Anatomy Of A Flying Cat: An Irregular Creatures Update

Irregular Creatures Cover, By Amy Hauser

The flying cats. They invade my dreams.

Okay, they don’t really. Last night though, I did have a dream where I had a sleepover — like you do in high school, except mysteriously, we were all adults. And instead of bringing a CD to listen to or your favorite Hanna Barbera pajamas, everybody had to bring a bladed weapon. I think we were on the lookout for a zombie attack? So I guess the sleepover was just a way to make the zombie apocalypse fun? I dunno.

I brought a camping machete. Leather sheath and all. It was very nice.

This is all irrelevant.

So! Irregular Creatures has reached the end of its first sales week. Okay, no, I didn’t advertise it until Wednesday, but dangit, it went up last Saturday. So, you shut up. No, you shut up! Stop touching me.

The Numbers

Sales-wise, I continue to be happy with the overall reports. As noted, I achieved profitability in the middle of the first day, and from that point haven’t looked back. Which is just an expression because clearly, I’m looking back with both vigor and scrutiny.

First day sales were brisk, as noted: Amazon (88), Amazon UK (7), PDF (15). Total of 110 sales.

Second day sales did a bit of an interesting flip-flip: PDF sales went up, while Amazon dropped. In fact, PDF sales out maneuvered all others that day: Amazon (13), Amazon UK (1), PDF (19). Total of 33.

Third day sales are at Amazon (7), Amazon UK (1), PDF (4). Total of 12.

Fourth day — Amazon (5), Amazon UK (0), PDF (1). Total of 6 sales.

No sales today, but it’s a wee smidge early, too.

Each day dropped by about 33% until the last, which saw a deeper 50% cut.

At present, we stand at 161 sales.

Random Thoughts

I went ahead and made some moves to try to, uhhh, “maximize my sales potential.” Eeeegh. I hate saying those words. I recognize the reality, but it’s one of those key things that will forever illustrate why self-publishing won’t totally dominate: many writers don’t want to become their own publisher. I don’t mind it, really, but trust me, the time and energy spent on this book? I’d rather have used it for writing.

I updated the Amazon description of the book on Thursday to include a description of each story. That still hasn’t populated here on Saturday morning. Amazon can be a wee bit slow.

I updated my Amazon Author Page.

I slapped a visual link to the right and updated the Books For Sale page above.

I updated my Goodreads author profile.

I have not yet played with Kindle Boards.

I’ve had some incredible reviews — some at Amazon, for instance. Cat-Bird stole Eric’s afternoon. The Unsanity Files describes the book as like nothing you’ve ever read.

The most glowing review comes, assuredly, from Elizabeth White (“All-Purpose Monkey”), where I think she sells the book far better than I have.

I did a couple interviews, arranged a couple giveaways. Also did a guest blog about cats and inspiration over at the aforementioned Elizabeth’s site: blog post called “Four Kinds of Kitty.” That blog maybe talks a little about vaginas, too, so, uhhh. Get excited?

Had a lot of great response about the tentpole story in the collection, “Dog-Man and Cat-Bird (A Flying Cat Story).” I mean, some really gushing praise, and for that, thank you so much. The fact that the collection got pimped across #fridayreads was equally awesome.

I slapped the book up on Smashwords, see if it’ll propagate from there.

Also arranging to get it up on Drive Thru Fiction.

My favorite sales are the PDF ones. Not just because I make the most money (which allows me to procure a higher class of hobo handjob), but also because it allows a small but compelling interaction with the audience. Instead of just a click, it’s an email, and an email is really a letter, and a letter is a connection between two people. It’s the 21st century way of selling the book on a street corner. Quaint. Probably not the future, and certainly not the way to a million sales, but more the equivalent of a book signing.

Would love to figure out a way to do a book signing, but with digital product.

Seen JC Hutchins’ Kilroy app? He will actually autograph your app. So, it’s possible.

Talking to horror bad-ass James Melzer about maybe a spoken podcast version of the stories.

Right now, my sales are largely within my own sphere of influence. The key is getting outside that circle. The key is getting into your circle of influence and beyond. One supposes I’ve sold to my core audience, so now it’s about pushing beyond those margins. I’m surprised that my Amazon entry still doesn’t list, “Those who have bought IRREGULAR CREATURES have also purchased SEVEN BRIDES FOR TEN MULES, BLOWJOBS FOR DRYADS, and THE LUDLUM PROLAPSE: A REXINALD PERRY ADVENTURE.” Does it for you? I dunno. Love to hear your reports and experiences.

Equally Random Questions

What else can I do?

Again, if anybody wants a review copy, please let me know. Definitely looking for places to do reviews and interviews and giveaways and sexy breathy podcasts and whatever else we can muster.

If anybody cares to write reviews on their spaces or at Amazon, I’d totally appreciate that, too.

Everybody liking the book?

Would I Self-Publish Again?

