30 October 2011

A Brief Sales Update

Since it's been a while, I figured I'd give a quick sales update for those who find an interest in knowing how those without a large fan base do in self-publishing and being published by small presses. I've been tweaking my sales tracking spreadsheets, so can give a bit of a run-down based on total sales:

Heroes Die Young has been in circulation since September 2008 (over three years), and is available in both print and e-book formats. The publisher does some promotion at sci-fi conventions (as do I). Counting both personal sales and publisher sales (except for the publisher's 4Q 2008 sales, which I can't find my statement on), a total of 231 copies have been sold (on top of that, I've given away 198 copies). That breaks down to around 73 copies sold per year.

Friends in Deed has been in circulation since January 2010 (almost two years), and is available in both print and e-book formats. Same publisher as HDY. Counting both personal sales and publisher sales, a total of 65 copies have been sold (41 additional copies given away). So, sales have been slow in comparison, with only around 33 copies per year. I could make guesses as to why it hasn't sold as well as the first, but I'll just stick to the facts for now.

Seeker was my first foray into self-publishing, and is a novella just slightly smaller than Heroes Die Young. It's priced at 99 cents compared to the (currently) $2.99 price point of my first book. Coming out in December 2010, it's been available roughly 11 months and is only available in e-book format. Right now, I've seen sales of around 42 copies, so a little more than the annual sales on FID (although that book is currently running $4.99-$5.99 in its e-book format), but lagging behind HDY.

Dead or Alive was published by a new house, and is a short story collection. It's mostly available in print, with an e-book currently available only on the Smashwords site (and an app for Apple devices, although for the purposes of this post, I'll only be discussing print sales). At the moment, I've seen 19 true sales (and an additional 20 giveaways) between my publisher and myself since the print version was available back in February of this year (so nearly 9 months).

The Cure is my first foray into self-publishing a full-length novel. It's available in both e-book and print formats, and has been since July (the print has only been available since September). To this date, I've seen a total of 2 print sales (3 additional giveaways) and 11 e-book sales (not counting the lag that I've noticed from several vendors under the Smashwords distribution umbrella). Not anything stellar, but it seems roughly on par (13 for the quarter equates to 52 copies for a projected year) with my other titles.

For a few future projects, I'm considering the idea of packaging a trio of short stories into a single e-book and placing them for sale as e-books. If that comes about, I'll be sure to add those into the mix.

Perhaps some conjecture into the how and why will come for another post, but for now, hopefully these facts and figures will be useful to you. And of course, for those who have questions about anything I've posted here, feel free to leave a comment.

28 October 2011

SFFS - An Excerpt from "Ever Dark"

With a stay in the hospital (not for me) this week, I almost didn't make it in time for Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday, but did finally get home and get signed up. So, this week, I'm offering up an excerpt from my published Aston West short story "Ever Dark" (one of my favorites).

I stepped down the hall and the hairs in my nose curled. As I turned the corner, a pile of light gray ash lay on the floor along the left wall. A handheld energy weapon rested next to the debris.
Disintegrator cannon fire was one of the more horrific ways to die and not something a decent person would wish on even their worst enemy. Out of paranoia, I lifted my wrist.
“Jeanie, let me know if you see anything inside or outside the freighter.”
A hatch in the right wall split apart as I approached. Three more piles of ash lay at various spots around the rectangular bridge. Only one energy weapon was nearby, which told me someone had disintegrated unarmed victims.

If you liked this excerpt, feel free to head on over and read the full story in Ray Gun Revival (archived over on Scribd). And of course, several free stories can be found under the Shorts section of AstonWest.com.

25 October 2011

Weekly Goals - October 25, 2011

Considering I only had two days where I could actually get writing done, I was glad to see that I still ended up meeting my weekly goal. I think I've found some methods (and locations) that are working better for me than around the house...

