Tales of a Hybrid Author: Month 1: “The Snake Charm”


I’ll be writing once-monthly updates on the process of being a hybrid author. I know many trade published authors who are also interested in dipping their toes into the world of self-publishing, or self-published authors who are also thinking about what trade publishing can offer. This month focuses on the self-published side.

Background if you’re new to my blog: I’m self-publishing some short stories/novellas set in the same world as my Micah Grey series (Pantomime & Shadowplay). Those two books are traditionally published, though now Strange Chemistry has closed so the fate of my third book is up in the air. I uploaded the first story, “The Snake Charm,” a prequel story starring a secondary character from the series, on June 4, and it went live late that evening. I started promoting it the next day. I uploaded this to Kindle Direct Publishing, meaning it’ll be exclusive with Amazon for 3 months, before I put it up on other distributors.

Paid: 88
Borrowed: 7 (as part of KDP, Prime members can borrow my story for free, but I still get paid. So, hey, if you have a Prime membership, please borrow even if you have no desire to read it :-D)
Total: 95

Total Gross Income: £106.05

So far my costs have been £132 for 10 ISBNs. So you can either say I’m still about £26 in the red, or, if you factor in I only used 2 ISBNs so far, I made about £80 in profit this month. That’s about equal to what you’d get paid for a short story in plenty of magazines and anthologies, and this is only one month.

Location: Most of my sales were split between the US and the UK, but I also had 2 sales from Canada, 1 from Germany, and 1 from Australia.

I’m quite happy with my first month. I did no marketing aside from putting that it was up on my social media a few times. I didn’t do a blog tour, as I figured there’s not much point for a short story. I might do a few posts once all four stories are up.

The last 6 days I’ve had no sales, which is a bit worrying. I was hoping it would stay steady with a sale or two a day, meaning at least a little money would trickle in. But maybe it’ll pick up again. Perhaps $2.99 is too much for a 10k story and I should drop the price. That means going from 70% royalty down to 35%, but if means more sales then it’d be worth it. What do you think?

Has it impacted sales of Pantomime and/or Shadowplay?: No idea. I think so far the readers are mainly people who have already read my books, though at least one person read it before reading the books. I think those books had a little boost because June was Pride month and my books are LGBT, and Strange Chemistry shut so a few people picked up the books.

Here is the graph of sales from my KDP dashboard, where I mapped out what caused certain boosts. I had a boost the day Strange Chemistry closed, as I mentioned that any money gained will be ear marked for possibly self-publishing the third Micah Grey book. Still planning on that by the way – the £80 is duly earmarked.

Reviews: Right now I have 21 ratings on Goodreads and 12 reviews. On Amazon UK, I have 6 reviews, and on Amazon US, I have 5. I received one review on VADA Magazine. If anyone has read the story and not reviewed it, please consider leaving a couple of words on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews really help self-published titles be noticed. I also got some fan art from Laya.

Plans for the next month: Putting up the second story, “The Fisherman’s Net.” I’ve decided to not go exclusive with Amazon and upload to Amazon and B&N myself and use Smashwords for the other retailers. This should go up in the next week. I’ll also hopefully be revealing the cover of the third Vestigial Tale, “The Tarot Reader,” and finishing final edits for that, as well as editing the last Vestigial Tale, “The Card Sharp.”

Concerns: That not as many people will pick up the second story, though it will be far cheaper – 0.99c or 0.70p. I’d have to sell around 4x as many copies to make the same amount. Only one way to find out, though.

Other news this month:
My short story, “They Swim Through Sunset Seas,” will be released in the Anthology, Solaris Rising 3, from Solaris Books, in August.
I released the cover for the second Vestigial Tale, “The Fisherman’s Net.”
I was nominated for the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Newcomer for Pantomime.

So, that’s all for now. Thank you so much to everyone who bought/borrowed my first Vestigial Tale. It made me excited to share the other stories with you.

I’ll leave you with the cover and blurb of “The Snake Charm.” Please consider picking it up if it captures your fancy.


Untold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Snake Charm

“To most, Drystan was just another buffoon in the collective of clowns. But behind the inane grin, he saw everything, keeping the secrets he discovered close, like precious gems to barter.”

Mutiny is brewing in R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. When Linden, the leader of the clowns steals one of the ringmaster’s most prized possessions, Drystan, the white clown, finds himself caught in the middle. Tasked with retrieving the Lethe, he’s forced to betray Linden or risk his troubled past coming to light. But the Vestige artifact has its own history and its own power. Drystan will learn what it can really do, and who it can hurt.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

Add on Goodreads!


Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil / Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

4 thoughts on “Tales of a Hybrid Author: Month 1: “The Snake Charm”

  1. Whoa, those are REALLY good sales Laura. Much better than a lot of the numbers I see reported over at AW. Congratulations!

  2. Yup, good numbers, Laura. In my experience 99c is not a great price point. It likely won’t quadruple sales and you will have an opportunity cost of losing out on income from fans. That said, 2.99 is high for a novel and most authors I know use short stories as a way of bringing readers to their novels, so it depends on what you’re aiming for. If the latter goal is more important then Free will likely have a better return in the long run. IMHO

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