Disclaimer: I am not making this post to brag. I generally try not to do that, unless it’s about my son. The purpose of this post is two-fold:
1: My friends and family often ask me how many books I have sold. The purpose of this is to answer that question for everybody at once, instead of just waiting until I see them severally and individually.
2: To reinforce a point I often make on my blog, that the advent of ereaders has changed the face of publishing forever. Not since the invention of the printing press has the world of literature been so radically altered.
Now to my first point. On November 8th, 2011, I published my first novel, No Easy Hope. It has been one year exactly since I first put my work up for sale. During that time, on July 15th of this year, I published a second novel: This Shattered Land. In the space of that year, the total number of books that I sold is this:
To some authors, this is no big deal. Stephen King probably does that in a month, but hey, I’m not Stephen King, nor am I trying to be. I’m a guy from rural North Carolina who has always loved literature, and spent thirty years wondering if he had what it takes to write a book that people would actually want to read.
To me, the number of books I have sold is huge. I never thought I would sell a hundred books, much less over thirty thousand. Considering the fact that I am self-published, I don’t work with an editor, I do all my own marketing (such as it is), and the only distribution networks I have access to are Amazon, B&N, and other small-market ebook websites, 31,930 is a fairly impressive number. Furthermore, I did almost all of it by myself, with the exception of my cover art. Huge thanks to Keary Taylor, talented author and graphic designer extraordinaire, for that.
Which brings me to my second point. To a major publishing house, 31,930 is chicken feed. If I had tried to get published through one of the Big Six (Simon and Schuster, Penguin, Random House, etc.), it never would have happened. My first novel would probably be sitting in a shoebox in my garage. But with the advent of ereaders, and all the various direct publishing programs, it is now possible for anyone to publish, and quite a few people have. Unfortunately, however, most of them don’t do very well.
Quite often, I get messages on Facebook from other writers just starting out who have read my work and liked it, or are struggling to drum up any sales for their own books, and wondered what I did to get where I am (not that I’ve gone all that far, really). My answer is always the same:
I have no freaking clue.
All I did was write a book, put it up online, and wait. Amazon’s marketing engines did the rest. Maybe it was timing, or eye-catching cover art, or maybe it was just dumb luck. I don’t know. What I do know is that I am grateful, and that the best part of being a writer is when someone leaves a nice review, or goes on Facebook and tells me how much they enjoyed my work.
And that is what it’s all about. The money is nice, but money isn’t everything. I get to earn a living doing what I love, and there are thousands of people out there who read my work and genuinely like it. On top of that, I have a beautiful wife, a son that I love more than anything in the world, and a kind, supportive family.
A man can’t ask for much more than that. Thanks everybody, for all your love and support. Having all of you believe in me, helps me believe in myself. And equally as important, massive thanks to all of my readers. Without you guys, I’m just a dork pecking away at a keyboard.
Here’s hoping that this year is as good as, if not better, than the last. There are plenty more books to come.
I hope you enjoy them all, and thanks for coming along for the ride.