Today I reached a significant milestone. Today my sales for 2013 surpassed 1000. The official total as of today is 1003, which I hope will increase by the end of the day. The more time passes the more I realized how many books that is. In the scheme of things it’s not a lot; a book has to sell 50,000 copies to make the NYT Bestsellers List, and I’m sure most major publishers lose that much inventory a month. Then there are those self publishing wunderkind that sell thousands of books a month before floating away to mainstream publishing heaven with a fat contract. But when I extracted myself from all the other stuff I realized 1000 books is a lot of books. A whole lot of books.
So why is 1000 books significant? Well, a couple of years ago I was lamenting my low sales numbers. Truth be told, I thought selling books was going to be a lot easier. All I had to do was write a halfway decent book, slap a cool cover on it and folks would snatch my books up like free money. Boy was I wrong. Selling books is work, just like everything else that involves convincing folks to spend their money on something that they really don’t need. When you subtract the number of folks that read on a regular basis from those who don’t, then subtract from that the folks who read speculative fiction, then subtract from that the folks that might be interested in reading black speculative fiction written by a handsome but aging part time writer, the pool gets a little empty. My concerns happen to reach a veteran small publishing friend of mine who said, ‘if a small publisher sell 1000 books in one year that’s pretty good.’
So that became my goal. If I could sell 1000 books in one year I would know things were heading in the right direction. This was about the same time I decided to sell e-books. An online friend, Tina Hurd, kept insisting that I do so. I finally heeded her words and the flowers began blooming. Not only did my sales increase across the board, they’ve doubled over the past three years. So here I am at a milestone with two months left in 2013. If my sales pattern for the year holds up (100 book a month) and I release my last two books for the year (Amber and the Hidden City and Griots: Sisters of the Spear) I should end up with about 1200 books sold this year, which would be twice of my sales last year. Woo hoo!
Now I’m not about to sit here and take all the credit. This had little to with me and everything do to with the people who took a chance on me and purchased my books. To my great relief they liked them and apparently told other folks about them. I do a fair amount of marketing but I don’t do enough to take credit for this. It’s like they say; most people buy books recommended by friends. So there must be a lot of recommending going on for which I’m thankful and grateful.
So if you’re one of those people that took a chance, thank you very much. I hope you continue to enjoy my books and I hope you continue to spread the word. I’ll keep writing if you promise to keep reading. My celebration of this milestone is heartfelt but brief. The standard has been set. Next year’s goal is 2400. Time to get back to work. Stay tuned…