It’s official: readers have given me money in exchange for my fiction.
I have been waiting a long time to say that very sentence so I may unequivocally call myself a professional writer. I’d been hoping that on this day I would be able to frame my first dollar or a copy the check—the same way I framed my first rejection slip from the New Yorker—to commemorate the occasion.
However, I received no check. No physical money. Since my professional debut was in the e-book format, I guess it’s fitting that my inaugural deposit would be an electronic wire transfer into my bank account. So let’s pretend these great big numbers constitute my bragging rights:
It’s important to note just how firmly my tongue is planted in my cheek when I say “bragging rights.” Writing, for me, is not about the money. Never has been. I write because I have stories that need to be told, and I hope readers will benefit from them in some way. The money only represents the means by which I can continue doing what I love. So thank you, readers. As long as I have that opportunity, I will hold up my end of the bargain by bringing you worthwhile tales.
Documenting the first payment seems to be the fashion of independent publishing these days, as though it’s a way to prove that income can be gained outside the traditional, New York channels. Or maybe it’s in the interest of transparency this Internet age likes so much. It’s probably both. Either way, this is a modest but important milestone for the start of my career.
The Lookout and Other Stories debuted on Amazon Kindle on May 1 for $0.99, and four copies sold in the first night. At a 35% royalty rate, I earned $1.40. I’m still looking forward to that $1.40 since Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) only begins payments after the first 90 days. My paperback printer CreateSpace, on the other hand, was happy to dish out after only 30 days. The payment covers the paperback royalties for May 18-31. I’d say that’s a pretty good start for two weeks and chapbook of five short stories.
I am as pleased with this $55.44 as I am with the first $1.40 because my writing career is a marathon, not a sprit. I’m in this for the long haul. While no publishing house in their right mind would ever sign up a collection of this size, I’ve taken the opportunity to find my own readers for these works. Had I not independently released The Lookout, those stories still would be collecting dust and, in the case of the previously published pieces, still would be pleading for a second chance to be read.
In honor of the first time readers have been kind enough to buy my work— as well as the fitting holiday of Independence Day—I’ve set a new price for the The Lookout:
That’s right. From July 3-5, 2012, the Kindle edition will be free of charge from Amazon.com. Every 90 days a book is enrolled in the KDP Select program, five days are permitted as giveaways , which is a great opportunity to find new readers. Subscribers of my newsletter were the first to learn of this special offer, so don’t forget to sign up for that as well.
If you haven’t picked up a copy yet or if you want to recommend the book to a friend, this week has never been a better time. Give them something to read this holiday, and enjoy the fireworks.