I’m not really quitting, but I couldn’t think of a bigger headline. I did, however, sell ten thousand e-books in one year. Here’s how it happened …
One year ago, on October the 1st 2012, I hit publish on Amazon’s KDP self-publishing program. I’d spent the month before getting The Village Idiot Reviews together. It’s written in the front of the book, but for those of you that haven’t read it, I’ll tell you how and why I came about the idea in the first place.
In fact this was the same deal I cut with everyone I worked with on TVIR. Luckily, all saw more promise in it than I did and agreed. I still thought it would be a disaster and that I’d never have to come good on my promise – not that I didn’t want to, I just wasn’t that confident in my work. I need to shout out to my mum here, also, as she actually covered half of the costs. Another thing I paid for was a decent product description; this helped, and it’s something I’ve used as a template for my other books. For no other reason than the career of the chap who did it, Mark Edwards, had taken off and his publishers think his time is better spent working on his own books. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to bring him in to my little project, though.
The bug had got me by then and in January I started a romcom; large market, I thought, lovely. However, large market means large competition. Dating In The Dark: sometimes love just pretends to be blind has done OK, though. In fact, my other works this year, More Village Idiot Reviews, The Diary Of An Expectant Father, and The Diary Of a Hapless Father have all done OK. All were put out with the hope that they just wouldn’t lose me money, which they haven’t, and the ones I’ve just mentioned all paid for themselves within the first month, (except for Dating In The Dark: sometimes love just pretends to be blind, which took two, but it’s a longer book).
People ask me lots of times, what’s your secret. There isn’t one. I’ve done the same have others have done and people have liked my work. I would say to anyone thinking of self-publishing though, put some time, money and hard work into your project, if you don’t you can’t expect anyone else to. (Well, hopefully, it won’t be hard work for the reader, but you know what I mean.) One thing I’ve learnt is that I don’t always need to make my own mistakes. If I see someone run across the road while a lorry's coming, I won’t do that. Likewise if I see someone link-dropping their book every time they comment, I won’t do that either. In fact, in recent months, I’ll only post my paid for books links once, then I’ll only share the free ones on Facebook. Maybe I’m going about that wrong, but I would much rather give people I know the books for nothing than charge them, then expect them to share the link when it goes free. I’d be pissed off if someone did that to me. Maybe not once, but I’ve now got ten products.
I’m lucky enough to have people contact me on Facebook to tell me how much they enjoyed reading something of mine. This is something I never thought would happen. It’s nice, though, and I always try and give people who take the time to contact me something for free. There really has been little more to my success than writing a book people wanted to read, investing my time (even when I’d much rather have been talking about writing than doing it), my money, and being nice to people, both fans and the people who work for me.
I’ve learnt so much over the last year, It’s like being a project manager when you’ve got three guys doing four or five jobs for you, giving feedback on work is something I struggle with if I’ve not made myself clear in the first place, however it all just comes down to being nice about it and working with people rather than moaning or placing blame. One thing overall that I’ve learnt is that dialogue helps most things. Not speaking doesn’t. The other thing I’d like to say is that most of my problems on this front have been my own, where I’ve been trying to do too many things at once and don’t explain myself well enough rather than anyone that I’ve worked with. I’m surprised they all put up with me, to be honest.
There really isn’t much more to it than that. I’ll stop short of saying I’ve been lucky and go with fortunate. The reason I say this is because sitting tapping away on a keyboard at 2a.m. when everyone else is in bed doesn’t feel much like luck, it feels more like hard graft.
I don’t like to forget the people that have helped me get where I am now, which is slightly better off and slightly more tired than I’ve ever been, with a pile of books I’ve written myself. This time last year I had a pile of books that I had short stories in. so it’s nice to see all my effort sitting on my shelf.
That’s about it for now, like most things I’ve left this to the last minute and have probably forgotten about something, but if I think of anything I’ll come back to it. I wanted to write this because during the first couple of months I was desperately looking for blogs that spoke about the experience of others. If I hadn’t been so busy writing the books in the last year I might have kept one myself, but unfortunately I would never have kept it up and I knew it, so I did what I always do when I know I can’t give it my all, I didn’t bother. That’s the difference between writing a blog and writing a book, deep down inside, with the little bit of my ego that I didn’t want to tell people about, I knew I could write a book that people would like. My low self-confidence stopped me trying for a long time, but in the end, and after Dennis going, I knew it was time to start and time to prove to myself I could. What’s next to prove? I have no idea. Maybe a sitcom. There, I’ve said it now, it’s out of the little part of my brain that cares what people think.
Graham D. Lock
The Ayris Brothers, Ian & Stu
My mum & dad
My wife, Lucie
My brother and sister
My mate, James Vickery.
Everyone who I know personally, from Facebook, and fans who’ve bought my books and then told others about them.
So, that’s about it.
Cheers, Pete – here's to the next 10,000!
About the author.
Pete is 32 and lives with his wife, Lucie, and their pet sofa, Jeff. He's been writing for just under three years and they've been pretty eventful; well, more eventful than he thought sitting on Jeff, typing, would be, anyway.
First published in the Radgepacket anthology with a story he'd written during month five of his new hobby, Pete's now featured in a total of ten different anthologies and has been amongst some very fine company. (Although I've been the best in all of them, I know that because both my Mum and Jeff told me and they're both honest-to-God Christians ... possibly.)
Author of comedy e-books The Village Idiot Reviews, The Office Idiot Reviews, The Idiot Government Reviews, and More Village idiot Reviews. These books sell more than he ever thought they would, and he's hooked. Dating in the Dark is Pete's first self-published novel. His traditionally published novel, So Low, So High, was published by Caffeine Nights in June 2013.
Diary Of A Hapless Father: months 0-3
Diary Of An Expectant Father
So Low So High
More Village Idiot Reviews
The Idiot Government Reviews
The Village Idiot Reviews
The Office Idiot Reviews
Dating In The Dark: sometimes love just Pretends to be blind