Well, folks. 2010 is over. Now it’s time to sit back and reflect on what the past year meant for the McAfee household. I figured I’d take a minute or so to do a nice breakdown for all of you, so you could see where I am.
Now, before I talk books, I want to note that my wife and I are expecting our first baby in the next month. While that will certainly fall under the category of things to reflect on in 2012, I’m going to mention it here because we tried for two years to get pregnant, and it finally happened in 2010. So no matter what else I mention below, that will be my biggest accomplishment for the year: I helped make a baby.
Also in 2010, my wife and I celebrated the 10th anniversary of our first date. Not bad. 10 years with the same wonderful, supportive woman. Oh sure, I tease her about trading her in for a new model from time to time, but there is no way I’d ever give her up. Not even when she teases me about my (lack of) hair. And she knows it. At least, I hope she knows it.
Now, down to books.
I started 2010 with a publishing contract. Some of you may remember my numerous rants about Ghostwriter Publications and its owner, Neil Jackson. I am not going to rehash everything that has already been said – anyone who is curious can search my previous posts for Ghostwriter Publications – but I will say that was a huge mistake. Mr. Jackson is about as shady and dishonest as they come, and I urge any and all aspiring writers to keep their distance.
Moving on, after the debacle with GWP, I self published 33 A.D. as a print book and also on Kindle. During the course of the year I added four more books to my stable. How did they stack up? I’m glad you asked. Here are the sales numbers for all my titles in 2010. (Note: these numbers are for eBooks only…I don’t have accurate print book data.)
33 A.D. – 3,552 copies
Saying Goodbye to the Sun – 636 copies
The Lake and 17 Other Stories – 2,653 copies
GRUBS – 271 copies
A Pound of Flash – 174 copies
Total eBook sales for 2010 – 7,286 copies
Certainly no staggering numbers here. My sales are not on the level of Amanda Hocking or Joe Konrath, but they are still well above average for a self published writer. (Note: Amanda Hocking is a phenomenon. In December 2010 alone she sold 100,000 books. Amazing!), but if you look at the sales (Kindle only) on a month by month basis, I think you’ll find an interesting trend.
March 2010: 11 books sold
April 2010: 97 books sold
May 2010: 146 books sold
June 2010: 256 books sold
July 2010: 350 books sold
August 2010: 957 books sold
September 2010: 1,075 books sold
October 2010: 1,246 books sold
November 2010: 1,225 books sold
December 2010: 1,668 books sold
Notice anything? With the exception of November, my Kindle book sales went up every single month. That’s a trend I can get used to. It’s also not going to continue into January. December is always a huge month for book sales, and eBook sales are no different. So I tend to look at December’s sales as an anomaly. The real test, in my opinion, will be if sales in January prove to be an increase over November’s sales. If so, I’ll be back here on February 1st with another happy post.
But sales aren’t everything, are they? This brings me to reviews. Across all 5 titles, I received 95 Amazon (US) reviews in 2010. Here is the breakdown:
33 A.D. – 59 reviews
Saying Goodbye to the Sun – 9 reviews
The Lake and 17 Other Stories – 16 reviews
GRUBS – 9 reviews
A Pound of Flash – 2 reviews.
And by rating:
5 stars: 56
4 stars: 32
3 stars: 6
2 stars: 1
1 stars: 0*
*I did receive a 1 star review on B&N and Goodreads. Both for the same book (A Pound of Flash)
That’s not bad. Not bad at all. I also learned that it is generally not a good idea to respond to negative reviews, unless your response is something like “Thank you for your review. Sorry it wasn’t right for you,” or something similar. But knee-jerk replies explaining your difference of opinion are not the way to go.
To go along with good sales and good reviews, I’ve also started getting fan mail. That one still seems hard to believe. Fan mail. Me. Who’d a’thunk it? People are actually reading my books and liking them enough to take the time to tell me so. How cool is that? I print off every bit of fan mail I receive and keep it in a binder. Every once in a while I read them again if I’m having a bad day (and those happen more often than you might think). They help me get back to that “I can do this” state of mind. So to everyone who has sent me a happy little thought about my books, thank you very, very much. (And Cindy, you are the bomb! I just wanted to let you know that!)
I also made some new friends in 2010. David Dalglish, Michael Crane, Daniel Arenson, John Fitch V, Amanda Hocking, Robert DuPerre, Donnie Light, Ellen C. Maze, and Jason Letts, just to name a few.
All in all, 2010 was a very good year. I feel like I’ve put my work out there and so far it’s measured up. I still have a long way to go, but I think I’ve established a nice foundation for a career in fiction writing. I’m slowly building a fan base, and most people *seem* to enjoy my work. So yeah, I can live with that. 2011 should be an even better year, with more books released and (hopefully) more sales. (Ha! Suck on that, Neil M. Jackson!) With luck, I can catch up to some of my friends who are currently stomping the pants off me.
So what’s next? Well, for Spring 2011, I plan to release the much-anticipated sequel to 33 A.D., which is titled Londinium. The book takes place in Roman-era Britain in 61 A.D. In the story, we find out what Taras has been up to, and what happened to Theron after he fled Jerusalem in disgrace. We also get to see Ramah again, and as a special treat we are introduced the single Most Wanted renegade Bachiyr of all time, a woman named Baella. And before anyone asks, she had that name long before Twilight was published. So PBBBLLLT!
Also on the radar for 2010 are another short story collection or two (I just love doing those), a sci-fi/fantasy novel called The Last War, another horror novel titled The Gallows Tree, and two more vampire novels: BAIT and Vampires, Inc. I’ll tell you guys more about those in the coming months, but I have to say I am very, very excited about Vampires, Inc. That book is going to be FUN to write.
Lastly, for those who are curious about Vincent, the main character from Saying Goodbye to the Sun, you might want to stay tuned. He’s coming back, too. Possibly as early as January 2012.
All right, that about wraps it up for today. Hope you guys all have a GREAT weekend!