Authors’ Pandemic Sales and The Dubious Metric of “Necessities” Vs. “Luxuries”

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Articles | 0 comments

Considering everything going in the world, the past week was a pretty good one for me.

Almost a year after its initial publication, my novel Whizzers—which had flatlined in the Kindle store—suddenly spiked to #179,500.

When one of your babies jumps that much, it gets your attention. So the natural thing to do is celebrate by letting people know. Sometimes that gets others onboard, and sales spike higher.

Of course, you don’t always know who’s buying your books. But last week, a member of my extended family reached out to let me know she’d bought a copy of Whizzers.

In part, that may account for a second spike in sales, up to #70,297. That’s out of the 4M+ books in the entire Kindle store, a giant, heartwarming leap for a book that’s been available since July 2019.

 

Wait, Is This A Sales Pitch?

I’d forgive you if you questioned my motives for posting such trivia—in the middle of a global pandemic, police brutality protests, and, well…everything else happening right now. I get it. This could certainly be seen that way.

But as an author whose main focus is on character, and whose most recent novel focuses on spirituality and redemption, I have a different take. And that’s what today’s post is really all about.

In a time of fear, riots, political upheaval, and an exhausting fight against a deadly viral enemy, are books like mine just luxuries…or do they start to come closer to resembling necessities?

 

Trying to Make A Living

The other aspect of this discussion is that, like so many of us, my wife Sunny and I are fighting for our future, as she so eloquently puts it. Although I don’t make a living from my novels, I always feel that any royalty payment I earn from them is the “best” money I earn in any given month. Sure, it’s great to get a few pesos for my freelance projects, but those are always for someone else’s benefit. The novels are wholly my own. We don’t have kids, so the books truly are my babies.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Whizzers, I’d encourage you to do so now when it could really help boost future sales. Visibility can lead to more visibility. If you’ve already read and loved it, maybe even reviewed it, please tell your colleagues and friends about the novel.

By the way, spike or no spike, Amazon won’t let me lower the Kindle price below the current $3.99 price point. I’d love to offer a free book—so if you download Whizzers between now and July 20th and send me a screen shot of the receipt, I’ll personally email you a copy of one of my other three novels. Your choice. That’s my gift to you, the reader. And, as always, thanks for spending some time with me.

identity

Who Are You? And What Do You Want?

Readers of this blog who are also movie buffs may be able to help me out today: tell me where I got that title about identity! I’m fairly certain there was an old movie or TV show where a character said, “Who are you? And what do you want?” But for the life of me, I...

Radio, Radio

Last month, I had the pleasure of being the guest on a terrific radio show for authors: the Joy on Paper program hosted by PatZi Gil. PatZi was kind enough to invite me on the show to talk not only about my third novel Miles of Files, but also about my company, Sahno...
cover design

The Importance of Cover Design and Interior Design for Novels

I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I'll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects. Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads...
sleep

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #8: Forgetting Your Best Ideas

We've all been there: lying in bed, on the edge of sleep, when a brilliant idea floats in from the ether. Maybe it's a fully-formed snippet of dialogue, or maybe something technical, like a major plot point. And before you drift off to sleep, you have to get up to...
maintenance

Closed For Maintenance: Me

Here comes the upfront apology for blog subscribers: I got nothing this week. It's not that I've got nothing to say. As anyone who knows me is well aware, I never, ever run out of things to say. Even my lovely wife has occasionally let me know, in relatively gentle...

A Little Pay Upfront…or A Lot More Pay Year After Year

So many writers think they should never pay for publishing. I don't blame them for thinking that way, but here’s how it really plays out. Authors are natural idealists, so of course we typically figure we can get a deal with a big publishing company, leading to smooth...
election

Meet The New Year—Same As The Old Year?

Looking back at the blog over the past few months, I see a few obsessions emerging. Nothing surprising there—of course we’re all suffering from pandemic fatigue, and I’m not surprised to see my worries about the 2020 election as topics. In my October 26th post, If...
cost

What Books Cost Their Authors: A Tale of Blood, Sweat & Tears

…”Books that cost more to write than their sales ever could repay.”  - Alan Paton   Lately I’ve had my nose in a couple of books. One is a history book on the JFK years, the other, Alan Paton’s most famous novel, Cry, the Beloved Country.  I have a curious, even...
deadline

I’d Never Missed a Deadline Before—Until I Missed My Own

I’ll be the first to acknowledge my willingness to write about the newsletter I send to my email list. In fact, I know I’ve done it more than once. Back in February, I offered readers of this blog a “sneak peek” at the quarterly newsletter—the joke being that it...
artists

Calling All Artists

This week's blog post is going to be super short: if you've ever read the blog, you’ll know I'm posting often about my upcoming book launch. I’m releasing my fourth novel in 2019, and I’m putting a lot of emphasis on finding artists first. I put out a call for graphic...
self-promotion

What’s The Problem With Shameless Self-Promotion?

While I still find it somewhat hard to believe, I've been on Twitter for almost eight years. I know this not only because Twitter shows Joined March 2015 on my profile but also because, even if they eliminate that feature, I use a tracker called Who Unfollowed Me? If...
MLK

MLK Day 2023

Here’s wishing everyone a safe, sane Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For many of us, today is always something of a day of mourning: not only mourning the loss of a great civil rights leader, but also mourning the turn our great nation seemed to take in recent years....

Twitter Tips for Authors in 2023

If you follow my blog, you probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. In 2020, I wrote a post about Twitter for fellow writers that got a good response. Three years later, the landscape has changed, but some Twitter best practices...
rails

Going Off The Rails (But Not On A Crazy Train)

Last April, I wrote a blog post called Back on Track With a Work-In-Progress. Part of that post was to talk about the difference between a “plotter” and a “pantser” (and to describe myself as a hybrid of the two, a “plantser”). Another, less obvious motive, was to...
French

Those Tricky French Authors and Their Obsessions

Today’s blog post was originally going to be Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. III. However, after seeing parts I and II lined up, I decided to call an audible and make it something less repetitive. Somehow the SEO gods have gotten into my head. As I’ve mentioned...
scared

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want, Pt. II

In last week’s post, I mentioned a pretty well-known author who has publicly reported his publisher “wouldn’t touch” a new release, in part because a character in his novel referred to herself as “fat.” I heard this story on a podcast, and I remember thinking, “Wait...
censorship

Write Whatever the @#$% You Want

I’ve been stewing on this for a while. It’s been brewing for quite a while. I could probably write a song about it (how about a rap?), but I don’t think I will. This is more of a blog post topic, and it might even deserve a series. And that’s the title and topic of...
gratitude

Should Every Month Be Gratitude Month?

When I was a kid, I loved Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. I read it daily and collected nearly every paperback volume of the cartoon, so I could see what I’d missed since the comic strip’s inception in 1950.  Certain things stuck: quotes like “happiness is a warm puppy”...
robot

More Thoughts On Robot Writers and The Tech Dystopia

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post here called When Will the Robot Overlords Replace Us? Apparently, I’m fairly obsessed with this stuff, because every time I come here and empty my brain, it seems to come up again. Today is no different. Part of the reason,...