Monday, 30 May 2011

Sales, publishing and salads

Yesterday sales of Replica went over 5,000 - not bad in seven weeks. And most commenters who have read both books think it's a worthy follow-up to Remix. I'm sure all authors worry over this; you spend a year writing a novel and really don't want readers saying, It was okay, but not as good as her last.

If anyone had told me a year ago I'd sell over 27,000 books in ten months I'd have been astonished, which makes me think about that stratospherically successful indie hero, Amanda Hocking. I've just watched her amusing first vlog, and one of the things she talks about is her decision to self-publish. She says, "I had to do something other than just sit here and wait." And doesn't the publishing industry know how to make us wait, whether it's for a response to submissions or publication after the contract's been signed. (Can anyone tell me why it takes eighteen months to get a book into print?)

And what, I hear you cry, is the significance of the photo? Not a lot, admittedly, but every now and then I like to post something random just because I can. A month ago I bought a matchstick garden; like a book of matches, but stick them in the earth and they grow into a salad. So I did that, and sure enough, leaves sprouted. Not many, and growing rather slowly; in fact, it looked like the sort of salad that would make an ideal accompaniment to Baldrick's very small casserole made from five beans. Then one day it seemed to be growing backwards. Two caterpillars had moved in. As they get bigger they eat more, and I'm beginning to wonder whether I'll have to buy in salad leaves to stop them dying of starvation. I've marked one with a ring on the photo. The other one is there, but you can't see him.


  1. May these caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies or stunning moths or both! :-)

    Yay for Replica!!! May I one day read it in print. Ahem. LOL!!!!

    Take care

  2. Kitty, they are going to be Cabbage Whites, I think. I took a photo of a glamorous Speckled Wood on my balcony, but I don't think that butterfly left eggs.

    I have completed the cover and text files for the paperback of Replica, and just have to send them off.

  3. Love your matchstick garden... and the way it went backwards... sounds like my latest manuscript. Maybe I should buy in some words just as you plan to possibly buy in the salad leaves!

  4. Hmm - and maybe I should have short-circuited the whole process and bought myself a salad at Waitrose in the first place...

    Perhaps I'll name the caterpillars and pretend they are pets and everything is going according to plan. Chomp One and Chomp Two are the names that spring to mind.

  5. Congrats on 5000 Lexi! That's awesome! May you sell many, many more.

  6. Thanks, Shéa, I do hope so - but there is so much luck involved in any sort of publishing; a bunch of capricious writing gods controls sales, I sometimes fear.

  7. Congratulations - you've sold 28,000, I've sold 28. That must mean you're a thousand times better writer than I am. To be honest though, that's not too difficult to do, be better than me I mean.
    Back to the key board.
    Regards, Barry.

  8. Barry, we all have to start at zero and work up :o)

    And don't be too modest. Where would Arnold Schwarzenegger be today if he'd been self-effacing?

  9. Lexi, are you trying to tell us that your next book will be called 'The Two Very Hungry Caterpillars'?

  10. You a prequel to Replica? The Prof's earlier experiments with invertebrates result in two identical caterpillars, and they have to come to terms with sharing the same salad.

    I could call it Replicaterpillar...

  11. Hold on a sec. You are the one with the nicely focused writing blog. I'm the one who posts photos and dithers on about little things like "How my garden grows".

    I feel artistically violated. My team of attorneys will be in touch.

    Oh, and congrats on the wonderful sales figures!

  12. Oh dear. Must be your bad influence, Alan, leading me from the path of blogging virtue...

  13. Sure, blame me.

    Two questions:

    Why are you allowing the caterpillars to remain?


    How did you put that little circle on your photo?

  14. I like caterpillars. They need that salad more than I do.

    I put the circle on in Adobe Photoshop 7.0. I looked up how to do it on the internet, since AP's instructions might as well be written in Mandarin.

  15. You, dear Lexi, are a sweet and tender person.

    But please, if you can grow your own salads, now would seem to be the time to do so. We are reading scary things about the e coli breakout.

  16. I always boil my salads thoroughly, just to be on the safe side. Doesn't everybody?

  17. Ah, now I feel better.

    We produce all of our own food in the backyard. This month the menu is bermuda grass.

  18. Congratulations on the good feedback on the followup!

    I'm about to release a sequel to my first novel, and I'm a little nervous. I have other works out, of course, but all with different characters. This will be my first time having to meet reader expectations about existing characters. Ah, the author life! ;)

  19. Good luck Lindsay!

    Readers who liked the first book will probably like its sequel. And remember, an author's life is a morceau de gateaux compared to a stand up comedian's.

  20. Definitely a good follow-up. I actually liked the premise of "Replica" even better.

    Congrats on another great read!

    GraceKrispy@MotherLode blog