Zones, as ebook and Paperback.
In 2012 I translated Time Zones into Dutch and next to having it published as ebook, I did a short print-run of 250 copies.
Although I didn’t make millions with selling my books in 2012, I was able to pay some monthly bills and even give myself a tiny ‘salary’ as well.
2016 (Rio Olympics)
In 2016 I still live in the same town as in 2012 and still work part-time as a receptionist. By now my second book in York is sold out, while the three books I had in 2012 still sell as ebooks and paperback. In 2014 I decided to try my hand at fiction and via a certain set of circumstances, I reconnected with my friend Eva, who became my developmental editor. She helped me develop my fiction into a cosy mystery series, of which the first book, Don’t Feed the Rat! is now finished and in the editing stages.
In the summer of 2016, I decided to properly set myself up as an author/entrepreneur, a process which is in its early stages, but moving along by leaps and bounces.
During our ruminations over my fiction, Eva and I developed a new writing technique, which we decided was special enough to share with the world. So currently we are co-writing a How To book, which will be published in June next year. Just before that Don’t Feed the Rat! will also be published.
The rest of 2016 I will be busy setting up my writing business, and plotting Book 2 of my cosy mystery series, currently going by the working title Sewer Mayhem.
2020 (Tokyo Olympics)
By 2020 I have implemented my author/entrepreneur plans and am quite far along in being able to earn my keep with writing and publshing. I am nearly finsihed with writing the nine-book cosy mystery series and perhaps am contemplating a new series.
Of course the How To book I wrote with Eva will have done really well and we both will have become experts, having co-written a sequel. We are both blogging about our writing technique and perhaps even have set up an online course for people to buy.
I hope that by 2020 the Dutch self-publishing world has matured and is now taken serious by Dutch athors, who flock to my website for advice on self-pubbing and marketing. This has therefore become a third stream of income for me, revolving around a number of How To books that I wrote about the subject and perhaps some more online courses.
So far my Olympic career. What suprises me most looking back is how much the self-publishing world has changed in a relatively short period of time. Hard to believe that Amazon launched KDP as a self-publishing platform in 2009, which is only seven years ago!
This gives me hope for the future as a lot can change in four years time, so my predictions for 2020 don’t sound that farfetched at all!
To hear Joanna Penn about her own Olympic career, listen to her podcast of 29th of August 2016.
Picture via subscription to iClipart