07 February 2014

Making Book: A Great Reason to Throw a Party

(With apologies to Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Time for some numbers! Are you ready? As of today--Friday, February 7th, one week after Thursday's Children officially went on sale--here's how many copies have been sold:
  • 8 Kindle eBooks
  • 13 paperbacks
Of course, that doesn't count the 15 copies I purchased to give away as gifts--10 of them at last week's launch party--or the free downloads: 120 PDF and 11 plain text. (Creative Commons wins, amirite?)

There are now over 160 copies of the book in the hands of readers, and that's fantastic.

None of this is at all record-breaking, but it's not bad for a single-author short story collection by an obscure writer, with no marketing budget and no promotion aside from a handful of Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail messages.

Besides, this was never about "sales velocity." (I'm a terrible salesman, and I learned years ago to just stop trying.) It's not even really about sales. Honestly, nobody who doesn't know me has any reason to care about this book, and not even all of my friends or family will be interested in it. I appreciate all the congratulatory messages I've received, but I don't expect anyone to rush out and buy the book just because I wrote it.

I wrote these stories because I wanted people to read them. You can still find all of them online, but most people prefer their reading material packaged in some kind of book format--because that process implies editorial intervention and approval. Presenting something as a book is the publisher telling the reader that people who care about its content have looked at it, reviewed it, curated it and made it the best they could before actually publishing it.

When you pick up a book, you're trusting that its author and publisher have worked for months or years to ensure that the book you're about to read is something you'll enjoy. And that's why it feels like a betrayal when a book doesn't fulfill that promise.

Thursday's Children is not for everyone. (I pointed out to one friend that his grade-school-aged daughters should definitely not read it until they're older.) I hope the variety of stories included will appeal to a wide audience, but like I said, I'm a terrible salesman. I have no idea how to identify those "leads" and "target" them for "acquisition."

I'm playing the long game here, hoping that by putting my stuff out there for free, the people who find it and love it will help spread the word. (If you happen to be one of those people, the best thing you can do to support the book is to tell two friends about it, and ask them to tell two friends, and...) It might be a very long game, but I can wait.

Meanwhile, I'll keep writing.

EOF

3 comments:

Brian Enigma said...

Do the Kindle eBook sales also include the "$0" Kindle Match you get after purchasing the paper book?

Curtis Chen said...

No, these appear to be actual sales (at $2.99 each), as far as I can tell from looking at the KDP reports.

Curtis Chen said...

UPDATE: confirmed, the Kindle MatchBook "sales" are reported as such, and I get $0.00 royalty from them. :)