Let me expand on what I have recently tweeted, and Facebooked, Googled Plussed (is that even a thing?) after a brief interview over the phone with Publishers Weekly that sent my blood boiling. Because. Of course. I mean, who am I? And who is Publishers Weekly? You get the significance. I have to thank Martha Brockenbrough for the referral, so thank you, Martha! They called me to talk about YA books (because ROSEHEAD is sort of YA, isn't it?) and about piracy (because I give my books away for free). And whilst on the phone, they asked me about my numbers. Like, how many books did I sell, since the day I published them? How many free books of mine people have downloaded? Have I make any money? Am I going to make any money? How do I plan to survive? That sort of thing. As much as I hate math, this forced me to go and look at my numbers, and they blew me out of the water. It's nothing like millions, so don't get over-excited here. But it's thousands, and hey, that's like, wow! People have set aside their precious time to read my books? Really? REALLY? Here are the numbers for you, just so you know that even though I give my books away for free, I still sell them too:
I HAVE STARTED WRITING FULL TIME ON MAY 15TH 2013.
I HAVE PUBLISHED MY FIRST NOVEL ON AUGUST 4TH 2013.
1. First novel (trilogy SIREN SUICIDES) has been published on August 4th 2013, second novel, ROSEHEAD, on March 31st 2014, so it hasn't even been 1 year since I published my first book.
2. As of today, I have sold 6,000+ books on Amazon (most of them FREE copies of my trilogy).
3. As of today, 700+ FREE books have been downloaded from my site.
4. As of today, I have sold 300+ paperbacks from my site, for real money.
5. As of today, 60% of my income comes from donations.
6. As of today, I'm making only about $100-200 per month on book sales.
7. I made $3,000+ in 2013 in book sales and donations. We shall see what happens in 2014.
Yes, you may have noticed there is a DONATE button on my site. Guess what, it's not just there for decoration. People actually donate money, and often more than the cost of the books they have downloaded and read.
When I started out, many people called me crazy. I even got some delicious threats over the email, other writers condemning me to isolation, some going as far as telling me that it was people like ME who undermine their work. It's because of people like ME, people who give away their books for free, that their books are not selling as well. I won't go into more details here, so as not to bore you. Yes, I did get hate mail. I was astounded, frankly. I didn't know I was important enough to ruin someone's life. It made me scratch my head, be afraid for maybe an hour, then shrugging and carrying on. And am carrying on.
IF YOU GIVE YOURSELF AWAY, OTHERS WANT TO GIVE BACK TO YOU 10X AS MUCH.
This is the lesson I learned, through all this fear and trepidation. Like I said in the previous blog post, I still finance myself via savings and occasional consulting gigs, but I will keep giving my art away for free, because it's what I believe in. I believe in sharing love, and my art is my manifestation of love. I love you, and I want you to have what I can give. If you want to give back, please do. If not, I'm happy because I gave. Nothing else matters, really. I don't know when I'll be dead. Just reading the news today, the news of another horrendous shooting, made my hair stand on end, and filled me with sadness. What kind of a world do we live in, when one is so deprived of love, one descends to killing those who denied it? I cry as I write this. You never know when that stray bullet might catch you. We will all be dead, one way or another. Why wait? Why sit on the wealth of your love when you could be so much happier sharing it? What is money anyway? Pieces of paper that exchange pockets, a concept. This is it.
When on your deathbed, will you worried about how much money you made in your life, or how many relationships you have had, how many laughs you have laughed? I can tell you that in the act of giving my art away to people, I have formed deep connections with complete strangers, connections that I wouldn't have been able to form otherwise. And I love them, truly. I feel it, when I talk to them. And they love me back, I feel it. Laugh at me if you want, but I really do feel it. I smile, I want to jump around, all giggly. It's real.
I encourage you, share yourself. You will find a way to survive. People are all around you. People who are starving for love as much as you do. Open up. Love them. They will love you back. They will catch you if you fall. It's a beautiful feeling, being able to let go, trusting in humanity. I did it. You can do it too. Together maybe we can shift something in this world, help those who feel lonely, and rejected, and ignored.
Much love, as always. ONWARD.