After my attempt to write erotic romance under my Liz brand proved to be a big fail in May 2017 when I released Need, I knew that in order to continue writing erotic or dark romance, I needed a secret pen name.
But… there was one challenge: I could not in any way promote Naughty Pen’s brand with Liz even though it would make things easier. Basically, Naughty Pen would start at nothing. Zero fans. Zero platform. Plain and simple: she was a new author.
So in July 2017, I released Naughty pen’s erotica story and it went straight to Kindle Unlimited. Without any advertising or promotion, it promptly sank into obscurity. That book was meant to be a standalone story but with the word count being about 13k or so, I thought it was too long for an erotica short. And so with nothing to lose (and the characters weren’t done, they told me), I continued writing their story.
I released their second book in October and just like the first one, it sank into obscurity. Again, with no advertising or promotion, no book will ever get noticed. It’s just the way the game is played.
But I continued on simply because I love this couple and I can’t wait to write more about them. It felt like going back to basics when I simply wrote for myself and not anyone else. This time, there were no alpha or beta readers to critique the story*. I ran the stories through Grammarly and published them.
By December, I had their third book and I published it. The first part of my naughty couple’s journey was complete at around 47K words or so. Just like the first two books, the third book sank into obscurity. The same thing happened with I bundled the three stories and published it to Amazon although this time I didn’t enrol it in KU.
Anyway, I made a total of $56 for those three books and the bundle from July 2017 – December 2017.
At first, I laughed. Then the business side of me said one word: Pathetic. This was shortly followed by four other words: You can do better.
The bottom line was this: naughty pen or not, this is still a business. This ain’t no hobby.
So it was time for Plan B.
In January 2018, the first book’s exclusivity contract with Amazon expired and I didn’t renew it. For the first time, it was free to be sold elsewhere like iBooks and Barnes and Noble. But to do that meant the other two books had to be out of KU as well and so after I published the first book “wide,” meaning on platforms outside of Amazon, on January 7, I requested to have the other books removed from exclusivity and Amazon granted my request.
The first book went free for two days, just enough time for me to go into iBooks and download a copy. The following day, I put it at $2.99 and it remained at that price until January 12th.
On January 12th, the two other books left KU and I uploaded them to iBooks, B&N, and Kobo. That same day, I priced Book 1 at 99 cents and the other books at $2.99 each.
It’s January 20th as I write this and so the charts will feature books sold until yesterday, the 19th. Book 1 was set free last night and so part of the copies sold include both 99 cents and free downloads from the iTunes store.
From here, with Book 1 free, it will be interesting to see what the sell-through is for the other 2 books in the series. The series continues but I have my own Liz books to write so this will have to wait until I have the time. I just hope the week’s sales aren’t a fluke and that they’ll continue but I also know that I need to write more books in the series. So it’s a catch 22.
As far as retailers, all sales have come from iBooks.
A new book I released hasn’t gotten any sales yet but that’s okay. I might un-publish it because the sequels aren’t done yet and I’m better off waiting to release them when everything is done like my first set of three parts.
*I finally gave the story to my proofreader last week 🙂