Break-even!! Not only digging anymore…

Mike Grist Life Leave a Comment

Today is the day I have finally broken out of the red in my writing career, through the glass break-even ceiling, and into the black!

Wow, the air up here is rarefied. It’s balmy. I can just swim in these waters all day.

Amazon release the payouts for the previous month (August) on the 15th of the next month (now, September), and tallying it all up in my Excel file, I spotted that I had finally crossed that most daunting of rubicons- I’m no longer an indentured author, paying off the debt of my past indisgressions!

Previously every bit of editing, cover design, proofreading and promotion was just a bucket scooping up quicksand and dumping it on my own head, digging myself in deeper. Sunk costs, you tell yourself. Even Facebook didn’t make a profit for like, what, has it even made a profit yet?

These are essential tricks of the mind to play- because without them, what have you got? Oh yeah, I’m spending more money on my book and getting nothing much back. It’s basically vanity publishing, but you’ve got to have faith or give up, so you have faith, and you’ve got to spend something on promo or you’re not even giving yourself a chance, so if you really have faith you’ve got to spend at least a litle, and if a little then why not quite a bit, and…


It makes debt. Nothing crippling in my case- I’ve never (until the mortgage on this house) spent money I didn’t have. And let’s be frank, the numbers involved are not massive- plus the break-even point is not truly a rubicon, because it can be crossed in either direction. Of course I can dip back into the red- although it won’t happen fast, as I won’t spend like I did in the early days again.

Editing for my first indie novel, Ignifer’s Rise, cost me $600 and wasn’t any good at all. The cover was $160. I spent probably $300 on promotion. That’s approximately $1060, real money by any count. That book never earned close to that much back. It hasn’t sold more than a 100 copies. OK.

Mr. Ruins and his troupe so far have been a similar net loss, with sales between them counting less than 300. My non-fiction travel/memoir book Into The Ruins was the only one offering sweet succor, like a life-vest tossed on a stormy ocean- with good, workmanlike sales, a good profit margin, and zero costs for promo or editing or cover as I did it all myself. It buoyed the rest- though painfully it could easily be argued that was on the strength of my photographs, not my writing, so…

I was down in the thousands of dollars. Then along came The Last. Its cover and promo dug the hole deeper- but this time I hit oil. A little oil, not masses, but enough to make the digging worth it. Enough to start filling the hole.

Today I saw the hole filled. I am on level ground. It has sold along with The Lost its sequel over a thousand copies. Over 100,000 pages of both books have been read in addition to that, according to Amazon borrows, which equates to about another 500 books.

Right now it’s not anything more than level ground. It could go away tomorrow and I’ll be back in the hole again, or maybe this level ground will be a plateau I’ll hover around forever. Nobody knows. Still, it’s a milestone I’m psyched about.

I’m working on book 3.

Life news

Another milestone today was installation of our shower! We still can’t use it for a day or two, until all the silicone and glue dries (the plumber left behind a tube of glue and two screwdrivers- do you think they’ll want them back?), but the prospect of not having to have a bath every morning and night is very appealing.

Here it is. It basically looks just like any shower anywhere now:


After the leaking, cracked tray was torn out.


The shower bit came out and was replaced by these.


New shower tray in.


Lovely shower! I’ll let you know how it goes probably on Friday when it’s all dry and can finally shower again.

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