Last night, I turned on an episode of Million Little Things, set a tub of animal crackers in my lap, and ate my feelings.  It’s almost launch day, and my psyche feels it.  Animal crackers help.

The night before I took a long, hot bath and voxed a bunch of friends who get it to solicit ideas and commiseration.  My friends are awesome – they delivered big time with both suggestions, commitments, and words of encouragement.  (Another reason why knowing other writers is SO important.)

Still, the truth is that I’m disappointed about the numbers for this launch of Silence at the Lock. I had big hopes, big dreams, and they simply haven’t materialized. As you may remember from my first post in this series, I said I needed to sell either:

  • 366 print copies at ~$7.00 net per book.
  • or 1,082 copies at ~$2.37 net per ebook.

to simply cover my costs, much less make a profit.  I knew those were big numbers, and I wanted to temper my hope . . . but I just don’t know how to stop dreaming big.  Some people would say I need to learn.

The Numbers as of 9am Today

Here’s where I am at this moment. I have sold:

  • 25 print copies at ~$7.00 net per book.
  • 16 ebooks at ~$2.37 net per book.

My total income so far is $175 + $37.92 = $212.92  That’s a -91% ROI.  Guh!

I’m understanding in a whole new way why people often choose underexperienced, underpriced editors, book designers, etc. It feels like you have to do that to cover expenses.  I’m still not willing to do that, but I can understand why people make that choice.

What I’m Doing about this Abysmal ROI

I’m holding course, first and foremost. At this point, throwing more money or a lot of angst at this situation isn’t going to help, so I’m holding steady.

  • I have a launch team that is promoting and sharing, and I’m hopeful they’ll ramp that up a lot in the next two weeks.
  • I will keep sharing – with a bit more frequency about the book and the pre-order bonuses in my newsletters (see below) and my social media pages.
  • I’ll keep promoting my book launch party at Books Bound2Please, our new local bookstore. (You are welcome to join us on April 12 at 5:30pm.)

I’m also reaching out to influencers and asking for help.  I’m bad at this, but I know it’s essential.

Finally, I’m going to let go a bit.  The reality is that I can’t force anyone to buy my book, and while sometimes it feels like a good idea to guilt or coerce, I know that’s not true. I want people to read Silence at the Lock because they are interested, not because of some misguided sense of obligation.

The book has two more weeks until launch, and while I could temper my hope, I think I’ll just hold out and keep dreaming that I’ll cover costs with pre-orders.  But if that doesn’t happen, the book will be in the world forever – what a thought! – and I’m proud of it – both in terms of the content and the production.  I didn’t skimp. I paid people fairly for their labor. I produced something that carries some of my hopes and truth in it.  That, alone, is a success.

Even though I’d really love the profit part, too.

Ever feel disappointed with the response of readers to your work? How do you cope? I’d love to hear your stories and tips if you have them in the comments. 


If you are interested in pre-ordering a copy of Silence at the Lock, you can get all the details – including information on the pre-order bonuses (including another book AND an original piece of art by Corey Egbert) through the button below. THANKS!!

Pre-Order Info Here