A Self-Publisher’s Fourth Year in Numbers

So, here we are again. Another year has passed and it’s time for my annual report on how my books have sold and gained reputation during the past year. As always, things didn’t go quite as planned, but that’s half the fun, right? …right?!

I published two books in 2017, Whiskey & Whiskers – an omnibus collecting the first three books in The 9 Lives of the Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series and Polafornia – an art/travel book in collaboration with Ingvild Eiring about our trip to California in 2015. I sold a total of 368 books in 2017, which is awesome compared to the epic low of 170 in 2016.

I thought 2016 would be the year I was going to put some serious money into promoting my books, next I thought 2017 would be the year I’d finally get around to do it, but alas, 2017 ended up as the year I spent all my money and then some on wetplate photography. I did, however, get some of my photography featured in a few magazines: Norwegian online photography magazine foto.no wrote an article about Zerelda Glanton, Square Magazine featured a few images from Polafornia and Impossible Project Magazine wrote a great article about Polafornia. I also got invited to the #blihus photo festival in Oslo, where I had a stand with my photo books for two days, which was nice.

I have serious plans for my wetplate photography, so I don’t feel bad about blowing all my money on it, I even have a dedicated website in the making for my wetplate work that I’ll reveal shortly.

My plans for 2018 are as follows:

  • Publish Black Lily, the fourth book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series
  • Maybe publish a short story collection (the same one that was on my list of plans last year)

Last year I had in mind to publish a book collecting ten years of self portraits, but I realised I’ve been shooting self portraits since 1999, so if I wait a few years I can publish a mammoth volume collecting 20 years of self portraits instead. In December this year Ingvild Eiring and I will have been taking pictures together for ten years, and by the time we hit December we will no doubt have done more than 50 shoots together. We’re planning to put together a book, and maybe even pitch it to a few publishers. And while I’m revealing my long-term plans, I might as well tell you that I’m about halfway through writing the first draft of the sixth book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series. It might not look like it here on my blog, but things are constantly moving/building/in the making in the house of Loen.

My #2017bestnine on my @julieloen profile on Instagram

The Numbers

As you’ve probably deduced from the title, I’ve made three similar blog posts to this one in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Scroll down or hit the “Annual Report” category to find them. I started doing these annual reports and sharing the actual numbers of my success and failures as a self-publisher because I missed this kind of information myself when I published my first novel in late 2013.

I’ve done things a bit differently this year. In 2016 I threatened to “throw in a pie chart or a line graph,” I actually ended up with columns.

Copies Sold 

As always, when I say “sold,” I mean all copies in distribution, including free books, giveaways and gifts. This blog post is about being honest, so I must honestly admit that I’m not making any money off this yet and I’m still very much in a place where it’s all about building an audience. I guess the PDFs will pretty much speak for themselves, here’s the first one: Books Sold 2013-2017


So little is moving over at Amazon and Smashwords, that I’m going to leave them out of this report. Like I admitted earlier, I haven’t done much to promote my books in 2017, but I have hosted a few Goodreads Giveaways and a couple of Free Book Promotions at KDP. I didn’t go out of my way to promote that I was running Free Book Promotions, I left it at mentioning it in Social Media, but most of the copies I’ve sold of Whiskey & Whiskers is, however, a result of KDP’s Free Book Promotions.

Ingvild Eiring and I hosted a belated release party for Polafornia in August (it was released in May), and to be perfectly honest it was an utter flop. It was a one day event at Cyan Salong in Oslo – a Saturday! We were there all day with books, prints, postcards and originals galore to sell. We even had a talk lined up about our trip to California, that gained zero interest. A friend of Ingvild showed up and saved the day, when she bought the book and a couple of prints, but all in all the so-called party was a major letdown.

As you can see, I waited until now to publish this post because I wanted to include the numbers from my latest Goodreads Giveaway.

Goodreads Giveaways

  • The 7th Bullet: Jan 17 – Feb 17. 1220 people requesting – 9 winners
  • Whiskey & Whiskers: Mar 11 – Apr 09. 1799 people requesting – 9 winners
  • Polafornia. May 08 – Jun 08. 1369 people requesting – 1 winner
  • Whiskey & Whiskers: Oct 09 – Nov 09. 2212 people requesting – 9 winners
  • Polafornia. Dec 08 – Jan 08, 2018. 1558 people requesting – 1 winner

Goodreads Numbers

Here are three charts, featuring the numbers of “To Read”s, “Ratings” and “Reviews” of my books on Goodreads. The numbers are the accumulated total, including all years, for each year. For example: My total reviews received for Embers at Dawn was 8 in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I didn’t get any new reviews those years, 8 are the most reviews of that book for all years combined. Goodreads Numbers 2013-2017. For some reason I’ve left out the number of followers at Goodreads earlier, so I guess I’ll start registering that now. I currently have 116 followers and 13 friends at Goodreads.

