Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sales and More Sales

Remember the good old days when your novel would be released one week and six weeks later it would be removed from the bookstore shelves in order to make space for something else? You might write one novel per year and, if you were lucky, have one novel per year released. Of course all that's changed now in the digital age where space on the virtual bookstore shelf is infinite. Now I'm writing three books per year and I'm publishing so many of them my publishers can't keep up, which means I've actually begun my own imprint to handle the overflow. How fucking cool is that?

The digital and e-book age has initiated something else that's pretty cool.

Books that might have long been forgotten in the paper and bookstore "returns" age, are now able to enjoy renewed life. Over the past two weeks I've sold more than 14,000 books in e-book, print, and audible form. The novels that are kicking ass are THE REMAINS, GODCHILD, and THE INNOCENT. What makes these novels so special? Nothing in particular, other than I consider them some of my best and most inspired work. But that's the creative Vince talking. Now for the business Vince.

Take a look at the vitals for these three releases:

 --THE INNOCENT: First publisher, Delacorte Press in 1999: Copies sold, 7,000 and change.
                                  Second publisher, StoneGate Ink in 2011: Copies sold, 100,000 and change.
                                  Third publisher, Thomas & Mercer in 2012: 10,000 and change to date...

--GODCHILD: First Publisher, Dell in 2000: Copies sold...Data Unavailable but if I had to guess
                                                                           you can count the sales using the fingers on both
                          Second Publisher, StoneGate Ink in 2011: Copies sold, 25,000 and change.
                          Third Publisher, Thomas & Mercer in 2012: Copies sold, 8,000 and change to date
                                                                                                   and climbing...

--THE REMAINS: First Publisher, StoneHouse Ink in 2010: Copies sold, 30,000 and change.
                                Second Publisher, Thomas & Mercer in 2012: Copies sold, 15,000 and change
                                  to date...(I'm guestimating that I will move around 25K of this title by the end
                                  of the month. Maybe more.)

The numbers reflected by T&M might not look as good as those of the "Gates" YET, but you have to keep in mind that the new editions are only a year or less old. Presently, I'm averaging 3500 sales per month with the Amazon Publishing imprint (they acquired 7 titles, all of which were released in late 2012. At the end of this month, I will have easily moved well over 50K units for them). If I update this same blog exactly a year from now, I suspect that my combined numbers at T&M will measure in the hundreds of thousands. Something not possible in the purely "paper/return" days of old. My books are my greatest financial assets, and presently there is simply no better place for these assets to reside and grow than in the hands of Amazon Publishing's Thomas & Mercer imprint. Five years from now things might be entirely different, although I doubt it.

This is not to say that selling books is easier these days. It's not. In some ways, it's more difficult given the ease with which anyone can self-publish a novel. There's a lot of shit out there and it's clogging up the pipes so to speak. But if you're good at what you do, possess a degree of God given talent, and you dedicate yourself entirely to the craft and the life, you have at least a chance of breaking out. To a degree, that is.

As recently as three weeks ago I was contacted by a reporter (name not given) at The New York Times, asking me about my relationship with one of my present publishers and how it is that I am able to sell so well (this same reporter has been contacting me periodically for almost a year now). I've also been contacted by The Observer in London, the WSJ, and numerous other publications. I don't hand over much information to them which is a source of their infinite frustration, but I sense what they are looking for is "the secret." You know, what's the secret of your success? What deal have you made with the devil? What kind of tricks are you playing? What algarythms are you manipulating? (This last one really cracks me up...)

The truth is that there are no manipulations and there are no tricks. The most I can reveal is that now and again, my publishers might run a special. But this sales tactic is no different from any bookstore or chain of bookstores offering my books at a discounted price for a certain period of time. The point is to move units and it's purely a decision made by the pencil pushers on the "Retail" side of the building. You want to find me, I'm down the hall in the "Talent."

And don't take my word for it. There are a lot of other authors moving more units than I am, JA Konrath, Blake Crouch, Sean Chercover among them. Just this past weekend, Aaron Patterson moved something like 10K units of his novel Sweet Dreams. The book is five years old.   

