Friday, August 12, 2005


So, I got a royalty check in the mail from Covenant today. I finally learned how many copies of my book have been purchased...

It's kind of an eye opener. Covenant initially published 5000 books, and have sold over 3000 of the first printing.

I came into this whole book publishing thing pretty naive to the whole process. It's actually been quite the education. One of the most interesting things I have found has been how my book has sold in Deseret Book, verses Seagull Book and Tape.

I have been tracking DB sales and to date, the entire chain has sold 225 books. I don't know what is normal, but I was pretty sure that those numbers were pretty pathetic. However, as I did book signings at the Seagull stores, I found that they were selling quite a bit better. Now that I've got the 'official number' it's clear that Deseret Book has sold less than 10 percent of the total number.

Why the difference? Isn't it true that if you write a good book people will buy it? Ha ha, that is what I thought. What it actually comes down to is how you sell it. DB takes my book and puts in on the shelf, spine out. SB takes my book and makes a pretty display, right up front. They have me come in and sign copies. Covenant sends 'demo' copies to the Seagull employees so that they read the book before it hits the shelves, then they can tell customers about it.

So in other words, SB has been pushing my book, and DB hasn't.

The long and short of it is that I still don't know if I wrote a good book or not. :) It sells well, but only when people in the stores are saying, "pssst, buddie. Wanna buy a book?" Who knows what will happen when SB moves my book to the back shelf to make room for other new books.

There are two ways for me to sell more books. One is that I can take copies of my book and start pushing them on people. I can hold little Amway meetings at my house, call my friends and family, push, push, push...

That's not going to happen.

The second way is for me to write a sequel. Then I 'earn' a right to have another book put out on the front display. Customers will come in, see the book, maybe recognize the name, and ask the clerk about it. The clerks will then say, "Oh, this is a sequel, it's very good (they will have to say that because they are pushing it, and there is a display), and over here we have the first book in the series..."

I'd like that to happen, but I have writers block like you wouldn't believe (especially if you've made it this far into this long blog post). Who knows if the second book will ever see the light of day? I've got work, teaching, school... Oh yeah, and four kids.

So, it has been a fun little ride, and it may keep going. The highlight for me is when I think that 3000 people have picked up a copy of my book, read a bit about my life, and maybe even chuckled over it.


John Dehlin said...

You forgot to tell us the most important part!

How much was your royalty check???!!!



shelleylyn said...

Other ways for you to sell more books:

-dress up as a chicken and stand outside of Deseret Book

-print a very large copyright warning on the front of the book that says "Sharing this book is a copyright violation, if you want to read it, get your own damn copy"

-just call up Sheri Dew- she seems like such a nice lady. She's single, you know. That means that she might possibly be swayed by a man dressed in a suave chicken suit.

Shelton Brett said...

Hmmm. Maybe you can teach a college class and make it 'required reading' for the students. That'd help. If I didn't do that, would anyone be reading my stuff? :)

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