Year in Review: 2015

Kyoko M, summed up in one image.

Yep, that’s my year, basically. Me, deliriously happy and trying to cling to my dream.

2015 has been a year of drastic change for me, as cliche as it sounds. I know people say that a lot during these yearly recap posts, but for once, it’s based on fact. I’ve been afforded opportunities in 2015 that I never imagined were possible, and in some ways, it still hasn’t sunk in that I’ve managed to achieve some pretty big goals.

Formally, my 2015 New Years Resolutions went as follows:

  1. Reread and write reviews for The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  2. Finish writing and publish my upcoming YA high fantasy novel
  3. Publish The Holy Dark as well as a box set for The Black Parade series
  4. Sell 500 paid copies of my books
  5. Try to get to 500 Facebook likes
  6. Read at least ten novels

See what I mean about change? I only accomplished three of three, and only one of them I couldn’t pull off due to my own shortcomings (sorry, Harry Dresden, I got kind of busy…and lazy…) because my situations all changed. The YA high fantasy novel I had intended to finish and publish in 2016 has been shelved because I had a beta reader read it and she found so many complex, deep-settled issues in the unfinished manuscript that I decided it wouldn’t be ready in time for summer 2016. Instead, I’ve decided to shelve it for a year and then come back to see if I can more clearly identify what went wrong and how to dig out all the problems. I didn’t get to 500 Facebook likes, but that’s because I didn’t run any ads or push for it hard enough over the course of the year. We’re clocked in at 469 likes, and since my page activity is pretty much in single digits, I’m not even going to add it as a goal for 2016.

“So,” you ask. “What has changed for you in 2015, Kyo?”

Well, for one, my work started to take off. Most indie authors describe the discovery process as a boulder that you push and push and push uphill like Sisyphus until at long last, you reach the top and it starts to roll downhill. It starts at a slight incline, slowly, and then hopefully gathers speed and momentum until it’s rolling. 2015, for me, was my first incline. Thanks to the Secret Worlds boxed set and curious readers who grabbed The Black Parade as a permafree title, I’ve begun to see sell-through on the series. I wish I could give you an actual number, but Amazon for some reason refuses to put together a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet of both copies sold and money made for the whole year. Instead, it’s broken down by the month, and then by the title itself, and then by 35%/70% royalty, so it would take me at least a couple of hours to read every single spreadsheet and total it up with any sort of accuracy. Instead, I’ll try and go by monthly sales.

My bestseller of the year is estimated to be She Who Fights Monsters. The Holy Dark is right behind it in terms of sales, and it’s actually ahead of it in KU pages read. I typically sold between 35 and 50 copies of SWFM per month, and 30 to 45 copies of The Holy Dark per month after its launch in late April. The Black Parade came in third place since I took it off of its free status during the summer and fall months, so it probably sold 15 to 30 copies as a paid title, and 100 to 200 copies as a free title. My poor short story collection The Deadly Seven is straggling in last place with 20 to 26 copies. (Apparently, I love it more than the readers do. *sob sob*)

I’ve got a Bachelors in English Literature, so forgive me if my math is janky, but here’s a rough estimate of books sold in 2015, according to those rough numbers:

She Who Fights Monsters: 35 x 12 =420 minimum or 50 x 12 = 600 copies sold

The Holy Dark: 30 x 8 (it was published in April, so 12 months minus 4 months = 8 months) = 240 minimum or 45 x 8 = 360 copies sold

The Black Parade: 15 x 7 (it was removed from permafree May 1st, so 12 months minus 5 months = 7 months) = 105 minimum or 30 x 7 = 210 free copies sold; 100 x 5 = 500 minimum or 200 x 5 =1000 free copies sold

The Deadly Seven: 20 x 12 = 240 copies minimum or 312 copies sold


The Black Parade: 105/210 copies and 500/1000 free copies sold in 2015

The Deadly Seven: 240/312 copies sold in 2015

She Who Fights Monsters: 420/600 copies sold in 2015

The Holy Dark: 240/360 copies sold in 2015

Total copies of The Black Parade series sold in 2015: 1005/1482

Man, this is why I’m a writer. Math is horrible.

My point beyond all that is that these numbers were not even a bare possibility in 2014. I’ve seen a tremendous up-rise in interest from readers. I’ve also found that I can dig deep and do something that I’d consider completely out of character for myself, like cosplaying as Lana Kane at Atlanta’s second largest convention, and hosting a panel at a convention on the total opposite side of the country. I’ve seen that even if it sounds ludicrous on paper and in my head, apparently I am capable of way more than I give myself credit for sometimes. And that’s a wonderful thing in and of itself.

2015 started off very difficult for me, but as I continued putting in the work and doing the best I could, I finally started to see desired results. That is all that I hope to continue to do for 2016. I want my boulder to keep rolling and gathering momentum. Thanks for tagging along for the ride. I am beyond grateful for all of you who have been there with me. Here’s hoping for a good year for all of us.

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