It was a year ago today that I headed off for my interview with Jeremy Vine, having no idea of what mayhem was about to unleash. Now a year later I have sold my 6000th book. Incredible. It's been a real up-and-down ride. 3600 of those books were sold in the first 10 days after the interview and I was immediately pitched into the world of mass distribution (& mass communication!) & organising reprints & trying to integrate into the book trade. I thought I'd cracked the selling books thing and that I would keep selling my large volume in large volumes. The truth is that I was in an amazing fantasy land that is experienced by few independently published authors and it didn't continue at that level for very long. Meanwhile I had paid out large sums for reprints and when my sales dipped I wondered if the bubble had burst and I was going to be left with large amounts of books unsold (in which most of my profit was tied up). And so I have become a relentless publicity hound - and though I've not seen the same surge in sales again despite some fantastic media coverage and plaudits (again in the fantasy land that I couldn't have dreamed of), I've been ticking over and it's quite something to say that in the last year there are only 39 days when I haven't sold a book (and half of those were in the Summer when I think there is a slump in most book sales except for beach reading). I've still got a load of books to sell, but it's quite something to have sold my 6000th and to be making something of a profit (and to be able to support the International Tree Foundation as a result).
As a result of William Boyd's great write-up in the Guardian, I've been on a bit of a wave of sales and have noticed various things I hadn't seen before on Amazon - their bestseller lists and "most wished for" lists. For a while I was the No 1 bestseller in Heraldry - which makes you wonder what their definition of "Heraldry" is - especially as I was in competition with various books of baby names and also a book with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the cover (it turned out to be a book for recording all the family for a new baby). I made it up to No 2 in Genealogy and at one point was No 8 in First World War. The bestseller lists are continually changing based on sales hour to hour, but the "most wished for" lists are slower to change, being based on what customers have put on their wishlists (either to remember for later or to encourage other people to buy for them) - and in these lists I'm No 1 in Genealogy and was No 4 for a while in First World War. And yesterday I had my 24th 5-star review see https://t.co/UsDKvp9yUx (a really lovely one) - which makes my book the 2nd highest rated in First World War based on customer reviews. It's really quite something - and none of it would have happened without Jeremy Vine getting the snowball launched down the ski-jump and giving me the confidence to carry on in the way that I have.
Finally I've got to finish with a big Thank You to everyone at Healeys https://healeys-printers.co.uk
who've not only done my printing but been fantastically helpful with the distribution of my orders. They've been an essential mainstay of my year.