by Dan Walsh
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
I love these traditionally published books and loved writing them. But it’s pretty satisfying to see books that were rejected by my publisher actually surpassing these novels in such a short time. My first indie novel, When Night Comes (and first true suspense novel…again, a rejected book by my publisher) is right up there with these novels after only being out 2 years. It has 440 Reviews (4.4 Star Avg).
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
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.
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.