Happy Anniversary to Me

Today is the one-year anniversary of my uploading Rottweiler Rescue to Amazon for Kindle. It doesn’t seem that long ago. I remember quite clearly how uncertain I was about the whole project. Would anyone buy a book like that from a complete unknown? If, yes, practically speaking would enough people buy such a book to make the whole project worthwhile?

So I uploaded and posted what I’d done on the indie threads in the Kindle forum — and Rottweiler Rescue sold 8 copies in its first twenty-four hours! Talk about instant gratification; talk about a light bulb going on in someone’s head.

In this past year, taking advantage of the opportunity Amazon has given people like me has changed my life.

I’ve sold over 11,000 books — mostly ebooks for Kindle, but also other formats via Smashwords, and more paperbacks than I ever expected considering how high the price has to be for POD trade paperbacks.

I’ve become “controversial,” something I still have trouble believing, but there it is.

I’ve been contacted by two traditional publishers, one of which offered a contract I turned down and one of which faded into the woodwork after an initial pleasant conversation.

In addition to the reviews published on public sites, I’ve had dozens of private emails from people who liked my books — my books have fans!

I’ve made cyber-friends such as those of you who took part in the old HR forum thread and now comment here.

The indie author forums are full of threads speculating about the road to success. There are endless debates about price points, cover quality, reviews and promotion. After watching how sales went for Sing in its first month compared to Eyes in its first month, however, I believe those who advise, “Write more.” That’s what I plan to do.

~Ellen

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12 Responses to Happy Anniversary to Me

  1. McD says:

    Congratulations Ellen. What a difference a year makes.
    In New Year 2010, I bet you never could have imagined what was in store for you for the coming year – the good and the bad.

    And am so glad to hear that you will be acting on the advice to write more. I for one will be lining up to read your historical western romances for as long as you keep writing them.

  2. Thanks, McD (and mesadallas for your comment in the other thread). No, when I hesitantly started out I never expected it to grow into what it has. In fact I originally planned to put out the mystery and if there was any audience for it, to keep writing the mystery series. I really believed western romances had no audience these days.

    After the mystery did so much better than I ever dreamed, I started to look at Eyes and think, hmmm, what could it hurt? ~Ellen

  3. Chantal Lemoine says:

    Dear Ellen,
    I just read “Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold” and “Sing my Name”, and I absolutely loved them… You made me laugh, and you made me cry, and you made me happy at the end of both books. I’m going to read your mysteries next, and I’m looking forward to some happy hours. You are an inspiration. Please keep writing books, so I can keep reading!
    Love, Chantal

  4. Noreen says:

    Oh, please keep writing full loooonnnngggg books so we can really get to know the characters and believe in them and the story. I hate all the novellas that are out there now – they’re just a tease with no substance, but when they’re a part of a series, you’re almost forced to buy them – yuk! Your books were (are) wonderful, perfect! I couldn’t put them down. The family was starving, wallowing in dirt 🙂

  5. Jane A says:

    Yes, write more! I love that that is your take home message! I had been missing good historical westerns and you have written two of the best I’ve read in quite awhile. I think the key to the “road to success” is writing a darn good book, which you can obviously do.

    I also love that you sell your books on Smashwords, at such an awesome price. 🙂

  6. Hi Chantal, Noreen, and Jane – It’s nice to see some new cyber faces here. Thanks so much for your comments and encouragement. Yes, the next book will be as long as the others. So far I don’t seem to have short story ideas – at least for the romances. The mystery is more standard cozy mystery length.

    And thanks for the comment on Sing’s title, Noreen. I confess to being pretty pleased with it myself. ~Ellen

  7. mesadallas says:

    Oops! I meant to put a comment in this thread but put it in another instead.

    I assure you, Ellen there are tons of western fans! Thanks for keeping us happy in 2010. We are very much looking forward to 2011.

    Will the new western be about any character who was already in Sing?

  8. I suspect western fans are dwarfed in number by the paranormal and fantasy people, but there certainly seem to be enough western fans. It’s been a happy surprise.

    No, the story I’m going to do next is another standalone, but I do have some foggy ideas about stories for both Roddy and Beau of Sing. What strikes me, though, is that while lots of readers said they wanted a sequel to Eyes, and I simply don’t see more stories there, only one person has mentioned a sequel to Sing. If I remember correctly, that was in an Amazon review, and what the reader mentioned was a story for Laurie, which I never even thought about.

    However, the next standalone is kind of buzzing around in my mind wanting out, so it’s what’s going to get done next. ~Ellen

  9. mesadallas says:

    I hadn’t thoought of a sequel to Sing either but then when you mentioned a story for Roddy and Beau my immediate thought was “Yes, of course!” I would espeacially love to hear Beau’s story- a southern gentleman who lost everything dear to him in the war perhaps? Oh, the possibilities there!

    I really think paranormal is more or less a literary fad while westerns will always remain a classic genre.My argument for westerns is that you don’t see many knights or vikings running around any more but there are still sexy cowboys; and it’s still possible to get one- or at least it was for me.

  10. paula says:

    Ellen,
    Congratulations on your one year anniversary. We are all celebrating the day you decided to sit down and finally write that first book.
    My favorite of all time books remains Eyes of Silver and when I tell a friend about your books and get them hooked on ‘Ellen’ reading, I am thrilled all over again. You bring a lot of joy to so many readers and I celebrate with you on such a special beginning.

  11. Paula – Many thanks. Comments like that really get me all inspired to do more and do it better.

    mesadallas – It’s hard to say something with the kind of staying power PN has shown is a fad, but I’ve seen speculation that some of this newer stuff is really the cowboy genre (morality plays) in different clothing. Since I don’t read it, I don’t know, but the thought makes me less negative, although I’m still never going to read it. My mother used to hide when the Indians attacked the wagon train in movies. I’ve inherited that in a different form – anything not firmly based in reality scares me and I avoid it. Not that a lot of reality doesn’t scare me too, but it seems more handleable, if you know what I mean. ~Ellen

  12. mesadallas says:

    That makes two of us. I have nothing against paranormal for those like like it but I personally don’t have any interest in it.

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