This week my very first published novel, Permanence (Northwest 1995) will go on special now that it's been re-released in e-Book format. Back in the 90's it sold less than 500 copies and from that point on, was forgotten entirely, despite its stellar reviews. I'll make a prediction, come this time next week, Permanence will have sold at least 3500 units over the period of a couple of days. I can't guarantee that kind of success, but based on experience, I think I can stand up in public and make that prediction. 3,500 units sold in just a couple of days. That will be more sales than I collectively earned from 1995 - 1999.

Who misses the good old days? 
Not me.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

THE SHROUD KEY is Released and More News!

I just finished writing and distributing my newsletter for those subscribed fans and friends. But since so many of you aren't subscribed I thought I would put it out as a blog. So here goes: 

Author Photo by Jessica Painter

Hello All,

Just a quick update on from my part of the globe now that the Fall season is upon us (Yes, the summer flew by). I have some good news regarding the Thomas & Mercer edition of THE REMAINS. This month it's an "Editor's Pick" at Amazon and has been enjoying a stay in the Top 300 Kindle books for more than a week now. In the UK it reached the Top 10 and is still in the Top 50. The T&M editions of THE INNOCENT and GODCHILD have also been enjoying a nice revival (If you recall, THE INNOCENT was once published under the title, AS CATCH CAN by Delacorte Press).

I'm also excited to announce that the third in the Marconi series, THE GUILTY (StoneGate Ink), has been an Amazon Hot New Release in Hard-Boiled Mystery since it's release one month ago. Also look for the fifth in the Dick Moonlight PI series, MOONLIGHT SONATA, which is also being released by StoneGate Ink.

On the foreign end of things, I've just signed with MEME PUBLISHERS in Paris and Milan. Meme will be handling the foreign translations of all the Moonlight and Marconi novels, plus THE REMAINS and THE SHROUD KEY (see below). MOONLIGHT FALLS is he first to be translated into both Italian and French. It will be available in Europe in Spring 2014.

The_Shroud_Key_(Digital) (2).jpg

This month is also special in that my newest novel in a brand new series featuring Renaissance man, Chase Baker, has now officially been released in e-book (trade paper to follow). It's called THE SHROUD KEY. Here's what the novel is all about:

Chase Baker is not only a true Renaissance Man, he’s a man who knows how to find trouble. A part-time resident of Florence, Italy, his resume reads like a modern day Da Vinci or Casanova. Writer, private investigator, tour guide, historian, treasure hunter, adventurer, and even archaeological sandhog, Chase is also a prolific lover. Unfortunately for him, his dangerous liaisons all too often make him the target of a jealous husband. Now, at the direct request of the Florence police, he finds himself on the trail of an archaeologist by the name of Dr. Andre Manion who’s gone missing from his teaching post at the American University. But having worked for the archaeologist several years ago as a sandhog on a secret but failed dig just outside the Great Pyramids in the Giza Plateau, Chase smells a renewed opportunity to uncover what just might be the most prized archaeological treasure in the world: The mortal remains of Jesus. But how will Chase Baker go about finding both the archaeologist and the Jesus Remains? With the help of Manion’s beautiful ex-wife, Chase will manage to secure an up-close and personal examination of the Shroud of Turin, not only to view the famous image of the crucified Christ, but to unlock the relic’s greatest secret which is none other than a map, or a key, detailing the precise location of Jesus’s body. Fans of Dan Brown, Clive Cussler and JR Rain will find The Shroud Key an irresistible adventure.  

In terms of appearances, I'll be hanging out at Bouchercon the weekend of September 19-22 which is happening this year at Albany's Empire State Plaza. I'll be a part of a cool panel on Friday morning

Room 1

Worse Comes to Worst-tragedy as entertainment
Art Taylor (M), Joe Clifford, Nik Korpon, F. Paul Wilson, Johnny Shaw, Lee Thompson, Vincent Zandri

Please stop by!

Here's hoping this finds you well. As always I appreciate your support and friendship. I look forward to seeing you many of you soon.



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Author Photo by Jessica Painter