The State of INDIE

Like any other endeavor, the world of the Independant, Self published author is governed in a large part by people. Humans. Homo Sapien.  Therein lay its flaw. Just as the philosophy of Carl Marx may sound great on paper, in the hands of man it didn´t turn out to be exactly the utopia one might imagine upon reading “The Communist Manifesto.”

If you were lucky enough to get in on the ground floor and have a large back-catalogue of titles, there is a chance that you are getting a steady paycheck from Amazon. This is not to say that it´s a big paycheck. I try to find a bit of reality in the world of INDIE. If someone claims they are selling 30 books a day you can be sure that I am going to track their progress.

Now why would I want to write about this topic you ask? I must be bitter as hell or have some bone to pick with INDIE writers or something.  My main motivation here is to entertain (largely myself) and to put things into some perspective (again, for myself and anyone else who is in the same boat.)

Take a look at your Amazon ranking. I am sure that most of us Indies are getting familiar with the way our rankings fluctuate depending on our sales. What happens when you sell a book? Well, the very first time you sell a book it gets ranked. Before that you are in no-man´s-land. Your book doesn´t even exist. Then you get some kind of overall ranking and more specific ranking based on the book´s genre.
Something like this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,207 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#1132 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Classics
#2033 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime
#3053 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime

This happens to be the current ranking for my novel ´LOBO´ – As you can see, not doing too good.
Print
When I jump into my Kindle Dashboard and look at sales for the last month I see that someone is presently reading LOBO via the KU/KOLL system. Anyone unfamiliar with this just needs to know that the reader didn´t buy a copy but is part of a plan where Amazon pays me for ´Pages Read´ by any other their elite customers.

So from a subterranean ranking of somewhere around 1.5 million, one reader put me in the 632 thousand range. How many more real sales  would I need to make to be in the 300 thousand range? How many more to be in the 100 thousand range. Not many. About a sale per week. Real sales are coming in regularly in the under 100 thousand range. Of course, we are talking about maintaining a book in that range. Sell five in a few days and you are likely to be in the 100 thousand range BUT … (and this is a HUGE BUT) how long will the book remain in that range. Not too long. Not even one day.

So don´t lose heart. I realize that comparing ourselves to other writers and their sales is a nasty bit of business. But occassionally it´s to your benefit to see how you are doing in the real world and that means how you stack up against the competition.  Take my word for it … the majority of the INDIE authors out there aren´t doing much.  I open almost every link of every Indie author that follows me on twitter.  It´s rare that their books are sitting higher in the Amazon ranking than 500 thousand.  So we´re all struggling.

On a personal note, I realize that my books are in a ´death battle´ competition. I don´t write in one of the big five or six money genres. Romance, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller, Vampires, Zombies or Erotica / Porn. These are genres that sell. And sell big. I write in a genre that isn´t even a genre. I sell a few books a month. I sell a dozen books on a really good month.

Am I happy with my sales? No. But now we are back to people again. I have yet to come to grips with a world in which a book like ´50 Shades of Grey´ is a bestseller. Never will. As a matter of fact, people who buy that kind of suppossed literature are not my friends. So get lost. (With the exception of those folks who read it just to see how damn bad it really was … you guys can stick around.) The rest of you, I´m about to get to the point.

At the end of the day, we had better be our own best friends. I am lucky. I get along great with myself. And I look into the mirror every  day and don´t have to lie or exagerate (ok, we all do a little but … ) to live with myself.

So what the hell is up with the so many Indie authors that aside from selling really crappy books, make outlandish claims about themselves?
I don´t get it.

I am just the opposite. I AM DAVID GORDON BURKE – WORLD WORSTSELLING AUTHOR. WINNER OF ZERO AWARDS. So be it.

Lies INDIES tell.

Best Selling Author (various possiblities here)
All my family has bought copies
I bribed all my co-workers to buy a copy.
One of my books was number 2 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality >
New Age > Meditation > Navel Gazing category for about five minutes when I ran a ´Kindle Freebee´ day

Award Winning Author
I won a Yo-Yo contest back in third grade

Published Author
I have published my own work since no one in their right mind would do it for me

Published by Instarama Press
I spent a fortune getting these losers to print my books

Million seller
I have a million copies in my cellar

Writer – Look for my first book to be released in March
Or April, or May, or June, or next year, or the year after that.

I write Erotica
Since Penthouse forum no longer takes submissions, I publish my Porn musings on Amazon. Also, I haven´t gotten laid since
there was a Bush in the White house.

I write Young Adult Paranormal Romance
How many ways can I copy Twilight?

I could go on and on and on but you get the gist.

Leaving you with these thoughts.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

“Perhaps the less we have, the more we are required to brag.”

“All books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hours, and the books of all Time.”

“I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I’d rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas.”

“To win the people, always cook them some savoury that pleases them.”

And my personal favorite

¨When you conform you please everyone, except yourself.¨

David Gordon Burke
Find my books here

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