Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Why my novel has been incredibly successful

But first, here's your fist full of dollars, P5-style:

(1) SUFFER IN SILENCE: 7,624 5
(2) COOKIN' FOR LOVE: 38,488 5
(5) INFERTILITY SUCKS: 203,697 6

So, as I mentioned on a previous post, my book has sold some 20,000+ copies (at least shipped as many.) Sound good? Not really. How many did I want to sell? Millions. How many did I expect to sell? Enough (hopefully) to earn out my advance and maintain the ongoing interest of my publisher.

Did I achieve my goal? Hard to say. My advance has earned out but sales are on the line, as it were. My non-publishing-world friends all say, "Wow, you should be thrilled! Your publisher made a profit on your book."

Sure. But they want a big profit.

True, tens of thousands of books are published each year, but the imprint I am published with only releases 100 +/- each year. If each of those books earns a $30,000 profit . . . well, that just isn't good business.

So, do I worry? Of course. All writers worry. It's why we drink. So much. Every day.

Now . . . let's put it into a slightly different perspective and I'll tell you why my novel is a smashing success: because the Authors Guild tells me so.

If you check out this link on Dan Poynter's website, you'll see all sorts of cool/fun/depressing (though partly outdated) statistics about publishing. About a third of the way down you will see this:

A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies. --Authors Guild.
A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies. --Authors Guild.

So I have a successful novel four-fold! Woohoo. I can't wait to tell my editor.

How pathetic it is that a successful novel is a mere 5,000 copies. You should never again question why you can't live (well) on being a writer--or at least a novelist. Don't quit your day job.

So for all of you PODers who have sold 2,500 copies of your book (and I know a few of you), don't give up; you're halfway there.