The last few weeks have been pretty exciting for me. Some of you know my “author story.” At the end of 2014, after being a traditionally published author with 12 novels released the old-fashioned way, I made the decision to leave my comfort zone and start publishing my books as an indie.
The Big Picture reason was, I could see the entire publishing world was in the middle of a major shakeup, created by the advent of Amazon, Kindle and other ebook devices. I watched a massive shift occur, as more and more readers stopped buying their books from retail bookstores and started buying them online.
The Little Picture reason I became an indie was because of the book I’m featuring in today’s post, Rescuing Finley. I had just finished writing my last contracted book with my publisher. It was time to turn in a new book proposal for my next series of books. I had come up with a 3-book series idea, similar in genre to all my other books with them. Each of the new books would have many of the similar features that had made my other novels successful (and award-winning). But these books would all feature a Shelter Dog as a main character. I loved the stories and was certain my publisher would too.
They didn’t. In fact, they rejected it saying they didn’t like the stories that much and didn’t think they’d sell well. “What else have you got?” they asked.
My answer? I’m not going to send you anything else. I believe in these stories and think people will love them, at least as much as they’ve enjoyed my other books. So I politely informed them I’d be writing these books on my own, and we parted ways.
So you can imagine how exciting it is to be writing this blog post today. What’s the Big News? Well, this past week Rescuing Finley SURPASSED ALL my traditionally published novels in terms of the total number of Amazon reviews and the average review rating. And it’s reached this milestone at a breakneck pace – it’s only been out 14 months.
As of today, Rescuing Finley has received 571 Amazon reviews, averaging 4.8 Stars (86% are 5-Star reviews). Many of my traditionally published novels have surpassed the 400-review mark, and some have even reached the 500-review milestone. But these books have all been out for several years. Here are some examples:
- The Unfinished Gift – 444 Reviews (4.6 Star Avg) – Released 2009
- The Deepest Waters – 412 Reviews (4.7 Star Avg) – Released 2011
- Remembering Christmas – 533 Reviews (4.6 Star Avg) – 2011
- The Discovery – 521 Reviews (4.7 Star Avg) – Released 2012
- The Reunion – 515 Reviews (4.8 Star Avg) – Released 2012
- The Dance – 453 Reviews (4.7 Star Avg) – Released 2013
I love these traditionally published books and loved writing them. But it’s pretty satisfying to see books that were rejected by publishers actually surpassing these novels in such a short time. My first indie novel, When Night Comes (and first suspense novel…again, a rejected book by my publisher) is right up there with these novels after only being out 2 years. It has 440 Reviews (4.4 Star Avg).
The sales of Rescuing Finley have also been amazing. Reader response has been off the charts. Three weeks ago, I did a 5-day Free promo of the book. Over 41,000 readers downloaded it. Since then, it has sold 1,409 copies (almost 500/week…on Amazon alone). The 2nd book in the series, Finding Riley, has gotten quite a bump since then, too. It was only released last October (3 months ago), and it’s already up to 124 Amazon reviews (Avg 4.8 Stars).
So…this indie experiment appears to be working. Both my inspirational books (Forever Home series) and my suspense books (Jack Turner Suspense series) are humming along with 2 books each. I’ve just passed the halfway mark for Book 3 in the Jack Turner series (hope to have it released in May, no title yet), and will immediately begin Book 3 in the Forever Home series (Saving Parker). Hope to have that one ready by October. My goal would be to have at least 4 books in each series.
If you want to read any of these reviews or get any of these books, they’re only $3.99 on Kindle (less than a Starbucks latte), and all are available in print. Click on any of the titles in the post above to go to its Amazon page.