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Dreadgod Release Stream ()
#1 Copy

Steve Farmer

I'm very curious about your writing process. How different was the first draft of Unsouled from it's final form?

Will Wight

Funny story about that, Steve. You picked an interesting example because I was intending Unsouled to be released on my blog for free as a series of chapters because I was going "Hey? You know what, I'll just try and do a web serial as my side thing in order to keep people reading the blog and keep people remembering that I am a person that exists while I write the next set of Elder Empire books." But then I rolled out all the short stories over the mailing list, which we used to do, and that got people engaged and I was like "Oh, okay, well I don't need to do that with this but now I have a book, so let's finish it out and put it up and then we'll know what we know how to do and release it on the Kindle store and then maybe that will keep people engaged." And then that got way more engagement than Elder Empire ever did, so I was like "Uh-oh." And then I wrote Soulsmith.

So Unsouled's first draft and it's final form were not very different. Most of my first drafts are really pretty clean in general. Not universally, but in general I write pretty clean first drafts. The final drafts I don't change a whole lot, but what I do change has a lot of impact. It's not like I go through and make a million major changes so the story's completely different. What I do is, it turns out there's a lot of things you can change with just a word or a sentence here and there. Generally if you read my alpha draft and you read my published draft you would be able to see easily where I went from one to the other but they will read very differently. 

Will's Life ()
#2 Copy

Sean K

Congratz! I just want to say one more time that the Cradle books have been amazing! I even had to buy my friend Unsouled for his birthday! I also bought the Crimson Throne, but I haven't gotten to read it yet as I was finishing up the Nice Dragons Finish Last.

On a side note, how has your total sales growth been growing? I remember you mentioning that you had a huge sales growth on all of your books when you released Unsouled and Soulsmith. Do you normally sell 1k books a month? Which months are the slow month (So I know when you buy friends books!).

Granted, feel free to tell me "STFU, that's my income, I aint tellin you!" I'm just curious more so about the growth of your sales as you keep on adding so many great books as opposed to the sales figure!

Will Wight

I'm always more than happy to talk about my sales numbers. It's hard to find information like that out there from other independent Kindle authors.

Every time I add a new book, everything else gets a small bump in sales (especially previous books in the series). Putting a book on sale tends to do something similar.

I normally sell way more than 1k books a month. 1k would be a slow month. 10k would be a high month (probably a release month), but on average would be somewhere around 5k sales.

Which months are slow months? I'm honestly not sure. I'd have to look through my records, and it's still hard to tell. It depends on when I release, really. Release months are big months, and the sales trend steadily downward over about 4-5 months until the next release.

That fact, combined with the fact that there's a two-month delay between me selling the books and receiving the money, is what makes my income so...swingy. I have to save most of it and predict how much I'll be making for the next few months, otherwise I could find myself in an uncomfortable scenario.

I.e., "I'm not making any income, and even if I released a book tomorrow, I won't be making anything for the next two months."

The amount the books have generated is pretty huge (at least by my standards): almost $600k in three and a half years.

"How could you ever have financial problems?" you may be thinking. "That's way more money than you need!"

It's true, that's way more money than I need. And honestly, I haven't had any financial problems, but only because I've saved and planned ahead.

The problem is, that's gross income. Not profit for Will. So all taxes come out of that--and being a self-employed single guy means I'm paying a ridiculous amount of taxes--and so do all business expenses (all trips to conventions, everything I do to isolate myself and write, any computer equipment required for me to write, all book shipping, covers, editing, ordering hard copies so we have some to give away, and so on and so forth). On top of that, I pay all my insurance, which a salaried position would usually cover, out of pocket.

So bottom line, my PERSONAL takeaway is basically like a 50-60k salary.

Which is still very comfortable for me personally. It's WAY, WAY more than I ever expected to make writing, and I could certainly do with a lot less.

But imagine you're living on a 50k salary, but sometimes your boss says "Eh, you might not get paid for the next two months."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I try to keep up frequent releases.