Here we are, everyone. May 1st. This date means something very special to me, so I thought I'd post about it right here, right now.The Fall first went live in paperback on April 21st, 2010. That means that Jesse and myself ave been going at this little thing called publishing for a year now. This is as good a time as any to get everyone up-to-date on how the experience went for us.As I said, we released the first book on April 21st. In the last nine days of that month we sold 15 copies of the book - exclusively to family and friends. I watched our rankings drop and thought, "well, this is how it's gonna be. We're a hit!"Then...reality struck.Sales dropped in May, and we saw little to no movement. In that time I decided we best get into this burgeoning ebook market. On June 5th we released The Fall on the Kindle, and again I thought things would just take off. I sold a grand total of 5 ebooks that month. However, this slow progress didn't deter me. I kept plugging away at other projects while constantly updating our books with new corrections and edits. I started my review blog, "Journal of Always", in July, and started to gain some exposure. By the time October rolled around, when I took part in Amanda Hocking's "Zombiepalooza", her dedication to Halloween, things really started to take off. In November we broke 100 sales in a month for the first time, along with releasing "The Gate: 13 Dark and Odd Tales". We were on our way.So here we are now, with three books out there and one more to be released this coming June. Our sales have been relatively consistent and we've made some more-than-significant progress. Reviews have been (mostly) good and the reception has been greater than I would've hoped.I know some people only believe numbers, however, so here you go. This is how our books - The Fall, Dead of Winter, and The Gate - have
fared over the last year:The Fall: The Rift Book IPaperbacks Sold - 65Ebooks Sold - 2783Total Sold - 2848Dead of Winter: The Rift Book IIPaperbacks Sold -
19Ebooks Sold - 1276Total Sold - 1295The Gate: 13 Dark and Odd TalesEbooks (and Total) Sold - 1254Overall Sales for TRO Publishing, our little baby here:5397Boo-ya!Peace, folksRJD
There are a great many advantages to self-publishing, as long as you're willing to put in a ton of work and are able to develop a vast amount of patience. However, once you obtain even the slightest morsel of success, you end up developing a certain mindset that can quite literally cause mind-numbing obsession. And this mindset is...
The sales of our books have skyrocketed (comparatively) of late. For the last week or so, we've been selling right around 40 a day. But on this particular Saturday, things have ground to a halt. Our sales rankings are climbing higher and higher, and along with that goes my level of panic. I have a great fear that one day everyone will look at my work and say, "Oh, that's right, he's no good," and everything I thought I've built will crumble. It's a dangerous thought process to have. I've been checking the KDP feed obsessively and pulling my hair out trying to figure out HOW OH HOW I will get everything on track. My stress levels are through the roof.
The thing is, deep down I understand that this is nothing but a hiccup, that if I simply take a deep breath and forget about the immediacy of success, everything will even out. We've put out a damn good product, after all, and I've always lived by the theory that the cream rises. And we're that cream. But this doesn't stop the fear, doesn't stop the self-doubt from infiltrating my every waking thought.
I've wondered recently if this is something that will ever leave me. I've wondered how I'd feel if (hell no-when!) I ever reach Amanda Hocking or JA Konrath levels of success. Will the doubt leave then? Will I finally be able to settle down and not constantly wonder if the next book will finally be the one that sends me down the eternal shitter where all failed authors land? Will I stop looking at my life with a soul-crushing fear of failure?
Somehow I doubt it. And there's that word again.
It keeps cropping back up.
It takes a hell of a lot of talent to push buttons. And when I say buttons, I mean emotional buttons. That's something I think everyone who takes in any media - from books to music to movies - can more than understand. How many times have you read or watched or listened to something that struck a chord deep within you and left you drained and gagging by the end? I know it's happened quite a bit for me.
I was thinking a lot of this today as I shuffled along at my rather monotonous job. I came to the conclusion that there are, for myself, four examples of this that represent the ultimate in high-end, cry-out-loud-and-cringe drama. I'll take them on one by one.
