One year ago tomorrow, I published The Last of the Ageless (as an ebook). I underestimated how much time I would need to not only format the paperback, but also print and ship the proofs to myself (third time was the charm!), so the paperback came out later in August.
Now that I’m one year into my publishing journey, it seemed like a good time to reflect.
Table of Contents
In my first year as a published author, I also participated in a few in-person appearances as an author:
- My first ever author appearance: reading at my high school
- Time Travelers’ Weekend at the local Renaissance Faire
- The local Scottish Festival
Best Seller Ranks and Categories
The highest ranks The Last of the Ageless ever attained were right after launch:
- #3,024 overall paid Kindle store
- #46 in Post-Apocalyptic
- #12 in Post-Apocalyptic Hot New Releases
- #45 in Alien Invasion
- #11 in Alien Invasion Hot New Releases
- #39 in Fantasy Adventure
- #4 in Fantasy Adventure Hot New Releases
- #32 in Genetic Engineering
- #6 in Genetic Engineering Hot New Releases
- #6 in Men’s Adventure
- #4 in Men’s Adventure Hot New Releases
Sales By Country
- United States
- UK: 29 ebooks + approx 3 Kindle Unlimited readers
- Australia: 3
- Canada: 3
- Italy: 2
- Germany: 1
- France: 1
- India: 1
Total Readers In Year One
- 566 ebook novel sales
- 77 paperback novel sales
- 713 total readers of The Last of the Ageless
To calculate total readers, I estimated based off Kindle Unlimited pages read, dividing by the number of pages Amazon considers The Last of the Ageless to have (thus, about 70 KU readers). Then I added ebook and paperback sales.
Plus 115 total short story sales in Year One (even though you can get them free!). Two of the short stories haven’t actually reached the one-year mark yet since I released them after the novel, but it doesn’t really matter.
Big thanks to Patty Jansen for her $0.99 multi-author sales!
What I Learned
In the first year, The Last of the Ageless only managed to garner 10 Amazon reviews, and all of those were in 2015. But that gives it a 4.3 star rating, which makes me happy!
It’s also got 10 reviews (a few overlap) on Goodreads, but 16 ratings (stars only) for a 3.75 overall star rating, which is good for Goodreads, where the overall rating trends lower than Amazon.
I’m pretty happy with the reviews it’s gotten because they show that most readers knew what they were getting into (thanks to the synopsis)… a unique, genre-blended book that reads like a secondary-world sword & sorcery fantasy even though it’s set in Earth’s post-apocalyptic future.
For a weird book, it did pretty well in its first year, and I’ll be happy to have it in my backlog as future books drive new readers to it. I plan to write most of my upcoming books to the market, which means that I will meet reader expectations in one or two particular genres at most, rather than spreading out over many.
The biggest realization for me as a writer this year was that what I grew up reading is not the same as today’s book market. I was a very omnivorous reader, and though I ONLY read in the broad science fiction and fantasy genres, you can cover a lot of ground in SFF. Since I read widely, I wrote TLOTA widely (genre-blending), which means it tends to appeal to a smaller niche audience of readers who, like me, don’t confine themselves to only a handful of subgenres.
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You might be interested in a few other posts about The Last of the Ageless:
- 12/2011: Intersection (about the first time Dalan and Nyr’s group meets Korreth’s)
- 12/2011: Use It or Lose It (about writing with inspiration)
- 1/2012: Revelation (when I got stuck and had a normal 3/4 finished crisis)
- 3/2012: The Ageless: A Milestone (when I started using Scrivener)
- 4/2012: Obstacles (when I hit a wall before the climax)
- 1/2015: 2015 Writing and Publishing Plans
- 8/2015: Charting the Ageless (and my path as a writer)
- 8/2015: Subgenres and Themes of the Apocalypse
- 1/2016: 2016 Writing Plans (for the 2015 publishing reflections)
Or check the Ageless tag to see them all.
