The Business of Writing

This has been a troublesome year as far as my profitability goes (I am a past master at understating the obvious). First, I spent way too much of my savings on setting up an E-Commerce page on a new web site to market audio book versions of my first two novels only to learn that the sales people at the web hosting service didn’t have a clue about the limitations of their E-Commerce applications. Never mind that I was refunded every penny I had invested; the experience cost me three months’ lost income. All of the time I invested in setting up the E-Commerce site was time and money I was not investing in marketing my work to new readers.

Then it turns out that sales of eBooks have been dropping into the basement for most of this year. THAT I blame on the state of our economy, not to a lack of interest in my novels. People just don’t have cash to spend on books.

I have pretty much tied my fortunes to the Kindle platform; it accounts for about 60% of today’s digital sales. A few years ago I entered my novels into the KDP Select program, and was very happy with the relationship. My royalties last year put a smile on my face. But this year, my royalties have been shrinking every month.

Enter Smashwords (It’s always nice to have a Plan “B”). I cancelled the exclusivity agreement with KDP Select and today published the first three novels on Smashwords. Those three will be available across a very broad collection of platforms over the next few days (the fourth novel, “Lonesome Cove”, will only be published with Smashwords at the end of September). My next step is to start marketing across those platforms ASAP.

If there is a moral to this, it is to stay flexible; if one plan fails to pan out, have a backup. Research and test to destruction. Then make sure you have a Plan B. Keep your options open. If you are an indie author, you and you alone are responsible for your success or your failure. Stay flexible; things won’t always go your way.

“Standing Wave”, the fifth novel in the Terry Rankin series, is still in development. I am long past feeling the pressure to finish it. I have one more trip to Suwannee to make, probably some time in September, for a final round of interviews and a few days checking sites and finalizing scenes. With any luck at all, “Standing Wave” should see the light of day close to the end of this year.

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About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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