“If I sell two issues, I feel like John Grisham.”
–Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy
One of the reasons I decided to take over the publishing on Fear and Anger (which, coincidentally, is available at the Eddington Press Store, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble) is because I wasn’t terribly happy with the sales of the second book in the series, Supercritical.
OK, “wasn’t terribly happy” is a bit of an understatement. I was depressed for a month or two. Like, actually depressed. I considered chucking this whole writing thing out onto the street and going to work at a Virgin Megastore (if only I could find one still in business) for the rest of my life.
I won’t say this was a mature, enlightened reaction to a book that didn’t do well… but it was the reaction I had. I was about ready to chuck in the towel on the 47 Echo series, but then an idea my wife and I had been kicking around (Eddington Press) and an idea of where to take the series next hit at the same time, and I was back on track.
Now, with some distance and another book out, I can look back at Supercritical with some clarity. And doing so now, I realize the problem wasn’t the book, or the marketing, or the sales numbers, or any of that… the problem, simply put, was me.
Here’s how it breaks down: 47 Echo sold very well, much more than I had any right to expect. So when it was time to release Supercritical, and I saw all the early reviews, I expected it to blow up like mad.
It… did not. As of this writing, it’s sold less than 10% of what 47 Echo did. Fear and Anger‘s sales numbers in the first week are already better than Supercritical‘s first full month. But absolutely none of that should matter.
Now that I’m doing the publishing bit (with help from others, of course) as well as the writing bit, I see it all from a different perspective. Every time I see Fear and Anger sell a copy, I’m as excited as I would be if someone had just handed me a bag of cash. Every copy sold means someone is reading it at some point, and that’s the important part. It could sell 28 copies overall and I’d be happy, because 28 people read it, and some of them dug it.
And that’s how it should be. Do I hope it sells amazingly well? Of course. Will I be depressed if it doesn’t? Absolutely not. Because it’s out there. And someone likes it. Someone read it and was entertained for a few hours — and that was the whole reason I wrote it in the first place.
I did my job. And I’m thrilled every single time someone buys a copy, because they’re giving me a chance to share with them the job I did.
I don’t know if there’s much in this world that can beat that.
I haven’t slept much since Monday. And that’s a good thing.
Tuesday, Eddington Press had its first official release, which is also the third book in the 47 Echo Series. It’s called Fear and Anger, and you can get it from Eddington Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble as of this writing.
Funfact: Eddington Press is me, my wife, and a couple of contract editors and artists. This is why I haven’t slept much.
When you write a book (and someone else publishes it), you feel like you have a lot of work to do in the weeks leading up to release. When you start publishing books, you suddenly realize that all the work you thought you had when you were just writing is… well, it barely measures.
Then, add in a day job — and if you know where I work, you’ll see that this week is slightly busy. Just a bit.
And here’s the thing — I would not have it any other way. I’m massively busy, and that’s where I’m happiest. I see a mountain or three of work, possibly stuff I have no idea how to tackle, and I smile.
Because this is what I do.
When are you at your happiest, work-wise? Do you like stress, or do you perform better with an open deadline?
For no reason whatsoever today, I’ve started thinking about expanded universes in sci-fi.
To put it in very general terms, the expanded universe is something that exists outside the mainstream of the show/movie/etc. Expanded universes can be fan-created, done outside the system that owns the original universe, or even created by someone associated with the original property. A lot of expanded universe isn’t canon, meaning the creators or rights-holders of the original thing don’t recognize it as official. But some of the expanded universe stuff is considered canon — the Star Wars novels and games, for example.
Thanks to the expanded universes, whatever the fuck is happening here is considered canon as far as Star Trek is concerned:
There’s good expanded universe sci-fi and awful expanded universe sci-fi. What’s your favorite awful stuff (more points if it’s recognized as canon)? And what’s your favorite really decent expanded-universe property (points if it’s non-canonical)?
So, the third book in the 47 Echo Series, Fear and Anger, releases in a week. And I think I’ve mentioned it once on the blog.
(Hey! You can pre-order it here! There, now I’ve mentioned it twice.)
