Friday, July 20, 2012

Let's talk Numbers... Every Book Sale Counts

Last night, we attended Lindsey Leavitt's book signing at The King's English. She was there to promote the third book in her Princess for Hire series A FAREWELL TO CHARMS.
From left: Bree Despain, me, Lindsey Leavitt and Emily Wing Smith


Lindsey read from a horror "novel" that she wrote when she was in fifth grade. It was hilarious... and not really horrifying. I love hearing Lindsey talk, because she is funny, self-deprecating, and inspiring all at the same time. And, she can walk and chew gum. If you have a chance to see her in person, take it!


The reason I bring this up is... Lindsey has an uncle in Salt Lake City who buys about thirty books every time he attends one of her events. This is huge. The authors there were amazed and a little jealous, and it got us talking about numbers. 


NUMBERS


When EVERNEATH first came out, one of my neighbors asked how many copies my publisher had printed. When I told her the round number, she looked shocked and said, "That won't even be enough for Utah!"


I could see her train of thought... The Wasatch Front is home to maybe a million plus people, and who out of that million wouldn't want Everneath? So that's a million books needed right off the bat. 


But I'm here to tell you, that is SO not the way it works with books. In fact, I'll even go a step further: When it comes to sales of EVERNEATH, or any other book out there... Every. Book. Counts. 


Now, let's dismiss the exceptions to the rule, the Stephenie Meyers and James Pattersons and Fifty Shades, where they are probably not as aware of the single sales out there. 


But for everyone else, every sale is significant. To everyone else, writing a personal thank you card to every buyer would not be an astronomical task. 


Each author has access to BookScan numbers, which track all the sales during a given week across the country. They divide those sales by region, and further divide them by smaller areas, to the point where if you buy a book in Wichita Kansas, I can almost see it. 


But not in a creepy way. Not in a "I know where you live" kind of way. We don't get that detailed by any means. It's more in a way that I want to reach out and hug Wichita Kansas - all of you - and thank you for that single book sale, and the knowledge that some reader among your ranks has handed over money for something that I wrote.


There is no greater honor. 


I guess my point is, if you're thinking that buying one book doesn't matter to the author, think again. I know most of you already know this. But please notice how an uncle who buys thirty books for all of his friends can draw the envy (in a good way!) and awe of every other author there. Know that the singles column of the sales numbers is compelling and meaningful. Know that our sales are not counted by the hundreds or the thousands, but by the digits on our own two hands. 


And when you buy a book, some author, somewhere, wouldn't hesitate to give you a hug.


And if you've bought my book, well... (((hugs))) 

37 comments:

  1. This is exactly why I've made it my goal to buy a hardcover copy of every ARC/eARC I have read and loved, as it's a way for me to show how much I liked the book, and because I don't want to stop buying books just because I receive so many for free. I mean if I loved a book I want to support the author so he/she can write more books!:)

    (Everneath got a spot on my shelf as soon as it was out, both thanks to that gorgeous cover and the addictive story:)

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    1. Amen! I love reviewers who think like you! :)

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    2. Agreed. If I love a book, I'm obviously going to buy it. ARCs get donated, trashed (rarely, if no one wants them), or kept (if I *loved* the book). Either way, if it's something I would want to lend to friends or reread, I'm buying a copy for my shelf.

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  2. I wish I had the money to buy 30 books to give to all my friends. The best I can do is spread the awesome word about your book and have others buy it, which I've done. But, rest assured, when I do have enough money to buy 30 of your books, I'll do it and don't try to stop me!!!

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    1. Aw, you're sweet. I hope you didn't think I meant that everyone should buy 30! :) I can't say enough how much I love word of mouth. :)

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  3. This is SO great, Brodi. Thanks for posting this. It's so important for every reader to know how important they are.

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  4. Brodi,
    This is so interesting. I'm an aspiring author, so advice like this is priceless. Thanks so much for sharing :)
    -Tasha

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  5. Do the sales in particular areas factor in with tours and signings? If so would you want to go to an area with an abundance of sales or where sales are low?

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    1. I'm not sure how the tours are determined, but I do know it's much easier for me to go to an area on my own where the sales are already strong than an area who has no idea who I am. :)

      Some people would think it's redundant, but I think that a healthy amount of interest leads to more sales during a tour stop than no interest whatsoever.

