|Expectation vs. Reality?|
Until I receive the reports my only way of estimating the number of books I've sold is by using NovelRank - an independent website that uses Amazon ranking information to estimate the number of sales for any book you care to track. What I hadn't realised was that NovelRank is mostly accurate when you are selling a small number of books a week/month. At higher levels, the data can be pretty far off. So, where I thought I'd sold a few thousand books - and was darned happy with that - it turns out I actually sold closer to the 10 000 mark worldwide. I probably don't need to tell you that I'm even more happy with that! I can't believe nearly 10 000 people have paid money to read something I wrote. Not only that but I also received two more reviews - both 5* - which takes me up to 62 reviews of 5* out of 102 in total. A good day!
When I mentioned on Facebook that I had sold over 9000 copies of my book, I was interested to see one of the first comments was about how much money I must've made. I've found that people are uncommonly interested in how much money writers make. I would never dream of asking a nurse, or plumber, or accountant... or anyone, really... how much they make from their job, yet people often ask me outright about my income from writing (this particular person didn't ask, to be fair - he was just being encouraging!). Maybe the myth of the rich writer is why one recent survey found 'author' to be the most desirable profession?
I remember one of the first blog posts I read from the successful author Martyn Beardsley made me laugh because he was describing how he'd blown his latest royalty cheque on a chocolate bar and a newspaper. This particular set of figures might afford me a little more than that, but I'm certainly more towards the confectionary end of the market than the private jet end. I suspect over 99% of authors receiving sales reports this week worldwide will be in the same boat. Most of us will probably never reach the threshold even into having to pay tax just from book royalties. I wonder what other expectations people have of writers that would take a hard knock from reality?