I’m not great at promoting my stuff, nor do I do it often. So why would I start a publishing company with a focus on promotion? That seems like a guy who hates snakes becoming a herpetologist.
It’s actually not that I hate promoting. I love it. I just hate saying “buy my crap.” Now, other people’s stuff, I love to promote. I love to take something cool and introduce it to people who might not have found it otherwise.
So, free promo time! If you have something you want to get out there, put it in the comments! Or let me know via email.
Just… no snakes, OK?
Because of a conversation at work yesterday, I realized I didn’t know quite where Estonia was. I had some vague sense that it was somewhere near Finland, but if you’d given me one of those blank maps they give third-graders, I would’ve probably pointed at the wrong country.
Of course, this isn’t a blog entry on my failure to properly locate Estonia. It’s more about knowing what we don’t know.
If someone had asked me yesterday to point out Estonia on a map, or diagram the major ethnic groups that make up its population, I’d have told them “I don’t know.” (Today, I could tell you all of that. Thanks, Wikipedia!)
It’s not a stretch to say that most of us (Stephen Hawking and Mark Cuban aside) don’t know more things than we know. The tricky bit comes when we think we know something, or when we’re sure we know something. That colors our perceptions of learning new things.
So, today, I don’t know anything. I’m free to learn everything.
Of course, the sources we learn from can also color our perceptions… but that’s a blog for another time.
Aaaaaaaaaaa there’s no government we’re all gonna dieeeeee!
Oh, wait. We’ve been through government shutdowns before? During the Clinton Administration? And we all lived? OK, then. Carry on.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that, during the internet days, a government shutdown is huge news everywhere. It’s not a bad thing that we’re all so connected and informed these days, I guess, but…
Chill out, people. We’ll all be fine.
It’s pretty rare that I’ll come out and support something publicly. Sure, I have plenty of things that I like, but most of those are things you already know about — TV shows, movies, books that have already sold 12 billion copies (I suspect some authors have branched out into selling offworld). But I have a small group of insanely talented friends who make stuff, and I’ll always take a day or two to talk about those things.
This is one of those blog entries.
I know I’ve mentioned Joe Peacock before on the blog (closing in on 600 entries, there probably aren’t many people I know who I haven’t at least mentioned). Joe’s one of those people who’s always doing something cool, and one of those people who makes me feel like a slacker (in a totally great, motivational way). He also writes, and as fans of his work (of which I am one) already hopefully know, he has a book coming out on October 7.
The book is called Everyone Deserves to Know What I Think: Collected Writings 2003-2013, and you can go preorder your copy from Joe’s site right the hell now. Here’s why I think you should.
Most of the books you can buy, mine included, are generally produced with one simple directive: to entertain people. While Joe’s writing is quite funny and entertaining, his work always contains something that a lot of modern books lack.
If you’ve read Joe’s blog at all, you know he doesn’t shy away from telling stories about himself that show exactly what’s going on inside him — whether that’s feeling great about getting back into shape, or dealing with the emotional turmoil and loss that springs from a divorce. He’s honest, sincere, and, most of all, utterly human.
A lot of people try to project an image of who they are to the world, and that image may bear little resemblance to the person who’s actually walking around doing and saying things. That’s not the case with Joe’s work — I’ve known him since 2003, and didn’t actually meet him in person until 2009 (when I went to Atlanta for the release of his second book). When I actually met the guy and shook his hand, I didn’t even realize this was the first time I’d seen him in person — by reading his work, I felt like I already knew him and had hung out with him a handful of times.
It’s so rare that an author — any author — can cause an emotional response in his or her readers, but ask anyone who’s read Joe’s stuff, and they’ll tell you they know the guy. And they’re not entirely wrong — when someone writes stories this personal, this human, it’s hard to feel like he’s anyone other than your oldest friend.
So go be friends with Joe Peacock. Buy his book and get it autographed. If you’ve never read him before, prepare to get to know someone well — someone with an outstanding sense of humor and amazing heart — without ever needing to meet him in person.
And if you do meet Joe in person, don’t let his massive size and full-sleeve tattoos scare you. He’s a friendly giant.