Thursday, July 05, 2007

How Do You Handle Your First Week?

So the official pub date of THE MARK was last Tuesday. In the week since, I spend a large chunk of every day wandering in and out of bookstores, talking to sales clerks and managers, trying to figure out how the book is doing and meeting as many people who sell my book as possible. I'm nowhere near as good at this as most members of my extended family, who are bold enough to ask harried cashiers not only "how's this book doing" but "How many copies have you sold? Have you reordered? Why isn't the book shelved here? Shouldn't you order more copies?"

Thankfully my friends and family are much better publicists for my book than I am. A few major stores didn't shelve my book until July 1st, and despite my desire to tear into the stock room and shove the books on the shelves myself, cooler heads prevailed (they generally weren't mine, but at least I listen).

I try not to check Amazon too often, especially since as a paperback original Amazon captures a fraction of a fraction of my total sales. That doesn't mean if my ranking goes up I don't smile and think Hey, that's another 3 copies sold!

I have to keep things in perspective. This is my first book. For the most part, nobody knows who I am. I even got a 5 star rating on Amazon from a reader who starts off one paragraph with, "Jason Pinter, whom I have never heard of and I am sure you may not have either..."

If that's not a ringing endorsement...but hey, the guy not only bought my book, but took it pon himself to write a pretty nice review (with one or two backhanded compliments).

So I'm wondering, to authors out there, how did you handle your first weeks on sale? Did your routine change over multiple publications? Did you grind your teeth down to mush, or sit comfortably sipping chamomile not worrying about such matters?

7 Comments:

Blogger Steven said...

Hey, I saw your book at Wal-Mart about two days ago and made the impulse buy. That's about another 4 cents in your pocket. Should have waited to give that business to an independent (that'd be 34 cents in your pocket). Sorry. Anyway, it passed the first page test and the page 69 test and I've heard of you, so I plunked down my cold hard credit card.

As for my routine when a book comes out, I'm actually online a lot more now than I was in 2002 so I wind up checking much more often. It doesn't mean anything, but there you have it.

The problem with Amazon stats (aside from their inscrutability) is that you move up if you sell a copy new or used. In a couple of weeks you'll probably find that there are 97 used copies available starting as low as $.01. Ridiculous, but Amazon doesn't care if that sells instead of a new copy.

Still, feel good. If you're in Wal-Mart, you're selling.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hey Steven -

Thanks for the buy, if it passes the page 69 test I know it's a keeper. BTW I was in the Black Orchid a few weeks ago and Bonnie was raving about your books.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Liz Wolfe said...

I totally suck at self promotion. Isn't it interesting that the qualities we think make good writers (the ability to be alone and live with our imaginary friends for days/weeks/months/years on end) is the exact opposite of what's required to promote a book?
BTW, it was great meeting you at RT at the Booksellers event, and I'm happy to see that The Mark is doing so well.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Kathy K said...

I'm not a writer, just an avid reader, and I seriously don't know how you writers do it... not only the waiting with the chewed nails, but the actual writing itself. But I am very, very glad that you do!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Kate D said...

Jason: Avid reader Number 2 here. Just ordered your book from Amazon, Super Saver shipping, so it will be a few days before I can get my teeth into it. I will clear the decks though, for an all night read-fest when it does finally get here. Good luck with the continued sales.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Chumplet said...

My situation is different -- my digital release is tomorrow, and I expect I'll be visiting all my usual on-line haunts to shout it out.

When I get closer to the print release date in October, I expect to visit a few local bookstores to see if they'll order copies.

I work for a community newspaper so I'm pretty much guaranteed a front page story.

I know my father will surely buy a hundred copies to give away to his closest friends.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Allison Brennan said...

I bought THE MARK at Borders the day it was officially released and gave it to my mom. I always buy debut authors for her because she might not pick them up herself.

It doesn't get easier with more books. At least not for me, but I worry a lot about things I have absolutely NO control over. I find it hard to write anything the week or two after my book is released. It doesn't matter how well you do coming out of the gate, either. It's almost like you're waiting for everything to crash. After the first week, I tend to be okay. But I've only had six books. I'm hoping over time it's easier.

12:26 PM  

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