Back when Deathday was just an ARC sitting on my desk, and no one in the real world had actually read it yet, I had nightmares about how I’d get out there and make people want to read it.
I haven’t got a problem with people. I don’t mind standing in front of crowds, talking and chatting. I loved debate and theatre. But I do have a problem with schmoozing. I suck at it. You know how at parties, there’s always that one person who seems to be at the center of everything? They move from person to person, chatting and making everyone they meet feel at home? Yeah, that’s not me. I’m the guy in the corner who has trouble making eye contact, and wishes he were at home watching reruns of Battlestar Galactica. But if you come talk to me, we’ll probably spend hours at the party talking about some really cool shit.
So Deathday came out, and I did my best to embrace Facebook and Twitter and those other social networking things that make me wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I printed bookmarks, ran contests, and generally tried to market my book.
My efforts were not entirely successful. I made some really amazing friends, had a lot of fun, and generally enjoyed the process. But the book sales weren’t what I wanted them to be.
Now, as FML draws near, I find myself back into nightmare mode. I recently spoke to my wonderful marketing and publicity team at S&S, and they have some stellar ideas for helping me get the word out. I have bookmarks, and friends, and all the ingredients for another book launch. Including the nightmares.
Recently something happened though. In June, the German edition of Deathday came out. I monitored it as best I could–watching German blogs and peeking at my Amazon ranking (though they don’t have bookscan numbers that I can tell). I’d learned from English DDL that it’s pointless to get all worried about those numbers, so looking was more a curiosity. I had no idea what, if anything my German publisher was doing to promote, and I couldn’t even really network with bloggers the way I did here. So, as I watched those first couple of months, sales would come in crests and troughs. My ranking would go up and then sink. I stopped looking after a few weeks and only recently started looking again because I’d heard that they’d released the Kindle version.
A funny thing seemed to have happened. Unlike US DDL, where the sales peaked in those months after release, and then slacked off, GER DDL seemed to start slow and then gradually get better. Even now, they seem to have settled into a steady stream of sales.
Now, the disclaimer is that I’m extrapolating from an Amazon ranking, which may mean very little, but based on my experience with my US ranking, I can be reasonably certain that GER DDL sales seem to be doing pretty okay. In Amazon, at least.
The funny part is that I have nothing to do with it. I did no promotion, received no professional reviews (that I know of), visited no blogs, did no giveaways. Nothing. It’s just selling. I won’t know how well it’s selling until I get my first royalty statement from my publisher, but still, it’s selling more steadily on Amazon than US Deathday sold in the same period. And it’s doing it all without my help.
That gives me a certain amount of peace and calm. I’m still going to do everything I can to get FML to as many faces as possible, but at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is you, the readers. Whether you like it and tell your friends. Whether they tell their friends. And so on, and so on.
This whole publishing thing is one giant party. I may not be the life of that party, but if you want to chat, I’ll be over here in the comfy chair, messing with the music.