Numbers Game

Other authors tell me I’m pretty promo savvy. They say my name is really out there in the genre, and that The Frog Prince was everywhere.

I’d like to think it was everywhere, but it wasn’t, not really, not to the extent I want it to be. Lots of Border and Barnes & Noble stores got a copy of Frog Prince, maybe two or even four copies, but when the copies sold, most stores didn’t order more in. Why? There was no reason to. The book was like a birthday cake–enjoyed while available and then gone.

Does that make me crazy as an author?


I’d rather Frog Prince been reordered whenever it sold out, with reorders standard versus a special request. For example, when you go to the store, most people buy milk. Bread. Eggs. That’s how I wanted Frog Prince to be. A bookstore staple, something you’d find in airport bookstores and small independent bookstores. Heck, I would have loved it to be in big independent bookstores but those books–those widely ordered, widely read books–are usually famous names, or the literary titles hand selected to become the next big thing.

Frog Prince was never destined to be a big thing. It was always meant to be a nice small thing. And it performed that way. Nice, very nice, for a book with a nice print run, and a nice story and nice tone.

Problem is, I don’t want nice. I want strong, bold, big. I do want big. I can’t help it. I make my living writing books. I want my books to be widely read. My Harlequins, for example, are very widely read. Each book, between US and international sales, has a print run of roughly 225,000 copies. I love that. Do I make a lot of money on those? No. Most books, especially the foreign editions, make less than pennies, but combined, it adds up, and frankly, I love just knowing that people all over the world read me, so its easier earning less on each cover since there are lots and lots of books in print.

Where am I going with this? I’m going to July, to this summer’s new release, my Flirting with Forty, novel from Warner Books.

I want a bigger print run. I want bread or milk this time, not cake. I want the book in the big chains, the small chains, and the independents. I want the book reordered. I want it to make new readers go back and track down Frog Prince (if they haven’t read it), and I’d love those that loved Frog Prince to buy Flirting with Forty and give it a chance.

But I’m not just hoping it’ll happen, I’m once again devoting lots of time and energy into trying to make it a reality. I’ve been sending Flirting excerpts and promo giveaways to book distributors and wholesalers. Would Warner want this? Probably not. That’s why they have sales reps. But I don’t trust the sales reps, not completely. You see, they have lots and lots of books to represent. They’ve got a salary, and benefits, they have quite frankly, job security. Most authors don’t, not unless they have super strong sales. And that’s why I’m writing my cover letters, and making up care packages of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, or Kona coffee and excerpt….I’m trying to get my foot in the door, and trying even harder to keep it there.

Yes, it rather smacks of desperation but publishing is, unfortunately, a rather desperate enterprise. I need strong numbers.

Let the promo games begin!

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.