Up until the day I received my first check (and the only one for the year. Seems these things come annually, not quarterly as I had hoped), the most-asked question I received was “how is the book doing?”
I know the questioner means well and I appreciate the thoughts. But the truth was, until I got the paperwork, I didn’t know.The info from the author’s component of Amazon only tells you so much and was — thankfully — way under the figures I received from the publisher. But it still makes mw wonder…
Although I’ve been told a couple of times by those in authority that “the book is doing very well,” what does that mean, exactly? I don’t know what the initial printing was, but I was told a second had been ordered. So does mean they initially printed 1,000 copies? 5,000? Can’t imagine it being more than that.
Then to look at the Amazon rankings… At it’s highest to date, 501 ranked as high as just over 9,000 (and that was back in April, shortly after it was released). As of this writing, it’s 323,614 (although just a couple of days ago, it as something like 44,000). So the number fluctuate wildly. But how many books are included in the rankings? One million? Five million? Something in between?
I’m in the very early stages of a new book and have been contact by a publisher regarding a project I had pitched about 10 years ago (they’re still interested). Time is the issue. In our conversation at the SABR conference, Eric Rolfe Greenberg said when he worked on a book he worked only on that book. No day job, no other articles. What a luxury!
In the meantime, the impetus for this entry was this commentary piece I found in the NY Times “Week in Review” section last Sunday. Upon review (well, I did read it a whole five days ago), I see it’s really about current projects rather than previous ones. Oh well, the sentiment remains the same.