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December 27, 2011

Christmas has come and gone. 

The clean-up fairy is hungover from partying with the elves. 


The stuff that was hung by the chimney with care is now strewn about the living room no matter how much I try to clean it up by wiggling my nose. 

I’m under deadline and have a migraine. 

The boy needs a bath and the tween is sick — again. 

My poor husband is drowning in Legos and even his old man glasses aren’t helping. 

I’d kill for a double martini about now. Or a double caffeine shot. Hmmm…

I think I’ve watched too much That 70s ShowI’m this close to finding out where Fez is from, dammit. 

The good news?

My first book, A Walk In The Snark is actually ranked higher on the Amazon charts than Shit My Dad Says AND Go The Fuck To Sleep

Me. My little Snark book. Say What…The Fuck? Or is it holy shit? #teehee

(That’s just so much fun to say.)

Me: Babe, my book is ranked higher than the Shit and Fuck books. Hus: Haven’t we discussed cursing in front of the children? 


How did I get here? Through my unnonsupermodel good looks? No. Because I’m a marketing genius? Well, maybe. Naw, kidding. 

But I do work with smart people. And okay, I do know a few things. 

I hear from authors all the time they’re disappointed a particular promotion didn’t work, or that after a few weeks of tweeting, they’re upset they haven’t sold more books. Some discuss poor Amazon sales but have no reviews up…um, what? 

Snap out of it! 

When you’re an indie author, it’s on you to make all that stuff work. So make it work! Don’t blame others if you’re books aren’t selling. DO SOMETHING about it. 

There are tons of resources out there to help you: there’s me, the IBC, John Locke’s book, the book I cowrote w/ Carolyn & Amber called Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success (it’s a buck, people); webinars, novel publicity firms, google, Kindle boards, Twitter #hashtags like #amwriting and #pubwrite discussions, Facebook groups, and more. 

I do tons of stuff, all the time, every day, across many platforms. Lots of different promos. Google ad words. Have an active, consistent social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, and I pretend to do stuff on Goodreads. 🙂 I have mentors (Carolyn McCray, Amber Scott, Jessica Swift, Sean Gardner, and a few others) who teach me all kinds of great stuff. My friends and fans are supportive and amazing. Book bloggers and reviewers have been critically important. 

All those factors have gelled over this past year to make Snark a hit. Which still kind of boggles my mind. But the main thing…the thing that really helped me? 

KDP Select. Yup. Evil Amazon and their new evil program, if you listen to the naysayers. 

Listen, it was an easy choice for me. 93% of my profits this year from Snark came from Amazon, so the choice was easy for me to sign up my two books. I picked the five days before Christmas to have Snark go free. (Thanks for the advice, Carolyn). 

Why Snark and not my latest release, The Manode: Exposed? Easy. I had history already. It had the better ranking. It had visibility. It had the most reviews, likes, and tags. It had already reached #1 on the Motherhood list fifteen times. I was already entrenched in Amazon’s recommendation queue. 

My point: go in smart. Don’t expect miracles.  

So what happened? I had over 10,000 free downloads. Decent, right? I thought so. For me. Lots of people have gone free and had ten times that many. Other people have gone free and had a few hundred. So I’m pretty happy with it. 

The bigger deal is Snark ended up #1 on a bunch o’ lists: Motherhood, Family Relationships, Parenting and Family, Top Rated, and in the Top 5 or 10 or Advice/How-To, Humor, Non-Fiction, etc. etc. 

So do the downloads make a difference? I’m not paid on them. How does it work after the free part is over? 

When you port back over to paid, you hopefully take the rankings with you. So…did I? 

Not initially. I went back over around #4900 overall; however, I took the listings with me…after a day or two. I was #1 across the board in three categories and listed on about ten lists. But as of this writing, I’m around 400! Funny, I don’t feel that old. Bah, dum, bum.

As for sales, I’m averaging about forty sales of Snark/day now. Way more than ever before, when my average was ten. This has carried over to Mancode; where I was selling maybe four/day, I’m now selling about eight. 

Lending has also increased. My total lends goes up hourly it seems. I haven’t broken 500 yet, but it won’t be long. Not huge numbers, but again, it’s all about the rankings. 

Bottom line: great experience. The exposure has been amazing. Sure, if exposure paid my rent, I’d be thrilled but it doesn’t. But it leads to great things. Think about it: 10,000 downloads. If even 10% of those people left reviews for me…#whoa. Even 1%! 

