This month marks the two year anniversary of my book’s release by PageSpring Publishing in Ohio. PageSpring is a new, small press and The Button Collector was one of their first few titles, so I have to admit that I had a fair amount of trepidation and worries this time two years ago. What would the cover look like? Would the layout be professional? Would people think that a novel based on stories about buttons was ridiculous?
The picture at right is me on the day my preview copy arrived. Part of me was happy, as the picture shows, but most of me was having a little existential meltdown! While I’d always been a professional writer, until that moment I hadn’t shared many of my fiction pieces with people I knew in real life. Now I was at the point of no return. Ready or not, my baby was going out into the world….
Fortunately, none of my deep dark fears materialized. Looking back on the past two years, I’ve been very pleased. While I haven’t made a lot of money, had splashy ad campaigns or gone on publicity tours, I’ve stumbled upon many sweet surprises. Here’s a sample:
- It’s simply the-best-thing-EVER when someone calls me out of the blue or sends me a letter or stops me to tell me they enjoyed my book.
- The Button Collector has sold in many other countries, including the UK, France, and New Zealand. It’s pretty cool to think my words have traveled the globe.
- To date The Button Collector has 31 reviews on Amazon and 65 ratings on Goodreads. While there are a few written by idiots critics, the vast majority are positive.
- A few days ago my publisher concluded a five-day promotional giveaway of the kindle edition of The Button Collector. When I found out how many people downloaded my ebook, I was floored. Ready for the number? 12,246! For those of you not counting, that’s FIVE whole digits. During the promotion, my book was consistently in the top 100 of overall giveaways and was in the top three of the fiction-family life category.
- I feel honored to have fantastic blurbs from authors I admire, including Susan Vreeland (Girl in Hyacinth Blue), Ann B. Ross (Miss Julia) and short story writer Amy Willoughby-Burle.
- My little blog has had 10,750 hits from 105 countries. When I’m down, I take a look at that row of brightly colored flag icons on my WordPress stats page. Instant cheer up!
- I love it when my book is checked out at the library.
- I’ve discovered dozens of fascinating, talented, weird-in-a-good-way button people—people who make bouquets of button flowers, own collections of thousands of historic buttons, use buttons to make exquisite art and other things I can barely comprehend.
- It’s enlightening to read what book reviewers have to say about my book. Often they find meanings and connections that surprise me.
- It was a blast to see how visual artists interpreted the book to create a beautiful cover and absolutely perfect button sketches for chapter headings.
- While I haven’t gone to many readings or book festivals, when I do force myself to overcome my phobia of in-person marketing I really enjoy meeting other authors and discovering the wild and crazy things they’ve published.
- I found the experience of working with my editor to be surprisingly positive and synergistic. I’ll always be grateful for her perfect idea of how to deal with the book’s structural conundrum, and it was awesome to work with someone on the same wavelength.
- At this point, I estimate that 500 people have bought my book. That’s not as many as I hoped, but that happens to be the same number as Mary Shelley’s first edition of Frankenstein, so I’ll take it.
- My book has gone to the London Book Fair. (Thanks, PageSpring!!!) Now to get a visit with the queen….
- My book release party was one of the highlights of my whole. entire. life.
So to all the people who’ve played a role in my first book’s publication–thank you very much! Many happy returns.