[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
My Novel - Hard Luck Hank : Success Stories • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

It's OK to brag here! In fact, we encourage it. Tell your fellow writers about your most recent sale, a new market you cracked, etc.
User avatar
stevencampbell
Private E-1
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:59 am

My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby stevencampbell » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:24 am

I self-published my first novel on Amazon.

Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Galaxy

(Spam link removed -pls.)

My goal was to sell 50 copies. I figure that would be pretty good. In about 2 1/2 months I had sold over 6000 copies. At this time it has 94 reviews and a 4.5 star average.

I thought I would give some of my experiences publishing.


I created a movie to advertise my Kickstarter campaign which I was basically using as a tool to advertise the book.

(spam link removed -pls.)

I put out ads on Craigslist here in LA. Which is when I learned about supply and demand. The voice actors, I had about, literally, 100 people respond within a few days. I was offering $50. For the animators, I had maybe 5 people respond. I was offering $2000. Or 2500, I can't remember. The voice actors were easy, they all had demos I could listen to. Those that didn't, I didn't bother with, there were too many others. I took my actors out to lunch and we went over the parts and I was happy with them. We saw Flea from the Red Hot Chilly Peppers walking his dog.

My animator turned out to be in the Philippines who happens to read the postings all across the world looking for animators. I was very worried about sending my 15% to him to start. If he just said "lolol, fudge off" what was I going to do? He turned out to be great and super helpful. I really lucked out. Whatever you think of the animation, "I" liked it, and I was paying the bills. He made all the changes I asked for, which were not insignificant.

I found the audio editor by looking at trade sites online. I would email and ask rates and such. Some were very flaky. There are a lot of people who have a mac and a mic and say they are an audio studio. The guy I got was super professional and was really good all around. It's not easy choreographing all the parts and getting everything sounding decent. I basically sat on the couch with headphones on and said yes/no but he did all the time-management, which was great because I was paying by the hour. One thing I regret doing was only listening to playback on mega super great stereos. Because not everyone has that. A sound effect I put in goes horribly wrong on cheap speakers.

The Kickstarter was up and successful, grossing about $2500, but mostly just because of people I knew. I was not especially happy with the process. If you have a gigantic internal network (like you're a 5K friend cam girl), Kickstarter is great--but if you are a 5K friend cam girl, you don't need Kickstarter, just ask your 5K friends. I wanted to hopefully reach people I didn't know. But I didn't find it was especially good at that. All during my project I couldn't find my project during search. Or it was damn hard. They highlight the successful Kickstarters and even the successful, expired ones, over my dinky one. I used Google adwords to help push some people to it, but if I hadn't had free $ from opening my (crappy) website, I would have lost money for sure. I do not recommend Kickstarter.

Then I needed a cover for my book. I wanted a painting. A real painting. Because I had grown up with the Frank Frazetta type stuff and I wanted a bit of a send-up of that. And I wanted to support an oil painter. I had a few artists get back to me but almost no one was interested in doing real paint. I was offering $1000 for the commission. Finally someone gave me a sample, I liked it, and sent him on his way.

OH, to interject, I got contracts from everyone. All the copyrights are mine in perpetuity etc etc. It's lame, but I just didn't want to be sued later if I put them on a t-shirt. I just found some boilerplate contracts online, changed "Joe's Dildo Factory" to my name.

So the painting is falling behind schedule and the artist didn't respond much. He was very much unlike my animator, who was always communicative. The final product was...not that great. But I was of the mind that I spent $1K and I was going to use it. I rolled it up and looked around about getting it photographed and turned into a proper cover (it was a large painting). I just did a web search for digital printing and photographing and sent some emails. I met the people, who were old pros, and they said they had to stretch the canvas. I left and they told me that there was a problem. The painting had not been allowed to dry properly and was now very wrinkled. They use a suction to hold the painting up and mash it flat, but even that couldn't erase the creases. They sent me a picture and I could see it was basically hopeless. I lost my deposit on the photograph. They said they would mail back the painting but never did. I crossed it off as a loss and said I was going to have to go to digital. The era of the painting is dead (cue the denials).

Screw Craigslist. This was my cover. People/kids buy novels based on covers. I know I did. I searched around for pro artists who matched my style. Most were very expensive. I found an artist who had done covers for Heavy Metal magazine and concept art for games and tv shows. We went back and forth and emails. His first quote was $10,000!!!! I talked him down substantially. I am very happy with the art. He was advertised in the Cartoonist network, or something like that. I basically went through hundreds of artists and their samples of wildly different skill levels.

(link removed -pls.)

After my novel was done, I needed a real copy editor. Cuz I iz bad engrish. Again, supply and demand. I was BEGGING people to edit my work. PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY! I was offering anywhere from $500-1000. I have never seen so many people who professed poverty turn down money. They wouldn't respond. When they did respond it was weeks later. Most said they were too busy. Maybe they just knew my novel was too sucky to bother with. But I finally got a copy edit. Again, this isn't even an edit for content/story it's just grammatical. I think I paid around $900. They were advertised in the US freelance editors guild or whatever. It was decent but not perfect. I personally edited it many more times afterwards and found a lot of corrections. I don't know how the Harry Potters of the world do this, they must have like 50 editors.("Real" copy editors will charge you well into four figures - WELL into - depending on the length and nature of the work -pls.)