Results for this week:

1. 1500 words (vs. goal of 1500) on Resurrection

And now the goals for this coming week:

1. 1500 words on Resurrection

Submission status for the week:

Short stories:
"Collateral" (since May 23)

21 October 2011


Since I provided an excerpt from my fourth Aston novel last week, I figured that for this week's edition of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday, I'd pull out an excerpt from my third (not-yet-published) Aston novel, Death Brings the Victory. Still in edits, of course, but still good stuff...taken from the prologue:

As far as setup, Aston's ship has just landed at the Torian orbital station (those who've read Heroes Die Young will recognize it) and his good friend Rione Sc'lari is rushing to meet him and just entered his ship:

Aston lay haphazard on the cot along the near wall, unmoving. A makeshift bandage covered his left shoulder, torn from sheets piled on the floor. Everything under him and below the cot was coated dark red.

“Aston!” she called, but received no response. Her breath formed misty vapor clouds as she rushed to his side. Shoving his body had no effect, either. Her entire body shook violently, not from the cold, but from building fear.

His breath wasn’t visible as hers was, so she reached up to his throat. Expecting the worst, she felt for signs of life. At first, she found nothing, then pushing a little deeper, a flicker of hope rose as she finally found faint beats, shallow and slow.

18 October 2011

Weekly Goals - October 18, 2011

Finally over the hump, at least for the current week. Try one more week, and then we'll see about bumping up the weekly word count goal.

Results for this week:

1. 1700 words (vs. goal of 1500) on Resurrection

And now the goals for this coming week:

1. 1500 words on Resurrection

Submission status for the week:

Short stories:
"Collateral" (since May 23)

14 October 2011


Back again for another fun-filled week of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Although I haven't yet finished editing the third Aston "in the series" novel, I'm presenting this week's snippet from my fourth one, Resurrection. I will put a little spoiler disclaimer here, and let everyone know that if you haven't read my second book Friends in Deed, and plan to, you might go read it first...don't worry, the snippet will still be here when you get back.

And of course, this is first draft material, so take that as it's offered...

“Aston...” Warm breath eased past my ear along with that voice I hadn’t heard for a very long time. Add on top of that the very idea of a voice being present, and confusion sent chills up and down my spine.

I kept my stare forward, muttering my words. “It can’t be. You’re dead. I killed you myself.”

I turned on my heels and stumbled back at the sight of Lars Cassus standing there in the light. The corner of his mouth curled up, and his voice, which he’d lost even longer ago, returned. “I’m back.”

Action's definitely going to be heating up with this one...can't wait to finish it, and present both novels to the general public in due time.

12 October 2011

Weekly Goals - October 11, 2011

Motivation has been sapped, uncertain of the reason...still on pace with last week.

Results for this week:

1. 1000 words (vs. goal of 2000) on Resurrection

And now the goals for this coming week:

1. 1500 words on Resurrection

Submission status for the week:

Short stories:
"Collateral" (since May 23)

07 October 2011

SFFS - An Excerpt from "Sweet Embrace"

After taking a week off for some personal reasons, I'm back again with a post for Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Hope you enjoy this excerpt from my unpublished Aston West story "Sweet Embrace" which I'm hoping to find a home for soon:

She looked at the pink bundle in my arms, then back at me. The woman’s eyes narrowed. “We are not a depository for unwanted children.”

I lifted an eyebrow, the implication clear. “This isn’t my child.”

“A likely story.”

I cursed under my breath, which she didn’t take well. She started closing the wooden door, but I shoved my foot into the gap. This one would need some convincing.

Of course, if you enjoy my excerpt, feel free to check out any of my other published short stories over at AstonWest.com (click on my "Shorts"...hee hee).

05 October 2011

Weekly Goals - October 4, 2011

Another week coming up short...starting to see a trend.

Results for this week:

1. 900 words (vs. goal of 2000) on Resurrection

And now the goals for this coming week:

1. 2000 words on Resurrection

Submission status for the week:

Short stories:
"Collateral" (since May 23)