Okay, you probably know about it by now, if you’re a regular visitor to this site. But here’s the thing: in the publishing industry, early sales are everything, at least for a mid-level release like this. If the book makes a strong showing in its first few weeks, then the publisher will put more resources behind it. If it doesn’t, then they’ll pretty much leave it to sink or swim on its own. I know, it’s clearly a Catch-22, and kind of self-defeating as well, but there it is. It’s the way the world works.
If you’re among the hundreds of people who’ve already bought the thing, you have my eternal gratitude. If I could, I’d have you all over for a big backyard barbeque, but I live in a city and I don’t have a backyard. Otherwise, I would, honest.
But I’ve only won a skirmish here, not the war. The early orders definitely got their attention, but there’s more to be done, and soon: strong sales over the next week will make a huge difference for me. So if you’re thinking about probably buying the book, at some indefinite point over the next few months: do it now. Do it within the next week. (Afterthought: if you don’t want to buy it online, go to your local bookstore it’s all good, in terms of what I’m talking about here.) You see, there’s a sales meeting coming up in a couple of weeks, and if my editor can walk into that and show continuing strong numbers, it’ll help enormously, more than I can probably explain to those of you who’ve never spent any time in the peculiar Wonderland of the publishing industry. They might even begin to see the book as something they actually ought to spend some money promoting, and gosh, that would be a first.
Until that happens, I’m just going to have to keep whining about it on my blog. Kind of pathetic, when you think about it, but it’s what I’ve got.
I know I’m hammering this one repeatedly, but I’ve been down this path before, in my pre-blogging days, and it was never pretty. In order to get the word out that the book existed, you needed (a) a publicist who gave a rat’s ass, (b) someone in the media somewhere willing to write or talk about you, and (c) the lucky confluence of a reader who might be interested in purchasing your book running across the article or review about said book. An undependable sequence of events at best, and in most cases, an entirely unlikely one.
This is the first time I’ve been able to bypass most of that and speak directly to those of you who are most likely to buy it. So forgive me if I repeat myself somewhat, but this is important to me. Perception is everything. If my book appears to be moving strongly in these first few weeks of its release, the publisher will pay more attention to it, put more effort behind it. If it does not, then they won’t, and then can you say “self-fulfilling prophecy”? remainder bins, here I come.