Social Media

As usual, I haven’t been particularly active neither here (on WordPress – sorry!), on Twitter (I still don’t quite get Twitter) or Facebook. My Instagram, however, is almost booming. I’ve even made two accounts in addition to my main account @julieloen. In October 2016 I created @aetherandinstant, that later became @studiostandstill – an account dedicated to my wetplate work. The idea behind that account was to have a place to record my progress and fails in wetplate photography from the very beginning. It has become my favorite Instagram account and people seem to enjoy it. The other new account, @polaloen, was created in February 2017 and is dedicated to my Polaroid pictures. I made @polaloen because I noticed on my regular account (@julieloen) that Polaroid pictures would often attract new followers, but I would lose them as soon as I posted something other than a Polaroid picture. Unlike @studistandstill, @polaloen is more of a project to shamelessly attract followers, and I only post Polaroid pictures there – no behind the scenes, cameras, equipment or other things that would make sense to post beside the Polaroids – it is purely a gallery. I also delete posts that get less than 50 likes, but I have yet to decide if the project @polaloen is a success or not.

Here’s my Social Media Numbers 2014-2017


Just like in 2016, I haven’t done much to push merchandise in 2017 either, and consequently haven’t sold much. The biggest effort I made was to promote prints for sale in my Tictail store on @polaloen.

I have sold exactly one book from my Tictail store and one print from my Society 6 store, that’s it. I am, however, bringing back my Etsy store very soon – a revamped edition dedicated to my wetplate art.

That’s it for now! As a small token of gratitude to the mad folks who got to the bottom of this, here’s a free copy of Whiskey & Whiskers (Kindle edition) – but be quick! It’s only free for three days.



A Year of Wetplates

A year ago I ventured into the world of wetplate photography as prepared as I possibly could be – I had read several books, countless articles, watched I-don’t-know-how-many videos on YouTube and attended a workshop before I went it alone. Still, I had a lot to learn… Still, I have a lot to learn, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

I’ve made 225 plates during my freshman year as a wetplate photographer and learned just as many lessons (or so it feels like). I’ve set plates on fire and made images disappear. I’ve scratched plates and dropped them, spilled chemicals all over my darkroom and on myself, and don’t even get me started on the varieties of working too slow/too fast that’s gotten me in trouble, not to mention the plethora of quirks the chemicals can induce. But among all the fails, I’ve also had quite a few wins. In short, being able to tell what’s wrong when something is “off” and know how to fix it is the biggest win. It took a year to get there, but I’m confident when I say “I know what I’m doing,” now… or, y’know, most of the time.

The collage features one image from each month of my first year as a wetplate photographer, starting with October last year in the upper left hand corner and finishing with September this year in the lower right hand corner. Models are: Ingvild Eiring, Janne Ebbesdatter Lavogez and yours truly.

If you’d like to see more of my wetplates, head on over to julieloen.com or follow my adventures in wetplate photography on Instagram.

Polafornia – Release Party and Exhibition

Polafornia will finally get a belated release party next Saturday on August 26th at Cyan Salong in Oslo. Ingvild and I will be there from 12.00 to 22.00. At 14.00 we’ll give a talk about our trip, if anyone’s interested. The book will be available to purchase, as will postcards and posters. Hope to see you there!

And while you’re still here, allow me to mention that Polafornia is now available at Tronsmo and Cyan Salong in Oslo. If you’d like a signed copy, you can order one from my Tictail shop.

And just one more thing, foto.no has posted an article (in Norwegian) about All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton. Read it here, I think it turned out pretty nice. 🙂

Polafornia is OUT NOW!

My new photobook, made in collaboration with Ingvild Eiring, is finally available!

Longtime collaborators and friends, model and artist Ingvild Eiring, and photographer and author Julie Loen embark on a week-long trip to California, traveling in a loop from San Francisco, via Sacramento to Yosemite, and back to San Francisco again. Join them on their adventure through a selection of Polaroid pictures, digital photographs, candid snapshots, drawings, and words.

Ingvild and Julie visit Alcatraz without doing the audio tour, encounter a family of skunks by Folsom Lake, deal with an allergy attack after cuddling a rabbit in Sacramento, fall in love with an abandoned trailer home in El Portal, ride horses in Yosemite, raft down the Merced River, discover the original “bollefjoms” at the Palace of Fine Arts, and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog.

– Contains some nudity –

The 180 page book is available in three different editions:

  • Hardcover (12x12in/30x30cm) for $139.99 – Buy it here
  • Softcover (7x7in/18x18cm) for $79.99 – Buy it here
  • E-book for $0.99 – Buy it here

Whiskey & Whiskers is Out Now

Whiskey & Whiskers collects the first three books in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series.

Get your copy here: Paperback or Kindle

Said about Embers a Dawn, the first book:

“If you like your Westerns dark and morally ambiguous, J.C. Loen’s EMBERS AT DAWN is plenty of both.” –Charles Baker for IndieReader

Said about An Obelus Wheeze, the second book:

“To say I liked the lead character would be an understatement. The balance between her tough will to survive and her loyalty and gentleness to those closest to her is a joy to read and I found myself smiling, even laughing out loud, on many an occasion.” – Kenneth Wilson, Goodreads

Said about The 7th Bullet, the third book:

“I really enjoyed the strong female outlaw. The story kept me reading and wondering if I was right in what I expected to happen.” Lynn, Goodreads


A Self-Publisher’s Third Year in Numbers

I won’t say 2016 has been a bad year, but it hasn’t been quite the year I had in mind a year ago either. I had expected to publish two more books than I did; another photo book in collaboration with Ingvild Eiring and a short story collection. I also thought 2016 would be the year I’d put some money into promoting my work and by doing so sell more books, but I got laid off work for three months and simply couldn’t blow money on such fancy notions.