Using Gimp image editing software, I stole an image from my animation movie to use as the back cover, made a black spine with the title, put the cover on front. Then I put it up on Amazon. As I ported it over to Kindle and checked it out on Ipad/Iphone and various Kindle readers, I kept finding small formatting errors. Literally like one line or character. I would then I have to go back and correct all the versions and wait another 24 hours for approval.

It was an extremely long and difficult process, but using all my own money made me a lot more vested. I was cracking the whip. I felt like a studio exec telling directors to change their "vision." Well, yeah, it's my money.

I continually keep a spreadsheet of all sales, advertising hits, impressions, and my competitors--books in the same category and what their prices are and how they are doing. I have had my book priced anywhere from $5.95 to 4.99 to 3.99 to 0.99. Amusingly, when it was $5.95 I seemed to net the same as when it was $3.99. Literally within a few dollars a day. But Amazon doesn't care about profits, they care about bodies buying. If you sell 100 books for $10 or 1000 books for $1, the $1 book will be ranked higher. And ranking helps it be seen by more people. It gets you more reviews. It gets you more word of mouth.

After I finished the novel and got it out there, I was really tired. Like this was a very large, multi-year effort. The first reviews were basically, "we like this, where are the sequels?" In a way that was great, people wanted to give me more money. But it's also not easy. I'm writing as fast as I can. I'm certainly not rich, but I'm in the black. My goal is to have enough work out there that I can sustain myself from it--and I think that's a realistic goal.

Referring to writing as a business I think is very appropriate. I spent money to make the business work. There's some stuff I didn't need in hindsight, but without an editor, without a professional cover, without all the stuff, I don't think I would have had many sales.

Writers are...weird people. We know we are. We do a lot of living in our heads. And all of us want to be able to just sit in our cocoons and write and have money and/or adoration come pouring in. And I suppose that happens for some people. Just like some people win the lottery and some people trip over ten pound gold nuggets while taking their dog for a walk. However, I'd say it's a bad policy to plan your life around those things happening. You have to be somewhat proactive. And proactive more than mailing in your work to someone in the hopes that they open the envelope three months later and respond to you with a form letter in six months.

Best of luck everyone.

(Great story, but feel free to contact the WD advertising department for all your advertising needs - these forums are not to be used for publicizing published works -pls.)
Hard Luck Hank:





User avatar
Elibet1
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:07 am

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby Elibet1 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:05 am

Where's Mooky? :-)

User avatar
AibreanShowers
Corporal
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:41 pm

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby AibreanShowers » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:29 am


The Cormorant
Private E-1
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:59 am

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby The Cormorant » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:00 pm

Firstly, congratulations on the success! 6,000 copies is not bad at all!

I'm thinking of the self publishing route for my first WIP, since its a trilogy, and I hear trilogies are hard to sell to agents.

Still, inspirational story.
"The hearts of Arabs are filled with words of furious passion that slip through eloquent tongues, unto deaf ears, which belong to nodding heads."

User avatar
stevencampbell
Private E-1
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:59 am

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby stevencampbell » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:43 pm

Nothing is a trilogy unless the first one sells and then the second one. It's fine to leave yourself room. Or if they ask. But if you sell 0 copies of your first one after a year, maybe you should move on. Just like if you wrote one novel that became very successful, you might be inclined to do sequels/prequels even if you hadn't planned on it. If you're going to be professional with it, the marketplace dictates quite a bit.
Hard Luck Hank:





User avatar
TWErvin2
Private E-2
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:24 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby TWErvin2 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:24 pm

I've seen your novel on some of the also boughts on Amazon with one of my novels.
The pink jacket makes the cover memorable.

Congrats.

User avatar
TWErvin2
Private E-2
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:24 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby TWErvin2 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:30 am

Downloaded a copy of the audiobook version of Hard Luck Hank. Looking forward to listening to it.

User avatar
TWErvin2
Private E-2
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:24 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby TWErvin2 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:44 pm

Thought I'd share here an interview I did on my blot with author Steven Campbell, of the Hard Luck Hank series.

He's done a top job combining humor and SF in his works.

Link:

User avatar
stevencampbell
Private E-1
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:59 am

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby stevencampbell » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:48 pm

I've got the Prince of Suck out. 3rd novel in the series. One thing I did that I thought was a little different was maybe 1/3rd of the chapters have a url link to an off-site animated gif that kind of details some aspect the chapter. It was tricky getting it done and I'm still not sure how seamless it will be with all the different reader versions out there (they have to have an internet connection after all). But I thought it would be a cool way to show what was going on instead of just a static image.

The 2nd audio book is coming along and ACX just approved it. One very helpful trick I recommend is seeing if you qualify for a "stipend" from ACX. In my case, they gave the producer $100 for every completed hour to help defray the costs of production. My book was over 9 hours. As author I don't get any of that, but the number of people submitting samples jumps through the roof, because it's guaranteed upfront money as well as a share of (theoretical) backend.

One of the gifs from the book:

Image
Hard Luck Hank:





User avatar
TWErvin2
Private E-2
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:24 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: My Novel - Hard Luck Hank

Postby TWErvin2 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:39 pm

Listened to and enjoyed the 2nd novel in the series (Hard Luck Hank: Basket Full of Crap).

Takes the main character Hank in a new direction--keeping the storyline fresh--along with the return of several characters from the first novel.

Worth taking a look at, if you ask me. :)

Next

Return to Success Stories

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests