This week my novel, The Truth About Dating, went live on Kindle. I posted it after hearing an interview on American Public Media’s The Story with a writer, Karen McQuestion, who, after years of false starts with literary agents, posted her novels on Kindle. Within six hours she had a sale, and eventually, a movie deal. That’s when a publisher came calling.
The way Kindle works, you upload your book, set your price, and get a percentage of every sale. If you list your book from $2.99 to 9.99, you get a 70% royalty. This is amazingly high. Any other price gives you 35%, which isn’t bad either. I decided to set my book price at $1.00. After all, I wasn’t expecting to get rich from my book sales. I just want people to read it. A low price seemed like a good way to get people to take a chance with an indie author.
Posting the book was a lot harder than I expected. Amazon doesn’t really give you much help, but after a week or so of trial and error, I finally figured out how to convert my manuscript to html and upload it. I had a great cover, done by graphic designer Jennifer Digman.
When I finally went live, I put a bottle of champagne (actually, cava, from Barcelona) in the fridge. I was going to celebrate when I made my first sale. No one knew that my book was posted (except my husband). I started manically checking my sales sheet. It was like biting you nails or any other bad habit. I couldn’t stop, and nothing sold. After two days, I told myself, OK, no more checking for one week. But the next day, I had fallen off the wagon and was logging on to check. And lo and behold, I had a sale. I had sold a copy of my book!
I called my husband from work. He said, “I’ll have the champagne ready when you get home.” But then I started wondering if some family member or friend had stumbled across my book and bought it. Plus, it was a Wednesday night. Did I really want to drink a whole bottle of champagne on a work night? I called my husband back and said, “Let’s save it for the weekend.” Then, just before I left work that day, I checked one more time, and this time, I also clicked on the sales report for the UK. Two sales in the UK! I had sold three books, and two of them in the UK! I called my husband back. It was time to celebrate!
When I got home, he had made my favorite food, popovers. And mac and cheese. And we opened the cava and toasted those strangers who decided to take a chance on an author they’d never heard of before! The kids had juice. And of course, they wouldn’t eat the homemade mac and cheese because they prefer the instant Kraft kind that you cook in the microwave. Kids always help keep your life in perspective. I’m Julie Christensen, author, seller of three books, and mother of fussy eaters. Amen!