But 2016 has also been kinda awesome. I got around to get my driver’s license (about time, I’m 35). All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton got a proper exhibition at Studio Cyan in Oslo. I finally got into wetplate photography, and I’m loving it.  And I published The 7th Bullet, the third book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw known as Crazy Cat series. On top of these major events I’ve met some fantastic new people and had many a good time with old friends.

So, here’s the plan for 2017:

  • Publish another photo book with Ingvild Eiring
  • Publish a short story collection
  • Publish the first The 9 Lives of The Outlaw known as Crazy Cat omnibus (Book 1-3)
  • Probably publish a photo book of self portraits I’ve shot the last ten years
  • Maybe (if time allows it) publish Black Lily, the fourth book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw known as Crazy Cat series

That’s pretty much it. I’ve got a few other things brewing too, but I’ll allow those projects to pop up as a surprise if/when they’re good and ready to be revealed.


My so-called #2016bestnine on Instagram

A Self-Publisher’s Third Year in Numbers
A year ago I wrote the post A Self-Publisher’s Second Year in Numbers, and the year before A Debut Novel’s First Year in Numbers. This is the follow-up to those posts.

The Books
Embers at Dawn was published in December 2013, An Obelus Wheeze in April 2015, All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton in July 2015 and The 7th Bullet in July 2016. I include free copies when I say “sold,” at this point I’m more concerned about getting my work into the hands of as many readers as possible, than getting rich. Here’s the cold, hard numbers of my books’ success so far: 

Embers at Dawn

Copies sold per year:

2013: 233

2014: 1106

2015: 337

2016: 110

Movements on Goodreads:


2014: 929 + 7 reviews and 13 ratings

2015: 878 +  8 reviews and 21 ratings

2016: 866 + 8 reviews and 20 ratings

It also has one review on Amazon and one on Smashwords.

An Obelus Wheeze

Copies sold per year:

2015:  39 

2016: 9

Movements on Goodreads:


2015: 595 + 5 reviews and 15 ratings

2016: 570 + 6 reviews and 17 ratings

It also has one review on Amazon.

The 7th Bullet

Copies sold per year:

2016: 22

Movements on Goodreads:

I have hosted one Goodreads giveaway for it where I gave away nine books, 1092 people requested it.


2016: 416 + 3 reviews and 5 ratings

It also has one review on Amazon.

All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton

Copies sold per year:

2015: 15

2016: 29

Movements on Goodreads:

I have hosted two Goodreads giveaways for it where I gave away one book, 1036 people requested it in 2015 and 1332 in 2016.


2015: 407 + 3 reviews

2016: 694 + 3 reviews

Social Media and Merchandise

Followers per year: 2014 – 2015 – 2016

WordPress: 35 – 49 – 53

Facebook: 130 – 144 – 175

Instagram: 98 – 147 – 363

Twitter: 67 – 137- 209

I haven’t made any new merchandise and pretty much ignored the whole thing in 2016, and consequently not seen any of the stuff that’s already for sale move. I’m considering bringing my Etsy store back to life and fill it with darkroom prints and wetplates, but it’s not on top of my list – I need to get a few unfinished projects done first.

So, there you are; my third year as a self-publisher in numbers. I sold a total of 170 books, an epic low, but I intend to change that trend asap. Until next time, have a good one!

I Do Wetplates Now

From my first wetplate shoot with model Ingvild Eiring.

I’ve been dreaming about this for years! So, I finally decided to do something about it – I bought a large format camera, chemicals and equipment, and a month ago I attended a wetplate workshop hosted by Sarah Lycksten in Sweden, and have been busy shooting plates since.

I’ll make a dedicated gallery for my wetplate work over at julieloen.com as soon as I have enough decent plates to show off. In the meantime, you can follow my progress and fails on Instagram – I’ve set up an account dedicated exclusively to my wetplate work called Aether & Instant.

Zerelda Exhibition

Yeee-haw! The exhibition of images from the photo book I made in collaboration with Ingvild Eiring kicks off at Cyan Salong in Oslo next Friday. Prints, originals and, of course, the book itself will be for sale.

Here’s what y’all need to know:

Launch party: Friday, September the 16th from 18.00.

Talk, yup… that’s right, Ingvild and I will be rambling on about the project on Thursday the 22nd from 19.00.

The exhibition will be up and running for two weeks, with regular hours from Saturday the 17th to Friday the 30th of September. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 12-15.00. Closed on Mondays.

Ingvild and I will be present at the launch party and the talk, and I will be present at the gallery on the weekends (Friday – Sunday). Stop by and and say howdy! 🙂