It’s a new year, and I just got done doing my final book-keeping/tax work for 2014. I enjoy year-end and New Year’s posts. It’s a good opportunity to assess and regroup.
If 2013 was the year of catch-up in paper, then 2014 was the year of catch-up in audio. I finished production of my epic fullcast Cowry Catchers series, and the podcast competed in March. On Audible.com, I released the complete Prophet series in February, the complete Cowry Catchers series in June, the Crossroads short story collection in July, and Hunters Unlucky in November. I also paid all the people involved in the audio for the right to sell it, so this was an expensive year for me. I released just shy of 700,000 words (about 74 hours) of paid audio on Audible.com.
In ebooks and paper, I was able to settle back and do what I always wanted – release things as I wrote them. Malachi and the Ghost Kitten came out in ebook in August and paperback in October. Hunters Unlucky came out in ebook in March and paper in July. These releases would have gone more smoothly if I hadn’t been juggling my entire back catalogue in audio, but it was worth the effort.
In new content this year, I wrote Malachi and the Ghost Kitten (6,500 words), The Scarlet Albatross (101,000 words), and 26,000 words of Jager Thunder. I also laid out the upcoming Cowry Catchers art book. I commissioned artwork for Malachi, Hunters, and the art book.
Going forward, I get to produce new work in all three formats without juggling a giant back-catalogue (yey!!).
Upcoming projects in their most likely order:
- The release of the art book (I just ordered the first physical proof)
- Finish writing the draft of Jager Thunder
- Edit and release The Scarlet Albatross
- Write Eve and Malachi Book 3
- Edit and release Jager Thunder
Further down the road, there’s the Sunkissed Isles Book (not its final title), Walk Upon High, and a hazy mystery in Danda-lay, starring Chance and involving the Prophet characters.
Money-wise…like I said – it was an expensive year. I spent almost 3x as much as I made this year. Put another way, my book business has been going since 2007 (that's when I started buying illustrations; I didn't know it was going to be a business then). Half of my total expenses to date were spent this year! Or put it another way, I spent as much this year as I have in the last 7 previous years of making books. Audio is expensive.
On the plus side, about 42% my income has been from audio this year. About 85% came from Amazon and Audible, and that 85 was split right down the middle, in spite of the fact that my Audible catalogue was thin at the beginning of the year. If you look at just the last quarter, Audible is out-pacing Amazon as my primary source of income for books.
So I think the audio books are worth it, but they are a huge initial out-lay. It will take several years for those books to make back the money I spent on them this year. Fortunately, I doubt I will ever have 700,000 words of audio to pay for and release in a single year again. That was catch-up. I would have paid a lot less if I’d narrated all of my own audio, but I also wouldn’t have written nearly as many books to date.
Other things on my plate this year include learning more about hardbacks and Lightning Source (the art book will teach me that) and learning more about Kickstarter. I plan to use Kickstarter or a similar crowd-sourcing platform to defray the costs of upcoming audio books, hopefully as a kind of pre-order system.
I’m excited about the future, and I hope you are excited about upcoming books! It think you folks will love The Scarlet Albatross and Jager Thunder. As a Happy New year, I’ve put up a sample of Jager Thunder on my website (up there under "Sneak Peek"). If you missed Gerard and Silveo, click and read. Happy New Year!