Overcoming the Stigma

It's been four months since our last post. A lot has happened since then. We will be publishing posts more regularly as we organize ourselves for the coming year. 

When we decided to self-publish  Age of the Seer, we thought we were ambitious. We did our homework and knew the stats. Studies show that 85% of all self-published authors sell a grand total of seventy-five books. That’s it. Published authors fare a bit better with a cap of  3,000, if they’re successful. My mom, dad and I saw the publishing world as a rugged landscape we had to cross, and we didn’t have a map.

 

We did, however, have three things: a book, determination, and a goal of selling not 3,000, but 5,000 copies. We were armed only with the small knowledge we had amassed and a group of encouraging friends. Or so we thought. When it was just the three of us, we outlined the ultimate winning strategy: my dad would touch up the first book and write blog posts. My mom would go over the edited manuscript and edit all the current writing, and I would take care of the marketing. It seemed grand on paper, but a few weeks into it, we quickly realized our plan had one major flaw: there was way too much to do. I worked and went to school, my mom taught and ran a household of nine, and my dad worked full time and led outside activities. Trying to balance all this with the book publication was very challenging.

We reached out to friends for help in small ways and ended up with something unexpected: a team. Our awesome team members trickled into our project slowly but with an abundance of enthusiasm and optimism for the project. Age was not an issue, and soon the number of teenagers and young adults sitting at the  meeting table equaled that of our more experienced adults. We became creative and started to explore different ways of marketing and gaining visibility for the book.

A rhythm developed and Team Ahiram began to meet weekly. We started to work as a well-oiled machine. We may not have had a map for this uncertain world, but we had a band of talented and motivated members, and we starting to feel a bit more confident about our journey.

It’s been almost a year since our team has come together and we have accomplished quite a bit since then. We raised money through a successful Kickstarter campaign. We were present at Comic-Con where we handed out over 9,000 drop cards. I ran Goodreads campaigns and giveaways, Facebook campaigns, and attended an author exhibit with my dad, the author. We created filk music and book previews for YouTube. We have a blog, a published newspaper article, and have entered in several book contests.

So, were there any results? Age of the Seer was published on September 24, 2014. As of now, we only know our sales for October and November of 2014. And in those two months, we sold a total of…(drum roll)

2,200 copies.

We did not believe it either. We still are not sure what led to those sales but we know one thing for certain: we have overcome the stigma of self-publishing and have surpassed the  typical seventy-five book sale mark. We sold 2,200 copies in two months. That has us pumped and ready to continue this amazing, nerve-racking and demanding journey. Our goal of 5,000 copies is starting to look more and more realistic and closer to home than expected. It’ll still take all our effort and determination to meet our ultimate goal, but we are now a small force -- slowly but surely -- traversing the vast lands of the publishing world.