A Silver Lining to Unlucky 13

Well–2013 is rapidly leaving us, and for me, in most ways, it’s GOOD RIDDANCE!  True to the year’s name, 2013 has been “Unlucky 13″ for me, as my small business continues to be hard hit by the economy.  Worst of all, it’s been a year of devastating loss due to a disastrous real estate investment venture, a rental property that’s worth only a fraction of what I paid for it 7 years ago, just before the housing market crash.  For me–and for many others I’ve talked to, it’s hard to find much to like about 2013.

But–to look for that proverbial silver lining to the dark cloud that this year has been, I look to my emerging writing career.  2013 has been a year of great advances in that area of my life.  To start with, in the opening months of the year, the Will Nickerson Mysteries became available in print for the first time.  Previously, Ranch Park, It’s A Place For Trees and Viking It Is were available only as Kindle and Nook e-books.  So many people told me, “I’d like to read your books–IF ONLY I could get them in print.  I like to read a REAL book.”  I listened–and to be honest, I agree.  I much prefer to read a real book, myself.  But how?  I’m a self publishing author and can’t afford to gamble, paying a printer thousands for books that may or may not sell.  Then I found out about CreateSpace, a company owned by Amazon, that offers self-publishing authors an alternative.  Printing On Demand publishing.  No money changes hands till someone orders a book.  When they do, it’s printed and shipped to them, and the author is paid a royalty.  As long as you have some basic computer savvy, and can do the formatting and cover design yourself, there’s no up front investment.  It works–and the quality of the books is great.  And I must admit, I feel sooooo much more like a real author when I have a real paperback with my name on it that I can hold in my hands and flip through the pages and see that YES–it is my writing.  The printed versions of my novels can be ordered either from Amazon.com or CreateSpace.com.  Although I get a somewhat higher royalty when they’re ordered from the CreateSpace online store, Amazon.com is more of a household name for most folks, so it’s Amazon.com that I usually direct potential buyers to.  Either way, you’ll get the same great quality 6×9 paperback.  I’ll tell you more details about CreateSpace publishing in a future post.

Then, during the past summer I also put my books on a third e-book market, the Toronto-based Kobo publishing platform, which a Canadian friend told me about.  Kobo is available worldwide and is BIG in Canada, and therefore, it seemed a great way to expand my sales north of the border.  And it’s paying off, too, as I am now getting more Canadian e-book sales through Kobo.  Since Canada is right next door to North Dakota, where most of my stories are based, it’s natural to weave Canadian characters and now and then a Canadian setting into the stories.  For a possible future story, I might consider sending Will on a road trip to Canada to work on solving a mystery in that great northern land.  I’ve made many trips to Canada, having at least set foot in nine of its ten provinces and I have great friends in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta–so yes, a Canadian based story is a possibility.

And getting back to Amazon, this year brought me my first sales in Great Britain, Germany and Australia, some paperback, some Kindle, all on the Amazon site.  It’s great to be going international with my writing.

Finally, in the fall, the newest member of the Will Nickerson Mysteries family, Let’s Make It Merry Christmas, made its debut simultaneously in print and on all three competing e-book platforms, Kindle, Nook and Kobo, that my first three books are on.

I’ve also begun work on the next installment in the series, which I hope to have in print and e-book form by the end of 2014.  I won’t go into much detail for now, but look for Will to visit a working guest ranch in Wyoming.

So, yes, if we dig deep enough it is possible to find that silver lining to 2013, and let’s bid it goodbye and look ahead to a great 2014.

R. L. Anderson, author, Will Nickerson Mysteries

This cover design for Ranch Park was introduced in 2013, for the paperback and Kindle editions.

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