There are several new backstories up at my other blog, including David Hewson's, Laura Lippman's and Luanne Rice's. Please hop on over to Backstory.
The Oxford American
Oh the woes of the magazine business. The Oxford American has gone out of business twice for lack of funding. How can they find the readers who might love the magazine, but have never even heard of it?
Some great word of mouth might help. The new issue is about music and rocks.
After my post last week about Amazon numbers I got several interesting comments - especially these two:
This from anonymous: I work in publishing on the sales and marketing side, and I pulled together these figures about a year ago. It appears little has changed since.
1. Last Thursday, one of our books zoomed from a sales rank of 32,154 to 872, peaking at 665 on Friday. How many copies did we sell in total last week? 17.
2. Another book hovered between the mid-6000s and 14,000s during the week. It ended up selling 37 copies in total.
3. Finally, a publishing colleague shared that one of their authors had appeared on NPR's Fresh Air program that same week. Before the interview, the book ranked 36,162. The day of the interview, it hit 300. The following day, it reached 80 and appeared on the Movers & Shakers list. And, after all that, how many did it sell at Amazon? 47 copies.
Another note was from Laura Lippman:
I gave up checking my numbers more than a year ago. I also stopped Googling myself and learned to give only cursory reads to all media about myself, even the good stuff. I don't know what I'm doing with the time, but I know I'm happier.
Here's what got me to go cold turkey. I had a book out and I was plugging my name and the title into a Google search when I realized I was undergoing physiological changes. My heart was beating a little faster, my stomach was flipping. It felt, in fact, like what I'm told gambling addicts feel. And that's when I said: "I'm through."
My motto is: Good news will out. Bad news, too. And it's ever so interesting to discover who brings you what.
But here's one thing I do recommend that writers read carefully: Royalty statements. I used to just shove them into a file. Then, several years ago, I decided I had to be more responsible about every aspect of my financial life, so I had to face those pages. I discovered that a very large reserve was being carried on my first novel and my agent went to bat for me, got it reduced -- and got me a very nice check.
I got also got a note from some readers telling me about a $2000 seminar that promises to make you an Amazon bestseller. The point of which is so that you can market your book as an Amazon besteller. Which I'm personally not sure is meaningful to anyone.
I don't believe in manipulating sales.
But for those who are, I would suggest that if there is some reason you are dying to buy your way onto the Amazon bestseller list, you can take that same amount of money and buy a whole lot of your own books all at once, in the middle of the night where there's not much book buying going on.
You'll get your low Amazon number and you'll get a lot of books for your money, which you can use for promotional purposes.