Monday, June 28, 2021

An Aniversary and Some Good News.


It's been exactly 5 years since the hardcover edition of Age of Myth came out. One always hopes that a backlist title will continue to sell well after the initial release, but only a very small % of books do. When sales remain strong over an extended period of time it is referred as "long-legged." In many ways, this type of title is even better than one that hits a major bestseller list (such as the New York Times or USA Today).  Why? Because bestseller status just means a book has had at least one really good week (or month in the case of audiobooks) worth of sales.  In most cases, a book that sells for many years will out-perform those "one and done" bestselling titles.  

Another aspect of book sales has to do with when the hardcover goes out of print. After the publisher's warehouses go bare they have a choice to make: Do they print up more, or do they put that version out of print? In the case of Age of Swords, the first print run sold out at a good clip, but the second print run wasn't flying off the shelves. Storing books in the warehouse is expensive, so not only did they put that title out of print, they also decided to "remainder'" the copies they had.  This usually means the books are sold for a few pennies a pound and the author receives no money on copies sold that way.  As an author, you DO NOT want your books to be remaindered.  In our case, there was a silver lining to the Age of Swords hardcover going out of print . . . all because Robin is a savvy business person.  She added to the contract the condition that before a book is remaindered, we get the chance to buy the excess stock.  Which we did.  I can't remember the exact number of books we purchased, but I think it was around 4,000 or so.  Since receiving them, we have been selling them directly to readers (which gives us a much higher % of the money paid because there is no publisher or retailer involved -- and we bought the books at a much higher discount than the standard 50%).  I'm pretty sure we have sold about 2/3 of them and have around 1,000 left.  

Why did I mention that? Well, an email arrived today from Penguin Random House announcing that Age of Myth's hardcover has gone into its 7th printing!  That means there are more than 23,000 copies of that version "in print!" So we have two things to celebrate today.  For most books, the hardcovers "run their course" in the span of 9 months to a year, but as far as Age of Myth is concerned, its hardcover is still going strong a full 5 years from its release.

According to the numbers we get from the author's portal it looks like this book has sold about 389,000 copies across hardcovers, paperbacks, audiobooks, and ebooks.  That's amazing!  Robin and I thank all the people who picked up a copy of this book. Here's hoping you are one of them. 

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