So it's been almost a month since Uncommon Counsel came out, my first published book. Sales so far have been frankly better than I anticipated. I don't have numbers yet on the eBook sales (Kindle, Nook, and the like) but in addition to copies I've sold or given individually, 38 copies have been purchased, including one in the UK. Depending on the eBook sales, I might break $100 income in this first month from those outside sales, likely the best month I'll have for this book. All told, Uncommon Counsel will almost undoubtedly be a money-losing proposition (but please feel free to prove me wrong!).
I'm neither surprised nor disappointed.
I've made no secret that when I retire from my full-time job, sometime in the next ten years, I'd like to pursue writing as my main activity. Fortunately, I've made other plans to fund retirement; writing is not my path to financial independence. Might I ever make money from writing books? Maybe. I made a lot of mistakes with this one, mistakes that undoubtedly cost me sales. There were too many things I didn't know I needed to do, and I was in too much of a hurry to get it out there. That's ok, I've learned some of what I did wrong (I'm sure there's many more things I don't even know yet), and I'll do better next time. Assuming there is a next time.
I want to write full time, but that doesn't mean I'll get more publications (even if I publish myself). Uncommon Counsel isn't my first attempt at a novel. More like my eighth. It's just the first that was remotely worth pursuing. Some of that is because of all the things I learned in the first seven attempts. All the mistakes I made. I'm a better writer now for having made all those mistakes, just as I'll be a better publisher next time, too. But that doesn't mean I am ready to start cranking out publication-worthy material. Not to my standards, anyway. It's possible lightning will never strike again, and the rest of my writing will be crap more akin to my first novels. But I'm hopeful there might be a few more good stories in me. And I'm confident that even if I produce crap, it'll be better crap than my earlier attempts. As my skills improve, so do my standards. That's as it should be.
Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of Uncommon Counsel. I think it is a fine first novel. Reviews so far have backed that up, too. But I expect to look back on it and realize its many shortcomings, beyond the ones I already see. But I expect to do better. Maybe not the next attempt, but eventually. I feel I may have moved from my apprenticeship into a journeyman status, but I have years of work there, maybe more years than I've got in me, before I'm ready to try for my masterpiece.
So will writing ever make me financially independent? I doubt it. Fortunately it's a pretty inexpensive pursuit, so it might at least support itself (if not me). And who knows? Maybe I'll write a best-seller. Maybe I'll win the lottery. Those are probably similar odds. I'm ok with that. I hope you'll stay with me for the journey.