A couple of weeks ago I put in an order for 20 copies of my book, so that I could sell them to friends, family, and locals. Guess what showed up at my door yesterday!
Don't they look nice? I was so happy when I found that art to use on the cover. I was able to buy the rights to it fairly cheaply, along with a couple of similar pieces of different times of day, for volumes two and three, once they're ready. (Volume Two will probably come out before Christmas 2011, but I'm not sure exactly when.)
I was a little concerned that 20 would be too many, and that I wouldn't be able to sell them all, but 15 of them are already accounted for. I'm trying to get them into people's hands ASAP. If you know me personally or live near Victoria, BC, and want to put in a claim on one of the remaining 5, send me an email or a Facebook message and I'll put one aside for you.
The cost of the book in-person is $15, which includes a $3 shipping charge. That saves you up to $5 on shipping if you order it online, depending on where you live.
Shortly before the release of Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One, I announced that FiftyWordStories.com would be holding a Valentine's Day contest, where the winner would receive a free copy of my ebook. Today is Valentine's Day, which means that the contest results have been posted.
Rammy's winning entry, Sisters, earned the prize by being cute, sweet, and clever. I really like the twist on the "always and forever" phrase, and I'm a sucker for stories that create expectations for the reader and then undermine them, which is something Sisters does very well.
Daniel's Robot Romance is just really funny, and that's why I picked it as the first runner up. It's especially good, I find, when you read the story out loud with a robot voice and a "sassy" voice. The story has earned some legitimate laugh-out-loud moments from people I've read it to!
I like the poeticism and originality of Derek Mullanari's story, Binary Love, which earned the second runner up. I know how tough it is to evoke real emotion in 50 words, and I think Derek did a really good job of it, while using a unique setting and characters.
Beyond these three stories, there were a lot of great entires. In total, 22 different people sent in 29 different stories, which, to me, means the contest was a big success. Thank you so much to everyone who entered! I hope to see more stories from all of you in the future.
This has been a very exciting week for me creatively. On Monday I released Fifty-Word Stories: Volume One, a collection of 100 stories from my first year of writing at FiftyWordStories.com.
In conjunction with the book release, I made this a special guest week and posted guest stories from MCM of 1889.ca, Woody Tondorf of Elevator Show and The Morning After, Justin Boyd of LeftHandedToons, John Funk from The Escapist, and Graham, Tally, and Jer from LoadingReadyRun. Getting all of these great guests to write stories for me was really fun, and resulted in not only some great stories, but also the highest-traffic week in site history. Everybody wins!
So how have sales gone? Pretty great, actually. Not including "in-person request" orders, I've already surpassed my initial (admittedly a bit modest) sales target. I'm on my way to doubling it, if you include friends and family.
I had no idea what to expect in terms of sales, but here are a couple of trends that I've noticed so far:
--I've had more people ask to buy the book from me in person than I expected. This has led me to put in a "bulk" order of 20 books so that I can save people a bit on shipping, and so that I'll have a small stock around for other locals (people from Vancouver or Vancouver Island), or for special events.
--Ebook sales from my site are roughly even with sales through the Kindle Store. I'm glad of this, but I'd also be thrilled to see the Kindle Store sales increase a bit, because it's also an avenue for reaching more people who may not have heard of the site. If people who have bought the ebook want to leave reviews on the Kindle Store, I'd really appreciate it.
--Specifically mentioning the book on Twitter and Facebook seems to elicit some real response and sales. But don't worry; I'm not going to keep spamming it all over the place. Moderation in all things!
I'm looking forward to getting back to the regular routine of story posting, but of course, first there's the Valentine's Day contest!
Thank you to everyone who has been following the site, and my blog.
- There's drama!
- I figured the Sherlock Holmes stories would focus almost exclusively on Holmes decoding challenging puzzles and deducing things from the merest slivers of evidence. There's plenty of that, but there's also a lot of character drama and twisting plot that I wasn't prepared to find. It isn't necessarily all that powerful, as far as proper stories go, but it's there, it's gripping enough, and it diversifies the reading experience.
- Dr. Watson is a real person.
- He isn't just a wallflower or a wooden plank, playing the everyman to Holmes' brilliance. I'm glad: even first-person narrators need to have character.
- Sherlock Holmes does cocaine.
- Ok, the stories were written in a different era and all that, but... really? The excuse is that Holmes has such an active mind that when he doesn't have a mystery to solve, he needs chemical stimulation to keep his mind occupied. Blech.
- I haven't seen the word "elementary" even once so far.
- I'm not sure whether I just have to keep reading, or whether the catchphrase comes more from TV and movie adaptations. I'll let you know if and when I find out!