I think it's fair to say that I'm nowhere near as brave or courageous as most of the main characters in my novels. If I'm being honest, it might be accurate to describe me as a "Risk Adverse" kind of guy.
That's why the last few weeks have been pretty exciting for me. Some of you know my “author story.” At the end of 2014, I did something pretty risky. After being a traditionally published author with 12 contracted novels released over 6 years the old-fashioned way, I made the decision to leave my comfort zone and start publishing my books as an indie.
The Big Picture reason was, I could see the entire publishing world was going through a major shakeup, created by the advent of that great monolith Amazon, Kindle and other ebook formats and devices. I watched this massive shift occur, as more and more readers stopped buying their books from retail bookstores and started buying them online.
The Little Picture reason I became an indie was because of the book I’m featuring in today’s post, Rescuing Finley. In August 2014, I had just finished writing my last contracted book with my publisher. It was time to turn in a new multi-book proposal. I had come up with a 3-book series idea, similar in genre to all my other books with them. Each of the proposed books would have many of the similar features that had made my other novels successful (and many of them, award-winning). The only difference? These books would all feature a Shelter Dog as a main character. I loved the stories and was certain my publisher would too.
In fact, they rejected the series, saying they didn’t like the stories that much and didn’t think they’d sell very well. “What else have you got?” they asked.
My answer? (Herein lies the title for my Blog Post today). "I don't think I’m going to send you anything else. I really believe in these stories and think people will love them, at least as much as they’ve enjoyed my other books." I politely informed them I’d be writing these books on my own, and we parted ways.
So you can imagine how exciting it is to be writing this blog post today. What’s the Big News? Well, this past week Rescuing Finley SURPASSED ALL my traditionally published novels in terms of the total number of Amazon reviews, and it's on track to surpass them in Sales, too. And...it’s reached this milestone at a breakneck pace – it’s only been out 14 months.
As of today, Rescuing Finley has received 571 Amazon reviews, averaging 4.8 Stars (86% are 5-Star reviews). I'd say that officially bashes the notion that readers wouldn't like this kind of book. To be fair, many of my traditionally published novels have surpassed the 400-review mark, and some have even reached the 500-review milestone. But these books have all been out for several years. Here are some examples:
- The Unfinished Gift – 444 Reviews (4.6 Star Avg) – Released 2009
- The Deepest Waters – 412 Reviews (4.7 Star Avg) – Released 2011
- Remembering Christmas – 533 Reviews (4.6 Star Avg) – 2011
- The Discovery – 521 Reviews (4.7 Star Avg) – Released 2012
- The Reunion – 515 Reviews (4.8 Star Avg) – Released 2012
- The Dance – 453 Reviews (4.7 Star Avg) – Released 2013
Besides the Reader Response, which has been off the charts, the sales of Rescuing Finley have also been stellar. Three weeks ago, I did a 5-day Free Promo of the book. Over 41,000 readers downloaded a copy. Since then, it has sold 1,409 copies (almost 500/week…on Amazon alone).
The 2nd book in the series, Finding Riley, has gotten quite a bump since then, too. It only released last October (3 months ago), and it’s already up to 124 Amazon reviews (Avg 4.8 Stars).
So I'd say…this "risky" indie experiment appears to be working. Both my indie inspirational books (Forever Home series) and my suspense books (Jack Turner Suspense series) are humming along with 2 books each. I’ve just passed the halfway mark writing Book 3 in the Jack Turner series (hope to have it released in May, no title yet), and will immediately begin writing Book 3 in the Forever Home series (Saving Parker). I hope to have that one ready by October. My goal would be to have at least 4 books in each series 18 months from now.
If you want to read any of these reviews or get any of these books, they’re only $3.99 on Kindle (less than a Starbucks latte), and all are available in print. Click on any of the titles in the post above to go to its Amazon page.
Since the theme of this post is Risk-Taking, I'd love to hear some of your stories. Times when you took a risk as a writer and it paid off. Let's encourage our fellow writers who are standing at one of Life's scary forks in the road.
Sometimes You Gotta Take a Risk by Dan Walsh (Click to Tweet)
I'm nowhere near as brave or courageous as my main characters.~ Dan Walsh (Click to Tweet)
I loved the stories and was certain my publisher would too. They didn’t.~ Dan Walsh (Click to Tweet)
Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 17 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards (finalist 6 times) and 3 Selah Awards. Three of his books were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year (RT Book Reviews). Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take walks and spend time with their grandkids. Click here to connect with Dan or check out his books.