Plans for the Future
Read my previous post to see my plans for my author career.
As for my plans for The Last of the Ageless, I’ll probably continue to use it as my experimental book. At the end of August, it’ll be encountering new territories when I make the ebook available on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, etc. I also plan to package the short stories together into one collection.
I’d forgotten I have an author forum on Amazon (that Amazon doesn’t bother to send new post notifications for), but someone also requested that I bundle the novel and the short stories into one mega-boxed set, so I’ll be figuring out the best way to do that later in August as well.
The best way to keep up with me is to join the Vanguard, and don’t worry — you can choose how often I email you.
Or get early access to my drafts, short stories, character sheets, and other goodies by supporting my author career on Patreon!
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Info for Indie Authors
I doubt readers and, um, regular people will be interested in the below info, but I wanted to share for my fellow indie authors in case it helps you learn and plan for your own upcoming releases.
The Last of the Ageless has been a grand adventure for me as an author. I’ve done a lot of trial and error and learned a lot.
For instance, I learned how to use Kindle Countdown Deals (KCD) and found its limitations, making me disinterested in that aspect of Kindle Unlimited. (We live in a global book economy!)
After 2 Goodreads giveaways for paperbacks, most of them wound up in the “New & Used” section on Amazon. It’s disappointing that real readers didn’t win the books. I’ve also run 2 LibraryThing giveaways for ebooks (35 books each time) and gotten two Amazon reviews from that.
Best ranks per months vs price:
- Month: best rank (regular price, sales at sale price)
- Last month: 91,550 (price $3.99, no sale)
- May 2016: 44,176 (price $3.99, 20 sales at $0.99)
- April 2016: 105,658 (price $2.99, no sale)
- March 2016: 48,505 (price $2.99, 14 sales at $0.99)
- Feb 2016: 31,643 (price $4.99, 20 sales at $0.99)
- Jan 2016: 69,342 (price $3.99, sale price $2.99)
- Dec 2015: 17,415 (price $2.99, 35 sales at $0.99)
- Nov 2015: 13,872 (price $5.99 test, 20 sales at $0.99)
- Oct 2015: 8,684 (price $4.99, 91 sales at $0.99 KCD)
- Sept 2015: 39,736 (price $4.99)
- Aug 2015: (first full month, transition to $2.99 then $3.99)
- July 2015: Launch and preorder at $0.99
I played around a little with the synopsis.
- In October (its third month) I added quotes from reviews at the bottom.
- In January, I added genres into the description and then discovered it really doesn’t matter.
- In March I took off the “victim or villain” hook at the beginning, leaving the opening with the apocalyptic disaster setting.
- Then again in March I updated that setting to be more of a hook: “No one survived the apocalypse unscathed–human or alien.”
- In June I changed some of the reviews at the end and added Dalan’s Ancient Teachings.
Because this book blends several genres, I started off with a ton of categories, hoping that my synopsis would explain enough to potential readers so that they would understand it doesn’t fall squarely into any genre in particular. I also made sure to add several of the “character keywords” for the few users who know to use those checkboxes.
I launched with these:
- Alien Invasion
- Men’s Adventure
- Genetic Engineering
In September, I grabbed the Fantasy > Coming of Age category, not that it would do any good (it’s too competitive).
Later in September, I accidentally lost the post-apocalyptic category for a couple days during a tweak, but brought it back and tried Dystopian during the countdown. After the KCD, I removed Dystopian because I don’t think TLOTA counts and I was worried I’d get bad reviews from it.
After reading Write to Market in June I realized that even though it’s a Post-Apoc book technically, it doesn’t fulfill reader expectations in that genre. But you know whose expectations it matches better? Sword & Sorcery readers! (See my previous post for more info about this topic.)
So now it’s in:
- Coming of Age
- Alien Invasion
- Genetic Engineering
- Scifi Adventure
- Dark Fantasy
- Sword & Sorcery
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