Way too early to say, but an interesting question just the same. I’m fairly happy with the results so far, but if the sales from here just drop off a cliff, I’d find myself less likely to do it. Would like to try to put up a novel or novella at some point just to see how that goes as another factor of the experiment, but I dunno. The fact I’m operating at a profit and not a loss after four days is a good sign for what is ultimately an unpopular purchasing target — the short story collection. But even still, it’s distracting from actual writing, which isn’t good. (Though I do recognize that having, say, a novel in stores is just as distracting what with the book tours and interviews and what-not. This may not be all that different. Even still, it’s nice to feel like you have a publisher pushing your work, a team backing your play. On the other hand, it’s also nice to be 100% in control of your own destiny.)

So, what I’m saying is, totally on the fence. Experiment not yet proven, not yet disproven.

The truth won’t probably be realized for months.

12 responses to “Anatomy Of A Flying Cat: An Irregular Creatures Update”

  1. It’s all about audience building. From the numbers you posted, you had a good turn around of sales the first promoted day, saying 1000 page hits spouted over a 10% sales turn over. You get 1 out of ever 10 to buy, that’s a good day.

    One thing you mentioned weeks ago about self/e-publishing was that people did so for the money now philosophy, but self-pubbing in any form is a long game about audience and quantity. You’ll get the occassional Boyd Morrison’s who turn one unpublished book into a profit, but Konrath’s key to his success, though he rarely pulls it into his equations, is that he had been a successful mid-lister with a backlog.

    For 4 days, 160+ sales aren’t bad. Maintaining numbers though, yeah you’ve got to be out there hoorahing every day. Eventually with your clout and charisma the time invested would equal out and give you even time writing.

    No short game, just keep looking forward. I think you did great and the stories, like you, are incredibly entertaining.

    • Ron Earl:

      That’s awesome, dude, thanks.

      Yeah, I have to keep up the rah-rah’ing, but I also don’t want to, erm, rah-rah too much because we’ll reach irritating saturation pretty quick (and hopefully someone will be cool enough to let me know when I’m skirting irritation). I can only sell the same thing to the same crowd so much. It’ll definitely be about pushing beyond those boundaries, beyond the core audience — which is really a thing that traditionally-published authors need to worry about, too, so this isn’t a unique problem.

      I do think the numbers I’ve got are good — it’s just a question of how to maintain some momentum and, inevitably, grow them. I mean, this blog once had 1000 views a month. Now it’s twice that, daily. So, slow and steady can happen, but it’s all about that upward swing and how to get it, and how to keep it.

      — c.

  2. Dang man, if I’d known you were going to put the book up on smashwords I would have waited to buy it there. No offence but the PDF format just looks wonky on my eReader. Still, the collection is incredible, and everyone who hasn’t bought it yet doesn’t know what they’re missing.
    Great stuff. Can’t wait for the next one.

    • @Albert:

      I can toss you the ePub version if you need it. I can’t promise it’s any more awesome (the PDF looks way better than the ePub on my iPad), but it may assist.

      — c.

  3. Hm…my first thought is, because I’m me and not someone who isn’t trying to sell a book, is “Trade me a review,” which, now that I think about it, I should be doing more of myself.

    Anyway, I already have a copy of your book; if you’re interested, send me an e-mail, and I’ll shoot you an e-galley of Choose Your Doom: Zombie Apocalypse.

    Also–ideas of more or less practicality.

    –Have 100 print copies made and set up local booksignings at brick-and-mortars or even through a farmer’s market. Start laying down the groundwork for being famous in your hometown.
    –If you mention any local landmarks, businesses, points of interest, etc., send them a copy.
    –Ask your freelancing clients to spread the word; small businesses survive on referrals and they’ll understand. I had several clients woo hoo my book to their clients for me.
    –Ask your local library if they would like copies for their ebook section, if they have one.
    –Book givaways.
    –I’ve always wondered what putting up a copy on 4chan with a link to a donation button would do, but I have to wait until I self-publish.
    –Contact your local indy paper and offer to let them interview you. (This worked VERY well for me; indy papers all talk to each other.)
    –Find out if you have a local writer’s conference and see if they want you to talk at it on freelancing, etc. Usually, there is a booksigning involved. Again with the hardcopies. Writers = readers.

  4. @Chuck Wendig
    Naw, it’s good man. I already finished the book and managed to get around the eccentricities of the format once I really got into your style, so the epub wouldn’t do me any good at this juncture.
    Now, if you decided to put out a physical copy I’d consider snapping that up just so I could have it on my shelf. I’m still kind of old fashion like that.

  5. If you decide to put out a physical version, Chuck, it’s not so hard to do through CreateSpace. Always something you can do later should you care to.

    I’m experiencing that same drop-off. Trying to expand my horizons a bit, in order to expand my sales. It’s funny–I know there’s a huge internet out there, but finding my way from my beaten paths has been more difficult than expected.

    Can I borrow the machete?

  6. I just grabbed the epub version at Smashwords for my brand spankin new nookcolor. (bday present the other week) Thanks for publishing it there as well as amazon!

  7. Thanks for posting about this. We’ve talked quite a bit about self publishing on the podcast run by the publishing company I’m a part of. We’re all authors and are all big fans of the idea. It’s nice to see it working for you on some level and the transparency is nice too.

    I’d love to review a copy. If you can break me off one, cool. If not I’ll likely buy one soon enough.


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