(My assistant Trim [lower right] taking a break.)
Two years ago when I decided to stop pursuing the traditional route of publication and independently publish, I had hopes of selling a few hundred books. Sure, every writer wants to be a bestselling author, but I figured I'd be happy if someone other than friends and family simply knew my work existed.
I'd long ago lost count of the number of rejections I've received, at first from agents and eventually from editors. When I initially put my debut book on Kindle, there were days I clicked on my KDP sales report page and didn't get a single sale. Sometimes that went on for most of a week. Great big goose eggs. Oh well, I tried.
Yet something kept me going: supportive family, a champion agent and fellow writers. Along the way, I had crit partners who were persistent in their encouragement, even when I didn't have confidence in myself, and who made suggestions in a helpful, positive way that made my writing better. I remember the phone call from a successful agent (OMGosh, someone was actually interested in my books!) that had me so excited I almost burst. I can't neglect to mention my two children who allowed me to ignore them so I could write and the husband who made sure that dinner was on the table when I was absorbed in my work.
And one day, along came my first fan mail. It was January of 2011. I'd been self-published for seven months. I thought surely this was just some kind soul taking pity on me and spreading random kindness. Now, I can glance up at the wall behind my desk (above) and see it papered with e-mails and FB posts and tweets from readers. Yes, real readers. I sure as heck don't know that many people! I'm still amazed that anyone would take the time to write to an author, least of all me.
Yesterday, my KDP sales report page ticked over with my 50,000th Kindle sale on Amazon. Honestly, it feels more than a little surreal.
Just in case you think that's something spectacular, here's a list of indie authors and their sales figures for April 2012: Top 100 Indie Authors. It's not a comprehensive list, as some indie authors are more public with their numbers than others, but Holy Smokes! It's amazing how well some self-published authors are doing. Here's another thread on Kindleboards listing authors with over 50,000 sales.
Success, however small or large, never happens without a little help from others. Whatever your dreams, wherever you're starting from, however far you have yet to go, remember - one step at a time, stay the path and (as Oprah used to say) surround yourself with angels. They're there if you look for them. I've been lucky enough to find more than a few along the way.