In case anyone thinks that writing is a business that makes you rich. This writer has won awards – and sold less than 500 copies of the award winning book in 12 months. A Man-Booker short listed book did little better.
How many books have you sold?
When I found out my first book had been accepted for publication, I did not have dreams of a bestseller or fame; I mostly experienced relief. While I’d published in magazines and anthologies, suddenly there was a book of my own.
There was the sheer, beginning thrill of finally feeling like an author, and then there was the reality of how other folks, people who are not writers, ask about it.
“So, how many books have you sold?” a typical conversation might start.
It’s a hard question to answer. It’s tempting to tell the truth (south of a thousand), and it’s tempting to dodge, oh, it’s not so much about sales, and it’s also tempting to outright lie and say something about how the publisher handles all that, how you’re not really involved, how you only think about it when you get a royalty check.
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