The Art of Letting Go, I have just been given my 99th and 100th reviews! They were 4* and 5* as well which is even better. It comes at a special time for my novel as next week it will be one year since publication.
I'm not sure what I imagined the first year of being a published author would be like. Not like this I don't suppose. After landing an agent, then struggling to get a traditional publishing deal and deciding instead to take a risk on a new type of deal, it has been an interesting year. I guess as a child I would've thought being published involved book signings and literary festivals and award ceremonies and, quite possibly, days spent writing in tiny clifftop cottages overlooking the sea. I don't suppose I would've expected to spend most of the first year changing nappies and singing nursery rhymes. Life is both more mundane and more fabulous than the dreams of a child!
After my book was published in July I sold a good few to people I knew and, gradually, to strangers as well. My minimum aim was 400 copies, which I might have crept to eventually. My true aim was 1000, which would've been harder. Then Amazon decided to promote my book in February and things took off. I sold many more copies than I was aiming for and even, briefly, made it to be the Bestseller in Women's Literary Fiction. The Art of Letting Go was also in the Top 10 most-read Kindle books in February.
Since then sales have gradually slowed down again, although I have also been promoted in Australia and India in the last three months. I know of four book groups who have read it together as well. As with everything, however, the reaction to the book is more important to me than the cold, hard numbers. So here are some cold, hard numbers illustrating the reaction!
5* - 60 reviews
4* - 19 reviews
3* - 12 reviews
2* - 7 reviews
1* - 2 reviews
Average rating: 4.3 stars
I don't think this is too bad for my first year of my first novel. It's not a perfect piece of writing and it's certainly not a perfect piece of plotting! Reviewers have told me that it is "absurdly entertaining" and gripping, and that it's the most boring book they've ever read. It is both apparently slow to get started but gets better, AND starts well but tails off. The ending is both great and a "bit of a let down". People are both eager to read my next book and would never read something written by me again. Which means, of course, I am both delighted and disappointed, but not in equal measure. 60 five star reviews is OK I reckon (and some of them were better than I could've dreamed up myself!)
So, as I head into my second year, with my novel having sold much better than expected, I am looking forward to seeing where it takes me. I am currently trying very hard to finish the first draft of another novel before a second baby arrives and it's back to only nappies and nursery rhymes again for a few months at least. Whether the words THE END or the baby arrives first is still a close race!
Thank-you to everyone who has cheered me, encouraged me, bought and/or read my book and left reviews. If you've read The Art of Letting Go and haven't yet left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please consider taking five minutes to do so.