#4 Crash (movie, 2004)
I understand that this film has some problems, but that doesn't take away the fact that it's pretty damn powerful. The one scene in particular that got me was the one where Hispanic father Daniel is confronted by Farhad, the shop owner who thinks Daniel ripped him off. In the scene, Farhad pulls out a gun and shoots at Daniel. Daniel's daughter Lara, thinking she has a magic cloak to protect him, jumps in front of him. Granted, everything turns out okay at the end (the gun ended up being filled with blanks), but for those three minutes, when you are certain the innocent little girl has been murdered and her father's face explodes in anguish, everything in you turns to ash. Just thinking about it today made choke up a bit.
#3 Bag of Bones (novel, Stephen King, 1998)
I fell in love with this book from the first time I read it. To this day, it is number two on my list of best King novels ever. The section that always gets me the most, however, is the bit towards the end, when the hero Mike loses the young woman he's starting to love, Mattie, when caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. It's a heartbreaking scene. Add to this the fact that the ghost of his dead wife and that of Mattie, herself, assist in the climax of the book (and add to that the horrors that befell the "evil" character), and it's a setup for a good amount of blubbering.
#2 The Body (BtVS season 5, episode 16)
It's unusual for me to get all gooey-eyed at a television program, but this one sure as hell did it for me. Here you have a daughter losing a mother, and discovering her, at that, and the emotions and fallout of this discovery are the basis of the entire episode. There is no music to be heard for the entire 43 minutes. The film stock is washed out and appears almost amber. Both the writing and delivery of lines were perfect. There were extended moments of uncomfortable silence. All in all, it was probably the most realistic depiction of death and its consequences that I've ever seen, in either film or television. It's an episode that I don't like to revisit very often, either. My chest tightens and my mouth goes dry every time while my eyes water. Even for someone who loves tragedy, I just find it too painful.
#1 Field of Dreams (film, 1989)
I think, if you were to poll only men on this subject, you would find that at least half of them - and that's a conservative estimate - would call this movie the biggest cry-fest of all time. "Dad, you want to play catch?" says it all, doesn't it? Anyone with unresolved daddy issues will undoubtedly cascade a waterfall at this point. I don't think I have to add anything more than that.
Busy, busy, busy. That describes me to a T.
I've been hard at work re-writing the second book, and let me tell you, I LOVE where this story is going. Of course, I already know how it ends (seeing as I wrote it), but writing takes on new forms every time you re-explore it. Those forms are exciting, intense, and full of mystery, even to the author. Just like the story itself, it's an adventure.
But that's enough out of me. I have to stop dicking around on the internet and get back to work.
Peace out, folks!
I am pleased to announce that TRO already has 11 sales. Yes, that leaves us 3989 away from our goal number, but that's all right. These things have to start somewhere, and this is that place: via word of mouth, family, and friends, and drive, and not thinking about the potential pratfalls, because they don't matter.
Thank you all who've purchased your copy. And thank you all those who are thinking about it but haven't yet.
(Puts fingers to temples and repeats mantra: "You want to buy, you want to buy, you want to buy)
On the last video blog, I showed everyone the proof I received for the first book. Well, now everything is moving along nicely. The Amazon page has just appeared, though I will not be announcing it until it is complete, which should be sometime next week (probably the 1st).
The wait is almost over. With that being the case, our goals for this project can now be told. Yes, we understand that it won't be selling like a Stephen King novel right away, but that's not what we're expecting. In publishing this book ourselves, we are looking to:
#1 - Sell at least four thousand copies
#2 - Receive one hundred valid Amazon reviews
#3 - Get some pub from five semi- and pro-paying magazine markets
#4 - Use this success to obtain an agent or a publishing deal for the next book, so we can reach a wider audience and don't have to go through the headache of it all again.
So there you have it. We'll be back in a few days with more information.