If you’re in this whole thing to make a ton of money, find a day job. Despite numbers like these, it’s not enough to make a living…yet. I also only have two books out (plus the one I’ve cowritten and the two anthologies I’ve contributed to…but still…). I’m now working on my third. 

In the meantime, I help other authors with their social media campaigns. That’s how I make a bit more money. If you want personalized, customized advice, let me know (email me at and I’ll give you my rate and more specifics of what I can do for you. 

I also teach free webinars for the Indie Book Collective each month — first Tuesday of every Monday at 5:45pm PST via webinar. Next week it’s on Tuesday, 1/3. Sign up at 

So has it been worth it? 

Ya think? 

(This is only my experience. Yours could have been/may be entirely different. Would love to hear your thoughts below.)

You know where to find me and all that stuff, right? 

  1. Rachel,

    Thanks for the info, especially about what happened with your books after the free download part of the KDP Select Promo was over.  It's great to hear about your experience and the specific numbers.  Also, thanks for the list of resources. 

  2. You're welcome, Lisa. I'm all about sharing what has worked for me. Not everyone's experience will be the same, of course and I hear lots of people whining about this & that. Bottom line: take responsibility for your own career. Don't blame anyone else for anything else. It's what I teach my kids every day & the same concepts apply here. 🙂 

  3. terri g permalink

    So VERY proud of you and the hard work you do. I appreciate you verbalizing that we shouldn't be expecting miracles without putting in the effort. Nicely done, you. 

  4. Thx Terri — I appreciate your kind words. It's HARD work to be an indie author. Heck, to be any kind of author at all. To expect other people to know our work & work as hard for us…well, didn't we learn this in grade school from like Ben Franklin or something? 🙂 

  5. Rachel, you are doing awesome. I am so happy for you with the success of  “A Walk In The Snark.” Ten thousand downloads is awesome. I hope you get many sales for “Mancode: Exposed” as a result of all those downloads. Cheers, Ardee-ann

  6. Katherine Owen permalink

    My new release of “When I See You” is  free right now. It's doing okay for the free category of literary fiction. That's #30 here: 

    Of course, I should have been better prepared. Wasn't. You should have wrote this post ten days ago. Didn't. Thanks for the smart advice of “Go in smart; don't expect miracles”. Okay. Fine. You're right and I know I love you.

    New year. New perspective. New Outlook. Those are not the same. Printing your post, now.



  7. Thx my sweet — it's all a little overwhelming but cool, too ya know? I've worked so hard for it & will continue to. Lots of authors work hard — it's all degrees, baby steps that add up. xxoo to you hot sauce. 

  8. Katherine, thx so much sweets. I do have some suggestions for you — email me if you'd like (see post for email). You know I love you more than my luggage. 🙂 

  9. I love being the only dude on your comment stream. 

    You speak the truth. I would advise any and every indie to be her friend, and quickly!

    Love you, Snarky-wan Kenobi.

  10. ajc1023 permalink

    so much great info! Thanks for the reminder that effort will need to be involved! So glad my aunt mentioned that she was reading your book she had just downloaded, as you have so much great info that you are even willing to share!

  11. Daniel Marvello permalink

    Thanks for sharing your results, Rachel. Good information. KindleBoards has had posts from both sides of the equation with a lot of editorializing by the masses. As you say, everyone's mileage varies on KDP Select.

    I'd also like to thank you for being one of the voices of reason in this starry-eyed rush to self-publishing that's going on. I just don't understand why writers think it will be easy to not only write a book, but take responsibility for all of the production aspects and marketing aspects of publishing the book. It is NOT easy! For the most part, you get out of it what you put into it. Your success was hard-earned and well-deserved, IMO.

  12. One promotion does not a book sell (that should be my new tagline haha). You're welcome. Happy to share. Promotion is 24-hr job — along with writing your next book. Expecting one promo or one book to make your name is simply unrealistic.

    I am self-published. I write it, but I hire people to edit, proof, format, & design my covers. It costs, but it's worth it. It's a product and it needs to look the best it possibly can. Look, we all want to make a ton of money but that's rare. I'm thrilled when people tell me they love my books. That make me feel successful. xo

  13. you're welcome. there's just so much effort, it can be exhausting at times. some things need to go — usually, for me, it's mail. I'm terrible about it. if it's not email, forget it. don't send me cards. I never see them! 

  14. ha, that made me laugh, Landon. 🙂 

  15. Great info, and congratulations on your success with BOTH books – you're amazing and inspiring .  Hope 2012 brings even more success to you in every way you wish for


  16. thx babe. same to you. I loved your book and can't wait for SPRING INTO SUMMER. let me guess…spring release? 🙂 xo

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