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  6. I imagine your initial print run was around 20,000?

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    1. Not sure if that was a real guess, but no, it wasn't around 20k. :)

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    2. Try 40 times that much.

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  7. I love this post and your line of thought, Brodi. Having met you a couple times in the last few months, I just want to tell you how gracious and down-to-earth you are. Right now it seems a dream that anyone would pay money for something I wrote. It'll be surreal if that day ever comes, and I'd want to always stay grateful to each and every person who supported me and enjoyed my book.

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    1. I don't think I'll ever get to a point when I'm not grateful for every sale. Seriously. :)

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  8. I feel bad as I do the library route for most books, but I do want to support authors I enjoy (hope to be an author someday, myself) so I have a list of books to buy as budget allows.

    Do you get online purchases and e-book sale results weekly, too?

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    1. I LOVE LIBRARIES! I really do. They are a huge support for authors, and they spread the word about books, so I'm never sad to hear someone borrowed my book from a library. :)

      I don't think I get online purchases info, but I know my publisher does. I love eBook sales as well.

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  9. Is the saying that, "When you hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings"? Because I can certainly see how each sale, whether from a bookstore in Tougaloo or Waxahachie or virtual, is like the ringing of that bell for the author. They may not grow wings literally, but wish they could so they could fly off and personally thank each and every person that took a chance on their story.

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    1. Beautifully said, and exactly how I feel.

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  10. I bought it twice. The ebook first and then when I was reading it and realised it was so good I bought the hardcover so I could pet it and lend it to my mum. I think it was when she started knitting I jumped out of my seat and got excited. I was knitting at 17 and mum is a huge knitter. Mum said she needs more knitting in the story but I think you had just enough. I should knit a teacosy and carry it around with me so that if the man of my dreams gets a bloody nose he will fall in love with me when I shove it in to his face. That sounded a lot better when you wrote it.

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    1. haha! I love the view from actual knitters. So funny that your mom's criticism of the book is that there wasn't enough knitting. I shall try to put more knitting in the next one!

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  11. I love this!

    And I love the King's English. Looks like a great night!

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  12. My library got Everneath and I just finished!!! I am so addicted to the book and the cover!! ^_^ I can't believe I have to wait for 6 more month for Everbound to come out :/
    I can't wait to read about Cole+Nikki!!

    TEAM COLE!!!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! My nieces will love you for being Team Cole. :)

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  13. aw this makes me want to go buy 30 of your books!! I would if i could! just like Nina i try to buy the books i read in arcs as well! I got everneath as soon as the book store opened! I was still super excited even though I'd read it already. I've actually been considering getting it on my nook too.. much easier to read while holding a baby:)

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    1. I wish I would've had a nook when I had a baby!

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  14. Excellent points as always. I'm just so happy that your publisher decided to do your book as an audiobook. I wish more would do that. Like ebooks, once the investment is made, there's no additional cost.

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    1. I'm very pleased they made the audiobook, although I have yet to listen to it. It's very weird having a different voice read it than the voice in my head.

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  15. I totally bought your book, and since then I've told every person who I run into that they HAVE TO read your book, but to get their own copy because, well, I like to have mine within reach at all times. :)

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  16. I really have to say thank you for setting up your book as an audiobook. I just finished reading it, LOVED IT, have always loved Persephone's myth, (I once wrote a retelling on a much smaller scale) and intend to recommend it to my best friend. We go back and forth about YA novels all the time, and we're both Greek mythology buffs so I know she'd be wild about it.

    Anyway I have to say thank you for the audiobook because that's the only way my friend can really 'read' nowadays. We're seniors in high school, and she's blind in one eye, and rapidly losing her sight in the other. We wander through the large print and audiobook sections together, always scouting out for stuff that's a little less mainstream than the current bestsellers. She loves to read as much as I do, but it's a little bit more difficult for her nowadays.

    Next time I go into my local Barnes and Noble, the first thing I'll do is try to figure out how to order an audiobook of Everneath for her. Thanks for giving me a book to rave about and reminding me why I love being a YA reader, but thanks also for making your novel available to everyone - including the visually impaired. I can promise you that my best friend and I appreciate it.

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