So sometime in the last two days, I passed an incredible milestone: 5,000 total sales between my three books.

I can’t even tell you how floored I am by that number.

Two and a half years ago, when I uploaded The Saints Go Dying to the Kindle, I sold fifty copies in that first month. I would have been happy with just that, when it really comes down to it. 50 people reading a novel I’d written was already more readers than I’d ever had before.

I dreamed about publishing more, but at that point The Marinara Murders was just a few chapters long. I thought it would take ages to get it finished, but I ended up finishing the first draft by the end of the year.

What spurred me on to get it finished?

Having actual readers. 

When I published The Saints Go Dying the thing I least expected was how much those initial sales—and their reviews—would spur me on.

And the reviews!

Between Goodreads.com and Amazon, The Marinara Murders has 27 reviews and The Saints Go Dying has 33. Not all are fans of the book—there’s a couple negative reviews in there—but that’s a total of 60 reviews between the two books, and each book has an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. 

Here are two of the most recent reviews of The Marinara Murders by actual readers (as in, people I don’t know and didn’t ask to review the book) on Goodreads:

“Holy CRAP this guy needs to write more books. Like, now. Like I’m seriously waiting. *taps foot*”

“Can’t wait for the next book. I think Conan Doyle would have enjoyed this one!”

Mind. Blown.

When you log into GoodReads, and you see some stranger leave a comment like that about your book … how could you possibly not want to keep writing?

So I think my message to anyone thinking about publishing a book is to start as soon as you can. (Make it as good as you can, of course, so don’t rush. But don’t dawdle, either.) The high of having actual readers will definitely spur you on to write more after you get the first one up.

My other recommendation would be to pursue marketing and promotions opportunities as frequently as possible. I keep tabs on what other self-published authors are doing at KindleBoards.com. It’s a great place to see what other authors are trying.

I discovered StoryBundle.com through them. I sent an emailing, volunteering my books if the site ever had a mystery category. An easy email to send, and thanks to it, bundle sales have driven my best month of sales to date (with 4 days to go!).

So writers: start publishing. Your writing will speed up a lot.

And readers: thank you. I am so glad you’ve taken a chance and checked out these books. I’m excited to let you know that I will have a short story in the Beautyman series coming out within the next month or so! Stay tuned.