A SELF-PUBLISHER’S FIFTH YEAR IN NUMBERS

Finally! Here’s my very belated annual report on how my books have sold and gained reputation during the past year. I reached an epic low concerning book sales in 2018… I guess that’s some sort of achievement too.

I didn’t publish any books in 2018. I meant to (at least) publish the fourth book in The 9 Lives of the Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series, but life got in the way and there simply wasn’t enough time to complete that particular task. I sold a total of 136 books in 2018. I thought 2016 was bad with a total of 170 books sold, but I can thank myself for that. I have done absolutely nothing to peddle a single book since my previous annual report.

I am currently working on the last stages of editing Black Lily, the fourth book in The 9 Lives of the Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series. It will be published later this year, probably in the fall. I’ll get back to promoting my books when it’s launched.

I did, however, get a few things done concerning my wetplate photography. I hosted four wetplate workshops, attended two markets where I made tintype portraits, launched a website dedicated to my wetplate work and got my Etsy store up and running again (this time dedicated to wetplate photography). I also went to my first portfolio review… and I’ve been confused ever since, questioning my art and wondering what direction to take. I’ve come to the obvious conclusion that I need to make personal photographic work that is either meaningful or sellable. Now I just need to figure out what I find truly meaningful and/or what sort of images do people actually want to spend money on – not as easy as it sounds.

I usually reveal my plans for the year in my annual reports here, but I’ll skip it this time. I’ll be darned if I don’t publish Black Lily, that’s all I’m gonna say. I don’t want to jinx any more projects by revealing them too soon. 😉

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My #2018bestnine on my @julieloen profile on Instagram

The Numbers

As you’ve probably deduced from the title, I’ve made four similar blog posts to this one in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. 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.

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 2013-2018

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 2013-2018

Social Media

Again, as always (it seems) I end up apologising and explaining why I haven’t fulfilled my plans for the previous year, and excusing myself for being the worst. blogger. ever. Sorry! I haven’t entertained WordPress as much as I should, I even quit Twitter. I’m still all over Instagram, though, with three private accounts: @julieloen – a mess of misc. and personal stuff, @polaloen – a gallery dedicated to my Polaroid work, and @studiostandstill – an account dedicated to my wetplate work. You can also find me on Facebook, but Facebook seems less than useless these days, if you want to promote something creative.

Here’s my Social Media Numbers 2014-2018

Merchandise

I wasn’t been much better at selling merchandise than books in 2018, but it didn’t turn out too bad. I sold two art prints at Society6, one book and three sets of postcards from my Tictail store, and one set of postcards and one tintype from my Etsy store. I also sold a few postcards and tintypes at the markets where I made portraits. I didn’t sell anything from my Zazzle store.

I’ll be closing my Tictail store soon (they’re shutting down), and probably move everything (or most of it) to Etsy. I’m considering closing my Zazzle store too.

That’s it for now! Hopefully my next annual report will be filled with big numbers and bigger accomplishments. I don’t, however, consider 2018’s lack of retrospect bravado to be synonymous with failure, it was simply a year of travelling… and I haven’t reached the destination yet.

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