Depending on whom you believe, somewhere between 1% and 5% of all books published do not sell more than 100 copies. If your book is self-published, you have even less hope of breaking the 100 mark than if you are published by a traditional publisher.
So, you can imagine my satisfaction when I did the math recently and discovered that in the year since its release, my memoir This Rich & Wondrous Earth has sold 107 copies. True, quite a few of those copies were bought by yours truly to give as gifts. But still, I am happy that everyone who has given me feedback has enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others.
I am in the final stages of preparing for a release in the Kindle format, and I am hoping that this will spark some more sales, especially of those who live overseas and don’t want to pay shipping for a physical book.
I am also working on another e-book of material that I have created over a period of years. And yes, the stories will be going back out SOON! I just have to get through my classes on Monday and Tuesday.
This week I’ve been too busy to do some actual writing, but I’ve made some resolutions. One is to send all my stories back out. This might mean subscribing to Duotrope. It makes me mad that I have to subscribe and pay money, because I was a paying subscriber before and I was helping to subsidize all those people who didn’t pay at all. Now if I want access to that database I have to pay a hefty fee. *sigh*
I will also go back to work on my website, produce some videos, and prepare a couple of helpful e-books for release. Till the end of this year, I believe my focus has to be on marketing materials I have already created.
Hey look! I’m still alive! I will write about Realm Makers at some point, but right now that’s ancient history compared to this weekend, when I attended the East Texas Christian Writers’ Conference. I went once before, several years ago, but have not had the transportation to go in the intervening years.
Now, however, I have my own wheels so I was eager to attend. And just to challenge myself, I entered all three categories of the writing contest: poem, essay, and short story. My thinking was that if I entered all three categories, perhaps I would be fortunate enough to place in one of them.
Imagine my surprise at the dinner Friday night when I found that I’d placed second with my poem, first with my essay, and tied for the grand prize! That was some very badly needed encouragement for me.
Saturday I attended a total of five workshops, all of which I enjoyed. This is a short conference, and a relatively small one, but it is also high quality and I definitely felt that it was worthwhile. I took classes from both Kristen Clark and her husband Lawrence (both of whom have spoken to our local writers’ group) and got really inspire to work harder at marketing the things I’ve already written.
I’ll try to get back on track with this blog as I chronicle my efforts to get my work noticed and build that ever-elusive “platform.”
Guess what? I am finally going to do something to further my writing goals. I have registered for Realm Makers, a writers’ conference aimed specifically at Christian speculative fiction writers. This is the first conference of its kind and I am excited to get in on the ground floor, as it were. We writers of speculative fiction are a tiny minority in ACFW, the very large group to which I belong and whose conference I have attended three times now. I am very much looking forward to attending a conference that is focused on the kind of writing I do, and to know going in that everyone I meet will be a kindred spirit of sorts. At the big conference, it was sheer happenstance when I would chance to meet another speculative fiction writer.
Meanwhile, I have just a few days to finish making my daughter’s wedding dress and wedding cake. Yes, I am panicking just a little.
Well, I see I have allowed another month to pass without posting. I should be ashamed of myself. However, the truth is that what I wrote last month could almost be repeated verbatim. I am STILL waiting to hear from the two editors who have my manuscripts. I am still selling just the odd copy of my memoir here and there. In fact unless there is a sudden surge of sales in the next two days, I’ll make less than $20 this month.
The good news, if you want to put it that way, is that the worst part of the school year is behind me and I can begin to think about how to get writing back into my life. One thing I need and want to do is to start sending out my short stories again, after going back over them to see if I can improve them further. I also have a manuscript to finish and two to edit. Think I can do it all by the end of July?
Sorry for lapsing into silence for a few weeks here. I have barely had time to breathe, and getting very sick did not help either. I continue to get positive reviews of my memoir, and I continue to wait in vain to hear from the editors who are considering my fiction.
A few people have posted reviews of my memoir on Lulu and on Amazon, and for that I am very grateful. I was a little surprised and dismayed the other day, though, when I pulled up my memoir on Amazon. There are already three used copies for sale! I just wasnt expecting that considering my book has been out for only three months and has only sold about 60 copies total. Its not like I thought that everyone who bought it would keep and treasure it forever, but I was just not expecting anyone to recycle it quite so soon!
So, sales of my memoir have been rather underwhelming, but I live in hope that the people who read and enjoy it will recommend it to their friends.
One of the first things I did when I got my first few copies of my book was to send one to Miss Joan Hoyte, who was the school nurse during my years at Sakeji. The book is dedicated to her, and to the memory of Miss Mary Poole, who was my mentor at school. Miss Hoyte has been such an inspiration to me. One of the reasons I published my memoir when I did was that her health was failing and I really wanted her to be able to hold a copy in her hands and see the dedication.
I have not heard back from hernor do I expect to, as she has had several strokes and finds it difficult to get around much anymore. However, I couldnt help being a little anxious. Did she actually get the book? Was she able to read and enjoy it?
A few days ago I checked my author emailthe one thats part of this website and which I almost never check. I am trying to remember to check it more often because that is the address I put on my book cover. Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I found an email from a former Sakeji staff member, who had recently visited Miss Hoyte and reported that she was thrilled to get my book and see that it was dedicated to her. That made my day! And furthermore, someone (I think the same someone) ordered six copies of my book!
Today I checked that mail again and found a lovely comment from someone else who has read and enjoyed my book. I needed a smile today!
This week I was feeling very discouraged about salesthe lack of them, that is. I check my Lulu account every day and every day there are no new sales. But one day this week I checked and there was a new salebut it was through Ingram, not Lulu. Now I paid what for me was big bucks to have my book listed through Ingram, and I knew that it would take some time to show up, so I was intrigued.
Just out of curiosity, I searched my name on Amazon, and was gobsmacked to see my memoir come up right awayand also my Story Quest Curriculum, and also two articles that I wrote for Practical Homeschooling magazine several years ago!
You know what that means? That means I get an author page on Amazon! So far all I have up are a profile photo, a brief bio, and a link to my rarely-used Twitter account. But its a start! Now all I need to do is get people to post positive reviews of both my memoir and my curriculum . . .
Sorry I have neglected this poor little blog that no one reads! My book sales have been uninspiring to say the least. I really need to figure out how to publicize it without being so obnoxious that I lose all my friends! I have now sold a total of 20 copies (none in the last 10 days), and given away almost that many. Everyone who has read it has really enjoyed it, but unless they tell a lot of their friends I wont be selling more copies anytime soon. . .
I think I had this idea that my family and close friends would all want a copybut this has not turned out to be true at all. Obviously, I overestimated the charm of my childhood stories! Im not sorry I published it though. The ones who have read it have been so kind in their comments, and I know that it is available now to anyone who is interested, and especially to my own descendants in years to comeif I ever have any!
Well, my books been out for almost a month now. Ive sold a meager 18 copies, and given away a few more. I hope that my few readers will encourage others to read it also, because I have no marketing budget!
What has been encouraging to me is the positive response from those whove read the book already. Most of them are people who went to the same school in central Africa. Here are a couple of the comments Ive received:
I highly recommend Lindas book. She has done a very commendable job of capturing the essence of Sakeji during her time there.
Ive just finished it too. Brought back so much. It was a little like reading my own thoughts in places which was very strange. Like Deborah I sometimes struggle with Africa memories, but I am glad for this book which does describe Sakeji as it was, though by the time I left it had begun to change, I think for the better. If you can, it is well worth a read!
That second comment is the one that makes me happiest. For one of my contemporaries to read my story and feel that it was a little like reading her own thoughts means that I was successful in representing the school realistically.