My name is Brian J. Jarrett and I’m a full-time programmer looking to achieve some modest success as an indie horror and post-apocalyptic thriller writer. Join me on my journey as I return to writing.
I wrote that back in October, 2010 when I started this blog as a companion to my return to writing. It still appears in the sidebar to this day. I had no idea that sixteen months later I’d be where I am now.
January was my best month ever. I sold 1,055 copies of Into the Badlands and 45 copies of Walking at Night: A Collection of Horror. These numbers blew prior sales out of the water, as evidenced below:
Into the Badlands:
- 2011-09: 46
- 2011-10: 60
- 2011-11: 165
- 2011-12: 411
- 2012-01: 1,055
Walking At Night: A Collection of Horror
- 2011-10: 10
- 2011-11: 7
- 2011-12: 17
- 2012-01: 45
I think I’ve already sufficiently discussed my surprise at these sales numbers. I’m still very pleasantly surprised. But now in addition to that we’ve made some changes around our house due to the success of my books. My wife is a former teacher, but lost her job about two years ago. She’s been working part-time at a grocery store, but the money isn’t anywhere near her teaching salary.
My January book royalties were double what she makes at the grocery store. She doesn’t really enjoy the work and the time away from home means that I’m spending more time on household chores than writing. It quickly became a no-brainer decision: my wife quit her job earlier this week. We’re going to be living off my IT salary with my book royalties going into savings. She’ll be home now to pick up the extra household work and I’ll have my time back to write (which is more lucrative than her grocery store job).
I entered into this looking for some “modest” success; a few dozen books maybe and a way to connect with a few readers. I’ve now sold over 1,900 books since September, so much more than I could ever have imagined. I’d say I exceeded my goal of modest success in that writing is now the family’s official second source of income. It has allowed my wife to quit a job she didn’t like and allowed me to continue doing something I love. It’s been life-changing, actually.
I’m also no longer measuring success by someone else’s yardstick. I still don’t know what other “successful” indie writers are selling. I’m not really so concerned anymore. Rather than judge my success by their sales numbers I’m judging my success by how much positive influence my writing is having on my life and my family. Right now it’s pretty damn successful.
What will next month bring? Hard to say. The first few days of February have seen a 25% slowdown in sales. Hopefully that’s not a trend that will continue. I’m sure there are plenty of ups and downs with book sales, but since I’m only five months into it I don’t have much history to use for predicting the future. I also have two more books due out in 2012, so hopefully those releases will counter any reduction in sales.
February will bring what it brings, but January brought unprecedented success along with life-changing opportunity. Sixteen months ago I could never have anticipated that. I’m excited to see what other opportunities self-publishing will bring over the next sixteen months.